The aim of the research was to determine the relationship between knowledge sharing and knowledge loss through creation of a conceptual model of factors affecting knowledge sharing and a conceptual toolkit, able to be used by managers as an analysis tool. A theoretical, constructive approach was taken to the research through the use of a theory-building methodology to create the conceptual model of factors affecting knowledge sharing in organisations. Empirical research was carried out using a case study at an energy infrastructure organisation in the UK through questionnaires and formal interviews to validate the model. A new conceptual model of factors affecting knowledge sharing was developed and evaluated, further improving the model. The empirical research showed validation of past literature and created additional elements to the model. The main limitation is that only one industry case study was used for empirical validation. This was due to the limited timeframe of the research, which suggests that further research should involve multiple case studies, covering a wide variety of industries. The model of factors affecting knowledge sharing allows managers to analyse their knowledge management strategies and offers suggestions of ways to reduce any risk of knowledge loss. There is a lack of conceptual models based on knowledge loss, and this paper aims to solve this issue. This will be useful to businesses, helping them to improve their knowledge management initiatives, retain knowledge and gain competitive advantage over competitors. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.