How sharing knowledge within a community benefits a business?

Unlike tangible resources and material assets, which can quickly become available to competitors, knowledge is a unique resource as it increases in value through use.

But knowledge, as an intangible resource, firstly exists within the mind of the individual.

To be able to maximize the value of this resource is difficult, even impossible, without understanding how to leverage and share knowledge throughout the organisation.

“ Ideas breed new ideas, and shared knowledge stays with the giver while it enriches the receiver …only new knowledge resources – ideas – have unlimited potential for growth” (Davenport and Prusak (1998)) 

Businesses that seek to leverage expertise and know-how to add value to their business, need to turn their companies into vibrant communities of talented people gathered around the common goal or idea and dedicated to their collective work.

Communities are significant for several reasons; in terms of knowledge as a resource, they are settings in which not only information is disseminated, but in which effective knowledge sharing happens.

 

How sharing knowledge within a community benefits your business?

This is what you should know.

 

Sharing knowledge strengthens the organizational structure and working practice

Knowledge sharing is effective in the companies with a flexible, decentralized organizational structure.

When new knowledge is created at a more operational level, it can become a great challenge for management to spread and harness this new knowledge through the organisation. As both managers and leaders play equally important part as committed employees in creating a vibrant community, knowledge transfer is more successful in a highly flexible and responsive environment.

As the community is of vital importance for an engaged and distributed management, organisational structure both encourages sharing knowledge and is strengthened by leveraging maximum value and advantage from sharing knowledge.

 

 

When you share knowledge, you channel effective participation

An effective mechanism for gaining knowledge is to request help from someone who may possess the knowledge or expertise required. This request leads to the creation of new knowledge, enabling the development of a solution to a problem.

The result is that a simple individual contribution can easily turn into collective action.

As people appear to be more willing to spend their valuable time to inform others when they experience a sense of “belonging together”, knowledge sharing can channel effective participation.

When active participation is enabled and supported, individuals share and combine their knowledge, and apart from having personal benefits, they are also contributing to the community’s greater worth.

 

 

Knowledge sharing builds community's integrity and strengthens company’s culture

If someone perceives another person to be unreliable, one is not likely to share knowledge or engage in cooperative interaction. Moreover, the belief that one’s contribution may not be important or relevant, can have a significantly negative effect on one’s motivation to share knowledge.

Similarly, if a community is seen as upholding trustworthy values (commitment, honesty, reliability, mutual reciprocity), there is likely to be a greater degree of motivation to participate and share knowledge.

Trust is important facilitator in communication and collaboration and has an important role in motivating people to share knowledge. Moreover, organizations with high-trust outperform low-trust companies by nearly 300 percent.

If you have integrity in a community, your engagement in knowledge sharing is greater.

While, on one hand, without relationships that are high in trust no community can be created, knowledge sharing within a community can strengthen personal relationships and build stronger community’s integrity, fostering a healthy company culture.

 

 

Collaborate and share knowledge to give birth to new ideas

Knowledge collaboration occurs often and in a variety of ways, depending on different factors, but, along with efficient collaborative technology, a community is an imperative for effective collaboration.

Knowledge sharing and collaboration are interdependent processes; by keeping participants informed of new knowledge, decisions that have been made, paths that have been taken, and directions that have been set, they can effectively collaborate without spending time or other resources on gaining the basic knowledge.

Moreover, knowledge sharing allows for immediate feedback crucial for community and faster identification of a common problem-solving approach, and provides the opportunity to identify interdependencies, joint engagement, development of common goals - all critical component of effective collaboration.

 

 

We share knowledge to foster collective creativity and innovation

In a community, which is characterized by high levels of trust, shared behavioural norms, mutual respect and reciprocity, knowledge is seen as a public good, and as such, a great deal of importance is placed on sharing knowledge.

In a strong network of likeminded individuals knowledge sharing is likely to be motivated by a deeper sense of satisfaction of being committed to the same idea. And it is through recognizing the common goal and objective that people show great creativity and innovative approach.

Both creativity and innovation are constant processes that involve free flow of information and ideas. Today, especially with effective collaborative technology, knowledge sharing can foster collective creativity and give birth to innovative thinkers.

Moreover, as communities are not constrained by time and space, they can span organisational boundaries utilising some form of technological support and further leverage knowledge potential.  

For instance, as it has been argued that conversation may be the only effective means of sharing knowledge, conversations today occur electronically, in various ways. 

 

“Conversation is a meeting of minds with different memories and habits. When minds meet, they don’t just exchange facts: they transform them, reshape them, draw different implications from them, engage in new trains of thought. Conversation doesn’t just reshuffle the cards: it creates new cards.” (Theodore Zeldin, Conversations, 1998)

 

Technology enables the direct mechanisms for engaging another member of the group who may possess the knowledge one seeks by posting an open question or a request for assistance on the community’s discussion board, for instance. This way the conversation becomes accessible to the whole of the community and can be archived and accessed by other members.

With technology blurring the boundaries of physical and digital world, new technologies are directly enabling new forms of connectivity where knowledge flows freely, empowering collaboration, creativity, and innovation.

Knowledge is widely recognized as a source of competitive advantage, regardless of type and size of a company, or economic sector. All business have to do to benefit from sharing knowledge is choose the right collaborative technology.

 

TallyFox has addressed this need by creating a business ecosystem platform that helps business leverage the full knowledge potential within their company. Request a demo and see how our platform can help you.

 

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