Knowledge Sharing: Complete guide to create a knowledge sharing culture

A few days ago, I was discussing with a few of my colleagues regarding team works over lunch. During our conversation, Roger van Lieshout and Ali Ekici asked me to write a post about knowledge sharing among the colleagues. So, I thought it’s time to put pen to the paper and write about it. I am glad my colleagues inspired me to write about such an interesting topic, because in the process of doing so, I myself learned a lot from doing small online research. Here’s my view towards, Knowledge sharing among the fellow colleagues:

To start with, let’s get back to the root. We all know what is knowledge, but when it relates to an organization, do we really what is it?  Based on my online research, Knowledge is one of the most critical organizational resources which provide a sustainable competitive advantage in a competitive and dynamic economy (Sheng Wang, Raymond A. Noe, 2009). Innovation may be one of the key drivers in gaining competitive advantage; organizations must also consider how to transfer expertise and knowledge from experts who have it, to novices who need to know (Sheng Wang, Raymond A. Noe, 2009).

So, what’s the definition of knowledge sharing?

Based on definition by Jackson, Chuang, Harden, Jiang, & Joseph, 2006, Knowledge sharing is the fundamental means through which employees can contribute to knowledge application, innovation, and ultimately the competitive advantage of the organization.

Knowledge sharing refers to the provision of task information and know-how to help others and to collaborate with others to solve problems, develop new ideas, or implement policies or procedures (Cummings, 2004; Pulakos, Dorsey, & Borman, 2003). Knowledge sharing can occur via written correspondence or face-to-face communications through networking with other experts, or documenting, organizing and capturing knowledge for others (Cummings, 2004; Pulakos et al., 2003).

How does it help?

Research has shown that knowledge sharing benefits organization in following ways:

  • In reducing production costs
  • Faster completion of new product development
  • Enhances team performance
  • Induces firm’s innovation capabilities
  • Increases sales growth and revenue

How can we promote a knowledge sharing culture?

Personal Characteristics

Personally, I believe it all starts from individual characteristic. Many of you who are reading this post now, have already experienced colleagues or fellow classmates who are reluctant to share their knowledge. But, it doesn’t mean, you have to follow the same path. I truly believe “Knowledge sharing as a learning experience for the sharer”. More, you share more you learn more. Not only that, it creates a bond of trust between the fellow colleagues. This makes life easier for everyone and working together enhances performance. Like, I discussed in my previous post, knowledge sharing promotes Co-creation and it’s one of the crucial points for being an innovative company. So, instead of waiting for your colleague to make the first step, why don’t you make the first step? Don’t just think about it. It’s time to do it.

Management Attitude

Time has changed, communication should not only flow from top to bottom and bottom to top. There should be a transparent communication and knowledge sharing culture in the organization. Top management should not only give orders and make the decisions rather they should share their expertise and knowledge with the employees in order to derive desired performance from the employees. Research has shown that, Managers who have shared their knowledge with respective subordinates, their performance has been positively influenced (Sheng Wang, Raymond A. Noe, 2009). So, Top management should break out of the hard old shell and move towards more transparent management attitude.

Rewards and Incentives

Till date various researches have been carried out rewards and incentives influence on performance.  I am not talking about individual performance or individual rewards. Many companies make the mistakes of introducing individual rewards and incentives for knowledge sharing and end up in losing more than gaining. Rather group based incentives works as a positive catalyst compared to those that individual incentives as it creates more interaction between the employees and results in creating strong and positive relationships.

Complete guide to creating knowledge sharing culture

Complete guide to creating knowledge sharing culture

Diversity

Researches have shown that organizations with higher female: male ratios were more likely to engage in knowledge sharing (Sheng Wang, Raymond A. Noe, 2009).  Not only gender diversity influences knowledge sharing, in fact multi-cultural organization tends to develop better knowledge sharing culture. With the right balance between individual culture (e.g. Europe) and group culture (e.g. Asia) tends result in sharing views from an absolutely different angle which is unknown to another culture and vice versa. This not only brings unique nature to an organization, rather works as a positive catalyst towards to innovation and performance.

Trust and Justice

Based on research, Individuals tended to share less knowledge with team members who were perceived to be very capable and share more knowledge when they believed other team members were honest, fair and followed principles (Sheng Wang, Raymond A. Noe, 2009).  Hence, Managers, Top management should engage with employees in collaborative communication, i.e. disclose one’s own expertise and limitations. This increases the feeling of trust and justice within employees. Such organizational culture results in creating knowledge sharing culture.

Social Media

Last but not the least, one of the most modern tools is Social Media. Modern and innovative companies engage with its own employees via social platforms such as LinkedIn, Xing, Facebook, twitters etc in order to share knowledge. Using social media, companies can adopt suitable for different behavioral styles, offering people the ability to passively observe (and take inspiration) or to be actively involved depending on what they prefer. Being actively involved in social media with employees creates strong transparent image to the outside world as well. Might sound funny, but many of you who are reading my post right now, came via social media references like Facebook, Linkedin, Xing etc., isn’t it?

Well, that’s my perspective towards knowledge sharing. What’s yours? Feel free to drop a line and SHARE your view.

 

Innovation redefined: the ultimate guide to become an innovative company

We all talk about innovation; every company wants to be innovative. But, do we actually know how to? Time has changed, so did the definition of innovation. It’s crucial for any company to adopt the new ways to be innovative in order to survive in today’s competition. Here’s my view towards the ultimate guide for becoming an innovative company.

Co-creation
It’s one of the most used words lately. Well, you must be wondering, that is this “Co-creation”. Let’s start with a formal definition, “Co-creation is a form of marketing strategy or business strategy that emphasizes the generation and ongoing realization of mutual firm-customer value.” The words to focus on here is “mutual Firm-customer value”. In today’s world it’s crucial for companies to break out of the box and work together with the customer or suppliers to generate innovation and provide better solutions to problems.
A perfect example would be, Nedschroef, a leading manufacturer of fasteners working with its customers like VW, Audi, BMW etc to create innovative fastener solutions.

Crowd Funding
It’s 2013 and we are still experiencing the aftermath of global financial crisis. The Euro crisis is taking a high toll on countries like Netherlands, Germany, once known as one of the strongest economy in the world. Getting funding for starting a business is really difficult these days. Even when it comes to produce innovative products it requires good amount of investment before theory turns to reality. Especially for SME’s and individual entrepreneurs, crowd funding has become the ultimate source for turning a great idea into a reality. Yes, crowd funding is the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.
The Pebble Watch has been the most famous example of crowd funding. The original team scored more than $10 million with a target of less than $1 million via crowd funding platform named “Kickstarter

5C's of Innovation

Collective Knowledge
“Coming together is a beginning, Keeping together is progress, and working together is success” that’s definitely one of my favorite quotes anymore. When it comes to innovation, people from different background, different part of the world, even from different work experience can contribute to provide innovative solutions to any problem. Thanks to the rapid growth of the internet, people from different part of the world can share their knowledge and create innovative solution and products.
Recently, Facebook friends helped a scientist to identify nearly 5,000 fish specimens collected in Guyana in less than 24 hrs, YES less than 24 hrs. The majority of people commenting held a Ph.D in ichthyology or a related field, and hailed from a great diversity of countries including the United States, Canada, France, Switzerland, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil. By quickly tapping the collective expertise of their social network to help with the preliminary identification process, the expedition members were able to sort, pack and export the specimens to Washington, D.C in a timely manner.

Collaborative Consumption
Zipcar is a US membership-based carsharing company providing automobile reservations for its members, billable by the hour or day. Members can reserve Zipcars online or by phone at any time, immediately or up to a year in advance. Zipcar members have automated access to Zipcars using an access card which works with the car’s technology to unlock the door, where the keys are already located inside. Zipcar also offers an iPhone or Android application that allows members to honk the horn to locate a Zipcar and unlock the doors.
I was amazed by the overall idea behind such innovative car rental service when I first came to know about it in Marketing and Service Management Class during my MBA at Maastricht School of Management. And this is one of the best examples of innovation via collaborative consumption. In more formal terms, collaborative consumption is an economic model based on classical market behaviors of sharing, swapping, bartering, trading or renting access to products as opposed to ownership which both creates and adds value to existing products and services

Creativity
California State University defined Creativity as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others.
It’s no doubt creativity paves the way towards ultimate innovation. But, in order to be creative, you need to be able to view things in new ways or from a different perspective. Among other things, you need to be able to generate new possibilities or new alternatives. You can be from a totally different industry yet you can always add value and create innovative products to other industry just by able to see things in new ways. In fact, a research named “Innovation through diversity” by Forbes insight has proven that formula for success is in the diversity of people in the organization. People from different background when put together in a perfect environment produce creative and innovative solutions.