Understanding effective knowledge sharing by IT professionals in Chinese social networks

Hui Chen, Jose Miguel Baptista Nunes, Gillian Ragsdell, Gaohui Cao

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingConference Proceedingpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Knowledge sharing (KS) is an integral part of knowledge management (KM) and can be simply expressed as the process of making knowledge available to others. The research reported in this paper discusses Chinese social networks where knowledge sharing (KS) occurs between IT Professionals in China. Social networks in this study are defined as a series of social interactions that form intimate and reciprocal relations and in which knowledge and information are exchanged. In China, where social networks (like Wechat, Weibo, Zhihu, Xiaomuchong, LinkedIn and ResearchGate) have become part of the relationship-building fabric of Chinese professional communities, knowledge is customarily shared in these social networks where it spreads in “viral” modes far beyond the initial sharing intention or objectives. This phenomena has been addressed in journalistic outlets and popular media (blogs), but has not been studied systematically by KM academics in China. This paper aims to address this gap and uses an inductive grounded theory approach to research the nature of the Chinese social networks where knowledge sharing routinely occurs as an integral part of the working practices of the software/IT industry in China. The research suggest that KS trough these social networks does not seem to be confined to the boundaries of the company, but also involves friends, web-based communities of practice (CoP), professional networks, social media networks and even sharing with competing organisations. Within these social networks different social circles co-exist: personal circles, professional circles, organisational circles, informal circles and web-based communities of practice. The study shows that, in modern China there is no clear boundary between these types of social circles and that due to the affordances of network applications, social media and Chinese cultural traits, practitioners share their experiences and knowledge with others for a number of reasons ranging from professional needs, organisational requirement and advertisement as well as because they have strong trust relationships with each other.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 20th European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM 2019
EditorsEduardo Tome, Francisco Cesario, Raquel Reis Soares
PublisherAcademic Conferences Limited
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781912764327
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event20th European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM 2019 - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 5 Sept 20196 Sept 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of the European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM
ISSN (Print)2048-8963
ISSN (Electronic)2048-8971


Conference20th European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM 2019


  • Chinese social circles
  • Chinese social networks
  • IT professionals
  • Knowledge sharing behaviours
  • Professional knowledge
  • Professional knowledge sharing


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