01 SES 05 B, Issues around Professional Roles
The concept of ‘knowledge brokerage’ refers to moving knowledge from one place or group of people to another (CHSRF, 2003). This study looks at knowledge brokering from an intergenerational teacher perspective. Whereas older teachers are described by some as ‘dead wood’, workers who have little potential and a low level of performance (Stam, 2009), others argue that the explicit and implicit knowledge of the workers close to retirement is largely underestimated (Nonaka, Kohlbacher, & Holden, 2006). It is argued that the ability to retain knowledge of employees close to retirement and to learn intergenerationally becomes a key feature of successful schools (Sutherland, 2005). Several articles in popular press highlight stereotypes of generational cohorts, however, empirical evidence is lacking (Murray, Toulson, & Legg, 2011). Nevertheless, this may not suggest to completely ignore the portrayals in popular literature, as individuals may base their perceptions and behaviors on these stereotypes (Manolis & Levin, 1997). Besides stereotyping, we also take into account some principles of social identity theory, which asserts that perceptions and behaviors of individuals towards others are a result of in-group (“us”) and out-group (“them”) categorizations. Positive characteristics are more likely to be allocated to in-group members and negative features to out-group members (Tajfel & Turner, 1986). According to Dencker, Joshi, and Martocchio (2007), in-/out-group dynamics can be caused by similarity of age, which implies that younger teachers might rate teachers of the same age group more positively than teachers of other generational cohorts (and vice versa). These ideas might impact knowledge sharing across generations.
The concept of intergenerational knowledge brokerage (IKB) describes the sharing of knowledge between knowledge demands and knowledge supply across generations. We build on the work of Arif et al. (2009) and Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) to propose a comprehensive model to describe different kinds of IKB. They describe the following processes as crucial: socialization, externalization, combination and internalization. These concepts are the core of IKB as they are central to the intergenerational conversion of implicit to explicit knowledge (and vice versa).
During the process of socialization, individuals share their implicit knowledge with others through discussions. Externalization is a process in which the conversion of implicit knowledge into explicit knowledge occurs through documenting meetings and forums. The third process, combination, refers to the collation and compilation of knowledge in the organizational memory, through the use of databases. Consequently, this archived and saved knowledge is accessible for future use. The last process, internalization, concerns the retrieval of stored knowledge. After retrieval and use of this previously stored knowledge, new and more up-to-date knowledge can be added (Arif et al., 2009).
A first point of interest in this study is related to the specific features of different generations as perceived by teachers. Next, this study describes and explains processes of knowledge sharing between teachers of different generations. The following explorative research questions were set forward:
RQ 1. How do teachers perceive colleagues from other generations in terms of knowledge demands and knowledge supplies ?
RQ 2. How do intergenerational knowledge brokerage (IKB) processes take place within school teams?
Arif, M., Egbu, C., Alom, O., & Khalfan, M. M. A. (2009). Measuring knowledge retention: a case study of a construction consultancy in the UAE. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 16(1), 92-108. doi: 10.1108/09699980910927912 Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3, 77-101. CHSRF. (2003). The Theory and Practice of Knowledge Brokering in Canada's Health System. Ottawa: Canadian Health Services Research Foundation. Dencker, J. C., Joshi, A., & Martocchio, J. J. (2007). Employee benefits as context for intergenerational conflict. Human Resource Management Review, 17(2), 208-220. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrmr.2007.04.002 Dencker, J. C., Joshi, A., & Martocchio, J. J. (2008). Towards a theoretical framework linking generational memories to attitudes and behaviors. Human Resource Management Review, 18, 180-187. Manolis, C., & Levin, A. (1997). A generation X scale: Creation and validation. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 57(4), 666-684. Murray, K., Toulson, P., & Legg, S. (2011). Generational cohorts' expectations in the workplace: a study of New Zealanders. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 49(4), 476-493. Nonaka, I., Kohlbacher, F., & Holden, N. (2006). Aging and Innovation: Recreating and Refining High-quality Tacit Knowledge through Phronetic Leadership. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management (AOM), Atlanta. Nonaka, I., & Takeuchi, H. (1995). The knowledge-creating company. How Japanese companies create the dynamics of innovation (T. H. J. Tromp, Trans.). New York: Oxford University Press. Stam, C. D. (2009). Knowledge and the ageing employee: a research agenda. scienceguide.nl Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1986). The social identity theory of intergroup behavior. In S. Worchel & W. G. Austin (Eds.), Psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 7-24). Chicago, IL: Nelson-Hall. Tsoukas, H. (2003). Do we really understand tacit knowledge? In M. Easterby-Smith & M. A. Lyles (Eds.), The Blackwell Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management (pp. 410-427). Malden, MA: Blackwell.
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