Communication, Collaboration & Knowledge Sharing

Friday, November 1, 2013, 10:30am

Technical Communities as a Foundation of Knowledge Management Findings from a Global Company’s Employee Survey

Roxana Bahrami and John Westland


A global consulting engineering organization that strives for technical excellence and delivery of innovative solutions for its clients formally launched technical communities (TCs) (communities of practice) as a foundation for knowledge management at the end of 2010. It has been assumed that the company’s employee-owned structure creates a naturally strong culture of knowledge sharing. In order to assess the strength of the knowledge sharing culture and the success of technical communities, an online survey was conducted in Dec 2012, two years after initiating the formal TCs. The online survey was operated globally and 9,097 employees of the organization received the survey link. The data obtained from the survey were both qualitative and quantitative in nature, and were analyzed from geographical, cultural and disciplines perspectives. This paper presents the findings from the survey, with specific emphasis on the questions and findings that allow assessment of the knowledge sharing culture in the organization.. Those findings confirmed the assumption that the organization has a healthy knowledge sharing culture which is attributed, in part, to its employee ownership model. With a healthy knowledge sharing culture confirmed, the survey allowed the organization to focus on tools and tactics that create vibrancy in its technical communities and those tools and tactics as identified by the survey are also presented.

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