Original Research

Managing knowledge leakage during knowledge sharing in software development organisations

Lucas T. Khoza
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 21, No 1 | a1075 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v21i1.1075 | © 2019 Lucas T. Khoza | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 January 2019 | Published: 25 July 2019

About the author(s)

Lucas T. Khoza, Department of Applied Information Systems, University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park, South Africa

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Background: Knowledge refers to the skills and facts that individuals acquire while performing some tasks. Knowledge leakage is the loss of knowledge, resulting in loss of the organisation’s position in the marketplace. Internal and external knowledge leakage in software development organisations lowers the organisations’ competitive advantage. Knowledge sharing is a process of innovation and value creation that leads to competitive advantage. Innovation is a result of an effective knowledge sharing process. Knowledge can be shared internally and externally; however, not all knowledge can be shared externally because of some confidentiality issues. Some organisations do not promote knowledge sharing to avoid knowledge leakage.

Objectives: The main objective of this study was to investigate how knowledge sharing leads to knowledge leakages in software development organisations.

Method: A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from IT professionals to explore knowledge sharing and knowledge leakages. A response rate of 53.6% was received.

Results: The results indicated that people always move from one organisation to another, resulting in an increased knowledge leakage. People will always share whatever they have learnt in the new organisation. Five key critical findings that cause staff turnover are management and citizenship, industrial psychology, industrial relations, employee morale and organisational culture.

Conclusions: Because knowledge resides in the brains of individuals, it is recommended that organisations should motivate their staff not to leave. Organisations need to implement global skills resource management, mentoring programmes and documentation of lessons learnt to retain knowledge. Good management strategies should be applied to create a good working environment and organisational culture to retain employees.


Knowledge sharing; knowledge leakage; staff turnover; software development organisations, innovation; competitive advantage.


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