March 21, 2008

Is it worth it?

"How much will WaveRiders profit from this project?"

The minute i heard that question, i regretted putting a price in the first place. Then i tried explaining that the results were intangible, but Paul didn't buy that. Then the next group came on and they got questioned for not having a quoted price. At that point i thought, 'Hah! so that was a good move from our part" and nodded at my team mates.

Funny thing is even when i thought about estimating the value of KM and AM is an organisation, i really couldn't see how it could be done. Whats ironical is that i thought of it when we were discussing earlier that week about seminar topics

i had suggested -why is asset management important: in terms of cost to benefit  

-how do u expand ur assets as part of company growth: again thinking about how we can spend on expansion knowing that the benefit gained will be worth the money spent if the benefits are intangible

During the actual discussion as people gave points , i somehow concluded tomyself that the benefits are  clearly intangible so it can't be accurately estimated

But when we go back to real life, say a company where we come across day to day problems based on bad knowledge and asset management, it is going to be vital to have figures on return be able to convince higher authorities ,colleagues who may not even have heard of the concept. It is easy to convince anyone that it will give returns, what is hard is convincing them that it is worth investing for.

prove it!

I'm looking forward to putting in some extra research to find existing techniques(as indicated by Paul) cause i feel that our knowledge on this topic is incomplete without this.But i am still skeptical about the accuracy of the benefit values because on logical thinking this is simply estimated and the value will be much greater.It's like if my Dad asks me to give me the exact value of doing my Msc at Warwick univ, though i can tell him that i will earn higher and can gain the money back in no time, aspects such as an international perspective,confidence and respect are intangible values gained side by side that cant really be valued.

But then again it is useful to have a rough figure to  know if the returns are worth the investment.

March 16, 2008

psychological contract: solution?

Follow-up to importance of tacit knowledge for an orgnaisation in a resource perspective from Mathew's blog


The next 2 paragraphs are from our infamous online bible :Wikipeadia ;)

A psychological contract represents the mutual beliefs, perceptions, and informal obligations between an employer and an employee. It sets the dynamics for the relationship and defines the detailed practicality of the work to be done. It is distinguishable from the formal written contract of employment which, for the most part, only identifies mutual duties and responsibilities in a generalized form.

Breach of the psychological contract

If those in power breach the psychological contract by not paying a fair rate, or failing to make fair evaluations of performance, or treating the employee with a lack of respect, it rapidly causes disillusionment, dissatisfaction, and exit. This may arise shortly after the employee joins the company or after years of satisfactory service. The impact may be localized and contained, but if morale is more generally affected, the profitability of the organization may be diminished. Further, if the activities of the organization are perceived as being unjust or immoral, e.g. aggressive downsizing or outsourcing causes significant unemployment, its public reputation and brand image may be damaged.


well the concept of psychological contracts is an old one formed in 1960 by Chris Argyris. It is a concept which motivates the employee and influences his work drastically. Even the slighest appreciative gesture from his manager can make him work harder. But not all company's really care about that. It really depends on the nature of the leaders of a company . on how thats managed. Lemme illustrate with two examples:

eg1) INFOsys is a leading Indian IT company (which i worked for during my gap year). This company does everything possible to protect its tacit knowledge. They believe that Knowledge is the key to their success so they have excellent training facilities, mentor systems, certifications, standarised processes etc to ensure rentention and development of knowledge. They have forums on all topics, an msn messenger facility within firms which interlinks all branches all over the world, an intranet, email facility,worldwide networking between systems and phones to increase knowledge sharing.

But whats most interesting was how they protected their knowledge. The company doesn't outsource whatsoever. It may recruit 1000 graduates on one day and train them extensively instead. They see it as an investment. Even if its an area of non speaciality, they belive that through proper training, they can gain it instead.  Therefore they a learning and research center where a portion of their employees are dedicated in knowledge mangement ,training and knowledge expansion and market study. 

where does psychological contracts come in? I'm getting to that. The company feels that the employees should feel taken care of. Every branch looks like a park with world class facilities, gymnasiums, minigolf courses, boat riding within the company. They provide socialising and networking opportunities through different cultural and talent based shows. They allow flexible timings and their tasks are deadline based. 

Funny part is the company actually overloads every employee. They extract 200 % of what they should from them. But their excellent facilities such as great food courts with food from all over world for discounted prices and the fact that it provides dorms where an employee can take naps anytime of the day makes them ignore the work load. i have personally seen my colleagues sleep over at the company for days continously to meet their deadlines. But they have so much fun in the process that there are employees who never leave the company and work there till they retire.

The company's employee rentention rate looks bad because of the number of graduates who leave after working there for a gap year or two. But most employees who join the company otherwise stay and do not leave.

eg2)the GOOGLE atmosphere was discussed in our discussions. The funny part is there is a theory called generation X by Lucy kellaway ,FT Dec 99 which talks about the creative knowledge worker who works in his own time, enviroment,generally shabby and casually clothed but produces excellent results. The google company has excellent employee retention stats. Doesn't that count as a factor for its ability to retain and manage knowledge? Isn't this a psychological contract where the employer takes care of the employee and the employee puts in the extra effort? is knowledge management , pschological contracts, employee retention keys to GOOGLE's success 

importance of tacit knowledge for an orgnaisation in a resource perspective

categories of workforce:

transformational workers: who extract or convert raw material

transactional workers: whose jobs involve interaction

tacit workers: They are workers who require high skills of judgement,their role is not based on a set of rules." At the turn of the century they made up 41% of the jobs, but had been growing 2.5 times faster than the transactional jobs and 3 times faster than employment in in the entire national economy".

This is something i found in my random reading. I felt it provoked a lot of thought. If you think about it many organisations underestimate the value of the tacit knowledge available in their employees. The employee sometimes feels unattached to the process and looks for greener pastures and join another company instead. The other company sees this employee as an invaluable resource and offers a much higher salary.

How did the value of the employee increase and why didn't the former company realise it?  Every firm pays an experienced employee at joining stages according to the experience he has. But do they update it as per the knowledge gained within the company? They generally choose to ignore that and recruit for fresh talent instead hoping to pay the graduate much lesser and get fresher ideas. But is it really a good deal or are we missing out?Will the company be better off concentrating on employee rentention

the following is something else which provoked thought. Its a table from the quest of resilence by Gary Hamle, visiting professor at LBS, Oct '04  

values                                                                                                       side effect

focus on subject                     SPECIALISATION                          limited cross boundary learning  

Conformance                           STANDARDISATION                       limits innovation

Discipline                                 HIERARCHY                          overvalues experience and undervalues new thinking

incentive & encourages           EXTRENSIC REWARDS               discounts self organisation & volunteerism

What  i found interesting here was that these points among our discussions in our seminars. But This table shows that there is a trade off. Both the values and side effect shows different needs for the organisation. Similar to how the comapany needs experienced people and new people , but fails to retain their own experienced people.

What i understood is that its a trade off you have to make. The only thing that decides what direction you want to go is  your company's strategy, goals and culture. There cant be a fixed pattern to whats right and whats wrong. Obviously Knowldege sharing is important but there might be situations where priorities can be different.



March 14, 2008

mike testing..1 2 3


this is quite..what the word..oh yeah..liberating'! 

why didn't i think of this earlier ?

I feel the concept of penning down reflective thoughts is pretty revolutionary.

i've never had a blog in my life, never owned a diary and i have an absolutely useless memory(what a bad combo).

what's sad is i feel like i missed an opportunity to capture all my thoughts over the last 6 months in Warwick which is

quite a shame really!

Maybe i can try and make this a habit or will it end up like one of my new year resolutions? 

i certainly hope not! :) 

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