March 16, 2008

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.



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