Presentation Details

The Fourth International Conference on Knowledge, Culture and Change in Organisations

An Emerging Theory of Voluntary, Informal, Knowledge Sharing

Chu Keong Lee, Dr Schubert Foo, Dr Abdus Sattar Chaudhry, Dr Suliman Al-Hawamdeh.

Knowledge sharing has been identified as a critical activity in any knowledge management initiative. It features as one of the phases or stages in many generic knowledge management frameworks. Although much has been written up on knowledge sharing, most focus on the difficulties of or barriers in the knowledge sharing process, and offer suggestions on how to encourage employees to share their knowledge. There has been no attempt to develop a theory of knowledge sharing. This paper reports initial work on the development of a theory for voluntary, informal, knowledge sharing (VIKS) in an academic setting, using the grounded theory methodology. VIKS is a specific type of knowledge sharing with the elements of serendipity (it occurs without pre-planning), spontaneity, (participation occurs out of one’s own free will), and extemporaneousness (participation is off the cuff, without any prior preparation). Seven social milieus have been identified as the basis to elicit data through the use of semi-structured interviews. The focus is on understanding the perceptions of and the motivations behind participation in VIKS, and identifying the factors that impact VIKS. Preliminary results show that participating VIKS is perceived as risk taking, an opportunity for learning and teaching, a social interaction, and an opportunity to fulfill ones calling. The factors that have been identified as important are trust, the availability of time, the kiasu trait, the Asian culture, and the age and age difference of the actors. VIKS primarily perceived to be a face-to-face activity, with technology seen only to enable a wider reach of audience for the knowledge shared.


Chu Keong Lee  (Singapore)
Division of Information Studies
Nanyang Technological University

Lee Chu Keong is currently a PhD candidate at the School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University of Singapore. He is also the Managing Editor of the Journal of Information and Knowledge Management (JIKM). He is a chemical engineer by training, and has a master's degree in information studies from Nanyang Technological University. Prior to this, he taught in Singapore and Temasek Polytechnics.

Dr Schubert Foo  (Singapore)
Professor & Vice Dean
School of Communication and Information
Nanyang Technological University

Dr Schubert Foo taught a range of computer and information-related subjects at both undergraduate and postgraduate level in the Divisions of Computer Technology, Software Systems and Information Studies at NTU since 1990. His research interests include Internet and multimedia technologies, multi-lingual information retrieval, digital libraries and knowledge management. He has published over 120 international journal and conference papers, and book chapters to date in these areas.

Dr Abdus Sattar Chaudhry  (Singapore)
Head of Division
Division of Information Studies School of Communication and Information
Nanyang Technological University

Abdus Sattar Chaudhry, Head, Division of Information Studies, School of Communication and Information of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. He joined NTU in 1996. Between 1986 and 1996, he worked in different types of information institutions in USA, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Malaysia. Currently, his teaching focuses on organization and management of information and knowledge, taxonomies and metadata, and performance measurement. He holds a master's from University of Hawaii and a PhD from University of Illinois

Dr Suliman Al-Hawamdeh  (Singapore)
Professor of Knowledge Management
School of Library and Information Studies
University of Oklahoma

Dr. Hawamdeh is a professor in knowledge management in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He was the founder and director of the knowledge management program in Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He was the founder and president of the Information and Knowledge Management Society (iKMS). Dr. Hawamdeh has an extensive teaching and working experience in areas such as knowledge management, electronic commerce, document imaging, information retrieval, Internet and digital libraries. He worked as a consultant to several private and government organizations. He was the managing director of ITC Information Technology Consultants a company specializes in imaging, document and drawing management products. Dr. Hawamdeh is the author of two books on knowledge management and the editor in Chief of the Journal of Information and Knowledge Management (JIKM). He is also the editor of a book series on innovation and knowledge management published by World Scientific.

  • knowledge sharing
  • grounded theory methodology

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)