Knowledge Sharing: Best Practices & Tools

Instructor: Jagina McIntyre

Jagina has conducted professional training in communications and analytics for 12 plus years, with a a degree from Kent State University in Journalism and Communications.

Welcome to Knowledge Sharing: Best Practices and Tools, where you will learn how to create an open environment of sharing information that leads to great innovation.

Knowledge Sharing: Best Practices and Tools

Have you ever worried that if a coworker left the company, all they know would leave with them? Do you spend far too much time searching for answers to what appears to be a simple question within your company? Do you ever want to share a great idea, but do not feel like you have a platform for that type of communication? Well, you are about to learn what knowledge sharing can do for you.

Knowledge sharing is a part of the knowledge management process, where information has been collected and put into context to make more sense. There are two types of knowledge: explicit and tacit. Explicit knowledge is quantitative, or can be measured. This type of knowledge can often be found in paper or electronic documentation throughout a company. Tacit knowledge is learned from experience, and implied without being stated. It is often a process that comes with exposure over time through interaction with people. For example, you know that the payroll department releases paychecks on the final Friday of the month. This information is displayed on the company's intranet site for all employees to access. This is explicit knowledge. However, paychecks are often ready on Thursday afternoons, and long time employees know that if they ask the office assistant, funds can be picked up early. This is tacit knowledge.

The act of collecting, storing, and sharing this information so that anyone can benefit from it is knowledge management. It often increases productivity, while saving money.

Components of Knowledge

Knowledge allows people to take action and is created through a building process over time:

  1. Data are meaningless figures and facts.
  2. Information is when this data has been organized.
  3. Knowledge is information that has been given context.

Knowledge is data that has been placed in context, allowing a recipient to take action.

Imagine that you overhear coworkers talking about an order form that has been found laying on the floor. You are told that written on the form is the phrases 'PPS', 'two' and '13'. This data makes no sense. When you view the order form, you see that PPS is listed as the product type. Two is written in as the quantity, and 13 is written in as the price. This data stringed together is now information. You have never seen this form before. There is a phone number at the top of the form. You call and find out that PPS stands for 'Personal Pepperoni Sausage' and you realize when put in context, this creates the knowledge needed to understand that one of your coworkers has misplaced their order form for lunch at a local restaurant.

Company Cultural Shift

It takes work to shift a company from knowledge hoarding to knowledge sharing. Knowledge hoarding creates bottlenecks, has a heavy retention cost, and slows down innovation, or new ideas. Some employees think of knowledge hoarding as a way to protect their jobs by withholding tacit knowledge. Knowledge sharing requires communication, collaboration, learning strategies, and consistent processes.

To move from the culture of hoarding to sharing you must first create an environment that is safe, rewarding, and social. There needs to be a sense of humanity to the sharing environment, where people feel reassured. Employees performance should not be judged negatively for not participating in a sharing environment, only rewarded when they do. Knowledge sharing becomes a form of extra credit. The goal is to increase new ideas and better outcomes.

Knowledge Sharing Tools

Knowledge sharing can occur through technology or via softer systems such as meetings, shadowing, mentoring, and cross-training. There are three main types of tools that can be used when creating a knowledge sharing environment:

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