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Paper: “Building a Learning Organization: Three Phases of Communities of Practice in a Software Consulting Company” by Mestad, A., Myrdal, R., Dingsøyr,

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Presentation on theme: "Paper: “Building a Learning Organization: Three Phases of Communities of Practice in a Software Consulting Company” by Mestad, A., Myrdal, R., Dingsøyr,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Paper: “Building a Learning Organization: Three Phases of Communities of Practice in a Software Consulting Company” by Mestad, A., Myrdal, R., Dingsøyr, T. and Dybå, T. Discussant: Judith Molka-Danielsen, 21.nov.06, NOKOBIT, Molde

2 Changing nature of work Work is now: more cognitively complex more team-based and collaborative more dependent on social skills more dependent on technological competence more time pressured more mobile and less dependent on geography. There are changes in the demands on individuals and teams: Greater demand for Cognitive competence Greater demand for Social and interactive competence Source: The Changing Nature of Organizations, Work, and Workplace by Judith Heerwagen, Ph.D., J.H. Heerwagen & Associates Kevin Kelly and Kevin Kampschroer, U.S. General Services Administration Available at:

3 Types of Knowledge in a Modern Organization Strategies for knowledge management –“codification” strategy is based on managing explicit, codified knowledge, typically in databases. – “personalization” strategy, which aims at the tacit knowledge in the company. This strategy involves developing networks to link people to share tacit knowledge. Many companies have realized that personalization strategies are important to promote learning from experience. Such experiential learning differs from traditional training in that it is relevant to the daily work and happens “just in time”. (Source: “Building a Learning Organization: Three Phases of Communities of Practice in a Software Consulting Company” by Aase Mestad, Rune Myrdal, Torgeir Dingsøyr and Tore Dybå for NOKOBIT 2006.)

4 Case of Knowledge Sharing Objectnet AS recognizes that one of the greatest challenges is to share practical knowledge across the organization. –A core challenge is to track who knows what in the organization. Written records soon become outdated as employees are assigned to new projects, develop new skills and become familiar with new technologies. Sharing tacit knowledge may be one of the critical factors for success in a highly competitive market. It is important to learn how to capture and transfer knowledge more effectively. In Objectnet AS the main work form for the employees is projects, where the employees often work at the client's location.

5 Sharing Tacit knowledge Tacit knowledge is implicit or implied knowledge within an individual or group. When the worker leaves an organization she/he takes it with them. Explicit knowledge is public knowledge accessible and reusable by all. Businesses strive to bring knowledge into this domain. But, workers need incentive to share. As with all cases of tacit sharing: the individual must choose to cooperate. The strategy to cooperate must be a self enforcing equilibrium. Good for the individual and for the group. The payoff of acting together must be better than the payoff for acting alone. 3,31,4 4,12,2 ConfessDeny C D CoPSelf Prisoners Dilemma Payoff

6 What organizational structures support Tacit Knowledge creation and sharing? Workshops, Conferences, monthly meetings. – Not much. –Individual payoffs: pay raises, allocation to interesting projects, trips to interesting conferences. –Group payoff: There was not group. Workers could not keep up with new technologies. SIGs although non-static topics, workers can only be a member in one. - Little knowledge flow between groups. –Ind. payoffs: same. Managers drive and control topic setup. –Group payoff: Knowledge sharing on topics. But, after a year the SIG topics got worn out. Hard to initiate new topics. Some groups little activity, and only allowed to participate in one group, could not easily join another. Skill Circles – Greatest flow between groups. –Ind. payoffs: same.+ starting and running a SC was rewarded. –Group Payoffs: Knowledge sharing and can change groups when no longer beneficial. No penalty for stopping groups or for switching groups. Greater use of ICT. Membership in greater # of groups = more potential sharing.

7 What knowledge should be created? Assessment of both quality and quantity of knowledge that are created should be made. –What are the measurable benefits of the Skill Circles on individuals and on the company as a whole? –Do workers gain new contracts? Knowledge generation should be based on supply and demand: on what is needed. –Do workers find answers to their questions? It may be shown that the open structure of SC allows this to take place. –It should not be dictated by management to participate in SC, and it should be easy to change groups, start and stop groups. All such restrictions would create a false market. Workers must be self motivated to buy into SC.


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