1.1 Background of Study
Rapid advancement in information technology has revolutionized organizations by introducing new methods of learning and sharing knowledge for Organizations in creating and sustaining competitive advantage. It is also widely recognized to be a critical component for any individual or organization to succeed in an increasingly demanding competitive environment (Yang, 2007). Knowledge is today regarded as a factor of production together with land, labor and capital. As the world moves towards a “knowledge-based economy”, knowledge is being considered as the main driver of this new economy. The success of economies in the future is going to be based on how companies or organizations acquire, use, leverage and manage knowledge effectively (Bircham-connoly, et al., 2005). Knowledge management itself is the management of knowledge that can improve a range of organizational performance characteristics by allowing an organization to be more effective in its activities. (Jay, 2009).
Knowledge sharing is part of the knowledge management system of an organization (Abdel-Rahman & Ayman, 2011). Knowledge sharing and knowledge management are not similar. Knowledge sharing is one method of for both making sure that knowledge is available and delivered at the right time. Knowledge sharing can be regarded as on of the key enablers in knowledge management practice. Knowledge sharing has been the most commonly discussed activity of knowledge management. The term knowledge sharing nowadays has become dominant in organization. This is because through knowledge sharing organization can maintain or improve its performance from time to time.
It is no wonder then that team work and interaction are fast becoming prevalent in higher level of education and the use of computer system as a medium to support and enable collaborative learning is becoming an increasingly popular topic in research online and information education. Also, studies have shown that student’s learning can be enriched through team interaction by using educational technology and collaborative learning. Collaborative learning in the form of knowledge sharing brings out the best in students even as they better one another through team work. Furthermore, research has demonstrated that students can learn effectively when they work in teams where they can perceive different ideas and collaborate to achieve solution for team projects (Nassuora, 2011).
Besides Business Organization, knowledge sharing is also a natural process occurring in any academic institutions. It has played a vital role in the transfer of essential knowledge among lecturers and students in the lecture theaters, workshops and tutorials. In addition to lecture-centric approaches, several new instruction strategies such as problem oriented teaching , contextualized teaching, target-oriented teaching and collaborative teaching are gaining popularity. These innovative teaching methods have already turned instruction into sharing (Hong & Kuo, 2012). In the aspects of gaining new knowledge attaining new knowledge, it may also assist students in gaining deeper understanding of certain topics which were difficult for them to understand from their colleagues. Thus, knowledge sharing is beneficial to participants both in terms of learning outcomes and cognitive performances (Rafaeli & Ravid, 2003).
In the knowledge-based societies and competitive and dynamic economies we live in, knowledge is a critical organizational resource that provides a sustainable competitive advantage (Davenport & Prusak, 1998). It is insufficient for organizations to rely only on staffing to select employees with specific knowledge, skills, abilities, competencies or training systems to help employees acquire them. Organizations must also consider how to transfer knowledge from experts who have it to novices who need to know. For this reason, organizations need to emphasize and effectively exploit knowledge-based resources that already exist within the organization. Such Knowledge management initiatives have knowledge sharing as a key component (Sugurmaran and Bose, 2003; Riege, 2005; Akhavan et al., 2010).
Many studies have highlighted the fact that information and knowledge sharing plays a vital role in the learning and development of individuals especially in the 21st century (Robson et al., 2003; Clark & Brennan, 2001; Mulder, 2009; walker, 2003). Active information and knowledge sharing is now considered an important attribute of the learning process in institutions of higher education. Group of people now work at different geographic locations on a shared purpose using technology (Lipnack & Stamps, 2000). In order to work or learn together, team members need to share knowledge on what they are working on, how they are working, and with whom they need to work, interacting via computer-mediated technology.
Daven & Prusak (1998) defined knowledge as:
Knowledge is a fluid mix of framed experience, values, contextual information, expert insight and grounded intuition that provides an environment and framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information it originates and is applied in the minds of Knower. In Organizations, it often becomes embedded not only in documents or repositories but also in Organizational routines, processes, practices and norms.
Knowledge is human understanding of a specialized field of interest that has been acquired through study and experience. Knowledge sharing on the other hand is the process where individuals mutually exchange their knowledge and jointly create new knowledge. The term knowledge sharing (KS) implies the giving and receiving of information framed within a context by the knowledge of the sources (Sharatt & Usoro, 2012). Knowledge sharing also involves the exchange of beliefs and assumptions (Clark & Brennan, 2001). Knowledge sharing can facilitate working and interacting effectively and efficiently. Knowledge sharing is the sharing of one’s own knowledge with other individuals; it is one of major organizational processes (Becerra-fernadez et al., 2004). Knowledge sharing through a repository KMS is what Alavi and Leidner (2001) refers to as codification and storage process, the process of storing the explicit knowledge for later use.
According to Mulder (2009), group members need a shared understanding of content, process, and each other. This means that participants must develop mechanisms for knowledge sharing which include the distribution of existing knowledge among team members and construction of new knowledge through critical thinking, reflection and arguing from different perspectives. Knowledge sharing requires that team members exchange ideas among team members, participate in group discussions, provide feedback to inquiries and are involved in group decision making.
Collaborative learning is considered as one of the more established, popular and effective learning approaches. However, an essential element of the collaborative learning is the active and voluntarily sharing of information and knowledge by the learners. It is therefore highly desirable for educators and others academic stakeholders to properly understand the knowledge sharing behavior of students and the barriers that impede this vital activity. Unfortunately, most of the information and knowledge studies have been done in organisational settings and very little is known about the knowledge sharing patterns among students in college of Education.
Knowledge sharing among college of Education students has been recognized as an important and interesting area of study in the academic world. With the increasing emphasis on collaborative work in organizations, universities around the world have been structuring its curriculum to engage students in collaborative learning which allows them to reflect and learn more effectively. Such an approach has been proven to benefit students in terms of cognitive gains and positive learning outcomes(Walker,2003).
Having said this however, it is very likely for students to embrace the mentality of hoarding knowledge as such practice is perceived by the hoarders as providing them with competitive advantage against other students. This is particularly true when good academic achievement have been linked to the limited academic rewards (e.g. scholarships and dean list), better job prospect or even the opportunity to pursue higher education in more established universities in the future. But if this behavior of not wanting to share knowledge with peers continues, it is very likely that this may become part of their personality and they may exhibit the same mindset as they continue their studies, or worst, at workplace.
In the wider university context, if knowledge management practices have been identified to support knowledge-intensive organizations such as universities with better performance outcomes and that knowledge sharing is the cornerstone of failure to share knowledge means that values derived from knowledge management implementation may not be created in the higher educational institutions.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Knowledge sharing is a crucial process in team work because participants need to distribute existing knowledge and construct knowledge through explaining, clarifying, critical thinking and reflecting from other perspectives. Knowledge sharing among peers’ plays an important role in student’s learning process. Before now, researchers have studied knowledge sharing in business or corporate environments, but very few focused on knowledge sharing as it relates to students in higher institutions of learning like the colleges of Education. The focus of this study therefore is to explore the behavior of students in college of Education towards knowledge sharing and to present research that identifies barriers that prevent successful knowledge within the college environment.
The state of knowledge sharing among undergraduate students is relatively under-researched, based on this; the present study was designed to investigate the state of knowledge sharing among undergraduate students.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The main objective of this study is to study the knowledge sharing behavior among students in College of Education Igueben, Edo state. Other objectives of the study are as follow:
- To identify the major sources of information utilized by the students.
- To study the attitudes of students towards knowledge sharing in College of Education Igueben.
iii. To identify the purpose of knowledge sharing among students in College of Education Igueben.
- To identify the motivational factors which encourage knowledge sharing among students in College of Education Igueben.
- To determine the channels through which knowledge is shared among students in College of Education Igueben.
- To identify the barriers against knowledge sharing among students in College of Education Igueben.
1.4 Research Questions
The study seeks answers to such questions as:
- What are your sources of information?
- What are the attitude of students toward knowledge sharing in
College of Education Igueben?
iii. What is the purpose of knowledge sharing among students in College
of Education Igueben?
- What are the motivational factors which encourage knowledge
among students in College of Education Igueben?
- What are the channels through which knowledge is shared among
various students in College of Education Igueben?
- What are the barriers against knowledge sharing among students of
College of Education Igueben?
1.5 Scope of Study
This study focuses on the behavior of students in colleges of Education in Nigeria towards knowledge sharing using College of Education Igueben as a case study. Students drawn from various faculties were used for the study with a focus on the attitudes of students towards knowledge the purpose and benefits of knowledge sharing among students, the effects of motivation on knowledge sharing, the channels through which knowledge is shared and the barriers against knowledge sharing. This study takes an in-depth assessment of the factors that motivates students to share knowledge on the one hand and what prevents them from sharing knowledge on the other hand.
1.6 Significance of the Study
Knowledge sharing happens when students participate in a team, interact together, respond to inquiries, and provide comments and feedback. Knowledge sharing is very profitable in higher education. Successful knowledge sharing requires examining the associated factors. So, this study is significant as it aims to explore the knowledge sharing behavior among college of Education students, as well as examine if the degree of knowledge sharing will affect students Educational performance. The results from the study can provide educators, as well as students some insights into understanding the process of knowledge sharing and its benefits among students.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
In undertaking the research, the researcher was constrained by time factor as the time used to undertake the study was limited. As a result of other academic activities, limited time was made available for the study; one other of form of limitation was in the area of finance as the research required substantial amount of funds for the production of questionnaires to cover a substantial number of prospective respondents and for the running cost for mobility during the period of the research.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Some technical terms used in the course of this study need clarification through definition for the purpose of good understanding of this work. They are as follows:
Knowledge: Facts, information and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding.
Knowledge sharing: An activity through which knowledge is exchanged among individuals, groups and organizations.
Knowledge management: The efficient handling of information sources and resources.
Interaction: The act or process of communication and giving feedback.
Behavior: The way in which one acts or conducts oneself, especially toward others.
Attitude: Manner, disposition, feeling, position, etc. with regard to a person or thing; tendency or orientation.