Knowledge sharing among academics in selected universities in Tanzania.
Maiga, Zakayo Bernard.
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Higher learning Education sector in Tanzania is increasingly becoming competitive following its liberalization in the year 1995. The universities are therefore being compelled to invest and adopt new and powerful strategic tools to promote the academic enterprise in a way that will preserve the competitive advantages that the institutions have hitherto enjoyed in a monopolistic environment. The importance of harnessing the knowledge asset to enhance competitiveness in Tanzanian universities is now imperative considering the fact that a number of information and knowledge systems in these institutions are disparate making knowledge sharing difficult. Knowledge sharing in Tanzania is evidently low because of limited KM infrastructure, lack of awareness about the importance of knowledge sharing, limited skills and inadequate funds to build knowledge sharing infrastructure in the form of databases, intranets, portals, Web 2.0 and websites to mention but a few. This study investigated the status of knowledge sharing in universities in Tanzania with a view to proffering recommendations that would help the universities to effectively manage knowledge assets and enhance competitive advantage in an increasingly globalised and competitive higher education environment. The study sought to address the following research questions: How does organisational culture promote or hinder knowledge sharing among academics in the universities in Tanzania? To what extent do universities in Tanzania support knowledge creation and sharing among academics? What knowledge sharing strategies exist in the universities? How are the academics leveraging knowledge assets in their core functions of teaching, research and consultancy? What is the attitude of academics towards knowledge sharing? What factors influence knowledge sharing among academics in Tanzanian universities? The study was underpinned by the knowledge sharing model. The study adopted a post positivist paradigm with survey research design. A mixed method approach was used focusing on academics, librarians and deans of faculties. Data was collected using survey questionnaire and interview schedule. The quantitative data collected was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPPS) to produce descriptive statistics. Similarly, the qualitative data was analyzed thematically and presented through narration. The findings revealed that universities in Tanzania generally promoted a culture of knowledge sharing among academics through among other ways: seminal presentations, publications, public lectures, conferences and colloquia. The findings further showed that the universities did not have formal organisation structures and policies for promoting knowledge sharing. Attempts were however being made by the universities through the directorates of research to promote knowledge sharing. The respondents were of the view that a dedicated unit for coordinating and managing knowledge sharing as well as dedicated staff was required. The findings identified funding, enabling knowledge sharing strategies, incentives and rewards as some of the critical success factors that would promote a culture of knowledge sharing among academics. The findings further revealed that the academics leveraged knowledge assets mostly for teaching and research purposes, and to a lesser extent for consultancy. The findings revealed that the academics had a positive attitude towards knowledge sharing in spite of limited cases of knowledge hoarding that were reported. The study proposes that enabling knowledge management policies, capacity building strategies, ICT infrastructure development, incentives and awareness help cultivate a culture of knowledge sharing among academics in universities in Tanzania. The study findings indicated that the academics are aware of knowledge management and knowledge sharing, they participated in knowledge sharing activities in the universities though the universities are facing challenges such as funds, knowledge sharing policies which hinder them to share knowledge effectively.