Initiatives within organizations that promote sharing of knowledge may be hampered by generational differences. Research on relationships between generations and technology-based knowledge sharing campaigns provides little managerial guidance for practitioners. The purpose of this ethnographic study was to identify the factors that influence the creation of a wiki culture that encourages open collaboration as a knowledge management initiative in a cross-generational setting. The focus was on perceptions, cultural beliefs, attitudes, norms, and values that multigenerational participants hold in sharing knowledge using a Wiki—an Internet-based social collaboration application. This study was founded upon theoretical frameworks concerning postmodernism, systems, and knowledge management drawing on theories of Lyotard, von Bertalanffy, and Prusak. Participants included 21 students, staff, and faculty enrolled and employed in an academic program within a public university in California. Data were gathered from multiple sources: semistructured interviews, archival materials, and embedded observations. Themes and findings were generated through a 3-staged thematic coding process. Major conclusions are that GenY and Millennials embrace technological advances to share knowledge and practices. However, developing a Wiki culture across generations is dependent on establishing a compelling purpose and high degree of trust among the participants. This study contributes to advancing a technological society by helping organizations recognize generational differences and promote collaborative knowledge sharing through trust and openness, thereby capitalizing on the intellectual assets of the multigenerational workforce.
|Subjects||Management; Adult education; Educational technology|
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