Torill Iversen

Om ledelse, IKT og sånt

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Part 3: The learning factor…

Continuing to let my mind fly off , thinking about how to improve organizations when it comes to learning, creating and sharing knowledge by the use of web 2.0. ( This is the third post in the theme : Enterprise 2.o. You find the others here on my blogg)

so .. The last couple of years I have been studying amongst other:  Change management, Learning organizations and  now Knowledge management. It should`t come as an surprise, but it occurs to me  that it is about seeing  and helping the employers to grow (learning, changing, adapting, learning ..) . It sounds really simple, but  I see over and over again that this is the single most neglected area by managers. During hard economics times the focus is on cutting down and reducing costs, instead on focusing on how to get people to deliver more ( at least in the government where I work) .

I like this graph, on the effectiveness of collaboration – cause it shows, in a very simple way, the unused potential within organizations . How to people grow seems to be forgotten by many managers in the hunt for better numbers and results.

Not all work, can be argued, is suitable for teamwork. I agree. Still, it is possible to use those factors that makes people perform better in a team, in other ways. What is a team, and what is the characteristics of them ? The most used definition of a team is Katzenbach & Smith`s (1998):

A small group of people with complementary skills committed to a common purpose and set of specific performance goals.

Further on, some characteristics of an effective team :

  • Clear Purpose
  • Informality
  • Participation
  • Listening
  • Civilized Disagreement
  • Consensus Decisions
  • Open Communication
  • Clear Roles and Work Assignments
  • Shared Leadership
  • External Relations
  • Style Diversity
  • Self-Assessment

Could an organization develop, or make use of A virtual team ( Wiki— also known as a geographically dispersed team (GDT) — is a group of individuals who work across time, space, and organizational boundaries with links strengthened by webs of communication technology. )

It is clearly to big a goal to have the ambition to get everybody within an organization to work in teams. But by using social software you can emerge some of the extra value that high performing teams collects. Social software alone is of course not the solution, there has to be a framework around it. The organisation has to be, or wanting to become a knowledge organisation or a learning one. Within this there is a lot of factors that management has to take in, amongst them the structure of the organisation, and also wich sets of values to grow and reward.

I think that Communication and social collaboration is two key factors in a good team. By letting people communicate free from the organizational boundaries I think it is possible to create many of the characteristics mentioned above. Extended use of a diversity of social software as for instant : Wiki, Social site (as FB), blogging, microblogging, RSS, Social bookmarking, discussion groups can work as ba for this. ( Nonaka: “Ba” can be thought of as an shared space for emerging relationships. This space ca be physical, virtual, mental or any combination of them. Ba provides a platform for individual and/or collective knowledge.) Nonaka propose on of the ba`s to be Cyber ba– which is the “combination”-phase of his very known SECI process.

SEKI prosessThis process has been put into a web 2.o orientated context by Mohamed Amine Chatti ( read his article here) ( I recommend his blog for further reading on the topic)

It is interesting to see the new technology  put into “old” theory. It gives an image of the shift we have to make in our thinking.

Well – not coming to any conclusion yet .. just drodling (  – thinking and writing in all directions ..)

But.. To sum up.. to create knowledge, to share knowledge  is a core activity for productivity  and for a knowledge organization.

Web 2.0 is appealing to a lot of people out there, and are getting them engaged and  communicating . This is the factor a innovativ organisation has to bring on into their strategies, and embed. By doing that I am surtain that the knowledge shared, created and valued added to the organisation will be increased!