Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Information Technology as a Medium of Inter-Organizational Knowledge Sharing

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Information Technology as a Medium of Inter-Organizational Knowledge Sharing

Article excerpt


In modern knowledge economies, science is becoming increasingly more important in realizing economic growth (Coriat & Weinstein, 2001; OECD, 2002). Structural economic growth can only exist if the knowledge-based society and production of knowledge increase. Universities are places for science. However, for playing an important role in the economy, it is inevitable that the new knowledge is not only created at universities, but also transferred from universities to society, or more precisely to research centers. Universities traditionally provide teaching and research services but an increased focus on undertaking research is leading to a requirement to improve the process of research management. This requirement includes a need to increase the likelihood and research proposals that are submitted to research organizations are successful and result in the award of a contract (Philbin, 2008; Tucker, 2007). In this regard communication and knowledge sharing play an important role in the scientific endeavor. Scientific/scholarly communication means the study of how scholars in any field use and disseminate information through formal and informal channels (Khosrowjerdi, 2011). As expected, university-research centers interaction is found to be more important in science-based technologies (Schartinger, Rammera, Fischer, & Frhlich, 2002). Thus, our study begins with defining the word "knowledge" then after discussing about the importance of organizational knowledge sharing, scientific collaboration and communicational channels between university and research centers, the important role of different channels and ICTs in knowledge sharing are briefly mentioned.

What is Knowledge?

It is usually agreed that no standard definition of knowledge exists. One of the most referenced definitions in the literature is provided by Davenport & Prusak (1998): "Knowledge is a fluid mix of framed experience, values, contextual information, expert insight and grounded intuition that provides an environment and framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information. It originates and is applied in the minds of individuals. In organizations, it often becomes embedded not only in documents or repositories but also in organizational routines, processes, practices, and norms" (Bechina, Michon, & Nakata, 2005; Davenport & Prusak, 1998). Historically, the concept of knowledge has been defined in many ways. Recently, prominent authors have defined it as a meaningful resource that makes a new society unique (Drucker, 1993). Drucker argued that knowledge has been the basis of capitalist society, which is highly specialized. "Toffler saw knowledge as the essence of power in information age. This is the source of the highest-quality power and the key to the power shift that lies ahead. According to Rogers (2003), knowledge is something that 'occurs', which might, for example, be the result of a knowledge creation or knowledge transfer process. Knowledge generation, which includes knowledge creation as a main component, and knowledge application, which includes knowledge transfer as a main component, are represented as the two dimensions of KM (Despres & Chauvel, 2000). For sharing and transferring knowledge between organizations it is essential to realize what knowledge sharing and scientific collaboration are" (Toffler, 1990).

Knowledge Sharing

Knowledge sharing is the process of being aware of knowledge needs and making knowledge available to others by constructing and providing technical and systematic infrastructure. Numerous studies have addressed issues related to knowledge sharing at various levels within organizations and between types of organizations (Kim & Ju, 2008). The effectiveness of knowledge sharing in organizations can be a significant factor to successful organizational management. "Dixon viewed knowledge sharing as the flow of knowledge from someone who has it to someone who wants it" (Dixon, 2000). …

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