ANALYZING THE PRACTICES OF KNOWLEDGE SHARING AND COLLABORATION CONSIDERING FACULTY MEMBERS AND RESEARCHERS: AN EMPIRICAL STUDY
Knowledge sharing and collaboration among university researchers and/or teachers are impacted by:
(i) life cycles associated with technological innovations;
(ii) economic and cultural globalization;
(iii) the educational needs of an increasingly knowledge-driven society;
(iv) the training needs for high-performing professional activities.
These factors constitute major opportunities for change in higher education institutions around the world and can be found in internal and/or external collaboration relationships. A collaboration relationship is expected to benefit the related members and teams (teachers, researchers, students and professionals), the communities/organizations that establish the relationship and, consequently, the surrounding society.
Several studies reveal that collaboration can be strongly influenced by knowledge sharing. However, often universities evidence an individualistic culture where knowledge is related to the experience and the competence of each researcher and/or teacher. Thus, knowledge is frequently considered as property and as a differentiation factor of each individual. Additionally, the perception of little benefits and rewards in sharing knowledge within the institution lead to the existence of a real distance among the work of the referred actors, who focus their efforts towards individual objectives rather than in common goals. In this context, the individual characteristics tend to show a major impact on knowledge sharing.
Considering the limited number of studies in the university’s context regarding knowledge sharing and collaboration practices, especially within Portuguese higher education institutions, the need to explore and deepen the understanding of these questions was identified. Taking this issue into account, this work aims at analyzing the practices of knowledge sharing and collaboration among researchers and/or teachers at the University of Aveiro, Portugal.
The empirical study was conducted on the basis of a questionnaire prepared taking into account the literature on the area. The sample consisted of teachers and researchers from University of Aveiro, Portugal, and the questionnaire was provided online. The data was collected anonymously and analyzed with the statistical software SPSS IBM 24. The results present some important facts that can help higher education institutions and their members to define and implement strategies and practices in order to promote higher levels of knowledge sharing and stronger collaboration relationships.