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Knowledge management: a social learning perspective

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  • There is a broad range of thought on Knowledge Management with no unanimous definition.It is clear from looking at the literature on KM that the term knowledge suffers from a high degree of what might be called \"terminological ambiguity\" and often requires a host of adjectives to make clear exactly in what sense it is being used. When something is to be managed many people feel that in order to do this it must be quantified, counted, organised and measured; it must be able to be built, owned and controlled if its value is to be maximised. As a result, approaches to KM have tended to concentrate on attempts to capture and control what is sometimes termed 'structured knowledge’ and intellectual capital.In fact, Knowledge Management comprises a range of practices used by organisations to identify, create, represent, distribute and enable adoption of what it knows, and how it knows it.It is the attempt to secure the experience as well as the work product of individuals within an organisation and equates to much more than just organisational intellectual capital.If I left my job tomorrow would anyone else be able to walk in and perform my role?What would the new person need to know to immediately begin to work effectively? Is this available to anyone?My role at Lovell Chen – many people have ‘an idea’ of what I do but not enough understanding to even begin training the next person.This requires creation of supportive organizational structures, facilitation of organizational members, installing IT-instruments with emphasis on teamwork and diffusion of knowledge into place.<number>
  • Just one school of thought.Knowledge management within this context envisions organisations as communities where knowledge, identity, and learning are situated. This framework acknowledges the social context of learning - i.e., that knowledge is acquired and understood through action, interaction, and sharing with others. 2 key areas: ‘knowing what you know’ Sharing existing knowledge & Knowledge for innovation – ‘creating and converting’This communal nature of knowledge production predicts the importance of creating learning organisations where knowledge arises out of processes that are personal, social, situated and active. It follows that workplaces must provide both formal and informal learning opportunities for interaction with ideas and among people over time. It follows that social networks provide peer-to-peer enculturation through intentional exchange of tacit information made explicit. Knowledge management is about creating opportunities for knowledge creation, cultivation and sharing.<number>
  • Not sure how many people know of this model or of Nonaka. Nonaka is one of the founding fathers of knowledge management and his work focuses on knowledge creation strategies. It is his notions about community building for knowledge creation and organisational learning that provide the fundamental underpinnings for a knowledge enabling environment. As explained by Nonaka’s four phase spiral process, knowledge creation is activated and sustained by the continuous social interaction of tacit and explicit knowledge.Tacit knowledge is often subconscious, internalized, and the individual may or may not be aware of what he or she knows and how he or she accomplishes particular results. At the opposite end of the spectrum is conscious or explicit knowledge -- knowledge that the individual holds explicitly and consciously in mental focus, and may communicate to others. Nonaka emphasises that the sharing of tacit knowledge takes place through joint activities and requires physical proximity (ie face to face is always important). In Nonaka's spiral of knowledge, tacit knowledge is 'shared' through interpersonal interaction. Process from the individual to the collective.This conversion process consists of four stages: socialization, externalization, combination and internalisation. The first step, socialization, transfers tacit knowledge between individuals through observation, imitation and practice. In the next step, externalization is triggered by dialogue or collective reflection and relies on analogy or metaphor to translate tacit knowledge into documents and procedures. Combination consequently reconfigures bodies of explicit knowledge through sorting, adding, combining and categorising processes and spreads it throughout an organisation. Lastly, internalisation translates explicit knowledge into individual tacit knowledge. Eventually, through a phenomenon that Nonaka calls the \"knowledge spiral\", knowledge creation and sharing become part of the culture of an organisation.Give an example….use the lunch scenario or a family Christmas recipe or something<number>
  • A knowledge enabling environment refers to the organisational structures that create opportunities for learning through providing conditions for knowledge creation. This requires developing an organisational knowledge vision that recognises the critical importance of enabling appropriately contextualised formal and informal interactions with others If the organisation you work within does not value collaborative learning or knowledge sharing you will be in for an uphill battle!Through creating social learning opportunities community is cultivated, collaborative relationships are established, communication is enhanced and leadership is distributed. Organisational learning is advanced and knowledge capabilities developed.Within this context, an organisation is conceptualised as a purposeful social interaction system in which collective capabilities develop through workplace socialisation processes . An organisation’s knowledge vision, then, must recognise the importance of establishing sustainable organisational structures and communication systems that encourage and enable the social interactions which promote investigation and negotiation of the interests, judgments, and decisions through which people learn interdependently. <number>
  • One strategy for encouraging informal learning are communities of practice. A community of practice refers to a group of people who are ‘informally bound together by shared expertise and passion for joint enterprise’, whereby knowledge and experiences are openly shared to foster new ideas and approaches to problems. A community of practice exists, therefore, because it produces shared practices as members engage in the collective process of learning through interacting within a social context. Communities of practice are self organising and self perpetuating: as they generate knowledge, they reinforce and renew themselves.Communities of practice, therefore, fulfil a number of functions with respect to the creation, accumulation, and diffusion of knowledge in an organisation. It is experiential and contextualised learning – and thus meaningful and practical at the time of need. It can lead to significant innovations and problem solving – its almost like group therapy! It is socialising – but with an agenda (and will always require a facilitator to ensure the discussion stays on track)They are community building and encourage organisational participation and engagement – and encourages dialogue across the organisation.Example: NMIT Teaching and Learning Excellence project communities of practice<number>
  • To get an idea of ‘bottom up’ approach to leadership and boundary crossing teams lets talk about the King Library, San Jose State University.Process: first 23 things to ensure all had skills and were conversant in web 2.0 technologiesPeople were excited and engaged and so a tea, made up of people across the whole department at all different levels, was charged with investigating how to apply these technologies to improve merged decision making, problem solving, and strategic planning activities.Affinity diagram. The process is founded in the question: ‘what are the issues and roadblocks between where we are now and where we need to be in our collective ability to make effective decisions?’ Employees individually brainstormed issues and ideas related to the question and communicated comments on post it notes.Next an Interrelationship Digraph was used to identify and analyse the cause and effect relationships that existed between the critical issues. In addition five root drivers of the issues were distinguished. Lastly, countermeasures were discovered for the five primary drivers which, when addressed, will mitigate the resulting causal issues. Task force analysis produced recommendations that informed both structural and process improvements for communication, decision making and planning. For instance, current structures and practices were identified as inconsistent and overly complex, resulting in poor communication and insufficient transparency (due primarily to poor documentation and information accessibility). This, in turn, impeded collaboration and community and limited opportunities for information exchange and knowledge creation.Through dialogue, discussion and ‘perspective taking’, the team analysed and drew meaning from organisational complexities. Through this collaborative ‘perspective making’ process, decisions and recommended actions for organisational improvement were developed. Through knowledge sharing and community building efforts – this ‘bottom up’ approach to organisational revitalisation demonstrates the efficacy of cultivating authority and ownership at all organisational levels. Staff members across horizontal and vertical levels of the organisation enjoy renewed engagement within the workplace, including their shared leadership responsibilities. The growth of community culture across unit boundaries predicts continued communication and collaboration.In terms of mentoring and succession planning lets talk about NMIT visual arts teachers – everyone is an expert in something.<number>
  • Even when there is no professional dialogue there is still value in creating informal opportunities for socialising within the workplace – it is community building and allows relationships to form…it’s the beginning of building a cohesive team and forming collaborative relationships.Informal workplace social relationships is also the primary method for people to become information literate in the workplace. It is dependent on engagement with and drawing meaning from social and physical information sources as much as from textual knowledge sources. Information exchange and knowledge creation occurs within organisational culture through everyday social interactions with colleagues.Create the informal – even in the everyday – build relationships strategically – eg roster people on desk strategically when possible etcSocial club?Example: Lovell Chen & NMIT – the power of morning tea!<number>
  • Once an individual learns something, it is available for their immediate use. In contrast, organizations need to create, capture, transfer, and mobilize knowledge before it can be used. Although technology supports the latter, these are primarily social processes within a cultural environment, and cultural change, however necessary, is a particularly challenging undertaking.There are many methods for capturing knowledge and experience, such as publications, activity reports, lessons learned, interviews, and presentations. Capturing includes organizing knowledge in ways that people can find it. Capturing also includes storage in repositories, databases, or libraries to insure that the knowledge will be available when and as needed.The role of technology is a supporting role – putting something on the intranet and capturing it does not turn it into knowledge – the power is still in face to face encountersWhile technology allows participants in communities of practice to share, converse and create across time and space, it does not replace the need for face-to-face social learning interactions. A hybrid/blended approach is required’An organisation learns when the knowledge of each individual who is part of the group is shared beyond temporal, spatial or structural limits’. <number>
  • As you can see there is just about every buzz work possible on this slide – however creating social learning opportunities, both formal and informal and lead to all of these outcomes.Knowledge Management is particularly linked and related to what has become known as the learning organisation, lifelong learning and continuous improvement. In our knowledge driven economy, organisational capacity for knowledge creation is paramount to remaining competitive in today’s global markets. Building knowledge production capability within an organisation relies on development and implementation of appropriate, flexible organisational environments that foster robust exchange relationships and effective collaborations. It recognises the need for cultivating both formal and informal interactions among individuals and with information to enable knowledge creation and advance workplace learning.It supports change management as, through increased engagement through communities of practice and bottom up leadership approaches, they are already partly there!Responsive not only to faster pace of the world and more staff turnover but also how Gen Y prefer to learn and engage.A learning organization actively promotes, facilitates, and rewards collective learning.But as you can see these things can be difficult to measure and as a result can be difficult to get leadership support on. The benefits are real but sometimes unrecognizable as well as unmeasurable in concrete terms.<number>
  • In Australia KM is still a growing industry, quite a new field despite its prominence in literature for the past 10 plus years.As workplaces are required to respond to rapid technological change the need for social learning becomes more imperative – workplace turnover higher and knowledge sharing paramount to organizational development and survival.The workplace will become more social, particularly with advent of Gen Y and further generations who have grown up in a social age. As such KM practices will naturally infiltrate organisations as this is how Gen Y want and expect to work – in a sharing, caring environment.Within this social learning and KM will become a necessity as Gen Ys will expect a collaborative, knowledge sharing, community based, shared leadership approach.The approach will be different at each organisation but the principles remain the same – community, collaboration, sharing and leadership. <number>
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  • Transcript

    • 1. Knowledge Management A social learning perspective Zaana Howard Information and Knowledge Manager Lovell Chen Architects and Heritage Consultants
    • 2. Outline  What is knowledge management?  The social learning perspective  Knowledge enabling environments  Communities of practice  Shared leadership  The informal approach Blue aliens by Redgum. Source: Flickr.  Role of technology  Benefits
    • 3. What is knowledge management?  Practices used by organisations to identify, create, represent, distribute and enable adoption of what it knows, and how it knows it.  The attempt to secure the experience as well as the work product of individuals within an organisation. Knowledge management (Tartakover Studio) by Openheimer. Source: Flickr.
    • 4. The social learning perspective  Organisations as communities: knowledge is acquired and understood through action, interaction and sharing with others  2 key areas: knowing what you know and knowledge for innovation  Creation opportunities for knowledge creation, cultivation, sharing and transfer Pep talk by marianovsky. Source: Flickr.
    • 5. A little bit of theory…. Nonaka’s SECI model (1991)
    • 6. Knowledge enabling environments  A knowledge vision  Create of formal and informal learning opportunities  Cultivate community, collaboration, communication and leadership  Require effective ICT infrastructure IMG_3980 by paulsphotostash. Source: Flickr.
    • 7. Communities of practice  Group of people who are ‘informally bound together by shared expertise and passion for joint enterprise’  Focuses on knowledge sharing  Experiential learning  Innovation and problem solving  Socialising – with an agenda  Community building & organisational participation Community. Source: Australian Public Safety League.  Example: NMIT Teaching and Learning Excellence Project
    • 8. Shared leadership  ‘Bottom up’ approach to leadership  Boundary crossing teams – with authority  Provides mentoring and succession planning options  Examples: Sharing by ryancr. Source: Flickr. King Library, San Jose State University, California; NMIT Visual Arts teachers
    • 9. Creating the informal  Create opportunities for socialising and discussion  Community building  The power of food!  Example: Lovell Chen Poodle cupcakes by Tri Poodle. Source: Flickr.
    • 10. Role of technology  Support role – does not replace face to face  Capturing knowledge  Allows sharing, conversing and creating across time and space  Allows a ‘local’ Touched by Saf anna. Source: Flickr experience to become ‘global’
    • 11. Benefits  Organisational learning  Continuous improvement  Workplace information literacy  Change management  Workplace engagement  Organisational innovation / invigoration  Generation Y expectations Skyride by smcgee. Source: Flickr
    • 12. The future  KM is a growing industry  More frequent staff turnover  More rapid global and technological changes  The social workplace Future or bust! by Vermin Inc. Source Flickr.
    • 13. Thankyou Zaana Howard Information and Knowledge Manager Lovell Chen zhoward@lovellchen.com.au

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