Knowledge sharing is important for creating a new knowledge in order to achieve competitive advantage and of the increasing turn over of staff. People do not keep the same job for life any more. When someone leaves an organization their knowledge walks out of the door with them. Some people object to sharing as they feel that others will steal their ideas and reap the rewards rightly theirs and also feel that their jobs might be threatened if they then share all that they know with a colleague, no longer making them the ones with all the knowledge and understanding.This can result in a defensive attitude when they are asked to contribute to knowledge-sharing activities. In principle, why should people relinquish what they have worked hard for only to hand over years of experience and hard work to someone else who merely has to listen to or mimic them while some have fear that by asking people to share their ideas and knowledge it will make them appear inadequate and incapable of doing their job properly but this is a fallacy. Knowledge sharing isn’t about blindly sharing everything; giving away your ideas; being politically naive; or being open about absolutely everything. If you have a great idea – don’t share it with a competitor – external or internal but on the other hand don’t try to develop it on your own and don’t sit on it for fear of it being stolen from you.
Organizations can use a variety of HRM mechanisms and techniques to encourage a knowledge-sharing culture. Like, knowledge is seen as a personal intellectual asset and so people do not want to give it away unless there are benefits in doing so. Thus reciprocity method can be used with them. The reciprocal act of receiving something in response to giving something else has been coined ‘reciprocity’ and is central to the concept of knowledge sharing. This could be a formal reward from the organization in recognition for an individual sharing his or her knowledge. On the other hand, Organizations can also link sharing knowledge to widely held core values. Don’t expect people to share their ideas and insights simply because it is the right thing to do. Appeal to something deeper. By linking with core values of the organization values, you make sharing knowledge consistent with peers’ expectations and managers’ considerations. Then, trust is another key element for knowledge sharing, as employees may not be willing to share their work-related knowledge if they believe that hoarding knowledge will assist in furthering their careers, or if they feel ill-treated at work. This demands an atmosphere where ideas and assumptions can be challenged without fear and where diversity of opinion is valued over commonality or compliance.
New approach of companies to share knowledge
All the best-practice companies we studied see sharing knowledge as a practical way to solve business problems. Best-practice organizations could easily describe how sharing knowledge contributes to business goals. Several of the organizations that took this approach do not even speak internally of sharing or managing knowledge. They simply build sharing knowledge into the overall business solution. Lotus Development, for example, does not have an enterprise-wide, top-down knowledge management initiative. Sharing insights with others through Lotus Notes databases is simply the Lotus way of doing business, solving problems, developing customer solutions, and creating sales strategies. Because sharing knowledge is so tied to everyday business problem solving, there are many different approaches to sharing knowledge at Lotus. Thus it can be concluded that the two together – people with the appropriate knowledge sharing mindset and the appropriate knowledge sharing technology to support them – will rapidly bring about a knowledge-sharing culture that helps the staff better meet their business objectives.