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Fostering the culture of knowledge sharing in higher education

PM Maponya


As with all organisations, higher education institutions today also face a number of challenges that require strategies to be developed in order to remain at the forefront. To respond to issues affecting them, higher education institutions need the knowledge, experience and expertise of the academic staff. As the creation and dissemination of knowledge is the centre of focus in higher education institutions, effective knowledge sharing within the parent institution becomes critical. However, this process does not prevail in most higher education institutions. Much knowledge is embedded in various faculties, schools, departments and individual academic staff. These internal structures exist and operate as disparate entities. And as such, they disconnect academics from each other and the knowledge that is created often goes unnoticed. Ensuring that what is known in one part of the institution is available to all faculties, schools and departments will help academics to learn from each other and to become efficient and effective in their core activities. This article argues that, in order for higher education institutions to improve academic excellence and innovation in research, they need to recognise and value the knowledge created within and to encourage the sharing of best practices, lessons learned and knowledge among academic staff. The article examines the dynamics of knowledge sharing, and also how trust and organisational culture inhibits the sharing of knowledge within higher education.

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol. 19(5) 2005: 900-911

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eISSN: 1011-3487