Title: Lending a helping hand: voluntary engagement in knowledge sharing

Authors: Ines Mergel, David Lazer, Maria Christina Binz-Scharf

Addresses: Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA. ' Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA. ' City College of New York/CUNY, Convent Avenue at 138th Street, New York, NY 10031, USA

Abstract: Knowledge is essential for the functioning of every social system, especially for professionals in knowledge-intensive organisations. Since individuals do not possess all the work-related knowledge that they require, they turn to others in search for that knowledge. While prior research has mainly focused on antecedents and consequences of knowledge sharing and understanding why people do not share knowledge, less is known why people provide knowledge, and what conditions trigger voluntary engagement in knowledge sharing. Our article addresses this gap by proposing a multi-level framework for voluntary engagement in knowledge sharing: individual, relational, group, and informational. We provide illustrations from a particular knowledge-intensive community, DNA forensic scientists who work at public laboratories.

Keywords: knowledge sharing; networks of professionals; voluntary engagement; knowledge provision; nowledge-intensive communities; DNA forensic scientists; public laboratories.

DOI: 10.1504/IJLC.2008.018865

International Journal of Learning and Change, 2008 Vol.3 No.1, pp.5 - 22

Published online: 20 Jun 2008 *

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