In order for knowledge to thrive, it requires appropriate behaviours and cultures, fostered and adopted by leaders and individuals alike, which encourage the free sharing of knowledge to the advantage of individuals, the organisation and citizens.
Leaders must allocate time, acknowledge contributions and ensure a no blame, no ridicule ethos prevails. Individuals must respond positively, using the opportunity to seek out and share knowledge.
In order to develop the environment, there are many tools and techniques available. Good tools, such as an organisation-wide collaborative environment, can facilitate knowledge sharing, provided their use is explained, promoted and encouraged, not coerced. Likewise, making the physical environment conducive to collaboration and the ‘chance encounter’, via breakout areas, soft seating, coffee points etc. is helpful, but leaders need to encourage use of these spaces and ensure everyone knows informal meetings, conversations and discussions are sanctioned. Organisations must avoid the temptation to view these tools as a solution in themselves.
Establishing culture, policies and practices that encourage diverse knowledge sharing ensures that knowledge has the potential to be utilised as fully as possible across an organisation. It also enables the capture and re-use of knowledge.
Implications for Knowledge Management Strategy
- The management of knowledge is a combination of soft skills and effective resource management
- Knowledge sharing should be recognised and rewarded
- Expectations of a need to share knowledge are set at all levels
- Knowledge sharing across the organisation is monitored and reviewed
- Tools to support knowledge sharing are provided and promoted