Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

Implementing and Maintaining a Knowledge Sharing Culture Via Knowledge Management Teams: A Shared Leadership Approach

Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

Implementing and Maintaining a Knowledge Sharing Culture Via Knowledge Management Teams: A Shared Leadership Approach

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The need to effectively manage both organizational knowledge and organizational teams present both opportunity and challenge for the contemporary organization. In the area of knowledge management, the challenges range from creating and sustaining a knowledge management infrastructure, to effective employment of tools and systems, and navigation of organizational culture (Janz & Prasarnphanich, 2003; Lee & Choi, 2003). Related to organizational teams and work groups, the challenges include team leadership, identifying ways to achieve maximum productivity, developing and implementing shared vision and goals, and managing conflict (Hass & Hansen, 2007; Pearce & Ensley, 2004; Zaccaro, Rittman, & Marks, 2001). Accompanying those challenges is increased integration and employment of knowledge management processes and tools within organizational work teams. Yet, review of practitioner-based and academic research has produced very little insight in capturing knowledge management team behaviors that impact an organization's culture and contribute to the effective implementation and sustainment of knowledge management goals. Further, there is a lack of coherent practitioner insight that effectively brings forth how knowledge management teams can employ behaviors consistent with the principles of shared leadership within a team structure that has a positive impact toward achieving the organization's strategic goals (Pearce & Conger, 2003; Pearce & Sims, 2002; Proctor, 2010; Robb, 2003; Thompson, Nishant, Goh, & Agarwal, 2011). With this and based on practitioner experience of writer and colleagues in this area, it is considered important that an exploration into knowledge management teams and the principles of shared leadership be together considered with an objective of developing a conceptual model that can prove useful in developing an organizational framework to help facilitate knowledge management implementation efforts and support sustaining those efforts.

The specific aim of this six-part paper is to outline how an organization can implement knowledge management teams that have positive impact in creating and maintaining an organizational knowledge sharing culture via the integration of organizational teams and shared leadership principles. Part 1 provides an overview on knowledge management, shared leadership, and the role of teams in the organization, discussing the impact that these constructs and structure have on the organization's strategy and operations. Part 2 is a discussion that brings forth the factors and elements of a knowledge sharing culture, highlighting the impact and role of culture on an organization's ability to implement its knowledge management change efforts via knowledge management teams. Part 3 presents a conceptual model that highlights how an organization can implement knowledge management teams during its strategy and change management planning and execution processes. Part 4 outlines how knowledge management team practices can be identified and developed via the employment of shared leadership principles. Part 5 captures the cultural challenges faced by the organization while implementing knowledge management teams attempting to create a knowledge sharing culture and ways to address those challenges. Part 6 is a summary of the salient factors discussed in the aforementioned sections, and how together those factors support the implementation of knowledge management teams and the sustainment of their efforts in helping to create a knowledge sharing culture. The paper concludes by providing a way ahead for organizational leaders and managers as attempts are put forth to leverage, exploit, and expand the value created by knowledge management teams while also having an influence in helping to create and maintain a knowledge sharing culture.

PART 1: KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT OVERVIEW

The ability and need to gain, access, leverage, and exploit information to the organization's advantage in support of its organizational goals is an accepted axiom, and over the last three decades attention to the concept of knowledge management has attempted to gain some insight and clarity on how this can be achieved (Austin, Claassen, Vu & Mizrahi, 2008). …

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