Monday, January 5, 2009

Maturity and generosity

Older staff more willing to share than younger staff. I asked a younger staff about computer-related stuff but he’s unwilling to share. I don’t know why they’re like that.

1 comment:

  1. There could be so many reasons for this, one would need to know more about the context to find out what was really going on in this particular case. Is the statement “Older staff are more willing to share than younger staff.” a valid generality or a reflection of the poster’s frustration?

    My first thoughts are around relationship and trust. What is the poster’s relationship with the staff member? Was there one? Had enough time been invested in building a relationship of trust with the younger person? Or did the younger person feel that they were being asked to give up something of value to them and they were not being valued or appreciated for doing so? What did this knowledge mean to the younger staffer? Did it have a personal significance beyond being just ‘computer related stuff’? How many times has the younger staffer been asked to share knowledge previously and how many times have they been acknowledged and recognized for doing so? Maybe there is disparity in terms of how the two parties value the knowledge: for one the currency value is low whereas for the other it is high.

    The second thought is that the maturer person, being more experienced, may be more self-aware and self-assured in terms of their ability, wisdom and experience . Maybe they feel more secure in themselves and protected by rank and hierarchy? Or maybe they don’t care about rank and hierarchy and they understand the value of sharing and giving?

    Maybe the younger person is still trying to make their mark and therefore has a different currency for their knowledge? Maybe they view the knowledge as key to them moving up in the organisation? Maybe it gives them a sense of importance? Maybe they feel threatened? Maybe the younger person is yet to experience that going it alone isn't the way forward and that collaboration is more powerful. Maybe the younger person can not rely on rank and hierarchy for their security.

    How did not sharing benefit the younger staffer? What did he get out of this behaviour?

    I wonder how knowledge sharing goes between peers? Is the difference in willingness to share as marked if you were to explore knowledge sharing amongst mature peers versus knowledge sharing amongst younger staffers?