Man walking through brick wall barriers.

Knowledge sharing is the corner-stone of many organisations’
knowledge-management (KM) strategy. Despite the growing significance of
knowledge sharing’s practices for organisations’ competitiveness and market
performance, several barriers make it difficult for KM to achieve the goals and
deliver a positive return on investment.

This list of knowledge sharing barriers provides a helpful
starting point and guideline for senior managers auditing their existing
practices with a view to identifying any bottle-necks and improving on the
overall effectiveness of knowledge-sharing activities.

The list will also give some indication of the complexity of
knowledge sharing as a value-creating organisational activity.

The list is derived from an academic paper by Andreas Riege  (“Three-dozen knowledge sharing barriers managers must consider”) and is divided into three categories: individual, organisational and technological.

Check out how many of these you’ve experienced. Are there more than can be added to the list?

Individual knowledge sharing barriers

  • general lack of time to share knowledge, and time to identify colleagues
    in need of specific knowledge;
  • apprehension of fear that sharing may reduce or jeopardise people’s job
  • low awareness and realisation of the value and benefit of possessed
    knowledge to others;
  • dominance in sharing explicit over tacit knowledge such as know-how and
    experience that requires hands-on learning, observation, dialogue and
    interactive problem solving;
  • use of strong hierarchy, position-based status, and formal power (“pull
  • insufficient capture, evaluation, feedback, communication, and tolerance
    of past mistakes that would enhance individual and organisational learning
  • differences in experience levels;
  • lack of contact time and interaction between knowledge sources and
  • poor verbal/written communication and interpersonal skills;
  • age differences;
  • gender differences;
  • lack of social network;
  • differences in education levels;
  • taking ownership of intellectual property due to fear of not receiving
    just recognition and accreditation from managers and colleagues;
  • lack of trust in people because they misuse knowledge or take unjust
    credit for it;
  • lack of trust in the accuracy and credibility of knowledge due to the
    source; and
  • differences in national culture or ethnic background; and values and
    beliefs associated with it (language is part of this).

Organisational knowledge sharing barriers

  • integration of KM strategy and sharing initiatives into the company’s goals
    and strategic approach is missing or unclear;
  • lack of leadership and managerial direction in terms of clearly
    communicating the benefits and values of knowledge sharing practices;
  • shortage of formal and informal spaces to share, reflect and generate (new)
  • lack of transparent rewards and recognition systems that would motivate
    people to share more of their knowledge;
  • existing corporate culture does not provide sufficient support for
    sharing practices;
  • deficiency of company resources that would provide adequate sharing
  • external competitiveness within business units or functional areas and
    between subsidiaries can be high (e.g. not invented here syndrome);
  • communication and knowledge flows are restricted into certain directions
    (e.g. top-down);
  • physical work environment and layout of work areas restrict effect
    sharing practices;
  • internal competitiveness within business units, functional areas, and
    subsidiaries can be high;
  • hierarchical organisation structure inhibits or slows down most sharing
    practices; and
  • size of business units often is not small enough and unmanageable to
    enhance contact and facilitate ease of sharing.

Technological knowledge sharing barriers

  • lack of integration of IT systems and processes impedes on the way
    people do things;
  • lack of technical support (internal and external) and immediate
    maintenance of integrated IT systems obstructs work routines and communication
  • unrealistic expectations of employees as to what technology can do and
    cannot do;
  • lack of compatibility between diverse IT systems and processes;
  • mismatch between individuals’ need requirements and integrated IT
    systems and processes restrict sharing practices;
  • reluctance to use IT systems due to lack of familiarity and experience
    with them;
  • lack of training regarding employee familiarisation of new IT systems
    and processes;
  • lack of communication and demonstration of all advantages of any new
    system over existing ones.

The post Knowledge Sharing Barriers appeared first on The Future Of Work.

Original source – Steve Dale online

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