Knowledge Sharing in the Commons LO24377

From: Ravi Palepu (
Date: 04/17/00

Greetings once again from Zimbabwe, (yes, its a difficult time to be

I have been requested to expand on one of my loose lip statements and
write another discussion paper and even faciltiate a workshop on it.
First, I often work within the development institutional context so my
generalities may not be 'generally' applicable.

The improvised but seemingly obvious statement I made that I must pay for
now is that "most traditional organisational structures coupled with the
emerging increased valuation of knowledge will actually impede knowledge
sharing." I'd like people to share their ideas/opinions with me or point
me to similar patterns of thought. Its not going to be published, it'll be
used in a workshop which I am voluntarily faciltiating on institutional
strengthening for NGOs.

Within the progressive private sector domain, employee owned (profit
sharing and equity/stock options) couples with shared vision emphasis
encourages participants to think about the commons. Where the 'tragedy of
the commons' plays its fate in the traditional organisation whether it be
in the private, public or NGO sectors. If a person is overly valued based
on their networks and knowledge assets, then they are actually increasing
their market value if the scarcity of that knowledge is increased. Hence,
knowledge sharing is not inherently promoted.
In the paper, I would want to explore this by not only hi-lighting many
compelling examples but by bringing in the application of both development
and corporate management theory/practices and attempt to indicate ways
forward through applying a range of practices such as lewin's change
theory, freirian thought, ownership and stake holder incentives, as well
as learning org qualities - reflection, organisational form (guru Senge).
At this stage, I could also look at the technologies which can promote,
encourage and perhaps foster an enabling culture for information sharing.
I know that this is perhaps a simple topic to most, but I need more
inertia to back up my push of more organic and formative organsations in
the developing context. Looking forward to dialogue.


"Ravi Palepu" <>

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