Knowledge sharing: moving away from the obsession with best practices

Peter Holdt Christensen
2007 Journal of Knowledge Management  
Purpose -How companies can become better at knowing what they know, and share what they know have in recent years become dominant fields of research within knowledge management. The literature focuses on why people share knowledge, or why they fail to share knowledge, whilst the discussion of what they actually share has been pinned down to the concept of best practices. In this paper it is argued that there is more to knowledge sharing than the sharing of best practices. Knowledge sharing is
more » ... wledge sharing is more than the closing of performance gaps and the sharing of stocks of knowledge -knowledge sharing is also about bridging situations of organizational interdependencies and thereby supporting ongoing organizational activities. Design/methodology/approach -The paper is both theoretical and empirical. Theoretically, the concept of organizational interdependence is applied to create a conceptual framework encompassing four types of knowledge to be shared. The theoretical framework is applied on a case company to empirically illustrate how knowledge sharing encompasses different types of knowledge. Findings -The paper identifies four types of knowledge that are pivotal to share: professional knowledge, coordinating knowledge, object-based knowledge, and know-who. Hence, the paper expands the common belief that knowledge sharing is solely about sharing best practices. Practical implications -Since knowledge sharing encompasses at least four types of knowledge, the practice of facilitating knowledge sharing must necessarily focus on different channels enabling the sharing of knowledge. The practical implications of the paper, hence, direct attention to not solely sharing best practices but also knowledge bridging organizational interdependencies. Originality/value -The paper argues that best practices have dominated the discourse on what knowledge is to be shared but, to become better at understanding and practising knowledge sharing, states that one must expand one's view on what knowledge is being shared.
doi:10.1108/13673270710728222 fatcat:yv3immy5dfgutnj2yev26gazpa