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April 27, 2009

Knowledge and Trust

Since the sense of shared identity of people is limited, the foundations for the existence of trust are relaticely weak. The level of trust and mutual understanding between individuals who do not mormally work together and who are not members of the same team may restrain the sharing and collective utilization of knowledge. Trust is very important in knowledge sharing and other social contexts, and the contexts of trust is complex. Development of trust is crucial and is one of the main ways to help knowledge processes to develop in intercommunity work context. Below are some types of trust.

Type of trust                   Description of trust

Process bases                 Based on experience, and built up over time

Characteristic based       Based on social similarities and cultural congruence

Institutional bases           Trust based on institutional or professional reputation, NOT interpersonal familiarity

Calculative                       Trust based on some form of calculation regarding costs/benefits

Norm/value based            Trust based on common social values

Cognitive expectation based     Trust based on common expectations of future events, and/or patterns of behavior

Companion                     Trust based on judgements of goodwill of friendship, built up over time

Competence                   Trust based on perception of others competence to carry out relevant tasks

Commitment                   Trust stemming from contractual obligations


April 25, 2009

Knowledge Conversion

Explicit and tacit knowledge are important parts in the knowledge management. I thought that tacit knowledge should be converted to explicit in forms of documents, online databases, patents, and etc, then the knowledge can be expressed. When I read the modes of knowledge conversion on "knowledge managment: classic and contemporary works" by Morey et al., I realized that there are other modes of knowledge conversion. Four modes of knowledge conversion are: from tacit to tacit, which is called socialization; from tacit to explicit, or externalization; from explicit to explicit, or combination; and from explicit to tacit , or internalization. 

Other three modes:

From tacit to tacit is a process sharing experiences. People can gain tacit knowledge directly from others without using language, especially when people have the similar experiences. If lack of the shared experiences, it is very difficult for a person to understand another person's thinking process.

From explicit to explicit is a process of systemizing concepts into a knowledge system. People exchange their knowledge and combine them together through media such as meetings, telephon conversation, emails and so on. This knowledge conversion is most often see in the business.

From explicit to tacit is a process of embodying explicit knowledge into tacit knowledge. It is just like "learning by doing". When experiences through socialization, externalization, and combination are internalized into people's tacit knowledge bases in the form of shared mental models, they become valuable assets.


March 15, 2009

KBAM Presentation

Time really flies! Just realized that I have done most of the MBE core modules and probably all mini projects. The past months were busy, intensive and also enjoyable. Really like MBE class and my teams. Last team project was a really big one. We spent almost two weeks to do it. The presentation was given on Friday morning to the WaveRiders Board of Directors. Everyone in MBE class wore so formal and smart on that morning! That was our last presentation and we acted as in real life for the first time.

We have put lots of efforts in this team project. (I like our presentation slides, they were very nice.) We gave several assumptions of the problems that the WaveRiders were facing and suggested the solutions. After the presentation, I realized the biggest area that we need to improve is that although we have given many good approaches to the WaveRiders with showing the benefits of those approaches, we did not give a whole plan to the WaveRiders, and this whole plan should include where the WaveRiders needs to start, and what the holistic process, and also need to give more evidences, such as case studies and data, to support the approaches. We still have not treated it as real enough.

After we presented, one of the board members asked how to do with the KM, what the process of it. The question belonged to my part, I talked about the knowledge audit to help the WaveRiders to solve the targeted problems, but I still felt nervous to give the response (but I am sure that I was much better then before through all the team projects and presentations), thanks to my team mate to give a response to the board member. To that KM question, the answer that I could give is from a paper I have read "The Knowledge Audit" by Liebowita Jay, et al.

Knowledge audit steps:

(1) Identify what knowledge currently exists in the targeted area
a). Determine existing and potential sinks, sources, flows, and constraints in the targeted area, including environmental factors that could influence the targeted area.
b). Identify and locate explicit and tacit knowledge in the targeted area
c). Build a knowledge map of the taxonomy and flow of knowledge in the organization in the targeted area. The knowledge map relates topics, people, documents, ideas, and links to external resources, in respective densities, in ways that allow individuals to find the knowledge they need quickly.
(2) Identify what knowledge is missing in the targeted area
a). Perform a gap analysis to determine what knowledge is missing to achieve business goals
b). Determine who needs the missing knowledge
(3) Provide recommendations from the knowledge audit to management regarding the status quo and possible improvements to the knowledge management activities in the targeted area.

Thanks to my teammates and my MBE class! All the best to rest of our MBE course!


March 13, 2009

KBAM seminar —— debate

We had a different way of our seminar on Tuesday. Debating of if standards stifle creativity innovation in order to understand how we can use standards in a way that does not stifle creativity and innovation. The way of the seminar itself, I think, can be called creative and innovative. It is a good try.

Creativity and innovation are very important to the success of a business, especially in today's increasingly competitive world. Creativity and innovation are key factors to strategize during strategic planning, design new products and services and etc. The standards are usually established from the past experiences. They are often consistency and compliance. We can see that there are some conflicts between the standards and creativity and innovation, but standards do not kill creativity or innovation. Every company needs to perform in a consistent manner, and the improvement of the company needs creative thought process and innovative ways to do old tasks. I believe that the standards, creativity and innovation can complement each other if applied correctly.


March 02, 2009

First Day of KBAM

We had an introduction to the module of Knowledge-Based Asset Management this afternoon. This module runs for two weeks. I was not surprised with the whole week of team study in first week and half team studies + half seminars in second week. Self-study and study with different people in a team is an important way of learning in the MBE course. Yet, KBAM is the one has the most team studies and self-studies since the course started. So, I am blogging now - at the first day of KBAM. ^_^

Definitions:

Knowledge assets are the knowledge regarding markets, products, technologies and organisations, that a business owns or needs to own and which enable its business processes to generate profits.

Knowledge management involves the identification and analysis of available and required knowledge, and the subsequent planning and control of actions to develop knowledge assets so as to fulfil organisational objectives.

Nowadays, enterprises, especially big enterprises, are realizing the importance of knowing what they know, i.e. know what their knowledge assets are. Moreover, they need to know how to manage and utilize these assets to make maximum return. The marketplace is increasingly competitive and the rate of innovation is growing, it is therefore very important for a company to renew and apply its knowledge to business to increase its competitiveness.


January 25, 2009

Leadership principles – quotes of Jack Welch

Jack Welch was the Chairman and CEO of General Electric, who has contributed to GE's outstanding 20 year record. Here are some quotes of Welch about some fundamental leadership principles from his book "Jack: Straight From The Gut".

  1. There is only one way - the straight way. It sets the tone of the organisation.
  2. Be open to the best of what everyone, everywhere, has to offer; transfer learning across your organisation.
  3. Get the right people in the right jobs - it is more important than developing a strategy.
  4. An informal atmosphere is a competitive advantage.
  5. Make sure everybody counts and everybody knows they count.
  6. Legitimate self-confidence is a winner - the true test of self-confidence is the courage to be open.
  7. Business has to be fun - celebrations energise and organisation.
  8. Never underestimate the other guy.
  9. Understand where real value is added and put your best people there.
  10. Know when to meddle and when to let go - this is pure instinct.

January 19, 2009

The Dark Knight and Leadership

A film called The Dark Knight has been so famous and popular recently. It beat previous record holder Spiderman 3 and also broke some of other box office records. It garnered several nominations and won as the best film of 2008. I didn't finish watching this film, because I needed to do other things. Personally, the film doesn't really interest me. I much more prefer to see Disney cartoon! Hehe!

The Batman fights against local crime with the help of L. James Gordon and new Distric Attorney. The Batman is a big hero of Gotham City. Sometimes, a leader can be characterized as a hero. This kind of leader is requested, especially when organizations are in trouble, to save the organization from its present predicament. The leader needs to generate a high level of commitment with his or her followers and express his or her vision which will satisfy the needs of followers. The vision of the future probably is the most important thing when the organization is in such situation. The leader needs to communicate with followers of the vision and motivate them to achieve it. I remember at the beginning of LE module, I asked Paul about the difference between leadership and management. Paul gave an answer of someone has said: a manager is doing things right, a leader is doing right things. It is truly essential for leaders to establish a right direction for followers.

In the film, the Joker told Batman, "To them, you're like a freak like me. They just need you right now. But as soon as they don't, they'll cast you out like a leper." I am not going to argue much about what the Joker said. They had different visions or objectives. The Batman is trying to eliminate the crimes, he is focusing on the needs of citizens, but the Joker is only focusing on himself. That's one of the reasons that why the Joker would say those words. However, his words reminder us that it is important for a leader to response to a changing environment. The change is a constant in the world, and its pace is increasing. Response to changes is a key part of leadership. Moreover, leading and encouraging changes are also important for leaders taking their role.

For the WaveRiders, a heroic leader is probably required to make it a successful company once again.


January 13, 2009

From OPP to LE – about decisiveness

Finished OPP PMA, now turn to LE PMA.

When I started to read LE PMA, one thing came to my mind was a point that I read from OPP material. When Jeffrey R. Immelt, the chairman and CEO of General Electric after Jack Welch, was asked about what red for him was, where he thought he could use the most work, he answered: "decisiveness". Yes, indeed. Decisiveness is so important for a leader. Immelt said, "at my level in the company, it's clearly the thing that moves the needle the most. One of the things I've learned by experience is that you can run a productivity company and not have to give a lot of straight yes or no answers. You can make your base costs by cutting everybody by 10%, and you can do OK for a long time that way. But you can't drive a growth company by cutting everybody by 10% or by adding 10%. You have to make higher level moves, and that takes clear decision making."

Decisions a leader made can influence a company and direct it's future. Leaders are expected to make right and quick decisions. But it is sometimes so difficult to make an approprite decision or choice as the things may be very complicated, have important risks or consequences, and the world is increasingly changing. Moreover, when you made a decision, it means you accepted responsibility. Good research and excellent knowledge tempered by experience can help to make successful decisions. Other factors like strong initiative, good judgment, flexible attitude and openmindedness can all help a leader to be decisive.

Decisiveness is important for a leader, so for everyone of us. I heard that (I'm not too sure) everybody approximately makes 6000 decisions everyday. We are all making decisions. Even when you decide not decide, you have made a decision! If there's a decision need to be made, don't let it lie there, just make it!

Now I decide to close this entry. Good night! ^_^


December 04, 2008

Mother Teresa and Leadership

When people say "leadership", he/she will usually think about the direct leaders in the areas like business, politics etc.. At the beginning of L&E model I was reminded that leadership was much more than that. There are lots of indirect leaders as well, such as super movie stars who influence many people in the world. Mother Teresa was the one that suggested by Kang when we were discussing the leaders for seminar topics. Personally, I admire her very much. Her compassion for the poor and her devotion to the cause has also inspired so many people in the world.

The definitions of the leadership are many as Bass (1981) said "there are almost as many different definitions of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept". From 20 definitions from literature which were given by Paul, our team (Team 1) found that 16 definitions are talking about "art or process of influencing", which accounts for the highest rate, and 12 definitions include "achievement of purpose or goals". For Mother Teresa, she has certainly influenced lots of people, and she has also got a clear goal which is her mission for her whole life - to serve and to do God's will.

There are two styles of leadership according to Bass and Avolio (1993). I guess that there are also as many styles as there are persons who have attempted to classify the concept. For example, I found that Goleman (2002) introduces six leadership styles in his book Primal Leadership. According to Bass and Avolio, there are transformational and transactional leadership. Transformational leadership is based on the relationship between leader and their followers developed from the exchange of some reward. The transactional leadership is concerned with engaging the hearts and minds of others. It requires trust, concern and facilitation rather than direct control. The skills required are concerned with establishing a long term vision, empowering people to control themselves, coaching, and developing others and challenging the culture to change. Clearly, Mother Teresa's leadership style is transactional.

Mother Teresa was awarded the Noble Peace Prize in 1979. She started to suffer from heart problems when she was 80 years old, and died in 1997 when she was 87. Once she said, "My doctors are always telling me that I must not travel so much, that I must slow down, but I have all eternity to rest and there is so much still to do. Life is not worth living unless it is lived for others." Was that not the greatest leader for living for others?

Here are some quotes of Mother Teresa to share with you:

Give the world the best you have,
And it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you have anyway.

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends
And some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building,
Someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Be good anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It is never between you and them anyway.

Mother Teresa


November 26, 2008

Deming's 14 Principles

W Edwards Deming is the first person that I heard from the first day of my CBE module, which is the first module of my MBE course. He was an American statistician who invented the Total Quality Management. During the survey of my PMA for CBE, I, of course, couldn't avoid to read many articles about him. His famous 14 principles were set out in his book "Out of the crisis" in 1982. People said that those 14 points has changed the history of Japan and the world.

Here are the 14 principles:

1.    Creat constancy of purpose.

2.    Adopt new philosophy of quality.

3.    Cease dependence on final inspection.

4.    Consider total cost, not just initial price.

5.    Find problems, improve constantly.

6.    Institute on-the-job training.

7.    Institute leadership across the organisation.

8.    Drive out fear.  (so natural, so important!)

9.    Break down communication barriers between units.

10.  Eliminate slogans, targets, exhortations for workers.

11.  Eliminate numerical goals.

12.  Encourage pride of workmanship.

13.  Encourage education & self-improvement.

14.  Take actions needed to make transformations.


November 24, 2008

Fishes

Last week was so intensive. I was so tired.

It was a OPP week. The fish video at the beginning of this model was very interesting and meaningful. Those men at fish shop looked so happy though their jobs seemingly did not that nice or comfortable. Their work were smelly, dirty, and had to start very early every morning. However, they approached their jobs like a game, made their works more complex than they were and enjoyed them so much. The video told us that work can be tough and dull but people can still enjoy it and make it a great part of their life. This depends on a choice made by yourself. You can choose to stay within the boundaries of the reality and become unhappy or you can try to pass these boundaries and become happy.

In the meantime, it reminded us that the managers should provide a good environment in which people could be their best. Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, has described one of this objectives was to create "a place where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody. An open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters, and where that sense of accomplishment is rewarded in the pocketbook and the soul".

One of our fish exercises was to discuss the main factors that influence people's attitude towards their work. Salaries and benefits is one of the most important factors. Indeed, most people are working for money. However, please do not forget to take your interest into account when you looking for a job. Achievements in the work are also very important. However, please do not forget to spend some time with your family. When you are earning your living, please do not forget to enjoy your life. As I still remember what Paul has said in one CBE class: life is not a rehearsal.


November 19, 2008

Quality, Customer Satisfaction etc. continue…

This continuous entry is really late, which I really didn't mean to be that late! I wote last entry before I left home, and decided to finish it after I came back. However...

So, do the things as soon as you decide to do! - at least do it as soon as possible, otherwise it may be delayed day after day after day, and meantime, the thing you haven't finished will always reminds you that "you have to finish it, you have to finish it...", but you don't even want to start a new entry without finish the old one.

Now, let me do it!

But honestly, I have to find out the materials I have read and read them agian. Trying to remember what I was going to write, and I probably can't catch up all the stuff.

There are three attributes which was mentioned by Kano:

1. Indifferent attributes. The customer does not care about this feature.

2. Questionable attributes. It is unclear whether this attribute is expected by the customer.

3. Reverse attributes. The reverse of this product feature was expected by the customer.

Kano developed a questionnaire to identify the basic, performance excitement factors and above three attributes.

1. For each product feature a pair of questions is formulated to which the customer can answer in one of five different ways.

2. The first question concerns the reaction of the customer if the product shows that feature (functional question).

3. The second question concerns the reaction of the customer if the product does not show this feature (dysfunctional question).

4. By combining the answers all attributes can be classified into the six factors.

Besides the obvious quality management and marketing usage, the Kano's theory can also be relevant to describe employee satisfaction, as employees can be perceived as internal customers.

Kano model


October 24, 2008

Quality, Customer Satisfaction etc.

In recent years, quality has became more and more important. Actually, precisely speaking, quality awareness has been promoted, quality itself is always important. People became more deeply recognize quality and business achievements. I read a typical definition about quality: "Quality is defined by the customer. The customer wants products and services that throughout their life meet their needs and expectations at a cost that represents value." Paul also talked a lot about quality and customers on last Friday's lecture. He has given us a very impressive lecture about quality. I still remember the customer satisfaction model that he has talked in the lecture. The model is not difficult, but it is interesting to me. I did a bit research about this model.

The customer satisfaction model is also called Kano model as it is developed by Professor Noriaki Kano in the 80's. This model is a quality management and marketing technique that can be used for measuring customer's happiness. It has 6 categories of quality attributes, from which the first three actually influence customer satisfaction:

1.      Basic Factors. The minimum requirements which will cause dissatisfaction if they are not fulfilled, but do not cause customer satisfaction if they are fulfilled or exceeded. The customer regards these as prerequisites and takes these for granted. Basic factors establish a market entry threshold.

2.      Excitement Factors. The factors that increase customer satisfaction if delivered but do not cause dissatisfaction if they are not delivered. These factors surprise the customer and generate delight. Using these factors, a company can really distinguish itself from its competitors in a positive way.

3.      Performance Factors. The factors that cause satisfaction if the performance is high, and they cause dissatisfaction if the performance is low. Here, the attribute performance-overall satisfaction is linear and symmetric. Typically these factors are directly connected to customers' explicit needs and desires and a company should try to be competitive here.

Continue...

(I need to go now, will come back later. Wish everyone has a very good weekend! ^__^ )


October 15, 2008

First entry – time management!

Have been with MBE for more than 2 weeks. The most important thing in the postgraduate that I feel now is the time management! I must make good use of my time, otherwise there will be probably no time to sleep. Still remember one of my colleagues said today that he went to bed after 3am, and two of my other colleagues said that they went to bed after 1pm these days. And we've actually got lectures from 9am to 6.30pm everyday in this week. Tough, but I feel that my colleagues didn't really complain about this, they are ambitious and enjoying the days.

Needless to say, I have been also busy from the beginning of the term. Besides the course works (we are currently doing 6 mini team projects), attending lectures, I have to sort out things like bank (always has a long queue), gas & electricity and so on so on.

Overall, the time management is important.

After all, the time management is important for business excellence!