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1997 New Avenues In Knowledge Creation
 

1997 New Avenues In Knowledge Creation

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A 1997 presentation at Stockholm Business School in our small group working on the book "Imaginary Organizations" (Elsevier, 2002)

A 1997 presentation at Stockholm Business School in our small group working on the book "Imaginary Organizations" (Elsevier, 2002)

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    1997 New Avenues In Knowledge Creation 1997 New Avenues In Knowledge Creation Presentation Transcript

    • Are there new avenues in knowledge creation ? Prof. Philippe Baumard Presented at the University of Stockholm to a PhD Seminar organized with Prof. Bo Hedberg Research on Imaginary Organizations, Stockholm School of Business June 8 th , 1997 In honor of my dear friend Bo and his long-lasting influence on how I perceive the world! 
    • Part I What is knowledge ? How is it generated ?
    • What is “knowledge” ? A balance between dependent and autonomous processes, outputs, and inputs : “Da-Sein” Representations Post-dictive Pre-dictive Instant Abstractive Un-abstractive Insights FOK Feeling Of Knowing Constructions Modelisations Imagination Procdural technologies Know-How Skills Talent Foreknowledge Intuition Premonitions Sensations HIGHLY AUTONOMOUS
    • What is the ontological status of knowledge ? (if you accept the tautology)
      • 1. It is unreachable
        • Not by means of abstraction and representation
        • Part of knowledge is impossible to represent
          • Inconscious individual inferences
          • Collective unconscious
      • 2. it is dependent on purpose
        • According to faith, beliefs, ideologies, religions, etc.
          • Knowing as believing : Faith
          • Knowing as defining : Belief
      • 3. It is unsubstantial
        • One cannot possibly describe his or her state of knowledge
        • A colllectivity, a group, cannot define it
        • A society cannot define it.
    • Very old boulevards in a brand new world ?
      • Information overload calls for sense-making expertise
        • Intelligent research agents (semi-automatic to fully automatic sense-making devices) : http://www.arisem.com
        • Fast social-learners
        • Coordination and control will be more and more replaced by intelligent computerized devices: IntraNets are pushing the middle-line out, leaving narrow maneouvers for doers (front line) and policy-makers.
      • Cognitive economics of forces
        • Conceptual competition: Companies pursue minds matching. Ideologies develop through new channels, mostly individualized, with mass media.
        • Esoteric, mystic, misinformation and mismanagement can infuse the networks.
        • Framing with instruments : “biased heritage” of Quinn & Cameron
      • The professionalization of everyone… (after Wilensky, 1957)
        • Will lead to the emergenceof knowledge economy.
        • Calls from a shift from conform learning to combinatory learning, i.e. :
          • Higher degree of abstraction
          • Reframing, Reproblematizing
    • How knowledge is renewed in organizations ? Adapted from Ekstedt, 1989 Organization, Structures & Capital Individuals Generation Where knowledge is embodied... Groups & Communities Socialization Imitation Invention Imagination Learning R&D Investments Scanning Interaction Enactment « Boundary     spanners » Intrusions Deviance Crises Action generating KNOWLEDGE GENERATION
    • Through its diffusion… Adapted from Ekstedt, 1989 Organization, Structures & Capital Individuals Generation Diffusion KNOWLEDGE RENEWAL Where knowledge is embodied... Groups & Communities Socialization Imitation Invention Imagination Learning Rotation Standardization Codification Socialisation R&D Investments Scanning Interaction Enactment Routines Explicitations Procedures Redondancies « Boundary     spanners » Leadership « Top-Down » Culture Training Reporting Intrusions Deviance Crises Justifying performance Action Action generating Reporting
    • Through its preservation… Adapted from Ekstedt, 1989 Organization, Structures & Capital Individuals Collective memory Individual memory Know-how Communities of practice Generation Diffusion Preservation KNOWLEDGE ASSIMILATION Where knowledge is embodied... Groups & Communities Socialization Imitation Invention Professional codes and traditions Imagination Codified norms Archives Patents & Secrets Learning Rotation Databases Contracts Reports Specialization Standardization Codification Socialisation Dynamic preservation though action R&D Investments Scanning Interaction Enactment Routines Explicitations Procedures Redondancies « Boundary     spanners » Leadership « Top-Down » Culture Training Reporting Intrusions Deviance Crises Justifying performance Action Action generating Reporting Rules of thumb
    • Through its discontinuation… Adapted from Ekstedt, 1989 Organization, Structures & Capital Individuals Collective memory Individual memory Know-how Communities of practice Generation Diffusion Preservation Discontinuation KNOWLEDGE RENEWAL Where knowledge is embodied... Groups & Communities To forget To unlearn To convert Socialization Imitation Invention Professional codes and traditions Organization dissolution Socialization "flakes" Imagination To resign Transfer Reengineering Restructuration Fusion & decline Codified norms Archives Patents & Secrets Learning Rotation Databases Contracts Reports Divisionnalization Specialization Standardization Codification Socialisation Dynamic preservation though action R&D Investments Scanning Interaction Enactment Routines Explicitations Procedures Redondancies « Boundary     spanners » Leadership « Top-Down » Culture Training To self-deceive Reporting Intrusions Intangible assets depreciation Normalisation Deviance Deviance Crises Justifying performance Action Action generating Reporting Rules of thumb
    • What Knowledge Generation is NOT…
      • It is not a cumulation
        • One can learn by experiencing infrequent events richly (ex: Van de Ven experiments)
        • Innovations are not outcomes, but ruptures.
      • It is not its codification
        • There is much into knowledge that solely its codification
        • The codified bears the uncodified :
          • Tacit knowledge is EMBODIED in WRITING, into
            • Style
            • Implicit references to a readership community
            • Allusions, suggestions, signals, stimuli :) <:(
      • It is not information
        • Information contributes to knowledge, but is not assimilable to knowledge
          • Organisations are floaded with information, but can still die from a lack of knowledge
      • It is not overlapping or redundancies (Nonaka, 1994)
        • Twice the same information does not systematically produce knowledge
        • Two brains on the same information can !
    • Conclusion of Part I : Shifting focus in knowledge generation
      • The current focus on knowledge generation…
        • Focus on “knowledge as a commodity ” vs. “improvement of knowing”
        • Focus on “large scale” vs. “small scale” (the world vs. my suburb)
        • Focus on generalization (networks) vs. intimacy (interconnectedness)
        • Focus on codified learning vs. socially-embodied learning
        • Focus on ‘fast access’ (i.e. slow indeed!) vs. Intelligibility
      • Most organizations are unfit for the management and capitlazition of intangible assets in general , and counter-productive in terms of knowledge generation in particular.
        • Why ?
          • Inertia : that built priorities that differs from knowledge generation.
          • Purpose : “We don’t produce knowledge for knowledge’s sake”
          • Culture : Statutory expertise vs. dynamic knowledge contribution
          • Belief in simple representations : reductions are more cost efficient.
      • Maybe we could focus on new alleys of research…
        • The 888 88 Accound of the Barrings : “the missing variable”
        • The Bible Code : preventing from visibility
        • The sense-making aptitude : ARISEM
    • Part II How to Study Knowledge Generation ?
    • What Research Design to Study Knowledge Generation ?
      • Post-dictive research designs
        • Resource-Based View : Explaining Performance with the Past
          • What could be the key-resource that explains the success ? (Hamel, Prahalad)
          • What could explain growth (Penrose) ? Skills
          • What could explain competitive advantage ? (Spender) collective knowledge
      • Pre-dictive research designs
        • The Competitive Strategy School
          • Superiority of Plans (i.e. Porter, 1985
      • Constructive research designs
        • Knowledge is analysed while it is constructed
          • Revealing implicit schemata of managers (e.g. Schein or Argyris)
          • Creating, implementing and observing tools in use (Action-Research)
          • Action-research in Imaginary Organisations.
      • Longitudinal research with direct observation
        • Looking for occasions for sense-making and knowledge generation
          • Assumptions of knowledge transformations :
            • During Crises (Hedberg, Starbuck, Nystrom…)
            • During mergers, fusions, etc,
      • Ambiguities are critical times for knowledge… (purpose)
        • Ambiguities are opportunities for knowledge renewal
        • Ambiguities are unstable (e.g. antithetical but compatible meaning)
        • Ambiguities create tensions in knowledge evaluation
        • Therefore, ambiguous situations are good opportunities to study knowledge transformations (e,g, infusion of new knowledge)
      • How organization theory deals with ambiguity ? (Angle)
        • “ Engineering of choice” (March, Olsen, 1975)
          • Events are not obvious, reasons for events are unknown, we don’t know if the event is good or bad
        • In theories of choice, ambiguity is usually seen as a sin .
      • What were we aiming at ?
        • To understand how knowledge is “acknowledged”
        • To describe possible processus that display regularities
        • To challenge the “sin” view of ambiguities
        • To unveil the link between the organization, its members, their coupling and knowledge creation
      Why did we chose to study “ambiguities” to understand knowledge infusion ?
      • The Indigo Case : A knowledge-refinery with a taste for the ambiguous
        • The small confidential newsletters publishing firm’s staff develops its own theory about knowledge-generation :
          • (a) Avoiding to write too quickly (maintaining equivocality),
          • (b) Experimenting with unknown settings through blind-tests with hypotetical       knowledge (acting on settings, when knowledge itself cannot be acted)
          • (c) lying in wait while knowledge goes through its autonomous developement;
          • (d) keeping socialized to grasp outcomes (as the sole deliberate strategy).
      • The Indosuez case : Learning through mergers and from newcomers is not as easy as it seems…
        • In 1993, Indosuez is hiring a team of derivatives experts from Drexel-Lambert. As newcomers do not cope with overinstitutionalized French banks, they threat to resign and leave. A crisis is provoked by CEO, and the breakdown is an opportunity for building a tacit agreement.
      How Firms Infuse New Knowledge to Cope with Environmental Ambiguities?
    • What is going on when people face ambiguity ?
      • Either, they become “univocal”…
          • “ We proceed as if we were faced with a choice between the univocal and the ambiguous, and we come to the discovery… that the univocal has its foundations and consequences in ambiguities” (McKeon, 1964, p. 243).
        • Ambiguities are dealt through “forcing” a choice
          • Incompatible knowledge subsists, but is either ignored or left aside
          • Incompatible knowledge is discarded (believed as inappopriate = unlearning)
        • Ambiguities are dealt through “clearing premises”
          • Preferences, motivations, beliefs are rationalized as to fit with environmental ambiguous settings
      • Or, they “thrive in the fog” (they become ambiguous)
        • Ambiguities are dealt through “indecision” (no choice is made)
          • Contradictory knowledge is taken for granted
          • Incompatibility of knowledge is used as a means of flexibility (e.g. political discourse)
        • Ambiguities are dealt as opportunities
          • When specification would become a threat (e.g. after a merger, organization members do not make their claims specific as to survive rationalization)
          • When new knowledge is awaited (as not to force an interpretation against another, as to give time to new knowledge to emerge)
    • How ambiguity and (un)learning interact ? (inspired from Levine, 1985; Hedberg, 1981; March, Olsen, 1975; Quinn, Cameron, 1988; Starbuck, 1983; Weick, 1976; Baumard, 1996; Brown & Duguid, 1991) Ambiguity KILLING IGNORING ACKNOWLEDGING Individuals Groups Bonding through diffuseness Adapting through loose-coupling Organizational reframing Generating organizational slack Self-protection (opacity) Evocative allusions (metaphors) Escalating of commitment Relying on affect solely Clearing premises Self-deception Forcing univocality (cognitive mastery) Individual reframing Thriving in the fog (opportunistic) Monopoly of esoteric knowledge Instrumental indeterminacy Relying on myths Relying on traditions & programs Tests and conflicts avoidance Collective defensiveness Self-deception Descrimination Blind Spoting Enforcing rules IMPOSING NEW KNOWEDGE INFUSING NEW KNOWLEDGE AVOIDING NEW KNOWLEDGE Reconciliating old and new knowledge Acknowledging knowledge propension for its autonomous development Fossilizing old knowledge Opposing old and new knowledge Old knowledge is viewed as a sin New knowledge is univocal Exploiting equivocality Preparing ground for clashing frames (implicit incompatibility keeps on growing) Developing communities of practice Institutionalization of defensive routines.
    • Conclusion of Part II: Findings and Propositions
      • Organizational Settings that Reduce Ambiguities
        • Because they are designed for it…
          • The Multi-Divisionnal Form
          • Various forms of Hierarchies
        • They tend to make knowledge univocal
      • Organizational Settings that Produce Ambiguities
        • Unpurposefully :
          • Joint-Ventures and Strategic Alliances
          • Fusion with Two Different Cultures; Matrix
        • Purposefully :
          • Small knowledge refineries that thrive in the fog (Indigo)
          • Large firms that want to change their brand equity (Mercedes/Swatch)
          • Insurance companies that enter the pension funds market (AXA)
          • Airlines alliances with FFP qith other carriers (SAS-Lufthansa)
        • They induce new knowledge of their markets
          • By exploiting equivocalities and developing new communities of practice
      • Organizational Settings that Avoid Ambiguities
        • They are trapped into dysfunctional knowledge (French public firms)
    • Part III Do New Organizational Forms can contribute to Knowledge Generation ? Why ? And How ?
    • “ Pro-noid” assumptions Hope & self-deception on New Organizational Forms
      • “ Networks have less inertia ” Maybe Not
          • The Structure Finance industry and the Barrings Case. When self-deception is collective, if there are no formal devices to counter-balance, consequences can de dammageable.
      • “ Networks have an autonomous ontological status” Maybe Not
        • Do “networks” exist on their own ? With no link to organizations ?
      • “ Networks are better in circulating knowledge ” Maybe Not
        • They may circulate ignorance, conformity, and blind-faith
      • “ Trust is versatile. It is independent from the tangible” Maybe Not
        • We trust Skandia, SAS, Gant because they have or they had, and one does not know they don’t have any more, buildings, capabilities, addresses.
          • Research 1 : Measuring the effects on trust level of customers when they learn that Gant is an IO
          • Research 2 : The Nike Effect : Customer Loyalty and Degree of Intangibility of the Core Organisation ???
      • Knowledge is the key-resource of new organizations Maybe Not
        • Who works on the “organizational façade” hypothesis ?
        • Who works on the “control” hypothesis ?
    • The Case of Imaginary Organizations Societal Integrity (knowledge externality) Its social value Generating Visibility IMAGINARY ORGANISATIONS Contracts Moral Trust ? Performative Trust ? From Christian Maravelias & Ph. Baumard, 1997
      • •  They seek “societal integrity” without the rigidity of structures
      •     & tangibles.
      • •  They generate visibility artificially :
        • — i.e. greater market surface than individually (i.e. SAS)
        • —  i.e. they build on history they don’t have (i.e. Gant)
        • — i.e. they build on futures that are not here yet
      • • They rely on performative and moral trust
    • What differentiate them with traditional hierarchies ? Societal Integrity (knowledge externality) Its social value Generating Visibility Preserving From Visibility From Christian Maravelias & Ph. Baumard, 1997 IMAGINARY ORGANISATIONS HIERARCHIES Institutionalized Trust Contracts Moral Trust ? Performative Trust ?
      • • Hierarchies also seek societal integrity
      • • Hierarchies are preserving from visibility :
        • — Focus on internal control
        • —  Compartimentalization : external vs. internal
      • •  They rely on instutionalized trust (Foucault, Crozier, Boudon, etc.)
    • Both hierarchies and IO, however, need interpersonal networks… Societal Integrity (knowledge externality) Its social value Individualistic Integrity (knowledge internality - the inner value) Generating Visibility Preserving From Visibility Talents From Christian Maravelias & Ph. Baumard, 1997 IMAGINARY ORGANISATIONS INTERPERSONAL NETWORKS HIERARCHIES Affective Trust Institutionalized Trust Contracts Moral Trust ? Performative Trust ?
    • Are IO purposefully ambiguous designs ? Societal Integrity (knowledge externality) Its social value Individualistic Integrity (knowledge internality - the inner value) Generating Visibility Preserving From Visibility Talents From Christian Maravelias & Ph. Baumard, 1997 INDIVIDUAL EXPERTS IMAGINARY ORGANISATIONS INTERPERSONAL NETWORKS HIERARCHIES Affective Trust Institutionalized Trust Contracts Cognitive Trust Moral Trust ? Performative Trust ? MARKET Ontological & scope ambiguity
    • Are IO the organizing principle to generate new knowledge ? COLLECTIVE KNOWLEDGE INDIVIDUAL KNOWLEDGE Generating EXPLICIT KNOWLEDGE Preserving IMPLICIT KNOWLEDGE Talents From Christian Maravelias & Ph. Baumard, 1997 INDIVIDUAL EXPERTS IMAGINARY ORGANISATIONS INTERPERSONAL NETWORKS HIERARCHIES Affective Trust Institutionalized Trust Cognitive Trust Moral Trust ? Performative Trust ? MARKET Ontological & scope ambiguity Routines
    • Propositions & Conclusion
      • IO produce new knowledge through equivocalities
        • Of their market interface (i.e. airlines, Mercedes-Swatch)
      • IO knowledge generation relies on three forms of trust :
        • Affective Trust (linking individuals’ knowledge)
        • Cognitive Trust (importing experts’ knowledge)
        • Moral and/or performative trust (assembling new collective knowledge)
      • IO need Hierarchies
        • Because they need institutionalized trust
          • To lever resources (financial markets, investors)
          • To be able to sanction and punish (through a depersonalized frame)
      • Setting a Research Agenda :
        • How do we integrate Organizational Knowledge Theories with the IO theoretical construct ?
        • Is there a new avenue for Organizational Theory ?