Knowledge Management and Sharing Initiatives in Development Sector : Contribution in Effective Risk Management

University essay from Blekinge Tekniska Högskola/Sektionen för management; Blekinge Tekniska Högskola/Sektionen för management

Abstract: This thesis study explores the existing knowledge management and sharing practices in donor organizations, particularly working in the developing countries. The potentional of knowledge management and sharing to facilitate development organizations in carrying out development work has been recognised in the literature. Literature presented mix of critique and appreciation to the existing efforts of donor agencies. Knowledge sharing platforms revolves around the country initiatives and donor agencies like UNDP and World Bank which are proactive in establishing these platforms for partner organizations. This research contributes practical insight to the question of delivery of these platforms, through an empirical investigation based on the development professionals' experiences. As earlier research shows enormous amount of literature on individual, team and organizational level knowledge sharing, this study sets prime focus on community level or external knowledge sharing, an area where there exist a dearth of emperical research or contributing literature on examing the role of sharing initiatives and possible contribution in improving risk management in development projects. Literature shows the potential of knowledge management and sharing practices, as their possible contribution in the global development practices and in bridging gap between North-South stakeholders. However, cultural, technological, organizational and individual level issues escalate with external level of knowledge sharing and thesis rightly, identifies success factors from the literature alongwith their viability from the professionals. It is even more inadequate when it comes to projects of donor organizations in under developed and developing countries. With 80% of documented failure rates of knowledge sharing systems, external knowledge sharing with partner organizations or network organizations is really not adequate and do not have supporting culture. As this whole process of sharing knowledge, heavily relies on the perceived motivation and willingness to share, study has tried to identify the challenges facing wider use of these sharing systems. Study also contributes with suggestions for knowledge management and sharing system developers, policy and decision makers and system users, to improve the overall contribution of knowledge sharing in better risk management. Apart from the cultural barriers, there are technical and policy level issues which need more concerted efforts to improve the use of these sharing systems by various organizations and individuals.

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