Is it possible to actually measure Knowledge Sharing?

The idea here is quite simple and related to the assessment phase of KM introduction inside any organization, as far as I understand it.
Until today I've seen various tools used by most KM practitioners to try to reply to the very basic question in a KM assessment exercise: "where does this organization stand in terms of KMS"? The tools I've seen are:

  • questionnaires (manual, to be distributed to a wide statistical sample)
  • questionnaires (web-based such as the IBM-Inquira tool, with automatic stats displayed at the end, to be filled by the largest number of employees)
  • knowledge expeditions
  • interviews

These tools are surely good, but I was looking for something as much "scientific" as possible; something that could help us define KS well as speed, mass and position (over time) define the motion of a body in classical mechanics.
Some indexes capable of replying to the question: "what makes a knowledge organization different from the others?".
These indicators (indexes) should tell me that the organization is actually sharing knowledge... or not.
Here you find my tentative list:

  • number of co-authored documents (indicating good collaboration) compared with total documents produced, in particular if the authors come from different departments of the organization (indicating good cross-departmental collaboration);
  • frequency of updates to documents present in the knowledge base of the organization (indicating good learning after, i.e. knowledge capture);
  • frequency of accesses to the organization knowledge base (indicating good learning before);
  • number of references (links) to other documents that are saved in the organization knowledge-base, per document (indicating again good level of collaboration in terms of learning from experience).

I know it may sound a bit simplistic as an approach (after all classical mechanics is quite simplistic compared to quantum theory), but I think the good thing about it is that studying the evolution of these indexes over time may lead to a very good picture of how the organization is evolving its KS activity over time, even if at a very rough first-order approximation.
Do you feel there's anything missing or that any of the assumptions may be improved?
Over to you.

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Comment by Bonolo Tsiripane on September 7, 2010 at 11:08am
I think is possible to measure knowlege sharing as in organisation where appraisal is done organisations can
1Change performance appraisal guidelines so that knowledge sharing is taken into consideration.Changing performance managemet systems and ensuring that the staff in the organisation are involved in knowlege sharing
2.Find out about someone’s knowledge sharing habits not by checking the amount of posts on the intranet but by asking their peers (check for quality of contributions and willingness to help, for example)
3.Use knowledge audit questionnaires and interviews to gather data (obviously!) and to, simultaneously, emphasise the behaviours expected from staff
4.Have idea banks but make the idea cycle completely open and transparent so that ideas are owned and worked on by all those interested
5.Review the way the organisation rewards and recognises new ideas, new business, good results, etc..
Comment by Stefano Barale on August 14, 2010 at 12:35am
Dear Md Santo,
thanks a lot for your message. I will go through the document and try to see if it's what I was looking for.
I'm also very much interested to know any success story, in particular if any kind of "metrics" has had positive impact on getting buy-in on KM introduction from the top level management.
Thanks for sharing your works with me!
Comment by Md Santo on August 13, 2010 at 10:08am

From MOBEE KNOWLEDGE ( ) KM Framework, Metrics and Maturity Model - take a look at :


Establish a taxonomy of cross-functional business processes for your organization derived from Process Classification Framework (PCF) – American Productivity and Quality Center (APQC) template
The Categories – The Process Groups – The Processes items, classified as Competencies and could be treated as outputs. The Activities items classified as Capabilities and could be treated as outcomes. Both the items, Competencies as well as Capabilities actually are the sources for us to developing Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

Further, find out by your judgment, the Processes as well as the Activities items which are highly related significantly with the variable of Knowledge Sharing

The Knowledge Sharing related items whether they’re generated from Competencies or Activities items , then classified further into KM Tools, KM Process Framework as well as KM Standards (Culture and Value) for Competencies items and into Maturity columns for Activities items


Do measurement of each KM components in term of KM Tools (weighted score 1), KM Process Framework (weighted score 3) and KM Standards Culture and Value (weighted score 5) as well for the achievement of processes in Knowledge sharing competency

Do measurement also for the achievement of activities in Knowledge sharing capability within five ranges scoring system ( Initial – Aware – Established – Quantitatively Managed – Optimizing)

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