The new way of working and knowledge sharing
2013 – The study that is reported about in this article investigates the relation between New ways of Working (NWoW) and knowledge sharing by employees of a knowledge intensive organization. New Ways of Working implies working and cooperating facilitated by technology and aimed at improvement of productivity, pleasure at work, work-life balance, improvement of competitiveness and reduction of environmental burden. NWoW seems specially suitable for knowledge intensive organisations and knowledge workers. However there have been done hardly any research on the effects of NWoW on knowledge sharing. Moreover the scarce quantitative research projects show ambiguous results.
The hypothesis is that knowledge sharing will increase by specific characteristics of the NWoW: an increase in the use of ICT equipment, such as video conferencing and a great flexibility in the use of work place facilities, like using flexible work places and meeting rooms. ICT offers the opportunity to share knowledge independent of time and place. Flexibility and work place facilities may lead to an increase of spontaneous and informal meetings. Furthermore the expectation is that identification with the organization and autonomy explain largely the relation between NWoW and knowledge sharing.
Regression analysis on the survey data of 712 respondents confirms these hypotheses partly. These data were collected at a big Dutch IT service company where there have been implemented new ways of working recently. As expected NWoW contributes to knowledge sharing, but only the rate at which employees could use ICT equipment to work place and time independent, is positive related to knowledge sharing in knowledge intensive organisations. The presence and the use of work place related facilities such as meeting rooms and flexible work places has a little but significant negative relation with knowledge sharing.
This relation is masked by autonomy and identification with the organization. Since the use of the facilities to work flexible has a positive influence on the experienced autonomy and the identification with the organization of employees and they in turn have a positive relation with knowledge sharing, the negative effect of work place related facilities is suppressed. An explanation for the negative relation is that the options to work flexible are realized individually and that the chance to meet someone to share knowledge with by occasion, is smaller than expected.
Reference: Rick van der Kleij, Merle Blok, Olav Aarts, Pepijn Vos & Livia Weyers
Het nieuwe werken en kennisdelen: de rol van organisatie-identificatie en autonomie. (The new ways of working and knowledge sharing: the role of identification with the organisation and autonomy.)
Tijdschrift voor Arbeidsvraagstukken 2013 (29) 1. (See the attachement for the pdf of the article, in Dutch).
Themes: New Ways of working; Monitor & Evaluation
Sector: Services, ICT