Importance of Knowledge Sharing for Organisations


By

Mr. R. Sethumadhavan
B.Sc, MBA, M.Phil
Faculty-Management Studies
Tamilnadu College of Engineering
Coimbatore-641 659
 


Introduction:

Due to globalization of economy, rapid growth in information technology, increase in knowledge based work and competition pressure the concept of knowledge management has gained momentum in recent years. Knowledge sharing is a systematic process for creating, acquiring, synthesizing, learning, sharing and using knowledge and experience to achieve organizational goal. This knowledge can be inside the employees' minds or stored in paper form in filing cabinets and/or stored in electronic form. As a concept, knowledge sharing is very attractive and many business organizations would prefer to be associated with it. But knowledge sharing implementation is not easy. There are many barriers in knowledge sharing implementations such as organization culture, lack of understanding the power of knowledge management, fear of IT, immaturity of industry, etc. Above all knowledge management implementation requires sound strategy. For this it is important to make knowledge sharing a distributive system rather than a centralized system. It also requires a platform where the interaction between tacit and explicit knowledge can take place.

Knowledge Sharing: Conceptual Framework

There is no universal definition of knowledge management. Knowledge management means different things to different people, Microsoft  explains it as a discipline that treats intellectual capital as managed assets. The primary "tools" applied in the practice of knowledge management is (a) Organizational Dynamics (b) Process Engineering and (c) Technology.


Benefits of Knowledge Sharing

An effective knowledge sharing program should help a company do one or more of the following:

1. Foster innovation by encouraging the free flow of ideas.
2. Help in understanding markets and customers.
3. Development of product and services.
4. Development of vision and strategies.
5. Building competencies.
6. Improve customer service by streamlining response time.
7. Boost revenues by getting products and services to market faster.
8. Enhance employee retention rates by recognizing the value of employee's knowledge     and rewarding them for it.
9. Streamline operations and reduce costs by eliminating redundant or unnecessary processes.

Barriers to Knowledge Sharing Implementations:

There are many barriers to knowledge sharing implementations.

The biggest challenges is how to change mindset of people and how to convert the culture from believing that "knowledge is power" to believing that "knowledge sharing is power". Such change is not very easy to establish and require constant training and development of human resources of the organizations. Add to this other barriers are:

In general, Managing Knowledge has been perceived as an unmanageable kind of problem - an implicitly human, individual activity - that was in traceable with traditional management methods and technology.

1. Psychological fear of IT.
2. Lack of understanding of Power of Knowledge Management.
3. Inappropriate decision making and operational structure.
4. Lack of simple, easy-to understand-and- implement powerful tools.

According to EDW.2 Research, following issues are the greatest barriers to the successful knowledge management implementations.

1. Inadequate attention to organizational and human dimensions - change management.
2. IT cannot solve what is essentially a management problem because it cannot store human intelligence and experience.

Conclusion:

Knowledge sharing as a concept is very attractive and provides huge business opportunities that should not be missed. It is an engine that transforms knowledge into business value. However, implementation of knowledge sharing is not easy. Organizations have to grabble with various issues and challenges such as organizational culture, strategy, information technology, knowledge organization, etc. Despite all these issues and challenges companies worldwide have shown keen interest in knowledge sharing. As far as India is concerned knowledge sharing is still in its infancy. It has to cover a lot of ground to come up to the level of knowledge sharing implementation as, say, like Western countries. In India, there is a need of National Knowledge Sharing Concept to create and harness the knowledge of our own people and start creating and using our own software packages. The core competency definitely exists in our R&D laboratories, academic, institutions, software houses and industries. Learning from past mistakes, time has come to amend and takes knowledge sharing as the concept in the right direction and reap its benefits to the fullest.

References:

1. Awad Kazmi,  Hasan hasiri, Knowledge Management, Prentice Hall of India, New Delhi, 2002 edition.
2. www.kmresource.com
3. www.businessline.in
 


Mr. R. Sethumadhavan
B.Sc, MBA, M.Phil
Faculty-Management Studies
Tamilnadu College of Engineering
Coimbatore-641 659
 

Source: E-mail September 29, 2007

          

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