Originally published January 12, 2015
In Quora, I was asked How can I benefit by sharing knowledge? Is it profitable?
One of my friends told me that “I don’t want to share my knowledge with someone else, because I earned it myself, and I worked so hard for it. So, why should I share with someone else for his/her development? If I teach someone, then he/she will apply the knowledge to his/her business, and our value will decrease, or our business will lose its competitive edge.” I don’t think it works that way. My perception is if I teach someone, then I can learn it better than before. I think sharing knowledge is great. But is it profitable, too?
Yes, knowledge sharing can be profitable. It provides numerous benefits to both individuals and organizations.
Personal benefits: Sharing your knowledge improves your personal performance, effectiveness, and skills, which should increase your personal profit. Sharing what you know:
- Helps you learn: by doing research, synthesizing multiple viewpoints, and crystallizing ideas
- Improves your personal brand by showcasing your expertise
- Creates demand for your expertise: increases opportunities for sales, revenue, appearances, publications, etc.
- Encourages people to request that you apply the information you shared; knowledge is information in action, and this is what people actually want, not just written documents
- Comes back to you in the form of help when you need it
- Gets others to also share, which may ultimately benefit you
- Increases your personal morale; people feel better when they can help others
- Strokes your ego: when people ask for your help and then thank you for providing it
- Strengthens your knowledge: others can confirm, point out flaws, or improve what you know
- Aids your career: you can advance based on a reputation for getting results and helping the organization succeed
Organizational benefits: From 15 KM Benefits, knowledge sharing improves profit by:
- Avoiding redundant effort
- Avoiding making the same mistakes twice
- Taking advantage of existing expertise and experience
- Making scarce expertise widely available
- Showing customers how knowledge is used for their benefit
- Increasing and accelerating sales
- Accelerating delivery to customers
- Enabling the organization to leverage its size
- Making the organization’s best problem-solving experiences reusable
- Stimulating innovation and growth
Why do you share your knowledge? What benefits do you and your organization receive?
- 16 Reasons Why People Don’t Share Their Knowledge — and what to do about it
- Why do people share? by Peg Fitzpatrick
- The Psychology of Sharing: Why do people share online?
- Knowledge-Sharing Behavior and Performance: What Motivates Virtual Teams to Perform Better by Bibi Alajmi
- The Intention to Share: Psychological Investigation of Knowledge Sharing Behavior in Online Communities by Bibi Alajmi
- The Intention To Share: Professionals’ Knowledge Sharing Behaviors In Online Communities by Bibi Alajmi