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Presentation on theme: "© =mcminstitute 10 Years of Knowledge- Communication.org Results, Insights, Perspectives Review of a Research Initiative August 2012 www.knowledge-communication.org."— Presentation transcript:

1 © =mcminstitute 10 Years of Knowledge- Communication.org Results, Insights, Perspectives Review of a Research Initiative August Prof. Martin J. Eppler

2 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 2 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Intro: Conveying what we know “The problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.” George Bernard Shaw “Everything that can be said at all, can be said clearly.” Ludwig Wittgenstein “ What matters is that we make ourselves understood.”Karl Popper

3 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 3 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Reviewing our Research: In the last ten years, we have witnessed...  influential knowledge communication research in management, education, applied linguistics, computer science and public policy studies,  the creation of several competence centers focusing on knowledge communication,  several conferences dedicated to the topic,  the creation of a chair in knowledge communication,  at least 6 publicly funded research projects on knowledge communication in different contexts. → It is time to review the progress in our initiative and in the knowledge communication field.

4 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 4 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG A look back and ahead in five steps 1.What is our topic and why is it relevant? 2.What have we learned about communicating knowledge? 3.What was our impact? 4.What are we currently working on? 5.What remains to be done? Appendix: Typical knowl. comm. problems

5 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 5 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Our research motivation – 10 years on and still timely As organizational decision making is increasingly complex and dynamic, the collboration of decision makers and experts becomes an ever more critical component for the quality of decision making in management. Experts Knowledge Communication Decision Makers

6 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 6 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Our main focus area: Collaborative knowledge work contexts Engineers Lawyers Political Analysts Risk Analysts Con- sultants Managers Public Decision Makers Executives Clients = Knowledge Integration through Communication ENABLING CONDITIONS FREQUENT MISTAKES METHODS

7 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 7 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Our main research question remains unchanged How can the communication between specialists and decision makers be improved with regard to complex, knowledge-intensive issues, specifically in the management domain?

8 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 8 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Our resulting research mission Improving the integration of knowledge between experts and decision makers by 1.understanding knowledge communication barriers and their root causes, 2. developing and evaluating knowledge communication methods and tools.

9 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 9 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG A look back and ahead in five steps 1.What is our topic and why is it relevant? 2.What have we learned about communicating knowledge? 3.What was our impact? 4.What are we currently working on? 5.What remains to be done? Appendix: Typical knowl. comm. problems

10 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 10 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG What theories have proven useful? In researching knowledge communication we and other scholars have made use of these informative and useful theories:  Regarding knowledge communication problems –Cognitive Load Theory (Sweller et al.) –Group communication theory (i.e, Stasser et al.) –Knowledge creation theory (Nonaka et al.) –Clarity theory (Groeben, Tausch et al.)  Regarding knowledge communication solutions: –Adaptive Structuration Theory (AST) –Boundary Object Theory (Star, Carlile et al.) –Metaphor theory (Black et al.) –Cognitive dimensions of notation (Green et al.)

11 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 11 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Our initial conception is still valid: Defining knowledge communication  We define knowledge communication as the (deliberate) activity of interactively conveying and co-constructing insights, assessments, experiences, or skills through verbal and non- verbal means.  The transfer of know-how, know-why, know-what, and know- who through face-to-face or media-based interaction.  Knowledge Communication is more than communicating information because it requires –conveying context, background, and assumptions, –conveying personal insights and experiences, –conveying rationale and reasoning, –conveying perspective and priorities, –conveying hunches, intuition, skills (implicit knowledge). 

12 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 12 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Framing: A process model of knowledge communication clarifies key issues Expert Identification Need Articulation Analysis Transfer of Results Application Management Tasks Expert Tasks Management Tasks Who has the exper- tise to analyze the issue? How can I articulate what I need to know? How can I elicit the relevant insights? How can we optimize our mutual under- standing? How and by whom can the insights be applied? Macro-levelMicro-level Macro-level

13 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 13 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Description: iteration loops in the process highlight interactive nature of k.com. Expert Identification Need Articulation Analysis Transfer of Results Application Revised needs based on use Revised expert consultation based on experiences Suggestions for analyses based on application experiences Revision of expert matching Refinement of need statement Follow-up analysis Follow-up questions

14 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 14 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Analysis: key problems in the process Expert Identification Need Articulation Analysis Transfer of Results Application Management Tasks Expert Tasks Management Tasks Prophet Syndrome Ingroup Outgroup Problem A.S.K. Problem Big Picture Problem Paralysis by Analysis Yield loss Context Chasm Common Ground Problem Information Overload Knowing Doing Gap Cassandra Syndrome

15 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 15 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Typical problems in expert/manager knowledge communication =The decision maker cannot identify the relevant expert. =The decision maker cannot convey his/her true or relevant knowledge needs to the expert. =The expert cannot produce the required analysis (in time, with the right focus, in the right format). =The expert cannot convey the findings to the decision maker –technical language / perspective / priorities –information overload / complexity –unclear assumptions & consequences –tacit knowledge cannot be verbalized =The decision maker does not apply the insights of the expert adequately.

16 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 16 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Solutions to Knowledge Communication Problems  Culturally: fostering informal, iterative exchanges, thus building trust and common ground  Organizationally: creating mixed teams that engage in visual practices and focus on the iterative creation of artefacts of knowing. Jointly visualizing instead of arguing  Technologically: employing knowledge visualization tools and methods (i.e. lets-focus.com)  Personally: improving knowledge communication skills (asking fertile questions, conceptual sketching), leading knowledge dialogues (cultivating openness and constructive feedback)

17 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 17 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Example: Visualizing Knowledge Dialogues in real time (f2f & virtually)

18 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 18 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Common templates for graphic knowledge communication Diagram Types linear cyclical linearhierarchicalNetworkVenn Matrix Coordinates t continuous Timeline Process Cycle Spectrum Pyramid Network Venn Matrix Cartesian Time Series Phases / StepsRelationships Clustering/ Positioning (static) Structure (dynamic) Process

19 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 19 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Our initial interactive overview of knowledge templates (visual-literacy.org)

20 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 20 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Templates for informal knowledge communication (from Sketching at Work)

21 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 21 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Experimental Results: visual metaphors augment knowledge communication  Our results revealed that visualization-supported management teams outperformed those working without visualization in the following way (Bresciani & Eppler 2009):  Productivity (quantity of information shared): 26 % higher with visualization (13.58 vs )  Variety of information shared: 4 times higher with visualization. (0.25 vs. 1.07)  Recall: 45% higher with visualization(5.8 vs 8.46), that means managers recalled almost twice as much from the meetings that were facilitated through visualization than their colleagues who only worked with flipcharts.

22 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 22 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG A look back and ahead in five steps 1.What is our topic and why is it relevant? 2.What have we learned about communicating knowledge? 3.What was our impact? 4.What are we currently working on? 5.What remains to be done? Appendix: Typical knowl. comm. problems

23 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 23 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Impact: Research Achievements  Best Paper Award 11 th International Knowledge Management Conference I’Know 2011, Graz, Austria.  Best Paper Award IEEE 14 th International Information Visualization Conference  Research Award by the International Association of Business Communicators Research Foundation as only second Non-US researcher in 26 years.  European Union’s Information Society Technologies Prize Nominee for lets-focus software (rated as one of Europe’s most innovative software packages)  Carolyn Dexter Best International Paper Award Nominee, Academy of Management Conference, 2011  Research featured in Harvard Business Review, MIT Technology Review, and BusinessWeek, The Guardian, and in O’Reilly Release 2.0 as visualization landmarks, as well as in more than 800 blogs and specialized websites, incl. several US Newspapers

24 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 24 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Milestones: Key Publications  Pfister, R.A., Eppler, M.J. (2012) The Benefits of Sketching for Knowledge Management, Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 16 (2).  Eppler M.J., Hoffmann F., Bresciani S. (2011). New Business Models through Collaborative Idea Generation. International Journal of Innovation Management. Vol. 15 (6),  Bresciani, S., Eppler, M.J. (2010) Choosing Knowledge Visualizations to Augment Cognition: the Managers’ View in: IEEE Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Visualization, IV10, London, Best paper award  Bresciani, S., Eppler, M.J. (2009). The Benefits of Synchronous Collaborative Information Visualization: Evidence from an Experimental Evaluation. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, Vol. 15 (6), November/December 2009, pp  Bresciani S., Eppler M.J., Subramanian S.V. (2010). Enhancing Group Information Sharing Through Interactive Visualization: Experimental Evidence. Academy of Management Meeting, August , Montreal, Canada.  Bischof, N., Comi, A., Eppler, M.J. (2011) Knowledge Visualization in Qualitative Methods – or how can I see what I say? in: Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Information Visualization. IEEE: London  Eppler, M.J., Pfister, R. (2011) Sketching as a Tool for Knowledge Management: An Interdisciplinary Literature Review on its Benefits, in: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference of Knowledge Management Iknow, Graz. Best paper award.  Eppler, M.J., Aeschimann, M. (2009). A Systematic Framework for Risk Visualization in Risk Management and Communication, in: Risk Management - An International Journal, 11 (2), April 2009:  Eppler, M., Mengis, J. (2009). Wie Entscheider und Experten reden lernen [How Decision Makers and Experts learn to talk together], Harvard Business Manager, April:  Eppler, M., Platts, K. (2009). Visual Strategizing: The Systematic Use of Visualization in the Strategic Planning Process, Long Range Planning LRP - International Journal of Strategic Management, 42 (1), February:  Mengis, J., Eppler, M. (2008) Understanding and Managing Conversations from a Knowledge Perspective: An Analysis of the Roles and Rules of Face-to-face Conversations in Organizations, Organization Studies, 29:  Schmeil, A., Eppler, M.J. (2012) A Structured Approach for Designing Collaboration Experiences for Virtual Worlds, forthcoming in: Journal of the Association for Information Systems.

25 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 25 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Milestones: Global Impact  Some of our research studies on knowledge communication have been translated into: –Russian –Arabic –French –Italian –Portuguese –Chinese –Danish –Finnish

26 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 26 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Milestones: Our Citation Impact ( )  A total of approx Citations  Top Cites in the time period: –Information Overload Article: 370 citations –Information Quality book: 240 citations –Harvesting Project Knowledge article:200 citations –Knowledge Visualization article:90 citations –Making knowledge visible:50 citations –Visual Representations In KM article:50 citations –Visual Strategizing article:40 citations –Periodic Table of Vis. Article:40 citations

27 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 27 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG A Few of the books from the Research Initiative

28 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 28 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Major studies that we conducted during the time period IABC Resarch Foundation Study on Information Overload in Communication =mcm Study on Making the Complex Clear

29 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 29 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Milestones: Conference Keynotes  Keynotes on Knowledge Communication at the following international conferences: 1.Learntec 2.ISTIC 3.European Symposium on Language for Specific Purposes 4.Swiss Economist Day 5.International Knowledge Management Conference Iknow 6.International Information Visualization Conference 7.International KM Conference Krems 8.International KM Conference Passau 9.International Knowledge Communication Conference Aarhus

30 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 30 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Milestones: Our new Tools and Methods Knowledge communication Card set and iPhone App Paths to Success creativity method and iPad app Knowledge communication software

31 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 31 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG A look back and ahead in five steps 1.What is our topic and why is it relevant? 2.What have we learned about communicating knowledge? 3.What was our impact? 4.What are we currently working on? 5.What remains to be done? Appendix: Typical knowl. comm. problems

32 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 32 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Current Focus: Communicating to create new Knowledge: Creability  Topic: –Knowledge-based Collaborative Creativity (Creabillity)  Research Question: –How can experts and decision makers communicate so that their combined knowledge (through crealogues) gives rise to innovative business ideas?  Employed Research Methods: –Experiments with real-life managers –In-company testing and deployment –Focus groups –Surveys  Link:

33 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 33 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG A look back and ahead in five steps 1.What is our topic and why is it relevant? 2.What have we learned about communicating knowledge? 3.What was our impact? 4.What are we currently working on? 5.What remains to be done? Appendix: Typical knowl. comm. problems

34 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 34 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Future challenges: open research issues  Consolidating existing findings in a systematic theory of knowledge communication among experts and decision makers  Validating the benefits (and drawbacks) of different knowledge visualization methods for different knowledge communication contexts  Developing mobile methods for knowledge communication  Extending the boundaries of knowledge communication research to areas beyond the management context  Exploring the requirements and constraints of communicating knowledge for future generations (long- term knowledge communication)

35 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 35 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Contact Information Prof. Martin J. Eppler Managing Director / Chair of Communications Management University of St. Gallen (HSG) =mcm institute for media and communications management Blumenbergplatz St. Gallen Switzerland martin.eppler[at]unisg.ch

36 © =mcminstitute Appendix: Typical Knowledge Communication Problems

37 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 37 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Knowledge sharing hostility Knowledge communication fails because the ‘knowledge givers are reluctant to share their insights due to micro politics, strenuous relationships, or due to fear. Husted & Michailova, 2002 Micropolitics of knowledge The ‘knowledge claims’ of an expert are discredited by the decision makers due to their differing (hidden) agenda, because of a coalition of people with an alternative view, or due to the expert’s lack of formal authority. Lazega, 1992 Internal knowledge stickiness Knowledge can sometimes not be transferred because of arduous relationships, or casual ambiguities regarding the knowledge or because of the lack of absorptive capacity of the knowledge receivers. Szulanski, 1996, 1999 Knowledge Communication Problems

38 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 38 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG GroupthinkA (management) team may not truly listen to the input of an expert because of the team’s group coherence and group dynamics sometimes block outside advice and feel omniscient. Janis, 1982 Information overloadAn individual is sometimes not able to integrate new information into the decision making process because too much complex information has to be interpreted too quickly. O’Reilly, 1980, Eppler & Mengis, 2004 Self/Other effectIndividuals tend to discount advice and favor their own opinion. Yaniv & Kleinberger, 2000 Knowing-Doing gap / Smart talk trap Sometimes organization know where a problem resides and how to tackle it, but do not move from knowledge to action (due to unhealthy internal competition or lacking follow-up). Pfeffer & Sutton, 2000 Knowledge Communication Problems

39 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 39 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Absorptive capacityLimited ability of organization and its decision makers to integrate the knowledge of experts based on lack of prior knowledge, required time or effort. Bower and Hilgard, 1981; Cohen & Levinthal, 1990 Paradox of expertiseExperts sometimes find it difficult to articulate their knowledge or rephrase their insights in a way that a non- experts can understand. Sometimes experts indicate other rules than they actually apply. Johnson, 1983 Ingroup outgroup behavior We tend to interact more with likewise groups than with others thus reducing our changes to acquire radically new knowledge. Blau, 1977 Task closure In our communication,we may choose to use a one way communication medium because it permits us to close an open task without having to have a conversation. Thus leaner communi- cation channels are used than may be necessary. In other words: We tend to want to close a communication pro-cess in order to complete a task. Straub & Karahanna, 1998; Meyer, 1962 Knowledge Communication Problems

40 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 40 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Set-up to fail syndromeManagers are projecting their initial expectation of an expert’s likely performance unto him/her, leading to the self-fulfilling prophecy of (at times) lower performance. This is aggravated by de- motivating feedback to the expert. Manzoni and Barsoux, 2002 ASK problemAnomalous State of Knowledge: when a decision maker does not have the knowledge base to really know what to ask for. People need to know quite a bit about a topic to be able to ask or search for relevant information. Belkin, 1980 ; Chen et al., 1992 Not-Invented here syndrome Knowledge from others is sometimes rejected because it originated elsewhere. Katz & Allen, 1982 False consensus effectWe assume others see situations as we do, and fail to revise our framing. Manzoni & Barsoux, 2002 Inert knowledgeThe knowledge that the decision maker has acquired from the expert does not come to mind when it is needed or useful for decision making or actions. The transferred knowledge is stuck in the situation where it has been acquired. Whitehead, 1929 Knowledge Communication Problems

41 10 Years Knowledge- Communication.org Page 41 Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler / =mcminstitute / HSG Hidden profile problem You don’t know other’s background, what they know and could contribute. The only knowledge that is consequently shared is what is expected by everyone. Stasser 1992; Stasser and Stewart, 1992 Common knowledge effect The tendency of a group to focus merely on commonly shared (rather than unique) pieces of information. Gigone & Hastie, 1993 Lack of common ground Common ground refers to the manager’s and expert’s assumptions about their shared background beliefs about the world. If those assumptions are wrong or inconsistent communication becomes more difficult. Clark and Schäfer, 1989, Olson & Olson, 2000 Cassandra syndromeThe decision makers do not give sufficient weight or attention to an expert’s warning because they face many other important problems. Only when the situation has deteriorated dramatically do they start taking the expert’s advice. Mikalachki, 1983 Knowledge Communication Problems


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