The new way of knowledge sharing, a thesis research about the effects of NWOW on knowledge sharing.
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In the past years, many articles have been written about NWOW, "the New Way of Working", in the Dutch business landscape. NWOW is based on several well-known underlying business concepts (e.g. teleworking and results driven management), which together can provide many benefits for employees and the knowledge intensive organization itself. At the same time, organizations have recognized knowledge as their most valuable and strategic resource in order to sustain competitive advantage. However, only little research has been devoted to the influences of NWOW on knowledge sharing. This thesis research starts with clarifying what NWOW is, how it is defined, what the fundaments are and how it arose. After a literature review a working definition of NWOW has been proposed. Experts on the topic of NWOW and knowledge sharing have been interviewed to gain a thorough understanding of the main concepts, which resulted in five propositions and the discussion about a new generation of knowledge sharing. Three case studies have been conducted in order to measure general behavior towards knowledge retrieval and knowledge sharing at Centric B.V., Royal Dutch DSM N.V. and Enexis B.V., all of which are running pilot projects on NWOW. The results of this qualitative research show that NWOW has been perceived as positive by all participating employees. NWOW participants share knowledge more virtually than not NWOW participants. More informal opportunities to share can be recognized among NWOW participants. Sensitive knowledge is shared more virtually by NWOW participants and sharing knowledge with a group shows a shift in choosing a wider variety of channels. Meetings between NWOW participants become shorter and more productive. However, the organization of meetings becomes more ad hoc. Furthermore, this research finds no differences in knowledge retrieval since the introduction of NWOW. Participants still rely the heaviest on personal networks when searching knowledge. ICT becomes even more a crucial service in an organization when implementing NWOW: more people are going to work time and location independent, relying heavier on knowledge sharing facilities, which makes maximum up-times of ever growing complex ICT systems, more important than ever.