Get employees to share their knowledge

We have talked to many company owners, executives, managers and employees about sharing knowledge.  While they all agree sharing knowledge is critically important to their companies, most of them are frustrated by the dismal progress in getting their employees to share such information.  Among all the reasons that we heard from them about why people do not share knowledge, the top ten are listed below.  I would like to know what you think.  Please mark the top three reasons that you think why people do not share knowledge and feel free to tell us any other reasons by leaving us a reply below.  Once you enter your vote by clicking on the Vote button, you will be able to see the overall voting results.

Choose the top 3 reasons why people do not share knowledge

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Thank you very much for your time and feedback!



12 Responses to “Get employees to share their knowledge”

  1. DG Says:

    The company I work for recently went through a merger. Knowledge is a key componenet to its continued success. The new group that came in has NO CLUE about current protocols and the existing employees will not share any insight. This is due to management’s unwillingness to poll or even ask the opinion of its current staff on the merger, operational procedures or even about the current customer base to new customer base transition.

  2. Chris Fleck Says:

    Good survey , I am looking forward to seeing the results.

    Hopefully not everyone is ” too busy to do it “

  3. KG Says:

    Corporate culture defines how employee behaves, including their willingness to share knowledge. It is very common for many companies to ignore necessity to define company’s values, and consequently company’s culture and ideology. As a result there is no ideology, and no values. In this case why should managers be surprised that the ideology of knowledge sharing is not present?
    And when I am talking about values, I mean not just to declare them, but to live them.

  4. Filipe Pinto Says:

    Knowledge organizations are a world apart from regular organizations. The same parallel can be drawn between a BPM organization and a non-BPM one…. or even between organizations that use more or less Carbon.

    After so many years of teaching BPM, I have come to the conclusion the fast adoption of “new” ideas needs:

    1 - a “sweet” Trojan, so people consume it without knowing it, or they need

    2 - powerful siege by an alliance of small companies, or one done by a large corporation (like IBM).

    3 - a dramatic context change

    Without it, we will be limited to organic growth.

    In this situation, the question really becomes:

    1 - how can it be fun to record video knowledge at work?

    2 - how can a video platform be placed inside a larger platform?

    3 - when will employees stop being paid to learn, and hence will have to demand the fastest way to get trained?

    If left to the employees, these questions will be left answered.

  5. John Says:

    Thanks for leaving the comments. I did hear a lot about the company culture as a culprit for employees not sharing. I did not include it in the list of answers because I felt that it would make the problem “unsolvable”. In DG’s example, it sounded like the employees were not sharing because they knew that was what the management wanted. They used the possession of knowledge as a weapon to get even with the management.

    One phenomenon that intrigues me is the enthusiastic participation at Yahoo Answers. Yes, there is a point/level system there. But there is no company culture and all the human natures (good or bad) are at play there. Yahoo simply removes all the frictions and makes it very easy for one to participate.

    - John

  6. Peter M Says:

    Hi John,

    My top reason is, often people are afraid to give out knowledge because they fear that they might not be needed anymore.
    Interesting topic.


  7. KG Says:


    When I am referring to the knowledge that should be shared, I am talking about the asset that company possesses as a foundation of its service offering and service support. When it comes to Yahoo Answers this is about sharing advices that may be right, or wrong. Yahoo Answers help to share common knowledge, that doesn’t represent a corporate asset.
    In my answer I was focused on corporate knowledge, and on the joint ownership of it. The way you jointly own and treat an asset, depends on your values.


  8. John Says:

    Hi Filipe, thanks for your comment. Can you elaborate on “dramatic context change”?


  9. Susan Says:

    Here’s one that was not on your list:
    They think that they are superior, and that nobody else will be able to understand the information. I have heard things like “Even if I told you how to do it, you wouldn’t do it correctly” or “Read the procedure. If you don’t understand how to do it from reading the procedure, then you are stupid.” The procedure is so vague (by design) that nobody can follow it.

  10. Reginald Thornton Says:

    I don’t understand- is your software free? What is your revenue model- hosting?

  11. John Says:


    Thanks for your question. Our software (TipCam) is free. is also free. We make money by helping companies set up their public and private knowledge networking communities using our platform. These branded websites enable companies to 1) engage their customers in an active and constructive conversations about the companies’ products and services, and 2) identify and promote best practices among employees.

    If you are interested in learning more about our business solutions, please drop me a note at [email protected].


  12. Mona Glover Says:


    I now work in a smaller firm, and I find that the techs here share knowledge with each other. The problem is they don’t share with the owners. We have weekly meetings and nothing is talked about without direct questions. But early mornings, the employees meet and talk about new products, additions to software that are required or should be, and on and on.

    It appears to be an ongoing problem with most companies. I found that with telephone companies (older), they used compensation to get the shared knowledge. Maybe that’s still viable.


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