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Using Concept Map Based Team Knowledge Elicitation To Enhance Effectiveness For A Public Health Agency.11.1.2010
Using Concept Map Based Team Knowledge Elicitation To Enhance Effectiveness For A Public Health Agency.11.1.2010
Using Concept Map Based Team Knowledge Elicitation To Enhance Effectiveness For A Public Health Agency.11.1.2010
Using Concept Map Based Team Knowledge Elicitation To Enhance Effectiveness For A Public Health Agency.11.1.2010
Using Concept Map Based Team Knowledge Elicitation To Enhance Effectiveness For A Public Health Agency.11.1.2010
Using Concept Map Based Team Knowledge Elicitation To Enhance Effectiveness For A Public Health Agency.11.1.2010
Using Concept Map Based Team Knowledge Elicitation To Enhance Effectiveness For A Public Health Agency.11.1.2010
Using Concept Map Based Team Knowledge Elicitation To Enhance Effectiveness For A Public Health Agency.11.1.2010
Using Concept Map Based Team Knowledge Elicitation To Enhance Effectiveness For A Public Health Agency.11.1.2010
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Using Concept Map Based Team Knowledge Elicitation To Enhance Effectiveness For A Public Health Agency.11.1.2010

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A paper describing a project to help a public health agency enhance strategic alignment, effective contribution and effective decision-making

A paper describing a project to help a public health agency enhance strategic alignment, effective contribution and effective decision-making

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  • 1. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA. USING CONCEPT MAP-BASED TEAM KNOWLEDGE ELICITATION TO ENHANCE ORGANIZATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS FOR A PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCY Barbara L. Bowen, PhD, Knowledge Architect/Principal Consultant, Sound Knowledge Strategies Jean Baldwin, MPH, Director, Jefferson Public Health Abstract: This article describes a Concept Map-based team knowledge elicitation initiative for a county public health agency in the United Status. The purpose was to increase organizational effectiveness by fostering knowledge sharing and development of a shared vision of the core concepts and values of public health. The specific goals of the agency director were to enhance a shared focus on core public health knowledge principles throughout the agency and to reduce time and resources needed for new employees to become effective team members. The introduction contains a brief overview of the situation of public health organizations in the United Status, the concept of effectiveness in a knowledge-based organization and a brief overview of literature on previous team knowledge elicitation efforts. The remainder of the paper discusses the situation of the agency, the conduct of the sessions, the knowledge model, and the impact of the project. 1 Introduction The executives and staff of public health agencies in the United Status typically face work demands that outstrip the agency’s available capacity. In most cases, the work for which the agencies are responsible is mandated by law, which means that reducing the workload by eliminating work usually is not an option. The nature of the work itself - dealing with the public in what can be highly-emotionally charged situations - is stressful and the stress can work against effectiveness. The loss of capacity that results when staff members resign, retire or even when they are absent for vacation creates additional burdens, as does the necessary commitment of staff time and resources required to bring a new person on-board. A common base of shared knowledge, insights and perspective enables more effective prioritization and decision-making, which are essential to enable the agency to fulfill its purpose. Existing methods to address these issues include staff training, monthly meetings of agency staff, and team meetings. While these are essential, they typically address operational and tactical issues, and are not designed to create the kind of clarifying “map of what matters” that a suite of Concept Maps, or visual knowledge model, can provide. The effectiveness of Concept Maps and visual knowledge models created using CmapTools lies in their ability to clarify conceptual hierarchy, key inter-relationships and inter-dependencies and their use as performance support and decision-support tools. The following sections describe relevant literature, characteristics of the public health agency and its staff, the knowledge elicitation sessions, the knowledge model and the impact of the initiative and an assessment of its success in achieving its goals. 2. Relevant Theory and Literature 2.1 The Concept of Effectiveness for Knowledge Workers and Knowledge Organizations In Out of the Crisis, W.E. Deming (2000), father of total quality management, wrote, the aim of an organization needs to be to “make best use of all knowledge and skill in the company to improve its quality, productivity and competitive position…” Peter Drucker (2007) said something similar, “Organization is the specific instrument to make human strengths redound to performance while human weakness is neutralized and largely rendered harmless.” In Drucker’s view, the key function of a knowledge organization, and knowledge workers, is effectiveness. Effectiveness requires contributions to the organization’s goals and purpose (Drucker, 1969). Effectiveness requires everyone in the organization to align their work with the organization’s purpose and to focus it on “what matters.” Effective executives are those who make good use of people’s strengths and provide help and support to address weaknesses or gaps in capacity (Drucker, 2007). A key means for accomplishing this is promoting a shared vision of the goals and purpose of the organization and fostering alignment of the contributions individuals and teams make to help achieve them. In this project, Drucker’s notion of effectiveness was a guiding principle for the work. In the public
  • 2. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA. health agency discussed in this paper, organizational effectiveness requires staff in both community health and environmental health to use core high-level public health concepts as guiding principles in daily work, as the basis for decision-making and for conducting their daily work. 2.2 Team Knowledge Elicitation and Concept Mapping Novak (1998/ first described the value of team knowledge elicitation as a tool for enhancing the effectiveness of teams in the context of his work with product development teams at a multi-national consumer products company. “...in seminars with research directors at a very large consumer products company we used Concept Maps...to help groups design new products and to pinpoint gaps in knowledge available that needed to be filled through new, targeted research. The manager of the program remarked, ‘You led the team to see better the nature of the new product and research that needs to be done in four hours than usually occurs in four months.’ “ Bowen and Meyer (2008) describe the use of a “skeleton expert map” (Novak, 2004) of essential requirements for effective teacher induction to foster strategic alignment and build capacity within a distributed team of K-12 teachers and administrators involved in state-wide a project to improve teacher induction. Perez and Bowen (2008) describe the use of Concept Maps to facilitate the gathering and effective use of stakeholder feedback on a national environmental monitoring project in Cuba. Fourie (2008) describes the use of Concept Maps of strategic intent, created via knowledge elicitation with CEOS, to assess the degree of strategic alignment at all levels within South African wine cooperatives. Perez (2008) describes the use of Concept Maps to elicit feedback from stakeholders for a national environmental monitoring plan. While Concept Map-based knowledge elicitation process for individual and team knowledge elicitation sessions is guided by the same principles, because team members bring different mental models, assumptions, points of view and even vocabulary, team knowledge elicitation can be both more challenging and more rewarding than knowledge elicitation with an individual expert. Clarifying the concepts themselves, the conceptual hierarchy and conceptual relationships can be a more extensive process for a team than for an individual expert. Sometimes the Concept Map undergoes substantial revision from one session to the next as the participants gain clarity and re-structure their own individual and group mental models. The team knowledge elicitation process itself promotes alignment and effectiveness by fostering the construction of a common mental model, which is represented by the Concept Maps. 3. A Concept Map-based Knowledge Elicitation Project

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