Workers may be uneasy sharing knowledge

Aug. 9, 2004 at 5:12 PM
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STANFORD, Conn., Aug. 9 (UPI) -- People who give knowledge to their company may feel they are setting themselves up to be replaced, a study by Stanford University said.

The research paper, by scholars at Stanford's Graduate School of Business and two other universities, suggests employees may feel expendable if they put such information in a database where it can be accessed by those working with them on "virtual teams."

Employees working in virtual teams can be somewhat isolated from colleagues, so it's harder for them to gain some kinds of knowledge from each other. They therefore feel like they're only giving away knowledge rather than exchanging and gaining knowledge, Stanford's Margaret Neale said.

Establishing policies that help team members learn from each other, such as explaining terminology, mentoring, and video conferencing, can help employers cope with this problem, the paper said.

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