All entries for April 2013
April 28, 2013
We are all different individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds, and have different values and beliefs; therefore we might not share the same vision or goals and objectives as others. Nevertheless, from an organizational perspective, the importance of setting clear goals and objectives cannot be reiterated enough. The need for clear communication with respect to goals and objectives of a given situation are of paramount importance and considered vital for overall success. Pertaining to any situation in any organization, the recapitulation of a shared vision and purpose is necessary for the successful accomplishment of tasks. This can only be achieved through reiterating clear goals and objectives, and ensuring everyone acknowledges, understands and works towards them. These are fundamental in fostering the sharing of knowledge. Failures arise when despite the provision of clear information with regards to the process, there is no or perhaps a lack of connection observed with following these goals and objectives – which refers to the error of information not observed.
The fundamental goal of knowledge management is to leverage an environment in which individuals can share their knowledge and expertise through continuous learning and development. Albeit knowledge management programmes have been incorporate in various organizations all over the world, organizations have encountered certain barriers that have inhibited or posed limitations preventing effective knowledge management. The existence of these barriers could imply that there is a lack of emphasis given to knowledge management in organizations, which sounds uncanny in today’s corporate environment. The barriers also suggest that there are gaps in setting clear goals and objectives in organizations, and in providing the relevant training and experience to employees. Although understanding, storing and sharing knowledge is difficult and challenging at times, especially in reference to tacit knowledge, it is essential for the smoother functioning of the organization.
Amongst other barriers to effective knowledge management, the hierarchy of skills in an organization may also be regarded as a barrier. In particular, the difference in skills amongst employees may make the process of knowledge management challenging. This could be referred to as an aspect of organizational culture where the sharing of knowledge between employees on different levels in an organization might not be very straightforward. This difficulty in sharing knowledge between the skills hierarchy amongst employees is reflective of the limitations and barriers within the communication system within an organization which inhibits the process of knowledge management. As discussed in the class, there should be opportunities for employees to share knowledge by breaking the ice between them through informal settings. Some employees might be introverts as people, and it is of significant importance that a relationship between employees and employers is fostered where they feel valued and are not hesitant to communicate.
Organizational culture can be considered as an influential barrier in the effective promotion of knowledge management. For the organizational culture to support the adequate implementation of knowledge management, it has to show commitment to institutionalising knowledge management programmes. In addition to this, knowledge management programmes need to be accommodated to adapt to the organizational culture. In my belief, it is imperative for both the organizational culture and the knowledge management programmes work in conjunction with each other in order for knowledge management to be effective.
Holistically speaking, technology is regarded as a substantial contributor to knowledge management. However, technology may also be a major barrier in effective knowledge management. The training process involving employees to use knowledge management technology for promoting knowledge sharing can be challenging. Some people may not have the necessary prior training to work with computers and complex machines, which inhibits the process of knowledge management. In addition to this, due to the fact that technology is always advancing, keeping up to date with the latest technology may not be that simple or feasible. Furthermore, the maintenance of technology may also be considered as a barrier for promoting knowledge management since regular maintenance would be required to keep the knowledge safe and foster effective knowledge management. In the event of losing the knowledge due to problems in the technology could be very costly and even catastrophic.
I was contemplating which error in the three stages is the most dangerous, and quite honestly, I cannot specify one error over the other in terms of being more hazardous. In my belief, they are all as erroneous as each other and one does not take precedence over the other. Whilst information not available sounds like the most preliminary and elementary error in the sense that being provided with information should be the most basic aspect, having an incorrect mental model is also a fundamental error since despite having the information available, one might simply have the wrong perception of a situation, or one might not observe the information, or find it difficult to detect, or even forget altogether due to a memory error. In my opinion, two errors which can be difficult to avoid in certain situations are information difficult to detect and memory error. These can be due to medical reasons beyond one’s control or language barriers, etc. Information not available is an administrational error and the manager or supervisor must ensure that the necessary information is available in order to foster a safe and effective work environment. Nevertheless, necessary precautions must be taken to avoid all errors as far as possible. Anticipation error is also something which should not be overlooked, and appropriate training must be provided to staff to understand the importance of not ignoring the anticipation error.
The KBAM workshop we had on Monday afternoon on information, knowledge, and awareness was very insightful; it was an eye-opener to be honest as I have to admit that it was quite shocking to see how situations we refer to as “accidents” could be avoided provided we take some simple and necessary precautions. Often things we take for granted could be the line between safety and well-being, and hazardous incidents even resulting in serious injuries and loss of lives. The workshop reinforced the responsibility a manager or supervisor has in ensuring that an environment is provided where individuals acknowledge, understand, and implement the necessary steps to work effectively and put safety first and foremost. On the personal front, the workshop made me recognize the different stages and errors, and the importance to make conscientious decisions. This would definitely be very helpful in everyday life situations, and precisely when I enter the practical work environment. I will ensure that I take the time out to observe, monitor and understand the organizational processes first before I take the responsibility to carry them out, and emphasise the significance of safety at every level.
I believe that knowledge management constitutes of all the activities which help create an environment in which individuals can learn, share, and develop knowledge. This is also in conjunction with EFQM’s definition of knowledge management. The emphasis on learning and then sharing is especially important because sharing knowledge constitutes a great deal to knowledge development at both an individual and collective level. As Dalai Lama said, “share your knowledge, it’s a way to achieve immortality”. From both an organizational perspective, and the world in general, the importance of learning and then sharing that knowledge for the wider good cannot be reiterated enough, and this is why knowledge management is such a significant topic.
When Maureen raised the topic on wisdom for the seminar, and how it is developed, we knew we were going to have an interesting seminar – and we certainly were not wrong.
It was apparent in the seminar that wisdom meant different things to different people. Some people attributed wisdom to God, with reference to religious texts, in that wisdom comes from God, and from knowing Him, whilst some suggested that wisdom constitutes of emotional and intellectual intelligence. Albeit we heard a variety of different perceptions and beliefs from individuals where wisdom had connections with both the emotional and practical realms, the overall consensus connoted wisdom as a positive thing. For me, wisdom is being morally, spiritually, socially, politically, and intellectually thoughtful of yourself and the world. Acquiring wisdom is something which does not happen overnight. It requires patience and lifelong reflection. It is something which is constantly developed and nourished throughout life, because being wise in one aspect of life does not make you wholly wise. However, once one understands the concept, it becomes a life changing process to make you the best possible version of yourself. Being wise does not mean one becomes infallible; we are humans: fallible beings, and therefore prone to error and mistakes. Whilst we must try our utmost best to ensure we take the necessary steps to avoid pitfalls and wrong decisions, we end up making mistakes at times. The essence here is the lessons learned from those mistakes. The difference in being wise and being unwise here would be whether one takes accountability of their actions and decides to not only learn from them, but also implement that learning, or whether one decides to stay ignorant throughout.
Practically speaking, developing wisdom, in my opinion, is a cyclical process which is applicable to any situation in life:
Plan – Check – Act – Reflect – Learn - Implement
April 22, 2013
Whilst it is difficult to have an open mind when one has already been provided with sufficient information, it is important to not form assumptions or speculations, whether positive or negative, because these could have an impact on our ability to make reasonable and robust decisions. This could, therefore, result in a decision bias, and hence a flawed decision leading to negative consequences associated with bad decisions.