Intercollegial sharing of professional tacit knowledge and expertise within education.

van Houten, Maarten Matheus (2020) Intercollegial sharing of professional tacit knowledge and expertise within education. Ed.D thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The aim of this study is to gain insight into factors impacting on the sharing of personal knowledge and expertise between colleagues in organisations. The focus on knowledge in the current economy has fostered the emergence of learning organisations, in which knowledge management and the sharing of knowledge are important facets of organisational practice. Professional learning communities and other opportunities for exchanging individual knowledge and expertise are considered to play an important role in this. Given this context and aim, this study builds on the research question ‘What factors impact on collegial sharing of knowledge in organisations?’

This study’s methodology adopts a social constructivist perspective with face-to-face interviews being the method used for data collection. For the study, 18 teachers in upper secondary vocational education institutions in The Netherlands were interviewed, cumulating in ten individual and two focus group interviews. Key findings indicate that professional discretion plays a pivotal role in the occurrence of knowledge sharing. As such, the decisions of professionals lie at the heart of knowledge sharing and exchange. Personal preferences and attitudes regarding colleagues, one’s current hierarchical position and expected effects on this position, reciprocity, and protection of one’s knowledge and material, are found to affect knowledge sharing by mediating a professional’s willingness and discretionary reasoning. Other factors that are found to impact on intercollegial communication and knowledge sharing are psychological safety and time.

The results of the study are of value to current debates in the field of learning organisations and knowledge management because they reveal the significant influence that professionals have on the locus and motion of knowledge between colleagues and within an organisation. Deploying a micropolitics perspective, analysis shows how professional discretion embodies the power of knowledge. This power not only exists in managing one’s professional position, but also in the professional discretion and personal judgement that provides an individual with the power to distribute and withhold knowledge. For organisations, it follows, this implicates that facilitating resources such as time and opportunities for professional development does not suffice, and that a learning organisation and professional learning communities can only be fostered to a certain extent. Results show that there lies a task for management in supporting employees in their communication and sharing, yet also indicates that top-down management can have a counterproductive effect. These outcomes imply the need to expand the notion of the power of knowledge to the intersubjective level within the context of learning organisations, and to include this level in future debates and research concerning knowledge management in organisations.

Item Type: Thesis (Ed.D)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Tacit knowledge, professional knowledge, professional expertise, knowledge sharing, learning organisation, professional discretion, knowledge management, professional learning, professional learning communities, professional development.
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Murphy, Dr. Mark and Enslin, Dr. Penny
Date of Award: 2020
Depositing User: Maarten Matheus van Houten
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-82048
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2021 17:35
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2023 14:10
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82048
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