- What is knowledge?
- What is knowledge sharing?
- Types of Knowledge Sharing
- Benefits of knowledge sharing
- What are the knowledge-sharing methods?
Before we look into the definition of knowledge sharing we must know specifically what is the meaning of knowledge.
What Is Knowledge?
Knowledge can be defined as information or skill possessed by an individual. It is usually acquired through experience and/or education.
In other words, it can also be defined as an understanding of a concept or how much of a concept you can comprehend.
What is Knowledge Sharing?
As the definition of knowledge is clear, it is evident that knowledge sharing is the dissemination of this knowledge to enrich the knowledge of another.
A more definite understanding of the term “knowledge sharing” is the activity through which knowledge or information is passed between two or more individuals or groups of people.
Examples of Knowledge Sharing
Knowledge sharing is a process that is required in every organization. Let’s make an example of knowledge sharing to make this stand clear.
Mr. X has been working in a company for the past 10 years. Over the years, Mr. X has acquired knowledge and information that is unique to his job profile.
Let’s say that Mr. X is in charge of overseeing the logistics and marketing statistics in the company. All this while the company ran smoothly with inputs and experience from Mr. X.
Now, suddenly, Mr. X announces that he will be leaving the company for better prospects. The company will now have a vacant position that used to once be filled by Mr. X.
The company has to now find a suitable professional who will do exactly what Mr. X was doing and in the same manner to ensure smooth working of the company.
It would take a while for the company to train a recruit in the same position. It would require resources, time, and money to train a new individual.
What the company could do is employ the knowledge transfer process to ensure the smooth running of the company even without Mr. X.
So what is the knowledge sharing process or method? It means that the company will engage in knowledge sharing or transfer from Mr. X to the recruit before Mr. X exits the company.
Mr. X will transfer his unique skills, and knowledge, gained over the past years in the company, to the recruit. This ensures continuity in the company’s operations.
Knowledge sharing can be of many types. It can be between individuals within an organization or between employees and customers or between individuals.
The above example shows the importance of knowledge sharing when it comes to individuals within an organization.
Let us look at knowledge sharing between an organization and its customers. You may wonder what kind of knowledge sharing takes place between an organization and its customers?
Well, take for example a company’s product. A customer can learn more about a product through the knowledge-sharing policies of the company.
A company can display the process and methods of the products on the packaging or even create a link with more information on the product.
The advantage of knowledge transfer from an organization to its customers is that the organization will not get repeated queries regarding the working of a product.
Types of Knowledge Sharing
Types of knowledge sharing can also be classified into procedural knowledge sharing and experiential knowledge sharing
1. Procedural Knowledge Sharing
This type of knowledge sharing is the sharing of processes, methods, documents, and paperwork.
For example, how documents and paperwork are required to be filed in an organization and the process of documenting files and reports in a company. These are all procedural and require due process of knowledge sharing
2. Experiential Knowledge Sharing
On the other hand, experiential knowledge sharing is what individual gains from experience. It is more an individual type of knowledge sharing, unlike procedural knowledge sharing which is more general.
Here, it is the person’s individual experience and practices that have developed over the years and resulted in a way of operations for the company.
The two different types of knowledge sharing are equally important when it comes to an organization or a company.
Benefits of Knowledge Sharing
There are numerous benefits of knowledge sharing. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of knowledge sharing
1. The Link Between Individual and Organization
Knowledge sharing serves as a bridge or link between an individual and an organization. In fact, it is a two-way bridge.
An individual will be able to share his/ her knowledge with the company for the benefit of the growth of the company.
On the other hand, a company can share knowledge with an individual for efficient operations of the company.
It also connects employees with a company. Especially in circumstances where many employees work remotely, knowledge transfer is very essential for the smooth running of the company.
2. Sustainable Growth
One of the benefits of knowledge sharing is that it improves sustainable growth. Knowledge sharing is a continuous process.
It is not a one-time event. Gaining knowledge is ceaseless and therefore knowledge sharing becomes an ongoing process.
With knowledge sharing being a continuous process, it leads to sustainable growth over the years. Unlike an isolated event that could lead to a mere growth spurt and not sustainable growth.
3. Sense of Empowerment
Based on the above example, If Mr. X did not transfer knowledge to the next recruited person, the company would be at a loss.
However, because Mr. X has transferred the knowledge to the next person, there is a feeling of empowerment with that individual and the company as a whole.
4. Creates Trust
Creating a complete knowledge base about your company and its products, without hiding any facts, builds a sense of trust amongst the employees and customers.
5. Reduces the Risk of Errors
Another important benefit of knowledge sharing is the fact that it reduces or minimizes errors.
The transfer of knowledge has resulted in an efficient conveyance of information from one source to another. This transfer of knowledge reduces the risk of errors.
6. Saves Money
For any company, recruiting new staff and training them involves huge amounts of money and company resources.
However, with an efficient knowledge transfer process in place, the company can hire recruits without much spent on training.
7. Saves Time and Resources
The importance of knowledge lies in the fact that it saves time on coaching and training recruits on a job.
Also, between an organization and its customers, knowledge transfer saves the company repeated queries and other double work.
8. Builds a Learning Atmosphere
Learning is an integral part of life. Learning and knowledge can never cease. It is a continuous process.
Knowledge sharing promotes this process of acquiring knowledge. It creates a conducive and positive atmosphere to learn.
Knowledge Sharing Methods
There are different knowledge sharing methods. Different companies and individuals adopt different knowledge sharing methods. Many times, companies or individuals may adopt two or more methods of knowledge sharing.
1. Community-Based Knowledge Sharing
In this type of knowledge sharing, communities come together to share knowledge. These communities could have a common goal or be unrelated.
It can be intercommunity knowledge sharing or cross-community knowledge sharing.
2. Social Media
One of the most popular knowledge-sharing methods is social media. Here social media channels are used to share and transfer knowledge.
It can be formal or informal. Formal sharing of knowledge can be business-related whereas informal sharing of knowledge need not result in a profit. The basic purpose is to get the message across.
Wiki is a world encyclopedia that is authored by volunteers from different parts of the world.
Here knowledge about a particular subject is compiled together by those who know about a certain topic or subject. Notice how knowledge is shared here.
4. Debates and Discussions
Debating is another effective knowledge sharing method. Here, two or more debating parties put forth their points and share information.
Knowledge sharing is also possible through dedicated clubs like book clubs, craft clubs, science clubs, etc. People with similar interests attend these clubs. to share their knowledge on the subject.
Knowledge has no value unless you use and share it. It is the most fundamental act in any organization. You gain power by sharing knowledge and not by hoarding it.
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