Case Study / Take Home Exercise - 4 of Lesson - 4
Task 1: Brainstorming, Nominal Group Technique and Consensus
4.1 Divide into small groups of five to seven persons. Select a group discussion leader and a person to record responses. Use the brainstorming guidelines to conduct a five-minute brainstorming session on the following topic. Your goal is to identify creative solutions to the problem:
Employees in large companies often complain that personal worth perception is low. They feel that the company does not overtly reward them for their contributions and set procedures that allow them to be most productive and creative.
4.2 Based on the problem given in 4.1, complete the following tasks:
a. Brainstorm how the company can reward efforts and increase the perception of personal worth other than issuing pay increases.
b. Use nominal group technique to find the best solution to the employee personal-worth perception problem. Consider the solutions from the brainstorming activity and select the -best- solution from that set.
c. Use consensus decision making with the goal of selecting a solution to the employee personalworth perception problem to which all members of the group can commit.
Task 2: Discussion on below mentioned case studies
4.3 Case Study: Storytelling (Source: IBM Knowledge Socialization Project, IBM Research. http://www.research.ibm.com)
Knowledge disclosure is a key way of identifying the organizational culture. Knowledge disclosure techniques such as storytelling allow us to uncover knowledge in the context of its use. IBM views stories as a powerful means of knowledge discovery and knowledge transfer. They are very good for conveying complex messages simply. Storytelling is a unifying and defining component of all communities. Stories exist in all organizations; managed and purposeful storytelling provides a powerful mechanism for the disclosure of intellectual or knowledge assets in companies. It can also provide a nonintrusive, organic means of producing sustainable cultural change. Storytelling is an excellent means of conveying values and other complex tacit knowledge.
Stories are endemic within each and every organization. They should be fostered, leveraged, and managed. We all tell stories in our daily work to share our experience and knowledge. Tacit knowledge is the most powerful means of sharing knowledge, and this knowledge is usually shared through informal networks. Organizations need to accept the fact that stories exist in their organization, identify the stories that persist, leverage these stories to effect cultural change, and foster an environment conducive to sharing knowledge and learning through stories. The best teachers, presenters, and knowledge sharers tell stories naturally in order to convey learning points and share their experiences. Stories put the knowledge in context and then make the learning memorable and the learning experience more compelling. Failure stories, or lessons learned, help a community to learn from its mistakes.
IBM has a four-stage storytelling approach: (1) anecdotal elicitation through interviews, observation, and story circles; (2) anecdotal deconstruction to analyze cultural issues, ways of working, values, rules, and beliefs to yield the story’s key messages; (3) intervention/communication design with a story constructed or enhanced; and (4) story deployment. Storytelling workshops can be run to elicit the knowledge and cultural values of an organization as well as both its best and worst practices. Capturing anecdotal or tacit knowledge builds an accurate picture of the existing culture, discloses enablers and inhibitors to sharing, and identifies business issues. Values—moral principles or standards—are identified. Rules—the code of discipline that drives or conforms behavior—are also identified. And finally, beliefs—the collection of ideas that a community regards as true or shares faith in—are elicited.
Storytelling is a cathartic process through which employees can share experiences and build social capital and networks. Perhaps most importantly of all, it achieves agreement among the participants.
Once anecdotes are captured, they can be stored in a repository and aligned with communities, processes, and subject areas. They can then be used to trigger and support discussion forums (e.g., lunch and learn), databases, intellectual capital management systems (e.g., training), document management systems, bulletin boards, online chats, portals (e.g., community kickoff days), and intranets (e.g., competency/skill profiling).
Ultimately, it is the people who make communities, and effective communities have valuable stories. In order to help support effective communities, you need to understand what their issues are, what they need, and what facilities and solutions would best suit them.
4.4 Case Study: Storytelling (Source: Eureka Project at Xerox. APQC Case Study. http://www.apqc.org)
It is, of course, not enough to create rich environments where people can share. Xerox provides lots of these environments: online Knowledge Universe with a catalog of best practices, chat rooms for CoPs, a company Yellow Pages, and a section of the public website, Knowledge Street, which is devoted to promoting knowledge sharing. Also required are good ideas, leadership, and motivated people. A few years ago, Jack Whalen, a sociologist, spent some time in a Xerox customer service call center outside Dallas studying how people used Eureka.
The trouble was that the employees were not using it. Management therefore decided workers needed an incentive to change. To this end, they held a contest in which workers could win points (convertible into cash) each time they solved a customer problem, by whatever means.
The winner was an eight-year veteran named Carlos, who had more than 900 points. Carlos really knew his stuff and everyone else knew this too. Carlos never used the software.
The runner-up, however, was a shock to everyone. Trish had been with the company only a few months, had no previous experience with copiers, and did not even have the software on her machine. Yet her 600 points doubled the score of the third-place winner.
Her secret: she sat right across from Carlos. She overheard him as he talked, and she persuaded him to show her the inner workings of copiers during lunch breaks. She asked other colleagues for tips too. This story illustrates how knowledge gets shared. The point is not the software but how many people can sit next to Carlos! There is no single best practice for sharing knowledge—both technology and subject matter experts are needed.
And sometimes storytelling is the best way to transfer knowledge. Most managers see this as a waste of time, but instead of breaking up the coffee machine cliques, companies should make opportunities for storytelling at informal get-togethers that are loosely organized as offsite meetings, and also through videotapes and bragging sessions.
Case Study / Take Home Exercise - 5 of Lesson - 5
Task 1: Knowledge Codification
5.1 Develop a set of general frames to codify the following:
• A horse
• A student
• An airline pilot
Use these frames and describe the following:
• Flashdance, an 18-hand thoroughbred
• Brenda, a medium-height, fourth-year liberal arts students
• Fred, a 30-year veteran airline captain
Task 2: Knowledge developers
5.2 Someone suggested two types of potential knowledge developers:
“Send me a well-developed computer programmer or a programmer competent in several languages, and we’ll make him or her into a successful knowledge developer.” and
“Send me a talented generalist with well-developed interpersonal skills or somewhat more delicately, ‘a user friendly person’ and a rigorously analytical mind, and we’ll team him or her with a competent knowledge developer.”
In your opinion, which approach would be more successful in knowledge development? Why?
5.3 Review the employment ads in https://www.seek.com.au. What pattern in knowledge management jobs may be significant? What types of jobs relate to knowledge management? What types of organizations are looking for knowledge manager or specialists in the field?
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Case Study / Take Home Exercise - 7 of Lesson - 7
Task 1: Implementation of Knowledge Management
7.1 Give your views on failure of implementation of knowledge management at a global company based on five distinct stages of knowledge management:
Stage 1: Advocate and learn
Stage 2: Develop strategy
Stage 3: Design and launch KM initiatives
Stage 4: Expand and support initiatives
Stage 5: Institutionalize knowledge management
Case study: A global company (Source: Chua, A. and Lam, W., “Why KM projects fail: a multi-case analysis”, Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 9, no. 3 (2005).)
A global company, which was one of the top ten organizations in its industry, lost a number of deals because of its inability to offer integrated solutions in the order handling line of business. In response, the management commissioned a KM project known as Alpha with the objective to create a “blueprint for gaining and maintaining global order handling services market leadership”. Underpinning Alpha was a comprehensive attempt to manage the knowledge across the company.
Within Alpha several functions and teams such as business architecture, IT and knowledge content and design were formed. One of Alpha’s priorities was to build a network of “knowledge-enabled worktables” to provide staff customized access to Alpha’s knowledge base. Due to the teething problem of using new technology and the poor translation of design requirements to system functionalities, the IT team could not complete the first worktable for the sales function on schedule. Meanwhile, the knowledge content and design team had already developed a large amount of content. Fearing that the delay could dampen interest in KM, the team engaged a vendor to develop an intranet system as a quick alternative to making its content available. This move was perceived by the IT team as an invasion into its territory. Furthermore, the intranet was treated with skepticism from the rest of the functions in Alpha. By the end of the year, the viability of the worktable was in doubt. Given the high dependence and unsustainable expenditure on external IT resources, Alpha was perceived to be losing control over its ITrelated projects. Thus, the management curtailed the worktable project and disbanded Alpha completely when it eventually lost faith in knowledge management.
The main reasons for the failure of Alpha were as follows:
• Knowledge was managed within silo-oriented communities. Thus, business-critical knowledge that straddled across multiple functional groups was neglected.
• There was an over-reliance on IT systems to manage knowledge in Alpha. Tacit knowledge and behavioral issues, on the other hand, received insufficient attention.
• Three different external consulting firms were engaged at different stages of Alpha’s development. Inputs from these consultants confounded instead of facilitated the KM initiative.
• As time passed, the cost to sustain the KM initiative ballooned beyond control. The management decided to cut its losses and terminated the initiative altogether.
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