A gap in knowledge exists between the knowledge acquired during academic studies – theoretical knowledge – and the knowledge required in the business world – practical knowledge. As a result, organizations are obliged to invest extensive resources in order to bridge this gap. However, the established theoretical basis of bridging the interests and requirements of the business sector and academia through the construction of knowledge sharing frameworks and through partnerships in knowledge is severely lacking.
This paper presents part of a broader study that aimed to explore models of knowledge diffusion through social exchange processes, thereby facilitating the creation of a new ‘Learning by Sharing’ model, in order to reduce the gap in knowledge between academia and the business world. Since the study sought to develop a generic model of knowledge sharing between organizations with synergistic benefits to all parties, it was based on the social exchange theory. Willingness to exchange and share knowledge on the part of all the participants is crucial so as to facilitate the establishment of partnerships for knowledge sharing between academia and companies.
Part of the research as well as of the entire model developed in this study is presented in the current paper. The focus here is on the part that deals with the need to change the curriculum and adapt it to both the needs of the companies and the demands of academia, thus improving the graduates’ preparation for the working world.
The research adopted a post-positivistic paradigm, inductive-naturalistic, and phenomenology approach, which sought to elicit factors influencing business technology managers to share knowledge as a phenomenon through the perceptions and attitudes of the participants
The research was applied in hi-tech companies in Israel and conducted in two phases, using a mixed methods approach: semi-structured interviews conducted with human resource managers and closed-ended questionnaires administered to technology managers. The research adopted a post-positivistic paradigm, was inductive-naturalistic in character, and employed a phenomenology approach in order to explore both the phenomenon of technology managers’ willingness to share knowledge and the factors influencing this willingness, according to their perceptions.
The principal research question addressed in this study was: What are the preconditions for creating partnerships between industry and academia in Israel?
This question was followed by three subsequent questions, one of which constitutes the core of this paper: “Which ways of possible cooperation on the part of managers can be identified in each of the three methods of learning (experimenting, investigating, and practicing), as proposed in the ‘Learning by Sharing’ model (Thijssen, Maes, and Vernooij, 2002)?”
The findings reveal the managers’ willingness to share different types of knowledge with academia in several ways and with diverse patterns of sharing. The willingness to share depends on a variety of encouraging and hindering factors, which can promote or interfere with the process of sharing. Thus, the findings provide an impetus to advance a theory of knowledge sharing between organizations.
Conceptualization leads to the emergence of a spiral model of sharing knowledge, which contributes to knowledge in the topic domain. The current paper presents part of this model, which relates to ‘learning by sharing’, and identifies practical benefits to both academic and business practitioners.
|Keywords:||Social Exchange Theory, Gap in Knowledge, Exchange of Knowledge, Knowledge Sharing, Partnerships, Learning by Sharing|
Lecturer, Management, Social Psychology, Education, Petach Tikva, Israel
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