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March 16, 2009

Reflections on Debating

Although its been a couple of days since the debate which took place in class, i would just like to share my thoughts about it...

Frankly, it was a very rewarding and stimulating process...And this is for a number of reasons..

Firstly,because on the one hand we explored a completely new field and got some very good insights about it..So it terms of knowledge generation it fulfilled its goal..

Then the fact that we all sat around a table...Discussed our thoughts with the rest of our team mates was ideal in terms of knowledge sharing...But perhaps the most substantial knowledge sharing took place during the actual debate...When each team stood up and supported their views...It was interesting to hear the other side and especially listen to their arguments...It was not just a "I believe this...." it went a step beyond that by being  a "I beileive this, because..."Meaning that there was solid grounding supporting the views... 

I think it was stimulating, because both teams were passionate about defending their side...There was a lot of commitment and dedication by all the memebers of the teams to contribute and make the arguments strong...Although I have to admit it is a bit sweaping, especially beceuse of the time constraints and some people might feel a bit num...But even so I personally saw an eagerness to "do my best" from everyone...

There was a bit of competitiveness but just because we have developed our relationships over these months it was a healthy kind of competitiveness...Maybe if we had done it at the begining of the year this aspect would have been different.

As far as, the usefulness of this learning will be in the future is concerned...First of all, content wise the theme on innovation/creativity and standards develped a team output which I would like to call "Typical MBE" meaning that in this case it goes beyond the surface of what things might seem to be and traces the responsibilities organisations ought to fulfil at an internal level, by touching upon issues about leadership and culture...

On the other hand i think it made obvious that there is always another side to consider apart from what you think...Sitting there and hearing the other team's opinions made clear to me that it is critical to respect what other people think... understand why they have that standing...but in terms of being fair arguments are also  required...


March 12, 2009

Knowledge Management/ PMA and other impulsive thoughts

I am sure that for the past one and a half weeks or even two weeks, most of us have been exploring the vast fields of knowledge and asset management as an attempt to produce an ideal KM/AM solution for Waveriders-at this point i would like to wish everyone Good Luck for tomorrow...!!!! I know it has been a hectic week with many many many obligations but we are all still fighting, which is encouraging. To think off tomorrows presentation will be the final presentation for all of us on MBE...which makes me feel a bit nostalgic and of course stressed because project seems much closer...

Anyway...enough with the moaning,

What i am trying to get at is linked to knowledge management. As i was reading an article from the Harvard Business Review:Balancing Act- How to capture knowledge without killing it by J.S Brown and P.Duguid they mentioned that the main problem in capturing knowledge is to "know what you know". There is quite a difficulty understanding what you know because we do things without really realising them or what they cause, meaning that there is a difference between what we think we are doing and what we are actually doing/produsing. The other issue causing confusion is that a task might appear to be something but actually it is something else...Hoping i am making sense here...

Perhaps the most impressive thing i read in that article (and many others to  be honest) were the solutions suggested in order to develop a better understanding of what one knows... The prepositions were socialising, storytelling, experimenting...

I was thinking about the solutions...and i immetiately thought about how deal with our PMA's...

I mean...we attend the modules...we keep notes...we blog (not all-nor always)..we consult books and journals..but sometimes we feel a bit lost...even though there is substantial "knowledge" in our head but we just cant seem to get around the task... 

Therefore we often discuss with our class mates about the issues that are causing us trouble, we meet on MSN, for launch or randomly in the computer lab and just talk (socialising)...

When some of us have done some progress then we answer questions according to what we have done up to that point, for example : I did a mind map, or I started from the second question is much easier or I found that good article...meaning that we share our experience and narrate the way we have gone about with the PMA (storytelling)

After that, we have come in contact with our fellow students, discussed with them and bearing in mind their method...then its time for us to start practising with our PMA...(experimenting) 

I found that very interesting because in a way it seems that we generate and manage knowledge in ways that are not always that obvious...And even if it might seem so easy for us MBE students what happens in a organisation out there in the real world?

From my point of view there ought to be provision in order to allow employees to develop and practise such processes...It is actually funny but we were discussing with Mariana how some articles very seriously consider the water cooler a tool to generate socialisation and consequently a KM tool, because when employees get up to have some water they will probably discuss their job and exchange opinions...

Personaly, after working for 2 and a half years at the Hellenic Children's Museum i think that bringing emplyees together at the end of each day (perhaps a bit extravigant for a company, but for the Museum it was ideal) is pretty implicit...Especially when you have new members...Because through discussions and sharing you acquire a better understanding of your tasks which increases the level of involvment and makes it easier to make improvements ...


March 10, 2009

Stress and Knowledge/Performance

Considering what we discussed in class on Monday about stress and how it links to innovation/creativity and generaly speaking knowledge I did some research on stress and stress management (some valuable information can be found on the website of the American Institute of Stress, there is a separate part especially for job stress, if interested u can check it at http://www.stress.org/)

Anyway I found this figure which connects stress with human performance...I apologise for the quality of it, I am afraid I couldn't find a better one...By looking at this figure hopefully it becomes clear that the "amount" of stress experienced by an individual has a tremendous affect on the way this person is going to perform...

According to the figure total absence of stress is useless because it keeps someone in apathy and indifference...While as the stress level increases performance improves...I think we all are aware that a specific amount of stress can be useful or even advantageous  not only in terms of performance but also in aspects of everyday life, like for example a dance competition. It is the kind of stress that keeps us interested and mobilised, for example when we go to a job interview we feel very tensed but thanks to this feeling we become eager to do our best, prove that we are the best for the job and  the end all this will give a good impression. That is the good and healthy stress...

However, an overdose of stress can be catastrofic..for both performance and personal wellbeing. As shown in the figure when the amount of stress goes beyond the desired level then the result is disastrous...Anxiety and Panic take over and as a result performance goes down the drain...Unfortunately, I think that most of us have experienced this feeling and seen our performance decrease as our mental health disappears...

kissing.jpg

As far as linking the figure above and what i have mentioned until now, to knowledge I think we can simply replace the word performance on the left side with knowledge...

Just think of this, when in a year's time we are sitting in our office and feeling bored to death and in total relaxation i don't think there is any chance of approaching knowledge or making any significant contributions to the knowledge capital of he organisation.

On the other hand, with the right amount of stress I personally think that can function as a form of motivation to explore new possibilities, experiment, be creative and innovate. Provided of course, stress dosent go of the limits because then in a state of panic..agony..or even stomach aches knowledge is unreachable.

Probably a depressing example of how an overdose of stress paralyses knowledge could be a bad time managed PMA, because if I start dealing with a PMA 3 or 4 days before the deadline, my stress levels will be so high it will be impossible to actually learn something out of the whole task....


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