Over the past few years I have been inching along with a thought – what if we looked at Knowledge Management through the lens of psychology, what would we see and what problems and issues would stand out in relief against the many prickly problems faced by KM practitioners.
One that stands out to me is the question of whether CoP success (and we get to define that however we like) is proportional to variation in how much and how its members share knowledge.
When we look at this from a psychosocial perspective, the question that pops out to me is why do some people share knowledge and others don’t, why do some share more and others less.
Is there perhaps a character trait that predisposes people to sharing knowledge, are their environmental pressures and social norms that cause the behavior to vary, are these relatively stable over time and place or do they vary according to some sort of root cause?
Here is the first pass at a list of facets for what constitutes “success” for a CoP:
- Member Count
- Member Seniority
- Member Diversity
- Level of Interaction
- Number of meets
- Creation of a Controlled Vocabulary
- Creation of Operational KPIs
- Documentation of Best Practices
- Degree of Outreach
- Efforts in Training & Induction
So far this is what I have noted as potential constructs.
The list needs to be expanded somewhat and then trimmed back to only those things that really contribute towards explaining variation in success.
- Emotional Intelligence
- Locus of Control
- Individualism vs Communitarianism
- Emotional Investment
- Great Leader / Cult of Personality
- Action vs Reflection
- Conservatism vs Liberalism
- Frustration Tolerance
Matthew Loxton is a Knowledge Management practitioner, and is a peer reviewer for the Journal of Knowledge Management Research & Practice. Matthew holds a Master’s degree in Knowledge Management from the University of Canberra, and provides pro-bono consulting in Knowledge Management and IT Governance to various medical institutions.