A grounded theory of voluntary and informal knowledge sharing.
Lee, Chu Keong.
Date of Issue2008
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
Knowledge sharing is an essential element of organisational learning, knowledge creation, and knowledge management. It prevents the reinvention of the wheel in the organisation, ensures the spread of best practices throughout the organisation, and avails private knowledge to the problem-solving process. Unfortunately, knowledge sharing is often problematic, and has been labeled as “unnatural acts”. Research so far has surfaced two main conclusions about knowledge and people. First, knowledge is sticky in that it is stubbornly immobile, and transferring it from one person to another is often difficult and slow. Second, people are generally stubborn, refusing to share their knowledge, preferring to rely on it as their power base (the “knowledge is power” syndrome) and refusing to use knowledge that they did not create themselves (the “not invented here” syndrome). In this research, an in-depth case study was carried out to develop a grounded theory for voluntary and informal knowledge sharing (VIKS) in an academic context. VIKS is a specific type of knowledge sharing characterised by serendipity (VIKS occurs without pre-planning), spontaneity (participation in VIKS is one’s choice), and extemporaneousness (participation in VIKS is unrehearsed). As such, VIKS is a narrower and more focused form of knowledge sharing. Data were elicited through semi-structured interviews with twenty-four academics from the College of Engineering at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. The respondents were selected from seven categories of academics, namely, non-tenured academics, academics without PhD, academics who teach ancillary subjects, female academics, newly hired academics, academics who pursued their doctoral studies in a language other than English, and academics holding administrative positions. The data were transcribed, and analysed using the coding procedures prescribed by the grounded theory methodology.
DRNTU::Library and information science::Knowledge management