>>Tom Stewart mentions disincentives to sharing knowledge, and how
>>consequential a phenomenon that is. I suspect this phenomenon is
>>rooted in our aversion to risk-taking, because sharing involves some
>>modicum of risk.
There are other kinds of disincentives, too, that might be addressed:
Chiefly, I'd think, the fact that sharing knowledge is so often a royal
pain in the butt. By way of analogy: Since everyone on this list by
definition uses e-mail, we've all experienced the phenomenon of wishing
that someone who faxed or snail-mailed us had an e-mail address, because
it's just a nuisance to find an envelope, find a stamp, find a piece of
letterhead, check for typos, or, these days, find a secretary...all sorts
of tiny added transaction costs. And we've all, probably, let such a
letter go unanswered (or unanswered for too long) precisely because of
Of course managers should look for major disincentives to
sharing---reward systems, etc. Frankly I suspect risk-taking is not among
the major ones, though it might be for some people or in some companies.
There's evident risk in sharing knowledge with me, since I'm a journalist,
but I find that mostly people are EAGER to talk, and often not for fame,
but because they want to tell their stories, to share their knowledge.
That said, however, therecould be tremendous gains from getting at the
low-hanging fruit, the niggling obstacles to sharing.
-- Tom Stewart ThosStew@aol.com