Jang and Ko found members see a risk of sharing knowledge in communities; they are no longer seen as unique for possessing that knowledge.
Imagine you have a unique expertise in a particular niche. Everyone comes to you for help. Now you’re told to share your knowledge through the community where it can be documented and accessed by everyone.
Should you do it? Yes. Will you do it? Maybe.
Once you share this knowledge, people stop coming to you. You’re no longer unique. Everyone knows what you do.
This isn’t uncommon.
Resolving the uniqueness/risk problem
To get members to share knowledge, you need to change their perspective. Build their reputation. Ensure they continually learn more about their own field of expertise (so they always have more to share). These are all related.
Tell the member you understand their concern about no longer being unique for their knowledge (they will likely deny it, but know the issue has been addressed and can’t hide behind any other justification).
Show how sharing knowledge increases their worth and value. They can build their reputation within the organization by sharing knowledge. If they unlock what they know and share it, you can give them columns in the newsletter, interviews, invitations to lecture on the topic at various groups within the organization, and plenty more.
Challenge them to be the designated expert on that topic within the organization. Ask them to learn more and regularly share what they know within their own specific place within the group. Give them a blog they have to update every two weeks. This forces them to learn more to fill the blog with new information.
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