Knowledge management in chemical process industry
This study describes, from a psychological perspective, the relationship between
self identity and the propensity to disclose and exchange knowledge. Against the
background of knowledge transfer processes and using the context of
professional identity, the study proposes a structure of professional identity and
argues that where knowledge is central to that identity, and where the identity has
been activated, it intervenes in the willingness to disclose and exchange
The arguments draw attention firstly to a hypothesised structure of professional
identity that contains built-in paradoxes that surface when the identity is activated
from its cognitive location. Identity is seen as a super-ordinate entity which,
along with motives and roles, conditions willingness, intention and action. At the
heart of the argument is the notion of possessiveness which, the study argues,
when applied to knowledge, creates a conscious sense of dilemma and tension
along the continuum from self-orientated individualism to group loyalty and
obligation. Although willingness is often perceived in relational terms involving
trust, the study argues that it is dependent on the weightings of the dimensions of
the structure of identity.
The findings of the study captured first, a portrait of professional identity which
consists of six factors. Such a portrait is seen as a cognitive identity structure.
Second, a set of independent willingness distance measures. Third, a tentative
connection between identity structures to willingness statements. The study
concludes with a conceptual framework that displays the role of professional
identity in the knowledge transfer process. This study is a contribution to the
literature on identity in that it attempts to go beyond the cognitive location of
identity to make connections with behaviour. The findings are clear but faint.
The study provides some interesting areas of directions for further research.