HOW TO EDUCATE MANAGERS TO SUPPORT KNOWLEDGE SHARING IN THEIR COMPANIES?
Tomas Bata University in Zlin (CZECH REPUBLIC)
Managers need to be educated in many fields. Last years the managerial practice shows how it is important when managers know how to create the knowledge sharing culture in their companies. But in reality, not many space is devoted to this in managerial courses or study programmes for managers or students of management and leadership. The aim of this article is to bring the answer to the research question: How to educate managers to support knowledge sharing culture in organisations? The results published in this article are based on empirical study, a primary research among 204 managers acting in the Czech Republic, mostly managers from industrial enterprises and commercial companies. 62 respondents were members of top management; the rest were middle line managers. The average length of their duties in managerial work was 9 years. This empirical study shows what is the current situation among the Czech managers and this paper presents particular results only. It is said that the best way how to educate someone is to be a role-model for him/her, walk the talk. That is why one of the particular research questions focussed on this fact: "Are managers in the Czech Republic the role-models of knowledge sharing for their employees?" The results show that more than 60 percent of respondents share their knowledge with the others so we can say they are a role-models for their employees. This number is not very high if we realize that every manager can influence many people in the company. Another interesting fact was proved that role-models are more frequent on the top management position, than the middle management position. Maybe the top managers experienced better education or top managers much more realize that it is good for the whole company to be the role-model and share their knowledge. When educating managers to be a role-model of knowledge sharing could be significant also the fact, if the managers themselves had experienced personal benefit from knowledge sharing. This lead us to the second particular research question: Can personal experience with having a mentor (or any other person behaving as the mentor) help managers to create the knowledge sharing culture? The results proved that managers, who had not any mentor, are less wilful to transmit their knowledge to further generation in comparison with managers who experienced having a mentor. So personal experience with having a mentor helps managers to be the role-models of knowledge sharing for their employees. When speaking about education of managers to support knowledge sharing in companies, the paper also discusses that managers can be motivated by presentation of research findings which shows how the corporations can benefit from knowledge sharing. The second part of the article brings the answer to the question: "What can the managers do to support the knowledge sharing in a company?" It is the content of such education of managers. Mostly it is about creating the knowledge sharing culture in corporations. Because there is really big space for improvements, the article brings practical recommendations to the top managers, the HR managers, and first line managers that can be applied by them to support knowledge sharing in the company. The social context of knowledge sharing is discussed, as well as the question: “How to build the mutual trust among employees?”