Knowledge sharing across intranets

Estimated reading time: 3-5 minutes. The importance of an intranet, such as an internal idea management system, for knowledge management depends largely on the values of its content and the specific tools that organizations provide to its employees, as well as its ultimate use in the business. For many organizations, there is a particular dilemma regarding the development of proprietary intranet resources for knowledge management applications. Employees will not be encouraged to contribute to the content unless they believe that what they contribute will be used. Moreover, employees will not use an intranet unless the content is useful. How is the knowledge sharing through intranets affected?

 

Knowledge sharing

Input-friendly intranets

A researcher gave strategies for making intranets “input-friendly.” The researcher bases his conclusions on studies derived from academic literature in business administration, information systems, organizational science and sociology, as well as lessons learned from case studies in different organizations.

The study examined factors that encourage employees to contribute to knowledge exchange through intranets. This includes potential factors such as providing appropriate IT systems, developing an organizational culture that encourages knowledge sharing, and the use of reward systems. Specific examples are:

 

  • Make knowledge sharing a key responsibility for employees
  • Support structures for knowledge sharing
  • Encourage experimentation
  • Explicate rewards
  • Economic rewards
    • Access to information and knowledge as a reward
    • Career opportunity as a reward
  • Implicit rewards
    • Improved reputation as a reward
    • Personal satisfaction as a reward

 

Conclusions – Knowledge sharing through intranets

Unless the intranet is made “input-friendly” its value cannot be realized, especially if the organization’s ambitions do not identify the intranet to anything but a data storage location. Input friendliness is not limited to obvious interface design questions. “Output friendliness” is also important, especially to create critical mass.

The researcher points out that the relative benefits of different incentives that encourage employees to contribute through intranets are challanging to assess. Probably, these are company-specific.

 

References:

Hall, H. 2001. Input-friendliness: Motivating knowledge sharing across intranets. Journal of Information Science 27 (3), 139-146

Available from: http://jis.sagepub.com/content/27/3/139.short

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