Measuring Knowledge Sharing

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Original Message

From: Stefano Barale, posted on 2010/08/10

The idea here is quite simple and related to the assessment phase of KM introduction inside any organization, as far as I understand it. Until today I've seen various tools used by most KM practitioners to try to reply to the very basic question in a KM assessment exercise: "where does this organization stand in terms of KMS"? The tools I've seen are:

  • questionnaires (manual, to be distributed to a wide statistical sample)
  • questionnaires (web-based such as the IBM-Inquira tool, with automatic stats displayed at the end, to be filled by the largest number of employees)
  • knowledge expeditions
  • interviews

These tools are surely good, but I was looking for something as much "scientific" as possible; something that could help us define KS well as speed, mass and position (over time) define the motion of a body in classical mechanics. Some indexes capable of replying to the question: "what makes a knowledge organization different from the others?". These indicators (indexes) should tell me that the organization is actually sharing knowledge... or not. Here you find my tentative list:

  • number of co-authored documents (indicating good collaboration) compared with total documents produced, in particular if the authors come from different departments of the organization (indicating good cross-departmental collaboration);
  • frequency of updates to documents present in the knowledge base of the organization (indicating good learning after, i.e. knowledge capture);
  • frequency of accesses to the organization knowledge base (indicating good learning before);
  • number of references (links) to other documents that are saved in the organization knowledge-base, per document (indicating again good level of collaboration in terms of learning from experience).

I know it may sound a bit simplistic as an approach (after all classical mechanics is quite simplistic compared to quantum theory), but I think the good thing about it is that studying the evolution of these indexes over time may lead to a very good picture of how the organization is evolving its KS activity over time, even if at a very rough first-order approximation. Do you feel there's anything missing or that any of the assumptions may be improved? Over to you. Stefano


All replies in full are available in the discussion page. Contributions received with thanks from:

Stefano Barale
Tony Pryor
Brad Hinton
Md Santo
Chris Burman
Peter Chomley
Ben Ramalingam
Matt Moore
Amina Singh
Hannah Beardon
Abdou Fall
James J. Tarrant
Eric Mullerbeck
Maarten Samson
Damas Ogwe
Atanu Garai
Christina Merl
Ueli Scheuermeier
Charles Dhewa
Jennifer Nelson
William Cowie

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