Bringing novices from the passive role in knowledge sharing to the active role




Knowledge management, Knowledge sharing, industrial maintenance, novices, pphysical asset management, knowledge sharing barriers


Purpose: The nature of firm competition between firms and the source of competitive advantage in many industries has shifted toward a knowledge-based economy. This is particularly the case in knowledge intensive industries, wherein a firm’s competitive advantage is highly dependent on its ability to generate and deploy new knowledge solutions. Although knowledge management (KM) is relevant to all organizations, it is likely that its importance is higher at some functional units like maintenance. The field of industrial maintenance is complex and knowledge-intensive. Typically, industrial maintenance knowledge is inaccessible due to industry policies and practices; furthermore, motivation to share knowledge is low or inexistent, due to its tacit and complex nature. Despite these difficulties, sharing knowledge between experienced workers and managers, on one hand, and novices and new comers, on the other hand, is a fundamental problem in industrial maintenance settings, and about which there is still much to be known. The current research reports an investigation aimed at increasing knowledge sharing (KS) between novices and other workers in industrial maintenance. Design/Methodology/Approach: A quantitative field longitudinal research was carried out at a maintenance department of a high-tech company. The research included three steps: the first one assessed the current situation of KM and KS in the department; the second one implemented a number of training programs aimed to increase KS between novices and the rest of the department; and the third one collected information about KM and KS, to assess changes between the two observation moments. Findings: Novices can take an active role in KM and KS in maintenance departments of high-tech industries, rather than a passive role, which can significantly facilitate and improve their own and other employees' knowledge while moderately enhancing the culture of knowledge sharing. Practical Implications: sharing knowledge is a very challenging issue to maintenance managers, faced with risks and problems that need to be acquired by novices. The current research helps knowledge-intensive companies by highlighting solutions that can be designed and adapted to improve employees' knowledge and also KS.  Originality/Value: Empowering novices to transition from a passive role in knowledge sharing to an active one, while simultaneously improving their knowledge and also KS practices in industrial maintenance through their involvement.