April 19, 2010

situation awareness

I can’t finish without mentioning our one and only lecture in this module! The situation awareness! It’s mostly about reminding urself all the time to be aware of things going on around you and you basically CAN make MISTAKES at ANYTIME if you’re not careful. It mentioned about human error. We’ve watched the video called ‘unclear and present danger’. It emphasis how easy it is to make mistake that may even put others lives in serious danger.

So, the best way to avoid it is to look at the cause and prevent from the cause. We’ve learnt that there’re 3 main components leading to people making mistakes; stage, error, and factors. First, for the stage, it said there’re 3 steps to this; gather information: picking up the p;lsquo;right’ piece of information, interpretation: make sense of that information, and anticipation: think how things can change in the future.

The second component is errors. The video explain about various kinds of error that could happen in each stage. For example, gather information error could be unavailable information, information not observed, information is difficult to detect, and memory error. The third component is factors. By factors, it meant the factors that have influence on situation awareness and thus could cause errors. For instant, factors such as workload, stress, lack of training and experience, and unclear goal and objectives can easily cause errors in human.

After watching the video, I consequently thought back to the errors I’ve made or seen in life. And I undoubted agreed with the 3 things mentioned. Had only people been more aware, many accidents might not have happen. We can ‘warn’ people or make them become more aware by, of course, adapting knowledge management! I know it kinda sounds difficult, but I believe if we start small and take one step at a time, it’s definitely not something we can’t do! We can start easy from educating people, from shop floor to executives, how they can prevent errors and getting people engaged by sharing their information and experience. This way, people doing the similar or related work have the chance to know and learn from others mistakes. Another way is to have them analyzed the past mistakes as a group to see why things went wrong and how to prevent in the future, relate it to the situation awareness to let people see the clear picture and think systematically. I’m convinced we can adapt the KM and make good use of it in real life! =D


April 18, 2010

Behind the scene

Let’s continue from my last entry on presentation. I really wanna share with you about how we complete this presentation. For me, this one is by far the most time-effective presentation preparation I’ve ever had. Thanks to all my team members, Meenal, Hamed, Jason, Neo, and Ivy, you guys are the best! =D

We started off by planning our meetings and what we’d discussed in each meeting; forum was of great help in sharing what we’ve found and share the result of meeting for those who couldn’t make the meeting. By planning, each of us known what’s expected of us in the upcoming meeting and went doing some research of our own. In the meeting, we had several discussions in making decision. For example, we had to decide, as a team, how many aspects would we go for WR and which aspects since we wouldn’t have enough time to cover all aspects listed in AM eventho we agreed most aspects were important. We’ve done research and share our view to come up with 4 aspects that we all agreed should be listed top priorities.

After deviding the work, we got back together to basically ‘share’ what we found in each member area of responsibility. It went really well as we all know what we’re expected and what we expected of others. For me, working this way saved us quite a lot of time and each one of us also learnt in a shortcut way, by learning from others. It saved time as we relied on the others, as we’d known they’re reliable. At the end, we even had a lot of time to rehearsal the presentation and finished everything quite early.

In my opinion, we succeeded in adapting KM in information sharing. I know the presentation wasn’t that perfect, but with this limited time and this amount of work, it seemed all of us were happy about it. Also, I think team members’ personalities play quite a big role in enabling effective team work. Each of us has done our part, both in doing research and knowing what to share with others and I think it sounds like the basic of KM principle. However, I think in real life situation things wouldn’t go quite as smoothly. I learnt there’re a lot more factors to this, but at least I’ve learnt the base of it, right? The rest elements can be adjusted, for instant, the actual way of working with different group, the process, how to deal with different group members, etc. Anyway, I know that if I can keep information sharing as one goal in mind, I wouldn’t get too lost, hopefully. Lol


April 17, 2010

WaveRiders!

Say hello to our old loyal friend WaveRiders for the last time! This is our last presentation about this company! Our last presentation is to help WR to apply AM (Asset Management) and KM (Knowledge Management) to meet the criteria of EFQM – another good old friend of ours, lol.

Since AM is a huge topic and we’ve only got 20 min, we decided we couldn’t possible cover all aspects for WR. Instead, we’d pick only a couple aspects to present, based on WR characteristics and EFQM criteria.

We selected the facilities, health and safety, and maintenance aspects of AM as we agree these would help WR to meet EFQM criteria. We also went back to WR strategy of expanding the market to EU and suggest the plan accordingly. We proposed the approach of assigning the KM team that composes of the experts from all departments to share their knowledge and the team goes through all departments, spreading the knowledge. I think the approach is pretty practical as it doesn’t require much additional resources, but rather the higher discipline level of people.

On the presentation day, all the teams dressed up for the occasion. I know this’s how we should dress when giving presentation and most of us gave presentations at work before, it’s just that when studying here no one put an afford to dress formally and the one who do might look a bit funny – I think it’s just wmg culture I guess.

Anyway, I think all groups gave good presentations. Some selected the same aspects as us, some had different aspects for different reasons. I think it’s quite good that we got to learn a bit about other groups’ ideas and approach. For example, we proposed outsourcing idea, like other 1 or 2 groups, but we didn’t really look at WR problem of overstock, which we sould’ve. So I think we’ve learnt something from that and hopefully we’ll remember that when we’re put on the real field :D


April 16, 2010

seminars

Our last seminar was about how organizations find external knowledge. Companies can find knowledge in so many ways. For example, if company builds up good relationship with suppliers, they could be a great source of knowledge on what they’re supplying. This is one way that was raised up during our discussion. There are many other ways such as hire consultants, university research, the internet, conduct survey for information from customers, etc.

I think it all is pretty basic; im quite sure you’re quite familiar with the ways to get knowledge, so I won’t bother you with that. However, what I find quite interesting was at the end of our seminar, Paul brought a question of ‘how do you validate the information you find from external sources? How can we make sure we can rely on the information we receive?’

I find these are quite interesting questions and it’s truly important that you have trustable resources, everybody knows that. But how do you decide which resources are trustworthy is another thing. I know these are like answerless questions, lol. There’s almost no such thing as ‘the right answer’ to these kinds of questions. I mean, when Paul rose up these questions, my honest answer was ‘I don’t know, I honestly don’t’.

I think that for one set of information, if you can find the similar set of information from more than one source, and the information from different sources match, it might tell you that the information could be real and not bias. I can’t disagree that there’re still possibilities that the information is still bias even though many sources are saying the same thing.

Or maybe it’s better if you can be the source of knowledge yourself, or prove that the information is real. For example, the experimental data or information; if it’s quite an easy experimental, maybe you can do the experimental yourself and see if the data match with what others say? But if it’s a complex experimental that you can’t conduct, maybe go back to the previous paragraph and dig for more resources? Lol

Sometimes you think time can tell that this resource you have is trustable, but this’s not always the case. For instant, your right hand employee who’s been with you forever might seem trustworthy, but he might flip anytime. So sometimes we need to remember there’s the risk in everything and every step we take. I think there’s no way you can be a hundred percent sure that the knowledge you have is 100% correct, you know what I mean.

And this’s the same case as my previous entry, I’m asking you for a little help =]  If you have any good idea of how to make sure you’ve the correct, non bias information, please please do share! Thank y’all in advance!


April 15, 2010

how to get people to share knowledge?

Here we go, out second seminar was about why people don’t like to share their tacit knowledge and how shall we get them to do so. Honestly, I can think of like a million reasons people don’t share what they know with others, but then I think it’ll all come down to personalities and attitudes issue. I think this has everything to do with people feeling and thoughts.

During the seminar, we discussed lots of things stopping people to share what they have. But personally, I think that if you ARE WILLING to share, there’s almost NOTHING that can stop you from sharing, right? Once you wanna do something, your motivation level automatically go sky high and sometimes it’s almost impossible to stop.

I think this’s where it gets tough; HOW can we get people to WANT to share? I think the reasons we discussed in seminars are basically the obstacles that people have as their excuse to kinda make them look ‘better’? when at the end, it might just be the people nature – selfishness.

Hey, I don’t say that selfishness is wrong. In fact, you and I both know that deep down everyone’s selfish; we just hide it deep deep inside. And I think maybe it’s the selfishness that stop us from sharing. The feeling that make us afraid that sharing something might allow others to get ahead of us, beat us, or make us feel bad. I think that because people are afraid that if they share their knowledge, it might hurt them somehow. Because if people know they’ll gain from what they do, they tend to do it, right?

So, now I’m with the question of ‘how to make people realize that sharing is actually a good, a great thing to do?’ Again, there’s like a zillion answers to this question. There are so many factors such as culture, attitudes, backgrounds, personalities, etc. For an organization, one easy way to motivate people to share might be offering the rewards at the beginning; to get people ‘used to’ the ‘habit’ of sharing. Once they do it as a habit, they won’t even realize they’re doing it.

But again, every company has its own way of getting knowledge out of their employees, right? I’d really, really appreciate if you can spare us some! See this as one way to ‘share your knowledge’! And Thanks so much in advance! ;)


April 14, 2010

seminars seminars seminars!

We’re first scheduled for a massive seminars for this module! There were originally 6 seminars in the time table, however, after the first session, the class decided to lower the number to 3 seminars. Since they’re pretty much our class, I’ll be talking about them in each entry.

Our first seminar has the subject of relationship between KM and OL (D’u still remember our old friend OL- Organizational learning?). After some brief research, I got the idea that they both concern on capturing, storing, and re-using knowledge in organization. They can be joined together in implementation. Also, both support culture change in a way and that KM supports OL by helping to create innovation system.

From the seminar, I learnt that OL is neither or less in the higher level than KM and KM is more or less like the base of OL. Implementing OL can start by implementing KM. And KM kinda focuses more on technical means in a way.

It is undoubtedly true that both require a great deal of top management engagement. In practical, as a top-management to be, we should think of a way to get engaged with the plan and get ‘our people’ to feel engaged with the implementing plan of KM and OL, which is obviously not as easy as it sound. If we start quite little in implementing KM, where exactly do we start? Confession is made; I admit it still come quite a blur for me. I’ll try to study more and will share it with you later! Hopefully, I’ll find something good in practical! Cya!


April 11, 2010

KM?

Hmmm.. knowledge management? It’s basically how to manage knowledge in organization, at least that’s what I think, lol. It’s undoubtedly important every organization would love to have its knowledge managed as knowledge is valuable asset in some way.

KM is, again, one huge topic. However, in brief, there are four main steps for KM:

1.      Defining knowledge; knowledge is different from data or information, it’s rather the application of those two and is placed in a higher level. There are two major types of knowledge; explicit, or tangible, communicable knowledge, and tacit, or intangible knowledge

2.      Representing knowledge; how knowledge is presented in the organization. It composes of how organization shares and re-uses knowledge, knowledge structure, and knowledge resources

3.      Acquiring knowledge; there are various types of sources knowledge can be collected from, both internal and external, e.g. the internet, merging with other company, existing databases, etc. Also, the scope of knowledge to be acquired should be clearly identified and communicated across organization in the early stage

4.      Creating conditions for KM; selecting the KM models, tools, and strategy. KM concerns a great deal of conditions in leadership, culture and environment, and monitoring.

From what I’ve read, I think back to my family business and how we tried to employ KM. However, we didn’t realize what we’re doing was KM and how we’re doing it wrong. I think we missed out quite a number of things and we didn’t really create or define any scope or make things clear; I think that’s why we fail. We attempted to create a knowledge-sharing center via the IT system. Things looked good in plan, but failed in implementation. Maybe we didn’t really concern on the culture and monitoring issue as the plan we’ve adapted was originally done by a German organization. This time I’ll try to follow the step from the theory and adjust it based on other practical factors like culture, organization size, resource, and capacity. Hope it’ll finally work! =D


April 09, 2010

knowledge–based asset management!?

All right, here comes another long named module – who’d know what to expect next! Does anybody know what exactly is this long name thing means and why it’s so important that we master degree students need to get to know it? – show the raise of hands please? ...hmmm.. I don’t see any hands? Well, I don’t know it either, lol. So, let’s meet our new friend together, shall we?

Knowledge based asset management is basically how organization manage its resource and it can be divided into two main ‘things’; asset management (AM) and knowledge management (KM) – but how can the two be linked together I’ll let you know the secret later (since I myself am currently looking for the answer – lol).

First, asset management includes not only financial aspect of the business but also physical aspect like buildings and machines and information aspect. Asset management covers it all; facilities management, safety, environmental, life cycle, maintenance, and resource utilization. So, in brief, it covers pretty much most aspects of business.

And because it covers all, it is indeed important to any business. But again, as it’s so wide it’s quite difficult or even almost impossible for small companies to focus on every single aspect. I mean, I think it’s all important but then company’d not wanna spend so much time, money, and resources to any aspect they think might not worth it, right? So it might wanna weight up and focus only on what they think are important to them. For example, if companies have difficulties managing their stock, resource utilization which includes inventory management sounds like the answer for them.

As I look back to my family business, I think we’d start with trying to adopt the facilities management as I think we manage our information system quite poorly and facilities management has potential to help. Also, I think outsourcing management could help as we also have a little problem with our outsource suppliers, so I think that’s where we’ll start when implementing the AM

Next time I’ll go briefly about KM, and maybe go a little more deep on AM and KM.. let’s see first what I’ll find interesting about the topic ;P


March 07, 2010

Leadership Theory (III)

The ones after this one I just only read about them and found them quite interesting so I’d like to share. I admit I didn’t really do much research on them so it’ll be pretty shallow. I’d appreciate it if you have some knowledge on it and kindly share =) thanks in advance!

This entry is about action centered leadership theory. It introduces a new way of looking at leadership by highlighting at the leader’s action. It stages that leaders need to balance the balance between task, team, and individual. Effective leaders would be the ones who have the bird-eye-view over these three factors and balance them nicely. By evaluating the needs of situation, leaders express appropriate behavior to control the balance over three.

For task factor, action centered leadership suggests leaders should take action like giving clear objectives and procedures, monitoring progress, and making sure deadlines are met. For team factor, leaders should provide the team their commitment, trust, stability, success, and friendly atmosphere, while for individual factor, leaders should encourage individual to participate in team activities, contribute, give feedback, and to feel secure.

The theory suggests that in each key action, leaders should perform certain things to keep balance between the three factors. For instance, in defining objectives, leaders should clearly identify tasks and constraints, set up team meetings and share commitment, and clarify objectives to individuals and make sure they accept them as leaders.

In my opinion, the theory helps in making sure leaders won’t overlook these three factors when taking any action. It’s the approach that looks at different view from the previous two and can be applied differently. It doesn’t concern leadership styles or situations as it focus almost purely on leader action. I think leaders can apply this theory along with others when they lead as this theory can be somewhat a guidelines of what leaders should do or be aware of when take any action in leader roles.

Leadership theory (II)

Let’s talk about the second theory I used for my homework; the path-goal theory. The theory focuses on subordinate motivation and how leaders help subordinate to go through any obstacles to their goals. For path-goal theory, there are 4 major types of leadership; directive where leader clearly explains goals, rules or directions, and what’s expected of subordinates, supportive leadership where leader shows personal concerns on subordinates, achievement-oriented leadership where leader pays more attention on task achievement and performance, and participative leadership where leader always share information and asks for subordinates opinion before making decision.

Then the theory suggests define followers characteristics. This helps defining suitable leader styles. There are four main categories to look at for subordinate characteristics; affiliation needs, structure preference, control designate, and level of self-perceived of ability. These help determine the satisfactory level of subordinates with their leaders’ styles.

Next, the task characteristics are to be defined in the context of task design, authority system, and work group of team members. Motivation level of subordinates also depends on these factors of tasks.

When subordinate and task characteristics are defined, it is now time to select leadership style that would best fit with the task and subordinate characteristics in order to fulfill subordinates needs and assist them towards goals. For example, dogmatic team members in situation where task is unclear and complex would call for leaders with directive leadership.

I kinda find the use of path-goal theory somewhat quite similar to contingency theory, but with slightly different focus. Path-goal put more focus on fulfilling follower needs to increase their motivation. Thus, in my understanding, it is quite important leaders realize their subordinate real needs. I mean, if you push the ‘wrong’ button, it wouldn’t give the desired result, right? And that can be sometimes difficult to find. But then, again, I’m positive there’s gotta be some other tools or principle or technique that I can incorporate to reinforce the use of path-goal theory. Lemme dig up some more research, and I sure will share with you! =D

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  • solid review on theory keep up your good blog by Vongsakorn on this entry
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