MYSTERY SHOPPERS RECOGNISING KNOWLEDGE SHARING BARRIERS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Recognising knowledge sharing barriers in higher education using volunteering students as mystery shoppers appears not as a widely used research and development tool (Douglas, Douglas 2006). The present study is based on data gathered in spring 2015 in a technical university in Finland. There were 45 students from all faculties participating in a mystery shopper project organised by the university administration in collaboration with the student union. The goal of that project is to recognise knowledge sharing barriers on the organisational level and this study focuses on the space between learning and teaching as reported by the mystery shoppers. More specifically, the aim is to categorize such barriers, or destructive frictions (Vermunt, Verloop 1999), emerging from the material into three larger domains (Riege 2005): individual, technological and organisational barriers in order to answer the research question: what are the perceived knowledge sharing barriers from student perspective?
There is little context-specific research on learning and teaching in a knowledge intensive community like a university from the perspective of knowledge management (KM). Discussing learning and teaching within KM is based on considering students controversially as customers (Modell 2005, Mcdowell, Sambell 1999) or stakeholders (Lomas 2007). Thus including them more meaningfully in assessing and developing teaching practices, or knowledge flow, which are the service the society finances for them seems warranted.
The research approach represents interventionist action research (Jönsson, Lukka 2006). The results identify teaching practises that contribute to creating knowledge sharing barriers. More detailed and almost real-time contextual activity sampling is suggested as a method for further study and also an avenue for instant feedback for teaching staff.
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