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Using wiki for corporate knowledge management can be beneficial

Washington, Thu, 09 Aug 2012 ANI

Washington, August 9 (ANI): Corporate wikis can work if they fit the corporation's culture and provide for the needs and interests of their users and editors, according to two University of Alberta researchers.

PhD candidate Lisa Yeo and Ofer Arazy, an assistant professor in the Alberta School of Business, say that using wikis as a form of corporate knowledge management can be beneficial.

However, some concessions need to be made in terms of how wiki "knowledge" is posted to support people's needs for recognition with their company.

If companies want their wiki to work, it cannot be held to rigid corporate constraints on knowledge sharing and management. Yeo and Arazy based their findings on recent research conducted while studying and working with project teams at a major technology corporation.

Yeo said that companies always seem to struggle with knowledge management, and finding a relevant and purposeful means of sharing information is often elusive.

The wiki would seem to be a viable solution, she said, because it allows for informal yet dynamic teamwork, allowing users to input and share information in different areas and from different locations.

Allowing input from multiple sources, such as other departments, allows for a larger field of knowledge and provides the potential for greater connectivity between colleagues across different corporate areas. Yet, she pointed out, there still needs to be some internal process that ensures the accuracy of what is being posted. Her research indicated that a rating system for entries may be an effective way of ensuring the validity of data.

"Some sort of rating mechanism that says 'I used this before'-we see it in reviews, right? This idea might help you at least rely on that information," she said.

"As a contributor, if you know that more people read your work and rely on it, we have motivational literature that says that makes you want to contribute more," she explained.

Part of the attraction of the wiki is its anonymity. Changes, especially in Wikipedia, are made incognito. But in the corporate world, Yeo noted, showing potential and demonstrating knowledge are assets that help managers decide who should receive salary increases or promotions.

However, she said that some contributors may be happy to share their knowledge anonymously simply because they can add to the knowledge management conversation. To allow both types of wiki contributors to coexist and flourish peacefully, companies may need to make some concessions in both the corporate structure and the wiki programming. (ANI)

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