ISSN: 1998 - 4162

JISR - Management and Social Sciences & Economics Journal Contents

Volume 13, Number 1, January 2015


Democracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability,thereis abuse, corruption, subjugation and indignation.

Atifete Jahjaga, President of the Republic of Kosovo

Sharing of information in societies is vital for their growth and survival; and open societies care for sharing relevant, timely, and insightful information to their stakeholders honestly and earnestly. This information sharing is essential not only for the societies but for the organizations operating in open societies. Information sharing is critical to an organization's competitiveness and requires a free flow of information among members across rank and file if the organization is to remain competitive in the market. Research demonstrates that restricted information flow through application of stringent rules not only renders organizations unable to prepare for sudden changes in the environment but also impedes their adaptation to external environmental changes. For achieving increased performance, new and updated information needs to be disseminated continually to key decision makers within organizations, because it is treated as an economic resource for the production and profit of the organization.

If information is considered as an economic resource then it will have a number of characteristicsthat make it unique. As a matter of fact useful information and knowledge reside within individuals who create, recognize, archive, access, and apply information in carrying out their tasks. The movement of information across individuals and organizational boundaries into organizational routines and practices is dependent on information sharing behavior of key information holders. Limited information sharing across an organization is most likely to result in information gaps. Usually information flows from high intensity network to low intensity information networks, and often gatekeepers of essential information do not allow the free flow of information to maintain their authority and supremacy in the organizations.

Information may be acquired from direct experience, the experiences of others, or organizational memory. Seeking and obtaining information from others encompasses common practices such as bench marking, forming joint ventures, networking, making strategic alliances, and working with lead customers and other important stakeholders. Some organizations deliberately limit sharing of information and knowledge because of the threats associated with espionage and concerns about diverting or overloading employees' work-related attention. Individuals are also likely to withhold information from others if they perceive that sharing such information will lead to their loss of power, position of influence, or promotion. For organizations to compete successfully, they must understand the processes of learning, behavioral change, and performance improvement. These processes have been shown to occur in organizations that facilitate and promote information sharing among and between their members. Information sharing is a three-stage process: information acquisition, informationdissemination, and interpretation of the information.

Invisible barriers such as security, politics, regulations, and management decisions cripple the seemingly simple act of sharing information in organizations. Government, business, and society benefit from removing barriers that slow or prevent information exchange. Several Ja0n0uary-June 2015 Number 1 Volume 13 JISR-MSSE barriers have been shown to affect information sharing. Most of them are related to the use of organizational systems, the interest of organizations in knowledge sharing, relationships between organization members, and how information and knowledge are treated as assets. Organizational structure and individual positions within organizations may be barriers to information sharing. Lack of equity among organizational members makes it difficult for exchange of information to occur. Social network and information processing patterns explain people's attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs concerning organizational information flow.Attitudes and perceptions are socially constructed; whereas, social environment provides cues that make certain dimensions of the workplace more salient and more desirable in furnishing information on other people's evaluations of those dimensions. Thus, the social environment largely determines the effectiveness of information sharing among organization members.

An individual difference in levels of knowledge is another barrier to information sharing among organization members. Information providers with higher levels of expertise are more likely to believe fewer others would provide the right information. At the same time, information seekers with less expertise are likely to believe that the information provided will solve their problems. People who are more knowledgeable also perceive that they personally own the knowledge, and their propensity to share is higher. Having more information to share than others, more knowledgeable people may feel less threatened by sharing since their knowledge supply is not greatly diminished by each act of sharing.

Information sharing is not subject to the intrinsic conservative laws that characterize the sharing of physical resources. Information sharing, therefore, results in highly connected network of employees who enhance the capabilities of individuals to excel collectively by exchanging more innovative ideas to evolve into a higher, complex, and more productive organization.

Dr. Muhammad Zaki Rashidi


July 22, 2017

DISCLAIMER: All views expressed in the journal are those of the authors and not necessarily reflect the policies or preferences of JISR-MSSE or SZABIST.