Interpersonal evaluation of shared knowledge

[Deutscher Titel: Zwischenmenschliche Bewertung von geteiltem Wissen (Text übersetzen: Deutsch)]

Title: The distributed team members’ explanations of knowledge they assume to be shared
Author(s): Piritta Leinonen, Johanna Bluemink
Journal: Journal of Workplace Learning, Year: 2008 Volume: 20 Issue: 1 Page: 38 – 53

Abstract: Purpose – Evaluation of the knowledge that is shared among team members has been found to be a prerequisite for successful collaborative teamwork. In previous research on collaborative learning and work, shared knowledge has mainly been evaluated by researchers, and an individual’s own perspective has been omitted. In this study the aim was to investigate how members of a distributed team explain knowledge that they assume to be shared and how an assessment tendency is related to these explanations.
Design/methodology/approach – Two distributed teams worked for two months to solve project tasks that demanded discussions and generating new ideas. Subjective explanations of their shared knowledge were studied by means of stimulated recall interviews. The concept of assessment tendency was employed to understand the differences in these explanations. Team members’ assessment tendencies were examined with the assessment scale questionnaire.
Findings – Qualitative content analyses of interviews showed that explanations of shared knowledge did not focus only on contents or the outcomes of the project tasks. Instead, the distributed team members presumed their shared knowledge in terms of common goals and collaborative working processes. These evaluations were related to the outcomes of the teams. In addition, the results showed those who were proficient at assessment strategies stressed collaborative working as a shared construction process and they aimed for creation of new knowledge.
Practical implications – Interpersonal evaluation of shared knowledge is especially needed to support distributed collaborative work. However, instead of focusing on sharing and managing documents, more attention should be paid to sharing of social processes, such as setting a common goal.
Originality/value – In this paper shared knowledge is conceptualised as knowledge which is developed through situated interrelations between individuals.
Keywords: Finland, Knowledge management, Knowledge sharing, Team working
Article Type: Research paper

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