A Knowledge Productive Organsiation

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Agnieszka Senger |
Briefing paper to MD ‘A Knowledge Productive Organisation’
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5KNM|

9/20/2012
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CONTENT
1. KNOWLEDGE vs. KNOWING ……………………………………………………………………….p. 3-4 2. KNOWLEDGE FLOW …………………………………………………………………………………..p. 4-7 3. MANAGEMENT ROLE IN ENSURING KNOWLEDGE FLOW ……………………………….p. 7 4. KNOWLEDGE + LEARNING = IMPROVED ORGANISATIONAL PERFORMANCE ….p. 8 – 10 5. RICH LEARNING EXPEREINCE IN THE ORGANISATION …………………………………p. 10-12 6. CONCLUSION …………………………………………………………………………………………..p. 12 7. BIBLIOGRAPHY …………………………………………………………………………………………p. 13-14 8.

Productivity is a key determinant for the success of any organisation – to thrive in competition; firms must be able to make best use of scarce resources available. This holds true also in the case of knowledge-intensive organisations, which can be defined as any organisation in which “knowledge has more importance than other inputs” (Starbuck 1992). Traditional value is based on net assets of the company, however new philosophy is that value of firm reflects value of knowledge in organization.

1.1 KNOWLEDGE vs. KNOWING
As Cook and Browns describe it, knowledge is what is possessed while knowing is part of action. Knowledge may be used in action but it is static, while knowing is ‘dynamic, concrete, and relational.’ Knowledge is ‘possessed’ while knowing is ‘part of action’ (Cook and Brown, 1999).

At the next level, knowledge is understood by Cook and Brown as having four forms defined by two axes –tacit-explicit and individual-group, a frame that borrows from Michael Polanyi’s tacit-explicit distinction (cited in: Cook and Brown, 1999). Cook and Brown argue that tacit (“know-how”) and explicit (able to be formalized) knowledge are distinct forms that cannot be converted into each other, though each type may be an aid to gaining the other. The other axis, individual-group, refers to the ‘holder’ of the knowledge. Using a simple 2x2 structure and these axes, Cook and Brown identify four forms of knowledge:

a) Explicit-individual (concepts): Examples include engineering formula calculation and basic spreadsheet manipulation.
b) Tacit-individual (skills): Examples include managing teams and troubleshooting unusual exceptions.
c) Explicit-group (stores): Examples include formalized processes and patents. d) Tacit-group (genres): Examples include corporate culture and norms of communication.

1.2 KNOWLEDGE FLOW
A ‘knowledge rich’ or ‘knowledge enabled’ organisation is one in which knowledge flows — through creation, sharing, transfer and retention activities — from the parts that have it, to the parts that need it. Any restriction or blockage to the flow of knowledge can cause partial or total failure of the organisational system. ‘Knowledge is the lifeblood of an organization and knowledge and information managers have a key role to play in keeping knowledge flowing, used and retained in their organizations’ (Liao 2009). This role is particularly important during difficult economic times. The impact of budget cuts, office closures, voluntary and compulsory redundancies, falling demand can each have unintended consequences, including acting as barriers — the restrictions or blockages — to the flow of knowledge.

Out of these various lines of thought, a number of specific, overlapping factors have been identified and reported by researchers (Cabrera and Cabrera, 2002; Connelly and Kelloway, 2003; Hutchings and Michailova, 2004; Bock et al., 2005, 2006) – summarise in table 1.1

Level of analysis| Knowledge sharing barrier|
Individual| General lack of time to share knowledge, and time to identify colleagues in need of specific knowledge| | Apprehension or fear that sharing may reduce or jeopardize people’s job security| | Low awareness and realization of the value and benefit of possessed knowledge to others| | Dominance in sharing explicit over tacit knowledge such as know-how and...
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