Creator of Knowledge
Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Impediments for Knowledge Sharing in Professional Service Firms

Impediments for Knowledge Sharing in Professional Service Firms
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Author(s): Georg Disterer (University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Germany)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 6
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch290


View Impediments for Knowledge Sharing in Professional Service Firms on the publisher's website for pricing and purchasing information.


Professional service firms (PSFs), where professionals (consultants, lawyers, accountants, tax advisors, etc.) work, are interested in knowledge management because their businesses are heavily dependent on the knowledge of their employees. A core asset is their ability to solve complex problems through creative and innovative solutions, and the basis for this is their employees’ knowledge. The “product” that PSFs offer their clients is knowledge (Kay, 2002; Ofek & Sarvary, 2001; Chait, 1999). Sharing knowledge between colleagues improves the economical benefits a firm can realize from the knowledge of employees. This is especially true for PSFs (Huang, 1998; Quinn, Anderson, & Finkelstein, 1996), where broad ranges of knowledge must be kept to provide intellectual services, and real-life experiences with certain questions and situations are an important asset. The organizations and its members are spread over various offices across the country or the world. The necessity for sharing grows because the network of professionals in most cases can offer significantly better professional advice than any individual. “We sell knowledge… the most valuable thing we can offer is the collective, institutional knowledge of our firm” (Roger Siboni, KPMG executive, in Alavi, 1997, p. 1). Working together openly without holding back or protecting vital pieces of knowledge will result in more productivity and innovation than could be reached individually.

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