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.


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