British Petroleum

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1. How do “peer assists” contribute to BPX’s ability to learn? How is a peer assist an act of network brokerage?

Peer Assist brings together a group of peers from one business unit to another unit to elicit feedback on a problem, project, or activity, and draw lessons from the participants' knowledge and experience. Peer assist are generally useful when:

* You are starting a new job, activity or project and you
want to benefit from the advice of more experienced
people. * You face a problem that another group has faced in the past. * You had not to have to deal with a given situation for a long time. * You are no longer sure what new procedures to follow. You are planning a project that is similar to a project another group has completed.

It contributes to BPX’s ability to learn by allowing people to interact so that one person can transfer knowledge from their own experiences to others who have not had that experience. This is quintessential network brokerage. Particular people tend to be in high demand as “peer assistors” – the typical broker. Those people then bring back information from the groups they have visited, and pass it on to their own business units – thereby facilitating the transfer. These people would have adapted to speaking “multiple languages” and as such, become even more in demand.

Four mechanisms:
* peer assists
* peer groups
* other federal organizations
* personnel transfer

The objective is to identify all of the problems that an asset is eventually going to experience and include these in the thinking on day one. This sharing of experience across the Peer Groups is a powerful learning tool. It provides breadth, timing and arbitrage!

2. How do “peer groups” contribute to BPX’s ability to learn. In particular, what incentives are in place to encourage managers to transfer knowledge?

They contribute by allowing certain business units to bring in knowledge from others to...
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