There should be no doubt that information sharing is a fundamental mechanism in any kind of enterprise. It can bring immense value in the form of new innovations, improved decision-making, shorter time to market for new products, faster introduction of new hires, and so forth. For example, it has been argued that the terrorist attacks at 9/11 could have prevented if only FBI and CIA had shared the information they had come across.
Information technologies that make sharing of information across time, space and organizations possible and easier are of course important, but whether or not information is shared in a certain environment or situation always comes down to such things as people's attitudes and behaviors (we refer to this as "culture" taking about characteristic attitudes and behaviors of a group of people).
Enterprise 2.0 technologies such as social bookmarking, wikis and micro-blogging can certainly help by making the task of sharing information easier. Yet, that does not mean that people will automatically start to share what they know or information they possess with other people who might need it. To improve information sharing with the use of Enterprise 2.0 technologies, we first need to understand the psychology of sharing. We also need to understand the context in which we want people to start sharing with each other. When we have that understanding, we should have some idea of what buttons to push to make it happen, such as what technologies to use and how to design, implement and introduce them to the intended users.
Speaking of sharing – here are some great articles about information sharing that I really want to share with you. Enjoy!
"Good acts – acts of kindness, generosity and cooperation – spread just as easily as bad. And it takes only a handful of individuals to really make a difference.
When people benefit from kindness they "pay it forward" by helping others who were not originally involved, and this creates a cascade of cooperation that influences dozens more in a social network.
The flow of good and desirable properties like ideas, love and kindness is required for human social networks to endure, and, in turn, networks are required for such properties to spread. Humans form social networks because the benefits of a connected life outweigh the costs."
"In 2005, Rob Cross, Sue Cantrell, and I found evidence of it in some research we did on knowledge workers in four companies. The highest performers in those companies (as identified by their performance ratings) were disproportionately good networkers. They had more people in their networks, were more likely to be sought out by others, and were more likely to exchange valued information with their network members — all compared to average performance workers. They consciously cultivated their networks — and not by handing out business cards at "networking events" or by issuing LinkedIn invitations. They offered information and other items of value to their networks."
"Today social networks are a defining feature of information exchange. And within industries that have intensive amounts of research and development, social networks are key to fostering innovation. But when does a researcher decide to share something with fellow researchers? The answer potentially separates organizations that have truly innovative cultures from those that don't.
Reputation becomes a key factor. Why reputation? Research and development workers may not have the same motivations, even if they work for the same organization. How they perceive one another, therefore, may be the deciding factor in choosing whether to share information.
Because both proximity and organizational ties positively influence people to share knowledge, R&D workers may be more innovative if they are closely connected."
"Most of all, readers wanted to share articles that inspired awe, an emotion that the researchers investigated after noticing how many science articles made the list.
More emotional stories were more likely to be e-mailed, the researchers found, and positive articles were shared more than negative ones
Sharing recipes or financial tips or medical advice makes sense according to classic economic utility theory: I give you something of practical value in the hope that you’ll someday return the favor. There can also be self-interested reasons for sharing surprising articles: I get to show off how well informed I am by sending news that will shock you.
In general, people who share this kind of article seem to have loftier motives than trying to impress their friends. They’re seeking emotional communion."
You need to log in to rate blog posts.
Click here to login.
This post and comment(s) reflect the personal perspectives of community members, and not necessarily those of their employers or of AIIM International