Towards an Integrated Model of Knowledge Sharing in Software Development: Insights from a Case Study

Towards an Integrated Model of Knowledge Sharing in Software Development: Insights from a Case Study

Karlheinz Kautz (Copenhagen Business School, Denmark)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 28
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-976-2.ch018

Abstract

This article adds to the discussion on knowledge management (KM) by focusing on the process of knowledge sharing as a vital part of KM. The article focuses on the relationship between knowledge, learning, communication, and participation in action, and the role of social interaction and technical media in the knowledge sharing process. We develop an initial theoretical framework of knowledge sharing on the basis of a literature study. Drawing on an empirical study of knowledge sharing in a software development company, we discuss what supports and what hinders knowledge sharing in software development. Finally, we use this knowledge to improve the theoretical framework.
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Theoretical Background

We begin by exploring the concepts on which we build our initial theoretical understanding in order to present how we utilise them in this study. Knowledge sharing is a bilateral process in which knowledge is exchanged between individuals and groups (Comas & Sieber, 2001). Knowledge is the outcome of a complex process, a part of which is the gathering and processing of information. This has been described by Kolb (1984) and others as a learning process. Learning is significant for the attainment of knowledge, and thus also for the sharing of knowledge. Information is communicated among people with the aid of a shared language, body language, and actions (Fiske, 1990; Nielsen, 1994) and participation in action and practice builds the foundation for learning (Wenger, 1998). This happens through social interaction and in some cases with the aid of technical media (Thompson & Walsham, 2001). Communication and participation in action are thus also significant for the sharing of knowledge. In the following we revisit the concepts of knowledge, learning communication, and participation in action and their relationship and importance for knowledge sharing in more detail.

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