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Intergenerational workplace knowledge sharing: challenges and new directions

Jiayang Tang (Information School, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)
Jorge Tiago Martins (Information School, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK) (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Espoo, Finland)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 12 January 2021

Issue publication date: 8 April 2021

759

Abstract

Purpose

Drawing on theories pertaining to knowledge sharing, ageing at work and human resource practices for ageing workers, this article explores knowledge sharing challenges arising from the interaction between an increasingly ageing workforce and younger employees.

Design/methodology/approach

Contextually, the authors focus on China, where the pace of demographic transformations offers a unique opportunity to investigate knowledge sharing practices in their socio-economic context. Empirically, the authors analyse knowledge sharing behaviours and practices of retail banking professionals in a Chinese big four bank.

Findings

The encouragement of knowledge sharing between younger and older workers should be incorporated into organisations' human resource strategies. The availability of development, maintenance, utilisation and accommodative human resource practices signals to older workers that they are valuable and are worth investing in.

Originality/value

The authors’ contribution to theory and practice is twofold: starting with the identification of perceived knowledge sharing challenges, the authors’ analysis offers important contextually grounded insights into what types of managerial practices are relevant in eliciting successful knowledge sharing within organisations faced with an ageing workforce.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the editor, Professor David Bawden, and the anonymous referees whose comments and reviews helped us to greatly improve the paper.

Citation

Tang, J. and Martins, J.T. (2021), "Intergenerational workplace knowledge sharing: challenges and new directions", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 77 No. 3, pp. 722-742. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-08-2020-0129

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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