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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

By Dr. Kamal Jain, Manjit Singh Sandu and Gurvinder Kaur Sidu, University Tan Abdul Razak (UNITAR), Malaysia

What are the main barriers and key enablers to knowledge sharing? Here, we look at research carried out across business schools in Malaysia and discover the top perceived barriers to knowledge sharing.

The following shows results from one section of the research and from a questionnaire completed by 256 participants.

Likert’s five-point scale was used: 1=Strongly agree; 2=Agree; 3=Neither agree nor disagree; 4=disagree; 5=strongly disagree

StatementsParticipants were asked to agree or disagree with the following statements. Mean average scores for responses are given in brecket:

1. There's a lack of rewards and recognition systems that would motivate people to share their knowledge. (2.32)
2. There's general lack of time to share knowledge. (2.61)
3. There's a lack of formal and informal activities to cultivate knowledge sharing in my university/college. (2.62)
4. Existing university/college culture does not provide sufficient support for sharing knowledge. (2.73)
5. There's a lack of interaction between those who need knowledge and those who can provide knowledge. (2.73)
6. There's no system to identify the colleagues with whom I need to share my knowledge. (2.75)
7. Retention of highly skilled and experienced staff is not a high priority in my university/college. (2.89)
8. Physical work environment and layout of work areas restrict effective knowledge sharing in my workplace. (2.90)
9. Staff are reluctant to seek knowledge from their seniors because of the status fear. (3.06)
10. There's a general lack of trust among staff in my university/college (3.06)
11. Staff in my university/college do not share knowledge because of the fear of it being misused by taking unjust credit for it. (3.07)
12. It's difficult to convince colleagues on the value and the benefits of the knowledge that I may possess. (3.12)
13. Staff in my university/college do not share knowledge because they think "knowledge is power." (3.30)
14. Staff do not share the knowledge because of poor verbal/written communication and interpersonal skills. (3.35)
15. IT systems and processes are in place in my university/college to share knowledge. (3.58)

Excerpted from Identifying and overcoming barriers to sharing, in the current issue of of KM Review.


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By Kevin Desouza and Yukika Awazu, The Engaged Enterprise

For any organization, failure to maximize organizational knowledge can have a major impact on efficiency and effectiveness. In global organizations, this problem and its effects are amplified by however many regions in which the business functions. Here, Kevin Desouza and Yukika Awazu highlight four tips to improve and help unify the KM strategies across borders.

1. Communicate your KM strategy: Leadership must be advocates of the KM strategy in order to gain an organization-wide understanding of the KM vision. From the CEO down, all business units must be aware of this leadership vision and have the same overall knowledge sharing goals.

2. Have a global rather than local focus: To be successful, organizations need to shift their focus from local to global procedures. Individuals should also be trained on the need to follow formal procedures for knowledge sharing and storage across multiple business units to achieve global, close-looped knowledge application, reuse and innovation.

3. Appreciate local variances in KM practices: Cultural differences impact how knowledge is managed in diverse countries. We must appreciate the differences in cultural knowledge management practices and develop ways to work around them and achieve the organization's common goals.

4. Integrate enabling technologies: Divisions of the organization may operate very different technological solutions for fostering knowledge exchanges. This requires solution integration and connectivity management. Failure to appropriately integrate the different technological architectures will lead to poor global knowledge searches and failed efforts in building a truly global KM program.

Excerpted from Integrating local knowledge strategies, in the September/October 2006 issue of KM Review.


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