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Martin J. Eppler, Jeanne Mengis University of Lugano (USI) March 2006 Knowledge Communication among Experts and Decision.

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Presentation on theme: "Martin J. Eppler, Jeanne Mengis University of Lugano (USI) March 2006 Knowledge Communication among Experts and Decision."— Presentation transcript:

1 Martin J. Eppler, Jeanne Mengis University of Lugano (USI) March 2006 Knowledge Communication among Experts and Decision Makers in the Realm of Management

2 2006 Page 2 University of Lugano (USI) / Overview 1. Research Motivation, Questions, and Domains 2. Describing the Knowledge Communication (Kcom) Area 3. Analyzing Kcom Problems 4. Developing Kcom Solutions 5. Conclusion ::

3 2006 Page 3 University of Lugano (USI) / Research Motivation As organizational decision making is becoming increasingly complex and dynamic, the delegation of decision-relevant analyses from decision makers to experts gains relevance and becomes a critical prerequisite for the quality of decision making in management. Experts Knowledge Communication Decision Makers

4 2006 Page 4 University of Lugano (USI) / Research Questions ?? 1. Description: How do experts convey their insights to managers and vice versa in organizational decision making? What problems affect this communication process? 2. Analysis: How can these problems be detected and explained? 3. Solutions: How can the problems be avoided or resolved?

5 2006 Page 5 University of Lugano (USI) / Research Domains: Examples of Kcom Contexts Managers Public Policy Officers Consultants Executives and Managers Strategy Market Researchers Managers Marketing Technology Public Sector Analysts Engineers

6 2006 Page 6 University of Lugano (USI) / Research Methods Description: 10 Case Studies and 10 Focus Groups; Personal Interviews; Literature Review Analysis: Experiments & Case Studies, Literature Review, Concept Development Solutions: Software Development and Action Research

7 2006 Page 7 University of Lugano (USI) / Topic Definition and Description: 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. Successful knowledge communication leads to the integration of know-how, know-why, know-what, and know- who between experts and managers 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).

8 2006 Page 8 University of Lugano (USI) / The Knowledge Integration Perspective What is knowledge integration? K nowledge integration is “the synthesis of individuals’ specialized knowledge into situation-specific systemic knowledge”. It is a key factor for knowledge application (Alavi & Tiwana 2002) Why is knowledge integration an important construct for knowledge communication between experts and decision makers? knowledge integration is a key aspect of the application of the experts‘ and decision makers‘ specialized knowledge within the decision making process The complexity of today’s tasks requires a wide use and specialized development of the knowledge of various individuals. At the same time, decisions can only be taken if the specialized knowledge of the individuals is integrated on a collective level. (Grant 1996) The aim of knowledge integration is not a levelling of knowledge between experts and managers, but higher level of shared action and decision making Knowledge integration (as opposed to knowledge transfer) does not aim at minimizing specialization and disagreement trough the exchange of knowledge, but rather to maintain or even foster specialized knowledge though the development of rich meaning and the creation of new insights that leads to joint actions and decisions which are highly context embedded (Eisenhardt & Santos 2000)

9 2006 Page 9 University of Lugano (USI) / The Research Arena Baron, J. (2000) Bazerman, M.H. (1990) Kahneman, D. & Tversky, A. (2000) March, J. G. (1994) Payne, J. W., Bettman, J. R., & Johnson, E. J. (1993) Eisenhardt, K. M. (2002) Gülich, E. (2003) Mitchell, P. (2001) Okhuysen, G. A., & Thomas, J. C., Kellog, W. A., & Erickson, T. (2001) Topp, W. (2000). Janis, I. L. (1982) Menon, T & Pfeffer, J. 2003 Harkins, P. (1999) Stasser, G. & Titus, W. (2003) Mc Leod, J.M., Chaffee, S.H. (1973) Alavi, M. and Leidner, D. (2001) Davenport, T.H. & Prusak, L. (2000) Von Krogh, G. Ichijo, K. & Nonaka, I. (2000) Grant, R.M (1996) Starbuck, W.H. (1992) Szulanski, G. (1996) Anderson, J.R (1981) Mieg, H.A. (2001) Newell, A., & Simon, H. A. (1972) Sternberg, R. J. (1998) Stasser, Stewart, Wittenbaum 1999

10 2006 Page 10 University of Lugano (USI) / Description: Our Process Model 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? Organizational Level Inter-personal Level = management challenges Organizational Level

11 2006 Page 11 University of Lugano (USI) / Analysis: Knowledge Communication Problems Expert Identification Expert Identification Need Articulation Need Articulation Analysis Transfer of Results Transfer of Results Application Management Tasks Expert Tasks Management Tasks Prophet Syndrome Ingroup Outgroup Problem A.S.K. Big Picture Problem Common ground Paralysis by Analysis Information Overload Hidden Profile Cassandra Syndrome Groupthink Expert paradox Knowing Doing Gap

12 2006 Page 12 University of Lugano (USI) / Typical Knowledge Communication Problems Prophet syndrome: managers have a preference for outside experts. [Menon & Pfeffer, 2003] Ingroup-outgroup: managers prefer to consult with likeminded peers rather than other professional groups [Blau, 1977] ASK (anomalous state of knowledge): Managers often do not have the terminology to articulate their needs to experts [Belkin,1980 ] Big picture problem: managers and experts deviate from the main issue and get lost in details. [Harkins, 1999] Common ground: managers and experts are not aware of their differing background knowledge. [Clark and Schäfer, 1989, Olson & Olson, 2000 ] Paralysis by analysis: experts have difficulties in concluding their analysis and proposing solutions [Langley, A. (1995),Lenz, R. T., Lyles, M. A., 1985, ] Information Overload: experts are inundated with detail information and loose sight of the main objectives of their assignment [O’Reilly, 1980]. Hidden Profile: managers and experts only focus on their already identified mutual knowledge and neglect new insights. [Stasser & Titus, 2003] Cassandra Syndrome: the managers ignore the experts’ warning and advice, but later on blame the expert if losses occur. [Mikalachki, 1983] Groupthink: managers and/or experts ignore evidence or do not use available knowledge fully in order to preserve group cohesion. [Janis, 1982] Expert paradox: the experts are not able to convey what they know to managers because they cannot articulate it in terms that management can understand. [Johnson, 1983] Knowing-Doing Gap: managers and experts know what to do, but cannot execute it due to internal competition or wrong incentives [Pfeffer & Sutton, 2000]

13 2006 Page 13 University of Lugano (USI) / Description: Iterations in the Process 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 Management Tasks Expert Tasks Management Tasks

14 2006 Page 14 University of Lugano (USI) / Analysis Example: The Big Picture Problem The big picture problem (BPP) is the dysfunctional tendency of a group to neglect the global context of an issue by discussing relevant and irrelevant aspects at an inappropriate level of detail which does not contribute to the team’s conversational progress or to the common understanding of its main issues. The inappropriate level of detail may be too detailed, i.e., getting lost in minor side-issues, or too broad, not focusing enough on the real (big) issue at hand. It includes the inability to recognize a counterproductive level of detail for an extended period of time and manifests itself in the inability of meeting participants to relate their contributions to the team’s objectives or in statements of discontent with the progress of a conversation.

15 2006 Page 15 University of Lugano (USI) / Analysis Example: The Big Picture Problem - Stages and Drivers 1 2 3 4 5

16 2006 Page 16 University of Lugano (USI) / Solution: Our Typology of Knowledge Dialogues By classifying knowledge-intensive conversations according to their main objective, managers and experts can align their expectations and behavior, avoid the big picture problem, and optimize their interactions. Sharealogues : are open discussions that focus on the integration of mental models. Crealogues : are divergent discussions that focus on the genreation of action options alternatives, and reframings of current perceptions. Assessalogues : are critical discussions that focus on the positive and negative aspects of decision options. Doalogues : are convergent discussions that focus on how to implement decisions. Metalogues : are joint reflections and considerations about the process of communication

17 2006 Page 17 University of Lugano (USI) / Five visualization applications can facilitate these crucial conversations Crafting the Future Understanding The Present Operational Conversations Strategic Conversations Crealogue Sharealogue Assessalogue Doalogue Committed Action New Ideas Balanced View Common Understanding Metalogue

18 2006 Page 18 University of Lugano (USI) / Solutions: Advantages of Interactive Joint Visualization Software 1. Focuses and aligns the attention of experts and managers 2. Elucidates and clarifies basic assumptions 3. Visualizes the evolution of a discussion 4. Allows to verify the reached consensus 5. Documents the process and the results  Facilitates knowledge-intensive collaboration (mediated/live)

19 2006 Page 19 University of Lugano (USI) / Solutions: Interactive Joint Visualization Screenshots of the Let‘s Focus Suite

20 2006 Page 20 University of Lugano (USI) / Other Solutions Training to foster effective communication behavior Use formal procedures such as the ladder of inference, in training to rais awareness of certain conversational patterns Simulate difficult conversational behavior as for example active listening Job improvement measures for knowledge intensive conversations: work with conversational guidelines, principles, and rules engage trained, neutral, external facilitators employ formal procedures/interventions like devil‘s advocate, to structure conversations Build up a fruitful context for conversations: Team Development / Team Building Job-rotation Care Time

21 2006 Page 21 University of Lugano (USI) / !! Conclusion 1.Knowledge Communication between experts and decision makers is a critical, but under-researched topic at the intersection of knowledge management and communication studies. 2.The five step process of knowledge integration among experts and managers suffers from numerous problems, such as groupthink, the big picture problem, the ASK syndrome, or the hidden profile problem. 3.Managed process iterations, explicit communication intentions and formats (such as sharealogues or doalogues), and interactive real-time visualization can reduce some of these problems effectively.

22 2006 Page 22 University of Lugano (USI) / References Alavi, M. and Leidner, D. (2001) Knowledge Management and Knowledge Management Systems: Conceptual Foundations and Research Issues, MIS Quarterly, 25, 1 (2001), 107-136. Alavi, M. Tiwana, A. (2002) Knowledge integration in virtual teams: The potential role of KMS. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 53, 1029-1037 Anderson, J.R. (Ed.) (1981) Cognitive Skills and their acquisition, Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale (NJ) Baron, J. (2000) Thinking and Deciding, Cambridge University Press, New York Bazerman, M.H. (1990) Managerial decision making, Wiley, New York Belkin, N.J. (1980) Anomalous states of knowledge as a basis for information retrieval. Canadian Journal of Information Science, 5, 133-143. Blackler, F. (1995) Knowledge, Knowledge Work and Organizations, Organization Studies, Vol. 16, No. 6, 1021-1046. Blau, P.M. 1977. Inequality and heterogeneity: A primitive theory of social structure. New York: Free Press. Clark, H. H., & Schaefer, F. S. (1989) Contributing to discourse. Cognitive Science, 13, 259–294.24 Davenport, T.H & Prusak, L. (2000) Working knowledge, Harvard University Press, Boston Eisenhardt, K. M. & F. M. Santos (2000) Knowledge-Based View: A New Theory of Strategy? Handbook of Strategy and Management. A. Pettigrew, H. Thomas and R. Whittington. London, Sage: 139-164. Grant, L.M. (1996) Toward a Knowledge-based Theory of the Firm, Strategic Management Journal,17b, 109-122 Grant, R. M. (1996) Prospering in Dynamically-Competitive Environments: Organizational Capability as Knowledge Integration. Organization Science 7(4): 375-387. Gülich, E. (2003) Conversational techniques used in transferring knowledge between medical experts and non-experts, Discourse Studies, 5(2), 235-263. Harkins, P. (1999) Powerful conversations. How high impact leaders communicate. McGraw-Hill, New York Higgins, T. (1999) Saying is Believing Effects: When Sharing Reality About Something Biases Knowledge and Evaluations, in: Thompson, L;. Levine J.; Messick D. (Eds.) (1999) Shared Cognition in Organization: The Management of Knowledge, Mahwah: Erlbaum. Janis, I. L. (1982) Groupthink, Psychological Studies of Policy Decisions and Fiascoes, Houghton Mifflin, Boston Johnson, P. E. (1983). What kind of expert should a system be? Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 8, 77-97. Kahneman, D. & Tversky, A. (Eds.) (2000) Choices, Values, and Frames, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (UK) Langley, A. (1995) Between 'Paralysis by Analysis' and 'Extinction by Instinct, Sloan Management Review, 36 (3) 63–76 Lenz, R. T., Lyles, Marjorie A.. (1985) Paralysis by Analysis: Is Your Planning System Becoming Too Rational? 'Long Range Planning. London:18 (4) pg. 64-73 Levine J.; Messick D. (Eds.) (1999) Shared Cognition in Organization: The Management of Knowledge, Mahwah: Erlbaum.

23 2006 Page 23 University of Lugano (USI) / References March, J. G. (1994) A Primer on Decision Making, The Free Press, New York Mc Leod, J.M., Chaffee, S.H. (1973) Interpersonal Approaches to Communication Research, American Behavorial Scientist 16(4), 469-499. Menon, T. & Pfeffer, J. (2003) Valuing Internal Knowledge vs. External Knowledge: Explaining the Preference for Outsiders, Management Science, 49, 497-513 Mieg, H. A. (2001) The Social Psychology of Expertise. Erlbaum, Mahwah (NJ) Mikalachki, A. (1983) Does anyone listen to the boss? Business Horizons, January-February, 18-24. Mitchell, P. (2001) Marrying Communication with Knowledge. The Case for Organizational Linkage, Strategic Communication Management, December/January Newell, A., & Simon, H. A. (1972) Human problem solving, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs (NJ) Okhuysen, G. A., & Eisenhardt, K. M. (2002) Integrating knowledge in groups: How formal interventions enable flexibility. Organization Science, 13(4), 370-387 Olson, G., Olson, J. (2000) Distance Matters, Human-Computer Interaction, 15, 2-3, 107-137. O’Reilly, C. A. (1980) Individuals and information overload in organizations: Is more necessarily better? Academy of Management Journal, 23, 684-696 Payne, J. W., Bettman, J. R., & Johnson, E. J. (1993) The adaptive decision maker, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, UK) Starbuck, W.H. (1992) Learning by Knowledge-Intensive Firms, Journal of Management Studies, 29, 147-175. Stasser, G. & Titus, W. (2003) Hidden profiles: a brief history. Psychological Inquiry, 14,304-313 Stasser, G., Stewart, D. D., & Wittenbaum, G. M. (1995) Expert roles and information exchange during discussion: The importance of knowing who knows what. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 31, 244–265. Sternberg, R. J. (1998) Metacognition, abilities, and developing expertise: What makes an expert student? In: Instructional Science, 26, 127-140 Szulanski, G. (1996) Exploring internal stickiness: Impediments of the transfer of best practice within the firm, Strategic Management Journal,17: 27-43 Thomas, J. C., Kellog, W. A., & Erickson, T. (2001). The knowledge management puzzle: Human and social factors in knowledge management. IBM Systems Journal, 40, 863-884. Topp, W. (2000). Generative conversations: Applying lyotard's discourse model to knowledge creation within contemporary organizations. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 17, 333-340 Von Krogh, G. Ichijo, K. & Nonaka, I. (2000) Enabling Knowledge Creation, Oxford University press, NY

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