All entries for Thursday 29 March 2007

March 29, 2007

Some thought from an outstanding seminar

The seminar topic was ‘What is the relationship between individual knowledge and organizational knowledge and how can they be transformed?’ I suggested the topic simply because I believe this is the most important and tricky part for the KM. And as I expected the discussion of the seminar was outstanding. There were two major parts within the seminar.

The first part was about understanding and differentiation of the concepts of tacit and explicit knowledge. Gradually we are getting to understand both terms. Then the exciting part came up which is about the transformations between individual knowledge and organizational knowledge. In this section, all the team members made a great contribution under Paul’s coaching. The major benefit that I have gain was the understanding of the knowledge transition process within the organization.

My understanding is assuming the knowledge start as an individual tacit knowledge. Then under a pleasant environment that created by the efficient leadership, the individual would document or codify his/her knowledge to an individual explicit knowledge. After the assessment of this explicit knowledge, it becomes a public explicit knowledge. Then the public explicit knowledge gradually embedded into each individual’s mindset and behaviour. By repeating this process, gradually we generate a shared organizational tacit knowledge, such as organizational culture, shared vision and mission. Eventually, the tacit to tacit knowledge transition could be achieved. As IBM claimed that ‘tacit knowledge is the most valuable source to create knowledge’.

It may sound like a simple process. But it requires huge amount of conditions.
Firstly, patient is the key to success. This process may take a long time to establish and operate. With patient the whole process should eventually embed into people’s behaviours as a way of working life. Secondly, this process requires a substantial amount of supports from leadership. The leadership needs firstly understand the process and facilitating or maybe creating all the sufficient conditions that are needed. Some levels of communications (vertical and horizontal) are also necessary. An effective communication facility (IT system) is also very important.

Successful knowledge transition process could have many significant contributions for the organizational transformation. The most obvious one is to provide the most valuable source for the continuously development. Knowledge sharing culture is also the one of the key contributions. By sharing the knowledge, the effectiveness and efficiency of knowledge transition process is improved. Although the communication is the pro for the process, at the same time it is also improved by the process. Overall each department of the organization would work together as a system.

This is just some personal interpretation for the topic; please contribute to enrich the understanding.


enviroment or food?

Yesterdays seminar we had some discussions on environmental issues. I do agree with many classmates’ idea that environment is a precious intangible asset which could add value to human life. However, different people have different value scheme. An American multi-millionaire may pay £50m for a house in Beverly Hill due to the pleasant surrounding environment. However, a ShanXi province’s coalminer would give up his beautiful surrounding environment for the food on the table.

This take me back to Maslow’s needs hierarchy. What are people’s current needs? A beautiful environment or food for the family. No matter how much the basic environmental education people have, if there is no food on the table, anyone would give anything for their basic need. On the other hand, if we all have a relatively good living, then environment issues would obviously attract our focus. I think this is human nature, such as if anyone win the lottery they would firstly want a bigger house in a better location.

Therefore, may be we should contribute more on third would economy development (fulfil the basic need for the people) rather than shouting at them about the environmental issues.


March 2007

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