When looking towards how knowledge works, it is sometimes best to look at how it is utilised to fully understand why it is vital to capitalise on it. Today’s blog aims to look at this through an organisational lens.
Cynefin: Decision Making
A huge aspect of knowledge is that people use information and assign their perspectives upon it to create their own conclusions. Thus, people may have different answers to the same material.
Cynefin is stated to be created for the purposes of ‘leaders’ using this framework to determine better decisions. Specifically, this is based on ‘complexity science’ or that factors are merely irreducible interacting agents.
A major component of this is the level of abstraction this has, i.e. how untied or unlimited the knowledge is. This is vital if the aim is to codify and/or diseminate the knowledge beyond a single instance.
Much like other aspects of knowledge management, the type of knowledge that is facilitated by the organisational environment it would be used in. With Cynefin, this falls under the domain of the Sense-Making Model.
This is typically associated with formalised, corporate organisations who have their own procedures, policies and controls in place, especially in regards to information handling.
Due to the nature of this environment, there is a low level of abstraction, where teaching employees and information grouping is more commonplace.
Essentially, specialists who have already become ‘experts’ in their area of expertise with a high level of abstraction. Thus, time is the necessary factor of this area to teach people to become fluent as well as the ability to communicate this knowledge.
The direct example of this area of knowledge environment is Community of Practice.
This is the voluntary knowledge sharing relationships that occur which are specifically known to be founded on shared values, beliefs or history. There is a shared learning environment in the group but due to it’s nature there is little context (high abstraction) for people outside it who may come across the knowledge.
Also known as the ultimate. learning experience, people in this environment have little knowledge in this area in terms of specialist information or skills. Consequently, this has led to businesses relying on historic information in terms of organisational knowledge, thus it has low abstraction.
Knowledge Management ‘Places’
In terms of how the above framework would be used to determine how a business should set up their knowledge sharing facilities for employees. With the rising popularity and importance of the Internet and technologies, organisations have looked towards these as a further means to utilise knowledge efficiently and effectively.
Web 2.0. has been described as the ultimate underpinning current of social media from its creation to what it is today. A major reason for its current and still-growing popularity has been determined as to be partially a result of social capital.
Social capital in terms of businesses, is the ties between employees and the organisation. Essentially, the stronger these social capital ties, the more positive benefits that occur including more effective knowledge sharing and management.
Social Media and Social Capital
Based on research done by Bharati, P., Chaudhury, A., and Zhang, W. (2015), there is evidence to suggest that social media not only helps facilitate how knowledge is shared between employees but also helps improve social linkages between employees and the business in extension.
Social media has always been seen as an informalised procedure (i.e. interdependent/informal quadrant). People can connect with eachother through messaging, sharing photos and other activities. Although this has concerns in terms of privacy and knowledge protection, if monitored, it can provide people to share and create more knowledge.
An evident example of this is students from Massey University creating groups for their papers, as many students are unable to meet together as extramural students. This has proven to be a valuable resource, where people may feel less isolated and knowledge can be gathered. Trust is the major factor of this, as people must act with integrity for this to be effective, though it is a voluntary to join such a group.
As with the advent of not only technologies but also globalisation, there is a greater chance of virtual teams being created. Specifically, this can relate to offshore projects that organisations have chosen to select experts who are geographically distant.
Knowledge Management is no longer limited to closed-off systems that employees have to physically enter a business building to utilise. Instead, knowledge management systems such as Citrix Workplace and other virtualisation and communication technologies are available for ready use.
What this means
As a consequence, knowledge management is less hindered by factors such as location to configure knowledge and social linkages can be created. Furthermore, professional knowledge environments are capable of being formed termed Virtual Community of Practice (VCoP).