Examining the Influence of Knowledge Leadership Behaviors on the Enablers of Knowledge Management in Small and Medium-sized Companies

Date of Award

Summer 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Professional Studies in Instructional Design Leadership (DPS)

Committee Chair

Yi Yang

Committee Member

Dawn Snyder

Committee Member

Yuerong Sweetland


Purpose The purpose of this study is to examine the interactions between two knowledge leadership behaviors as identified by Lakshman & Rai (2019) and four organizational cultural elements as identified as knowledge management enablers by Lee & Choi (2003), within the unique environment of a small- to medium-sized enterprise (SME). Knowledge management is a key driver in the financial success and long-term sustainability of a small business. The goal of this study was to understand if there is a relationship between the leadership behaviors and the knowledge management enablers to provide SME leaders with important evidence to support their efforts to adopt knowledge management practices within their company. Methodology This was a quantitative exploratory multi-variant study using a survey instrument that reused a combination of questions from two previous questionnaires. The questions were tested for content validity by a team of three experts and through the use of a pilot study to test for understandability and ease of use. The instrument was also tested for reliability using Cronbach’s alpha. The reliability coefficients ranged from 0.79 to 0.84 confirming the internal consistency of the survey instrument. The data were analyzed using multiple linear regression with two independent variables and four dependent variables. The independent variables were the two leadership behaviors – role modeling (RM) and creating a climate that supports learning (CC). The four dependent variables were the organizational cultural traits known as knowledge management enablers – employee trust (T), collaboration (C), organizational learning (L), and IT support (IT). Findings The results of the analysis indicate that there is a statistically significant relationship between the leadership behavior of creating a climate that supports learning (CC) and employee trust (T), collaboration (C), organizational learning (L), and IT support (IT). There is also a statistically significant relationship between role modeling (RM) and IT support (IT), however, no statistically significant relationship exists between the other three cultural elements in this context. The most interesting finding is the compelling evidence that creating a climate that supports learning is an important positive predictor of the four cultural elements that are known to support the successful adoption of knowledge management practices in SMEs. Practical Implications and Value The results of this study provide clear evidence to SME owners and managers regarding the leadership behaviors they should implement to ensure that they can develop and benefit from successful knowledge management practices in their organization.