Knowledge Management Culture

Posted by on 14 August 2009

Over the years, working with our clients as well as being employess of global knowledge intensive organisations such as IBM, Ernst & Young, Brookers and of course the Government, we have found that there are three common behaviour patterns that act as strong barriers to knowledge sharing in organisations. We have found that unless the root causes of these behaviours are unearthed and serious attention paid to lower their incidence, it is rather hard to obtain ROI from knowledge management investments - such as technology or process. We call these:

The FIND syndrome, the HOARD syndrome and the OVERLOAD syndrome. Three images below illustrate my characterisation of these behaviour patterns.




In most cases, organisations that have addressed these have done so by asking and answering two questions:

  1. What formal and informal incentives are present to foster a culture and encourage behaviour that maximises knowledge sharing?

  2. What are the natural consequences at individual, team, group and business unit levels for behaving in a way that poses a barrier to fostering a culture of knowledge sharing?

These are difficult questions as answering them usually leads to the heart of prevalent performance management regimes in place. Hence, even posing the questions causes a bit of stir.

I think that unless these two questions are asked and answered, it is quite hard to evaluate other KM investments - and thus even harder to make a case for continued investment.

What do you think?







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