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relatedness for knowledge sharing

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more than re-skilling

In the HBR article Why Employees Don’t Share Knowledge with Each Other the authors discover three major causes [research paper behind a paywall]. First, individuals share knowledge when they’re autonomously motivated, and never directed to take action, or pressured by friends. Second, cognitively demanding work is shared extra often. Third, knowledge is shared greatest between equal friends and never with those that are depending on the sharer. While this analysis was performed with 394 Australian employees at varied places, in addition to 195 Chinese employees at one firm, it’s reflective of older analysis — self-determination theory — performed by Edward Deci and/or Richard Ryan from 1971 to 2018.

Deci and Ryan declare that there are three important components of the speculation:

1. Humans are inherently proactive with their potential and mastering their inside forces (corresponding to drives and feelings)
2. Humans have an inherent tendency towards progress growth and built-in functioning
3. Optimal growth and actions are inherent in people however they don’t occur mechanically

Seek to manage the end result and expertise mastery
Will to work together, be linked to, and expertise caring for others
Desire to be causal brokers of 1’s personal life and act in concord with one’s built-in self; nevertheless … this doesn’t imply to be impartial of others


In the case of those knowledge employees I’d conclude that these engaged in cognitively demanding work had a excessive diploma of competence. The researchers noticed that those that had been autonomously motivated shared their knowledge as effectively. But the third element — relatedness — is the important thing, it appears. Only if the employees might relate with individuals, as friends, would they freely share their knowledge. We want to contemplate this once we promote knowledge sharing within the office. Autonomy and competence are usually not sufficient. Neither is the ‘sense of objective’ that Dan Pink promoted in his ebook Drive. Relatedness is usually the lacking element to organizational knowledge sharing. Even the researchers had been stunned.

“In addition to asking respondents about how they share and conceal knowledge from their colleagues, we requested them if their colleagues relied on them to get their work performed. We anticipated that if respondents perceived their colleagues to be depending on them, they might be extra keen to share knowledge and fewer prone to cover it.

Much to our shock, we discovered the other. When individuals perceived that others relied on them, they felt pressured into sharing knowledge (the managed kind of motivation), and this in flip promoted knowledge hiding.” —HBR 2019-07-19

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