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If you try and set targets for knowledge sharing you have failed to understand the subject

June 6, 2008

I think I first said this over a decade ago and I have seen no reason to change it since. The early abortive attempt involved things like requiring x documents contributed to a community of practice or similar measures. Net result there was meaningless material been published to achieve a target along with plagiarism in many cases. Then people started to play games with networking mapping but that didn’t get anywhere. I remember one crazy start up company creating software that managed thank you credits. If someone did a good job for you then you gave them a credit. At the end of the year the credits would be totaled out and translated into money. I was reviewing said idea and pointed out if such a system was linked to money or status then friends would gang together to swap credits. Humans display high ingenuity when you create a targeting system, and the ingenuity is focused on the form not the objective of the measurement system.

Knowledge is a voluntary act, if people trust each other they will share. If they work together and create interdependencies then they will share. If the context requires it even political rivals will share. Good management (including knowledge management) is about creating the right sort of environment and interactions. Creating a set of explicit targets is an abrogation of management responsibility not its assumption.

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