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IS6600-7 Knowledge and Culture.

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Presentation on theme: "IS6600-7 Knowledge and Culture."— Presentation transcript:

1 IS6600-7 Knowledge and Culture

2 Learning Objectives Develop an Appreciation for different perspectives of knowledge What Enables Knowledge Sharing? How do we make sense of the world? Some principles of K, KS and KM

3 We All See The World / Knowledge in Different Ways (HSBC)
useful useless useless useful knowledge Knowledge? Knowledge? Knowledge? Knowledge? Adapted from HSBC

4 One of my students wrote to me:
“In my working experience, I feel that it's relatively easier to exchange and transfer knowledge with colleagues or vendors in the US & Taiwan rather than colleagues in South East Asian countries. Even though we have prepared manuals for them, they are reluctant to read the details.”  Why might it be easier to “exchange and transfer knowledge” with some colleagues but not others? What could be done differently / better here?

5 In which situation would you personally find it most difficult (and most easy) to transfer (and to receive) knowledge? Try to identify enough of the context (people, culture, knowledge type, tools used, problem context, etc.) so that we can readily understand and analyse that situation

6 Knowledge Transfer & Trust
I tell you what I am doing at work, a new technique that I have developed. It really works well for me and my teams. Is it *my* knowledge? Or someone else’s? Is this too subjective to be useful to others? Could anyone else use this technique? Do they need to trust me? How valid is the knowledge? Does it make sense? How can the validity be checked?

7 Sensemaking Making sense of reality, of problems, of people, is a critical aspect of the work that we do. Each of us makes a different sense of a situation. Consensus can be achieved – but this requires not just info/k transfer, but also debate, argument, with cause-effect relationships, drivers, actions and consequences. Knowledge transfer without sensemaking seems a waste of time Recall the cricket and baseball example. We can transfer, but does it make sense? If there is no sense, why transfer?

8 So, … Sensemaking … is the act of creating meaning out of a mess of unstructured data, information and knowledge. Making sense is not just finding answers to problems. It is understanding what caused the problem in the first place. And then reasoning what went wrong, why, what could have been done better, and what to do next. It may be easier to do this together, not alone. Technology can help.

9 Today, Work is Conversation
What is the implication for knowledge and KM? Tacit and Explicit. Why does conversation lead to better sensemaking? What can we do with this new interpretation of work – and knowledge? What are the implications for management? Can junior employees make their own decisions? And what should we not do? Meetings that only involve reporting, not conversations. Classes that are teacher-centric, students not participating. To create knowledge we have to learn to ask

10 Is KM that Simple? Just Asking?
Why didn’t I know? Because I didn’t ask? Because no one told me – and no one knew that I didn’t know? (No one asked) Because I didn’t know that others didn’t know that I didn’t know?! (I didn’t think to ask) Learn to ask the right questions. Learn to interpret the answers Learn to answer others’ questions, to share, to give. This is primarily about conversation, not technology. But what about Knowledge Culture? And Resistance?

11 Culture (and Personality)
Societal, Organisational, Professional, In-group Cultural norms are powerful drivers of behaviour – individual and collective Organisations like their employees to conform To behave according to culturally preferred norms But that involves change too Change at the individual level Can a knowledge sharing culture be stronger than a personal desire not to share?

12 Slogans at ABB ABB (Asea Brown Boveri) is a MNC in power and automation. 112k employees in 100 countries – a global firm. “Everybody is a Knowbody – Knowbodies share knowledge with Everybody” “We learn from each other by sharing our knowledge and experience”

13 Culture at Buckman Labs
Knowledge Nurtures Our goal is to establish a resource to help people learn about knowledge sharing [Lots of resources here] “KM happens one person at a time, one conversation at a time” [Robert Buckman] “The greatest knowledge base in the organisation is the tacit knowledge in the heads of the people that is continually changing and evolving” Technology can help – but it cannot substitute for interpersonal communication

14 Buckman Buckman operates a global knowledge network called K’Netix.
Organisational forums and codified knowledge base Focus on connecting people Reduce the power of middle management New code of work ethics – reward contributions and creativity Everyone can create, so long as they obey the rules Don’t try to damage the company

15 Buckman Story Buckman Singapore needs technical information on paper production to support a bid for a new plant in Indonesia Sends to K’Netix a request for information #1 reply from the US, a few hours later #2 reply from Canada, 50 mins later #3 - #8 from SE, NZ, ES, FR, MX, ZA Lots of knowledge shared, new discussions, new knowledge created, even a new CoP and the bid is successful.

16 Buckman Story - Reflections
So, what’s the value of technology? Of knowledge? Of sharing? Buckman rewards people who share The top 150 knowledge sharers rewarded with a stay at a 5-star resort and the opportunity to work with senior management on knowledge strategy. Recognition, status and kudos. After this, everyone wanted to share, especially those outside the top 150. And Buckman was the beneficiary. K’Netix introduction followed by a 250% rise in sales.

17 The Nature of Knowledge Seeking & Sharing in Chinese PR Firms
Employees exhibit a strong preference for one-to-one or within-team knowledge seeking & sharing, but not relying on the corporate intranet “Knowledge sharing means ensuring that the resources are available for the whole team” “My method [of knowledge sharing] is to tell people my personal lessons and experiences when I know others meet similar situations. My aim is to prevent people from repeating my mistakes”. “If I need to get some media contacts which I do not have, I ask the other teams one by one. The [corporate intranet] system is there, but nobody maintains or updates it” 17

18 Transactive Memories “Some members are good at media relations, [others] know the product features well or have a better understanding of the dynamic information of the whole industry. Thus, every member can best use their expertise and the quality of the service [provided by the team] will be improved” Where internal colleagues can’t help, they turn to external networks “I had to ask my friends in the media industry to help me” 18

19 Transactive Memories “I do rely on other people to remember things for me” “If my friends can’t help me, they may ask their friends, but I won’t develop guanxi with that person” “If a person with whom I have close guanxi asks for help, I must help” “I have experts within my in-groups – for gifts, media, printing” 19

20 Guanxi Employees are expected both to bring guanxi with them when they enter the firm and to develop new guanxi. Employees are headhunted because of their access to networks - guanxi (CEO) “Guanxi is arguably a media firm’s most valuable asset”. “If you don’t have good guanxi, what are you doing in the PR industry?” (CEO) “Without guanxi, I can’t work” “I am not allowed to use MSN at work, and my guanxi network has suffered in consequence. It is harder to work effectively.” “I prefer to develop external guanxi with people from my hometown who speak the same dialect and share the same values” 20

21 Guanxi Guanxi is notable for its obligatory reciprocity
This may lead to knowledge outflows and loss of IP Guanxi does not work well outside the ingroup “There is a lack of intra-office, cross-team communication” “I work for the consumer team and I may need a contact that is available in the auto team. But there is little daily communication between teams, so we can hardly know others and get their help” “Web 2.0 is part of life. We can’t block it. But we hope to encourage employees to use it responsibly” “We operate a totally open IT policy. Any application is allowed. We just gave complimentary iPhones to all employees – for work” 21

22 Interactive IT Applications
Employees make continuous use of a number of IT applications, esp. MSN and QQ Extensive lists of ‘friends’ or ‘contacts’. As many as 700, structured by category Multiple simultaneous chats Interrupting work, but *not* reducing productivity Content analysis shows 80% work related IM is especially valuable for urgent conversations. 22

23 Leveraging Effects Employees leveraged both guanxi and IM tools in order to seek and share knowledge – so as to solve problems on-the-fly as a form of “rapid, ad hoc collaboration”, without recourse to centrally managed intranet-based KMS Interactive conversations were more powerful drivers of value than IT – because they leveraged guanxi! 23

24 Highlights The value of informal knowledge, created on demand, communicated by people through interactive IT-based conversations and integrated with work processes The leveraging effects of guanxi as a means of problem solving and sensemaking, in in-groups The relatively less critical role of trust Guanxi alone provides a sufficient guarantee that interlocutors will behave appropriately – in the long term 24

25 Who or What? So, which is more important for problem solving?
Who do you know? or What do you know? The Theory of Weak Ties (Granovetter, 1971) suggests that it is more useful to share ideas with people whom you know LESS well. Why?

26 A Dozen Principles of K and KM
Knowledge is always changing. It can’t be easily organised, processed, compartmentalised. We have to think about it in new ways – if we are to make sense of it. 1. Knowledge is messy Everything is connected to everything else. It does not naturally fit in boxes. It is not at all clean. 2. Knowledge is self-organising Each day there is new knowledge, and old knowledge dies. Some is renewed, some not. Based on Verna Allee (1997)

27 A Dozen Principles 3. Knowledge thrives in communities
It can’t exist in isolation. When you have groups, knowledge will appear. You can’t stop it. 4. Knowledge is symbiotic with language Language is how we communicate – even a silent language or body language. Language includes jargon, management-speak, technical stuff. But, are there some forms of knowledge that really don’t need language to exist?

28 A Dozen Principles 5. Knowledge is slippery!
The more you try to isolate it, the more it slips away. You may codify knowledge, but static knowledge slowly becomes part of history. 6. “Best Practices” stifle creativity. Looser systems are more flexible and enable more creativity. Don’t over control. Set knowledge free!

29 A Dozen Principles 7. Knowledge keeps changing
Change is a constant. Don’t expect anything else. Work with change. There is no final solution, no 100% correct answer. 8. Knowledge dies – it is quite normal New knowledge is constantly created. Be creative rather than reactive. Don’t recreate old knowledge.

30 A Dozen Principles 9. No one is in charge!
Knowledge is a social process and exists in a social context. Ultimately, there is no single knowledge owner. We can facilitate, but not control. 10. Don’t waste time on rules and regulations. Knowledge will organise itself. Corporate rules/policies cannot stop people from creating and sharing knowledge if that is what they want to do.

31 A Dozen Principles 11. There is no silver bullet.
There is no one best way to facilitate knowledge. What is important is constant reflection, evaluation, experimentation, adjustment. 12. The way you think about knowledge influences how you think about knowledge problems. If you think about control, ownership, then… If you think about sharing, giving, then … If you think about future opportunities, then …

32 But What About Resistance?
Knowledge cannot be forced out of people! It must be given voluntarily! This means that we can’t force people to share – they must do so willingly, freely. And some people just won’t. They are like squirrels - they hoard it. They protect their self-interest. They equate ‘knowledge’ with ‘status’ or ‘job security’. Its mine!!!

33 Does it Make Sense? The desire to hoard, to possess, to own, is very much a facet of many contemporary, materialistic cultures – globally. But (as I have tried to demonstrate) much of the knowledge that we might consider to be exclusively ‘ours’, is in fact created collectively. Moreover, since factual knowledge is constantly changing, it isn’t very useful to ‘own’ it. However, process knowledge is another story.

34 Process Knowledge Refers to how things are done – and while it too changes, it is arguably more valuable. Knowledge about Creativity and innovation How to create knowledge How to teach How to negotiate These are often seen as tacit forms of knowledge that are extremely difficult to codify, but…

35 Do We Unconsciously Share?
If you ask me how I teach or negotiate or bargain… I can give you some kind of answer But can you do anything with the answer? Actually I am unconsciously sharing my knowledge all the time – simply by using it, and anyone who wants to observe and learn can do so. None of the courses I teach is called “How to Teach” or “How to Pass Exams”, but all of them could be! So, perhaps resistance is meaningless. The more isolated you are, the less conversations you have, the less you communicate, so the less you know and the less valuable you are.

36 The Price of Measurement
It is often said that “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”. Can we measure knowledge sharing, creativity, reuse, …? Is it useful to measure? Can we manage without measuring? Does measurement destroy innovation? 20% of UK hospital budgets go on measuring 120 KPIs for government. How about knowledge self-management?

37 Thinking Ahead KM has come from collection to connection to conversation and even automation Our approach to KM has shifted from technical to human and back to technical. Knowledge is seldom seen as a static entity It is dynamic, fluxing, changing, slippery. Which knowledge problems have we not yet solved?

38 Einstein “The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them”. “Imagination is more important than knowledge”.

39 And Now Please look at these two websites and read the short articles carefully. How to Create a Know-it-all-Company. Note: there are 4 pages Establishing a Culture for Knowledge Sharing

40 Then Think About These Questions (based on today’s class and these 2 articles)
What steps can be taken to integrate knowledge sharing behaviour into an organisation’s culture? What changes to an existing organisational culture might be needed to ensure KS success? What are the different ways of dealing with resistance to change – and how effective are they? Why is it so important to tell stories (about knowledge)? What can a story contain that is so special? Will Automation (of collection, connection, conversation, solution provision) be the next stage in KM development?


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