On knowledge hoarding and knowledge sharing

Knowledge hoarding (the ‘Knowledge is Power’ syndrome) is a recurring theme in many knowledge management debates.  Supported by academic research, the root cause is often said to be found in the hoarding reflex of the early early humans, hoarding vital resources to survive in periods of starvation.  Apparently we have a ‘hoarding’ gene responsible for this behaviour.
Today, our economical model is based on … sharing.  (At least the social security model in many european countries).  We share in periods of abundance, when we are healthy and have a good income.   The model promises to give something back when we are in a period of shortage.
The optimistic view is that evolution will stimulate our ‘sharing’ gene to become dominant over our ‘hoarding’ gene.
Sharing will be our nature … just be patient.

One response to “On knowledge hoarding and knowledge sharing

  1. I think it is rather limiting to consider that not sharing knowledge is a problem. There can be circumstances where knowledge sharing IS inappropriate
    I find it more stimulating to consider this from a competitive point of view:
    * If you are in a competition for something scarce, then witholding information, or even giving wrong information can be a succesfull tactic. Think about what happens in war. In that case, Knowledge IS power.
    * If you are not in competetion, than sharing makes each party stronger. Withholding information is then a tactic to avoid cognitive overload.
    So I think that the point lies in creating environments where there is less competition, or at least change the perception of people who see competition or danger anywhere.

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