Saturday, 12 September 2015

Sharing knowledge is an unnatural act (Davenport quote)

Sharing and using knowledge are often unnatural acts. 

"If my knowledge is a valuable resource, why should I share it? If my job is to create knowledge, why should I put my job at risk by using your knowledge instead of mine? We sometimes act surprised when knowledge is not shared or used, but we would be better off assuming that the natural tendency is to hoard our own knowledge and look suspiciously on knowledge that comes from others.  
"To enter our knowledge into a system and to seek out knowledge from others is not only threatening, but also requires much effort -- so we have to be highly motivated to undertake such work. If the knowledge manager adopted this principle, we would not assume that the installation of Lotus Notes will lead to widespread sharing, or that making information available will lead to its use. We would realize that sharing and usage have to be motivated through time-honored techniques--performance evaluation, compensation, example. Some companies are beginning to employ those techniques.  
"The Lotus Development Corporation, now a division of I.B.M., devotes 25 percent of the total performance evaluation of its customer support workers to knowledge sharing. Buckman Laboratories recognizes its 100 top knowledge sharers with an annual conference at a resort. ABB ASEA Brown Boveri Ltd., the Swiss-Swedish conglomerate, evaluates managers not only on the results of their decisions, but also on the knowledge and information applied in the decision-making process".


Hendri Ma'ruf said...

Now I find the answer to my wonder why there are not many people who willingly share their knowledge and use other people's knowledge.

Stephen Grey said...

I am with this argument up to the conclusion that conventional incentives are the only way to improve the situation. I can't say I have a strong view on the subject but it doesn't sit well with the understanding that:
(1) While people do want financial and similar rewards, this isn't what drives their enthusiastic engagement in their work
(2) Sharing stories is a natural behaviour

Lisandro Gaertner said...

Great. Knowledge has value in use but not in sharing. And people don't feel OK to say "I don't know". If we don't assume our ignorance we can't learn anything.

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