Appreciative Sharing for Organizational Knowledge Work

Appreciative Sharing for Organizational Knowledge Work

Kam Hou Vat (University of Macau, China)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-931-1.ch004


This article investigates an organizational approach to knowledge sharing (Ludema, Whitney, Mohr, & Griffin, 2003; Thatchenkery, 2005) based on the positive change philosophy of appreciative inquiry (AI) (Thatchenkery & Chowdhry, 2007; Cooperrider & Whitney, 2005; Curran, 1991; Cooperrider & Srivastva, 1987). Of specific interest is the context of a community model to enable knowledge work through a participative sharing process (Vat, 2009). Of much concern here is an effort to put into perspective the social dimensions of knowledge sharing (Watkins & Cooperrider, 1996; Brown & Duguid, 1991) which not only deals with the internal and external boundaries of a distributed system of knowledge (Hoadley & Pea, 2002; Tsoukas, 1996), but with knowledge embedded within particular contexts of knowing. The promise of AI is that in every organization something works and change can be managed through the identification of what works, and the analysis of how to do more of what works (Bushe, 1995; Gergen, 1990; Harman, 1990). A key characteristic of the appreciative sharing approach is that it is a generative process. That means it is a moving target, and is created and constantly re-created by the people who use it. The premise in our investigation is that while the support of technologies is essential for a community in knowledge sharing, its success rests with its people – organizers, information and knowledge providers, sponsors, users, and volunteers – who support the community in a variety of ways (Hemlin, Allwood, & Martin, 2004). Therefore, when attempting to design technology in support of knowledge communities (Linn, 2000), it is important to remember “what is working around here?” in the organization. Such knowledge includes not only information capture and transmission, but also the establishment of social relationships (Hubbard, 1998) in which people can collaboratively construct their understanding.

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