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Creating A Knowledge-Sharing Culture

Creating A Knowledge-Sharing Culture

Creating A Knowledge-Sharing Culture

APQC has found that trying to change the culture before implementing a KM initiative doesnt work. What works better is to design an initial KM strategy and approaches that are consistent with the mission of the organization and acceptable to the current culture. Then, let the experience of learning, sharing, and collaboration transform the culture. The study partners have made conscious attempts to capitalize on their cultures and traditions of innovation, if they existed, and then foster one more receptive to knowledge sharing.

They have had to address challenges to create a climate for innovation and knowledge sharing. For the study partners, some of the challenges are structural boundaries or are endemic to scientific and technical settings, such as the massive amounts of information that must be managed. Cultural challenges such as a bias to invent instead of reuse and the smaller cultures created by functions, disciplines, and teams can be more complex.

To ensure practices and knowledge not only transfer, but also transfer effectively and make a difference, organizations must connect people who can and are willing to share their deep, tacit knowledge. This is achieved through connecting people from divergent disciplines, both by providing face-to-face opportunities to dialogue and by providing significant content management and information technology to enable access to information created in all disciplines.

APQC has found in all its research on the cultural aspects of managing knowledge that an organization cannot expect people to change the way they work without providing a reason to do so. Demanding that the culture change to support KM usually does not work. Instead, APQC has found that in a knowledge-friendly culture, several principles typically exist.

  • There are specific actions taken to break down the physical and paradigm barriers among groups.

  • Employees see the connection between sharing knowledge and the larger organizational purpose.

  • Employees see the connection between better knowledge flows and their personal ability to accomplish their work mission and personal goals.

  • Knowledge sharing is tightly linked to the core cultural values of the organization.

  • There is strong management and peer pressure for people to collaborate and share.

  • The rewards and recognition system is aligned with sharing knowledge.

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