DoILike CiteULike?

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 10.07.53 PM.png
My tag cloud from my CiteULike.

So first off, let’s talk about my tags. My most obvious tags are knowledge-management, knowledge, knowledge-creation, knowledge-sharing, and knowledge-transfer. That makes complete sense for a body of work I read for a knowledge management class.

Secondly, what patterns do I have? I noticed a pattern of REPETITIVE WORD-descriptor. For example, I used knowledge-WORD and organizational-WORD a lot (knowledge-management, knowledge-creation, knowledge-sharing, knowledge-transfer. knowledge-production, knowledge-society AND organizational-adaptation, organizational-change, organizational-knowledge, organizational-knowledge-management, organizational-learning). I think that’s an easy way to make sure I don’t use duplicate tags that mean the same thing. Like instead of saying knowledge-sharing and sharing-of-knowledge or organization-processes and processes-in-organizations I know that if there is the word ‘knowledge’ or ‘organization/al’ in the potential tag, I always start with the main word to keep the tags simplified (even if they make more sense the other way).

Another pattern I see is tagging unusual or weird words that may seem minor but are what stood out to me in the articles and will make me remember them. For example, I read multiple case studies but tagged the ones that I liked as ‘case study’. I tagged the two papers I read that referenced the same Xerox study as ‘xerox’. I tagged the paper about rural ICTs as ‘rural’ to remember. Same with ‘urban-planning’.

This isn’t a pattern but I did create tags before I read the papers and then went back and changed them or added to them after I read the articles in order to make sure they were completely accurate.

Lastly, what methodology would I suggest for future tagging? I would suggest a little more pre-planning. I would tag before reading like I did and would, if possible, tag as a collection so that you keep your tagging schema in mind OR I would write the schema down so it can be referenced. This is especially important as you first are starting to create your methodology so you don’t have to fix as many mistakes.

I also believe that you can’t really have too many tags but after looking at my tag cloud, I realize that, after the fact, I don’t know what some of these mean. That means I need to either a) be more explicit in my tagging so I have context or b) don’t use as many random tags. I think I would lean towards being more explicit because having more avenues to organize knowledge is a good thing to me.

I like tagging to be a mix of planning and organic thought. I like to go in with a vague plan and structure and then let the information I’m tagging guide me into how it wants to be tagged. I always find that a pattern emerges, whether you intend it to or not.

In the end, for my first try at tagging academic work (but definitely not tagging period because I’m an avid Tumblr user), I like it went pretty well. I ThinkILike CiteULike. 😀

Words: 490
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Can Risk be a Reward?

This is the last post with ‘content content’ of the semester and I’m both sad (because it’s been fun) and excited (because I’ll be done and GRADUATING). So… let’s continue.

Trkman and Desouza4 is all about knowledge and the risks associated with sharing it. While all the theory didn’t interest me a ton I did like the how basis for the paper. Organizations must have a competitive edge in order to stay afloat in today’s economy. A large part of achieving this goal is to share knowledge. This paper made really clear (at least more than others I’ve read) the true costs of sharing knowledge. It’s not always ‘risk-free’. This article has one statement that screams to me as important to realize AND understand.

While knowledge sharing is valuable it cannot be done in a haphazard fashion. The improper sharing of knowledge and a loss of knowledge during transfer can have disastrous results. (pg. 3)

They mention the how if knowledge sharing had happened effectively 9/11 could have been prevented and we wouldn’t have invaded Iraq due to its supposed ‘weapons of mass destruction’. I don’t know if any of that is true but it does put the risks into perspective. I feel this is the type of paper any organization must have as required reading in order to understand the risks of not having proper knowledge management and, like I mentioned last week, helps with the ‘burden of proof’ for knowledge managers. I also liked that part of the paper that Raphael mentioned about how “a low-risk relationship might be preferred over one which is more beneficial but which also bears a higher level of risk, necessitating additional expenditure of resources to curtail said risk”. That brings the how ‘management of risk’ into perspective.

Due to my background (leadership minor) and this class, the part of Jones and Mahon’s¹ paper that stood out to me what the bit on leadership. They say:

In the development of any effective knowledge management capability, leadership is important. As we have noted several times, the development of tacit knowledge relies on strong relationships and networks (Weiss et al., 2010). It is the leadership team that needs to keep the flexibility and relevance of tacit knowledge processes alive in the organization and to demonstrate by their own actions that tacit knowledge and its transfer is important (however see Erhardt, 2011 for a different view).

One of the challenges of management is to recognize that decisions in high velocity/turbulent environments cannot wait for complete information and knowledge – it is the ability to combine explicit knowledge and limited information with tacit knowledge that yields unique breakthrough solutions. (pgs. 779-780)

This reminds me of one of my previous posts where I say (in regards to the Challenger disaster managers), that the managers “didn’t know enough to understand the information presented to them in order to make a fully informed decision. The managers were ignorant; they had the information but not the education or knowledge. Being blind due to ignorance not lack of awareness should never happen”. The Challenger disaster was obviously a ‘high velocity/turbulent environment’ and they obviously didn’t participate in ‘nimble knowledge transfer’.

Powell and Snellman’s³ article is one of the driest ones I have read this semester. It is conversational, I’ll give it that. The only thing of merit I gleaned from this article is on page 213 where they discuss the change in the job market. They say:

There’s a growing research suggesting that some of the new jobs that have been created over the past two decades are fundamentally different from the ones that have been lost. The new jobs tend to favor educated workers over those with less education and skills.

This was published over a decade ago, in 2004, but I don’t think the sentiment has changed. How jobs work are different now. I was watching Quantico last night and there was a scene where this older FBI agent was talking about how his job as a handler has changed so much over the decades and he’s considered a dinosaur even though he still has amazing contributions he could make. This reminded me of this paper. The jobs are changing fundamentally, yes. But that doesn’t mean we should forget how they were. And all the education in the world can’t make up for something with no real life experience or basic common sense/decision making skills.

Nahapiet and Ghoshal² write an interesting paper on organizational advantage. I had never really thought about social capital in a business sense but, after reading their paper, it made a lot more sense. I definitely will take this knowledge into any future job I have about how social and intellectual capital can be used to the organization’s advantage… if treated right.

Words:

Words I Had to Look Up

None this week! Isn’t that cool?!


References

¹ Jones, N. B. and Mahon, J. F. (2012). Nimble knowledge transfer in high
velocity/turbulent environments. Journal of Knowledge Management,
16(5):774–788.

² Nahapiet, J. and Ghoshal, S. (1998). Social capital, intellectual capital, and
the organizational advantage. The Academy of Management Review,
23(2):242–266.

³ Powell, W. W. and Snellman, K. (2004). The knowledge economy. Annual
Review of Sociology, 30(1):199–220.

Trkman, P. and Desouza, K. C. (2012). Knowledge risks in organizational
networks: An exploratory framework. The Journal of Strategic
Information Systems, 21(1):1–17.

Knowledge Management Systems

I probably should have read these articles BEFORE I wrote my 15 page paper on knowledge management systems but alas, hindsight is 20/20. The first article I want to talk about is Chalmeta and Grangel’s² article. Their KM-IRIS methodology is intense. Like, really really intense and dense. Like has been the case in most of my college career, this article was hard for me to get into. The 5 ‘lessons’ that were in the case study did speak to me however. They really reiterated a lot of the topics I’ve covered this semester and over my entire graduate tenure.

1. In order for enterprises to integrate knowledge management effectively with all their existing business processes, both management and employees must understand and assimilate the strategic business value of KM. These key participants must understand that KM is not simply a technological strategy but rather a business strategy that is essential for the success of their individual departments and of the organization as a whole.

I really liked this because I made clear that in order for KM and a KMS (or any new technology, really) to work, everyone must be on the same page. The understand must be there that this new technology has worth to each person using it. The technology must be explained and their input taken or they will reject the technology purely because they don’t understand it.

2. The knowledge-oriented business model is seldom practised and poorly known, regardless of whether we are talking about an operational or management level.

Education. KM isn’t an automatic thing. It doesn’t come naturally to most people and even those it comes naturally too, the skill still needs to be honed. Educate the management about KM and how it works AND WHY it is important to them. Management does not want to do something, in my experience, unless it is shown to be beneficial to them.

3. Historical factors like culture, power, etc., condition people and companies not to share knowledge.

When trying to implement knowledge management (and record management) into a business, the organizational culture MUST be taken into account. Organizational structure and power dynamics within the organization may need to be nicely addressed in order for KM and a new KMS to be supported.

 4. There is a need for more scientific production showing KM methodologies and business experiences. As Blair (2002) says, experts learn from case studies.

Case studies and papers need to be written so burden of proof doesn’t have to fall on the poor sods just trying to do their job and help their organization manage their knowledge by convincing the management to give them the funds to do so.

5. The need to encourage the training of staff in KM. It has been shown that staff training programs do not include the participation of employees in courses or other types of events related to KM.

Not just the management needs to understand KM.  Everyone in the organization does because everyone in the organization plays a role in KM. If a manager is telling you to do something, wouldn’t you like to know why? Training the staff in KM will help smooth the process and engage everyone in KM.

Now, Alavi and Lender¹. It felt very similar in style and content to Chalmeta and Grangel but that just may be me. The fourth lesson from Chalmeta and Grangel talks about case studies being needed and Alavi and Lender state:

Research is now needed that moves beyond the source and state to consider the conditions that facilitate knowledge creation. (pg. 126)

They also mention the barriers to KM and how organizational culture must shift, like Chalmeta and Grangel talks about.
Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 10.12.05 PM

Pillet and Carillo³ brings up the illustrious Web 2.0 again. I love their research model. It’s model that when you look at it, it just makes sense (which is rare for me). I love it’s simplicity and the fact that it still says a lot. It shows the relationship between habits and the perceived attitudes towards knowledge sharing.

I thought that Yuan, Zhao, Liao, and Chi’s4 concept of using generations of ICTS to help support knowledge sharing in organizations was interesting. Instead of trying to create one ICT for all, they have different generations of ICTs (e-mail to instant messaging and telephone to video conferencing) and making sure they work together and knowledge sharing is happening.

Words:

Words I Had to Look Up

None this week! Isn’t that cool?!


References

¹ Alavi, M. and Leidner, D. E. (2001). Review: Knowledge management and
knowledge management systems: Conceptual foundations and research
issues. MIS Quarterly, 25(1):107–136.

² Chalmeta, R. and Grangel, R. (2008). Methodology for the implementation
of knowledge management systems. J. Am. Soc. Inf. Sci., 59(5):742–755.

³ Pillet, J.-C. and Carillo, K. D. (2016). Email-free collaboration: An
exploratory study on the formation of new work habits among knowledge
workers. International Journal of Information Management,
36(1):113–125.

Yuan, Y. C., Zhao, X., Liao, Q., and Chi, C. (2013). The use of different
information and communication technologies to support knowledge
sharing in organizations: From e-mail to micro-blogging. Journal of the
American Society for Information Science and Technology,
64(8):1659–1670.

Information Society

First off, the title of Rule and Besen’s article is fantastic. It’s The once and future information society which is a play off Arthurian legend which I love. So that was a good start to the article. When Audrey ended her blog post with “Here’s to the future and, hopefully, job security” it only made me a little (re: a lot) paranoid as I come up to my graduation. I read this right before I started this article and I think that’s why the part that drew me in was the section called ‘The rising importance of formal education’.

10c52dfI’ve put myself into all this debt to get a Master’s degree in order to join a specific profession but as I look for jobs, all of them are saying ‘5-7 years experience required’ or ‘expertise with xyz’ (xyz being all these systems you can’t get experience in unless you get a job that uses them…). It’s very disheartening. What’s all this education for if employers don’t use it as a foundation and mold you into their perfect employee? Rule and Besen even say “Much of the skill necessary for most work roles is acquired on the job”. Welp… Especially as I look for a job in the archives profession and they require “a MLS/MLS with a concentration in archival studies” which my school doesn’t even offer. I think the argument I’ve heard about why the LIS professions requires a Master’s degree can be summed up in one quote from this article:

As a number of writers have argued, formal educational credentials may simply serve as a ‘screening device’ or proxy for other qualities of interest to employers – congenial manners, steady work habits, or the status attributed to formal education. (pg. 336)

Tremblay³ laid out a good general overview of the information society and different theories that relate to that idea, however depressing it is (thanks go to Rachel for preparing me for that). I got what Tremblay was saying but it didn’t link to knowledge management in my mind.

Now Stock². That was cool. I loved the urban planning combined with knowledge management. This whole papers concept of access and accessibility and openness was a dream. It sounds absolutely amazing and if more people understood the concepts, ideas, and suggestions (like the Icelandic model of their entire population having access the licensed literature) in this article, knowledge managers, librarians, archivists, and all related professionals wouldn’t have such a hard time getting our jobs supported  FULLY.

This weeks readings were… diverse and interesting to say the least. Some of my favorites so far.

Words: 433

Words I Had to Look Up

None this week! Isn’t that cool?!


References

¹ Rule, J. and Besen, Y. (2008). The once and future information society.
Theory and Society, 37(4):317–342.

² Stock, W. G. (2011). Informational cities: Analysis and construction of
cities in the knowledge society. J. Am. Soc. Inf. Sci., 62(5):963–986.

³ Tremblay, G. The information society: from fordism to gatesism. Canadian
Journal of Communication20.4 (Fall 1995): 461-482.

Informing Practices & ICTs

ict01general1So this week I read some intense articles. The first was Goggins and Mascaro’s¹ Context Matters: The Experience of Physical, Informational, and Cultural Distance in a Rural IT Firm. I have always liked learning about ICTs and their implementation. Their take on distance in relation to a rural IT firm is fascinating. The whole paper was interesting but the part that stood out the most to me was the commoditization of ICT labor. With technology and software that used to be extremely expensive and available only to large firms becoming open-source and therefore available to anyone, smaller region IT firms are able to offer services like larger urban firms. This means that rural areas no longer have to be ‘behind the times’. Rural area business can now be ‘cutting edge’. I also liked how they talked about how developing and training local workers in the mid-level data analysis skills a firm is looking for, the employees will have a greater impact of developing the local community than getting a dead-end job at a call center (for example! They used that examples!)

Schultze’s² article seemed like it was waaaaay longer than it needed to be which made it extremely hard to get through. My take away from this article was that there are three informing practices:

  • Ex-pressing: This is when a person converts their tacit knowledge into ‘informational objects’ (explicit knowledge) that are ‘independent of the knowledge worker’ used to protect the workers against ‘attacks on their competence’. (i.e.- recording all the worker does and when)
  • Monitoring: This is when a person collects information from an objective perspective without letting the observed knowing so as to not contaminate the information. (i.e.- remote monitoring a call so the person being monitored does not know)
  • Translating: This is when a person creates information by analyzing and manipulating data in order to disseminate it across multiple platforms. (i.e.- creating an answer and question set by understanding all the parts of the user’s needs)

I like this break down. I think it would be useful to know this when trying to work in any business.

The last article³ talked about heuristics. Which…. I had no idea what it was.  Heuristics are mental shortcuts that ease the cognitive load of making a decision and heuristic methods can be used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution (Source). It also talked about the different types of knowledge which we’ve talked about a lot before.

Words: 413

Words I Had to Look Up

None this week! (…except heuristics which I defined in the post…) Isn’t that cool?!


References

¹Goggins, S. P. and Mascaro, C. (2013). Context matters: The experience of
physical, informational, and cultural distance in a rural IT firm. The
Information Society, 29(2):113–127.

²Schultze, U. (2000). A confessional account of an ethnography about
knowledge work. MIS Quarterly, 24(1):3–41.

³Spender, J. C. (1996). Making knowledge the basis of a dynamic theory of
the firm. Strategic Management Journal, 17:45–62.

Knowledge Sharing in Real Life

Tsoukas & Vladimirou³… The title of the article is “What is organizational knowledge?” and the third sentence of the abstract mentions Polanyi so I’m hoping this article will explain some things. This article was actually a lot easier to understand than I feared it would be. Of course, the part that stood out the most to me was Tsoukas and Vladimiro’s research at a call center in Greece.

Narrating work-related episodes to one another about, for example, awkward customers and uncommon questions tackled creates an environment in which the ties of community are reinforced, collective memory is enriched, and individual knowledge is enhanced.

Water-CoolerThey mentioned how informal story-telling was paramount to how they shared knowledge and that their work experience led to their ability to find information for their customers quicker. This reminded me a lot of Mary’s post The Story of our Work. She says “In stories we might be explicting stating what has happened in the past – our experiences – but the knowledge others gain from those stories is tacit.” So I guess the Polanyi bit makes more sense now.

The operator’s ability to see through a customer’s query, that is to make ever find her distinctions, is an important skill, which is developed and consular find him a job. (pg.987)

This, to me, is what reference is. As librarians, a huge part of any future job we have (whether we intend it or not), is reference. I have never sat at a reference desk before or taken a class where I learned how to give a reference interview. However, I did have 2 and a half years of speaking to customers at a call center and learning to see through what they were asking in order to answer what they actually wanted. That’s reference.

Cook & Brown² reiterated a lot of what we’ve learned so far this semester but I did like how they brought up that training and educational programs should aim at “both passing on knowledge to individuals and creating situations that help groups develop practices (ways of knowing) that make use of knowledge in new, innovative, and more productive ways” (pg. 398).

I really liked Bissett¹. I liked the entire article but I was especially fond of the “A ‘subjects-in-community’ learning model” section. The idea of a “‘network’ where different people, exhibiting a range of talents, would interact across a number of different dimensions rather than remain confined to one functional unit” is my dream. I love being able to lead only when my skill-set is needed and be just another team player the rest of the time. The ‘new’ organizational functions described in this article are what I am looking for in a future job and I am glad I found it written down somewhere so I know it’s a possibility.

Words: 468

Words I Had to Look Up

None this week! Isn’t that cool?!


References

¹Bissett, N. (2004). Diversity writ large: Forging the link between diverse
people and diverse organisational possibilities. Journal of Organizational
Change Management, 17(3):315–325.

²Cook, S. D. N. and Brown, J. S. (1999). Bridging epistemologies: The
generative dance between organizational knowledge and organizational
knowing. Organization Science, 10(4):381–400.

³Tsoukas, H. and Vladimirou, E. (2001). What is organizational knowledge?
Journal of Management Studies, 38(7):973–993.

Real Life Knowledge Management

space-shuttle-challenger-crewWhen I was dividing up the articles required for this class, three articles stood out to me as interrelated and extremely interesting. The first of the articles that stood out to me was Kumar and Chakrabarti’s³ article about the Challenger disaster. I was not alive when the Challenger disaster happened but I grew up hearing about it. I remember reading a story where the main character went back in time and witnessed a group of people seeing the disaster happen for the first time. This person knew what was going to happen and had known for decades by that point. However, witnessing this group react and be horrified for the first time really put into perspective for the main character how large and truly life changing this event was. Kumar and Chakrabarti’s article made clear the reality of the Challenger disaster through the managerial decisions made that day.

I read Abigail’s blog post before I had read the article and I commented on her post about how “it seem[ed] like the managers didn’t realize the importance of the information because they didn’t have the right knowledge to understand it.” After actually reading the article, I’m not that far off.

In other words, even though the managers had the very information in their hands that could have helped them avert failure; they failed to ‘see’ its relevance to their decision to launch. (pg. 938)

This quote just makes me sad. In very rare cases, I don’t like being proven right. This is one of them. Like I commented on Abigail’s post, “that makes a lot of sense why there can be issues when managers are just managers but don’t have the organizational knowledge to be a true part of the organization. I feel like there should be a checks and balance in place”. Sadly, it seems the managers weren’t making a bad decision with intent to cause harm but just because they didn’t know enough to understand the information presented to them in order to make a fully informed decision. The managers were ignorant; they had the information but not the education or knowledge. Being blind due to ignorance not lack of awareness should never happen.

Katrina Then And Now Photo Gallery
This combination of Sept. 11, 2005 and July 29, 2015 aerial photos show the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans flooded by Hurricane Katrina and the same area a decade later. Before Katrina, the Lower Ninth Ward was a working-class and predominantly African-American neighborhood just outside the city’s historic center. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, Gerald Herbert)

The second article I though relevant due to another real world example being used to discuss knowledge management was Chua’s¹ article about Katrina and Rita. I was alive during these disasters but was barely 15 years old. Reading about Katrina and Rita from an academic and management perspective was extremely fascinating since I can remember the news reporting on so many of the issues. After reading this article I was startled by the contrast of the report. In the Challenger disaster, the managers had the information but didn’t ‘see’ the importance of it due to not having enough knowledge. In the Katrina disaster, the managers had the information but did not react in a timely manner. Chua’s whole paper smacked of gross negligence on the part of the government and sickened me. Although if you want to make a analogy – engineers : managers :: NHC : US government (although at least the managers tried…).

The last article was Ibrahim and Allen’s² article about the oil industry. So, like a lot of articles I have to read, I didn’t really get what was going on in this one. They spoke and wrote very convolutedly in my opinion. However, the one part that made the most sense and stood out to me was the talk of trust. They wrote about how “the lack of trust could be a more crucial factor than the collapse of sense making in the first place”. It seemed a lot like when you hear about people’s lives being saved because they acted on instinct. If the emergency response personnel’s instinct is to not trust their superiors, then there is a breakdown in communication and information sharing.

In conclusion, this week’s reading educated me on not just knowledge management, but events that actually happened in history… and also made me sad.

Words: 667

Words I Had to Look Up

Bounded Awareness: When decision makers overlook relevant and readily available information and take a decision that is either suboptimal or entirely erroneous³.

Ignorance: lack of knowledge, information, or education; the state of being ignorant (Source).

Instinct: An instinct is something you don’t need to learn — it happens naturally, without you even thinking about it. An inborn pattern of behavior often responsive to specific stimuli (Source).


References

¹ Chua, A. Y. K. (2007). A tale of two hurricanes: Comparing katrina and
rita through a knowledge management perspective. Journal of the
American Society for Information Science and Technology,
58(10):1518–1528.

² Ibrahim, N. H. and Allen, D. (2012). Information sharing and trust
during major incidents: Findings from the oil industry. J Am Soc Inf Sci
Tec, 63(10):1916–1928.

³ Kumar, A. and Chakrabarti, A. (2012). Bounded awareness and tacit
knowledge: revisiting challenger disaster. Journal of Knowledge
Management, 16(6):934–949.

Trust & Best Practices

After reading Raphael’s and Audrey’s posts references Lucas’s¹ article, I wanted to read it for myself. Raphael definitely pointed out the importance of getting rid of factionalism and “instead implicitly encouraging the propagation of knowledge and skills to any and all inPodcasting-Best-Practices-Sharedividuals and groups within the organization that can make use of them”. Audrey spoke of social capital and the “importance of trust and the reputation of knowledge providers and recipients”. Once I read the article, these all made sense but (like always…) I thought back to my previous experience.

The article talks a lot about trust and how trust in an organization by its people leads to knowledge sharing. There are 4 aspects of trust Lucas talks about there must be:

  1. an element of uncertainty
  2. an expectation of some specific outcome
  3. the trusting party’s perception that the trustee is motivated to behave as expected
  4. unstated motives by both parties for meeting the other’s expectations

Once I read these, I thought about all of the group projects, both at work and in school, I have done. I have ALWAYS had an issue with trust other’s to complete there parts to my satisfaction, whether it was because I have high expectations and don’t trust the other Trust-tool3.pngparties to meet them (aspect 1) or I don’t think we have the same motivations and goals (aspects 2, 3, & 4). Reading in a scholarly article about how trust in an organization leads to  “increased knowledge transfer” and “full disclosure” made me realize how much I need to work on my trust issues. I need to trust that we, as a group, as working towards the same outcome and that our motives, while different, still mean that we will meet each others expectations. I really enjoyed reading my classmates views and then reading the article and coming to my own conclusions.

The next article speaks specifically about best practice. I had a difficult time Szulanski² primarily because it was a dry read to me. I did quite get all the minutiae of the paper but I did like the concept of ‘transfer of best practices’. I saw this a lot at the call center I worked at. We had multiple different departments and multiple different sites. If the site thumb.phpin Tampa had success with something, our site was then forced to do it. The problem with this, that Szulanski addresses, is that not every ‘best practices’ works the same with different groups of people. Szulanski talks about the ‘NIH syndrome’ or the ‘not invented here syndrome’ and it may seem laughable but it is really really real. When you create a workflow or guideline or best practice, you have stake in the game (or a horse in the race to use a work related metaphor). Having an outside force (even if it’s within your organization) tell you ‘someone else did it this way and it worked so therefore it must work for you and you’ll be punished if you don’t do it this way’ just plain sucks. It’s almost counterproductive. Szulanski also mentions ‘arduous relationships’ speaking about the tacit knowledge that comes attached to best practices that may not be known outside of that department therefore, when the successful best practice from one department is shared with others, it may not work.

The last article I read discussed electronic networks of practice. Wasko and Faraj³ talk about how, with the “advance in computer mediated communications, networks of practice are able to extend their reach using technolog[y]”. I never realized I was a part of an electronic network of practice until I read this. I am a part of many listservs through mybest-practices membership in the ALA, SLA, and SAA. The most important one to mention here I think is the one called ‘Lone Arrangers’, a listserv “geared specifically towards those … working in small or solo repositories” (Source). People e-mail the listserv to ask questions about best practices that they may not know but others do and knowledge is shared readily. I think our profession is hopefully more happy to share knowledge due to what we do for a living but I can understand being reluctant to share as well due to not feeling knowledgeable enough or not wanting someone to take your ideas and pass them off as your own.

I really liked the readings this week and can’t wait for my next post!

Words: 729

Words I Had to Look Up

Trust: “At its core, trust in the willingness of one party to be vulnerable to the actions of another party, and it is a function of access to information either through direct or indirect interactions”¹.

Best Practice: A best practice is a technique or methodology that, through experience and research, has proven to reliably lead to a desired result. A commitment to using the best practices in any field is a commitment to using all the knowledge and technology at one’s disposal to ensure success (Source).


References

¹ Lucas, L. M. (2005). The impact of trust and reputation on the transfer of
best practices. Journal of Knowledge Management, 9(4):87–101.

² Szulanski, G. (1996). Exploring internal stickiness: Impediments to the
transfer of best practice within the firm. Strategic Management Journal,
17:27–43.

³ Wasko, M. M. and Faraj, S. (2005). Why should I share? examining social
capital and knowledge contribution in electronic networks of practice.
MIS Quarterly, 29(1):35–57.

 

Organizational Learning

These readings were a bit dense and hard to get through in my opinion.

Let’s start with Blackler¹. The part that stood out to me the most was the Activity Theory, Knowing and Doing section. I didn’t quite understand what Vygotsky was getting at but the Xerox example was so spot on to my personal experiences I kind of had flashbacks to working at the call center. As I’ve mentioned before, I trained/coached new agents in my department. When I read what Blackler wrote (referencing a study by Orr):

In the first place the stories they tell you to their serve a key informational function, preserving and circulating essential news about particular problems. Second, the storytelling has an educational function: not only do the technicians learn about particular faults on the machines, they also help the participants develop their diagnostic and troubleshooting skills. Finally, the stories provide an opportunity for technicians to establish their identity within the community of technicians itself; as newcomers contribute to the storytelling process they begin to both demonstrate their identity as professionals and to contribute to the collective wisdom of their group.¹ (pg. 1036)

I felt this chill come over me as I realized the value of how I used to run my training classes. I knew there were reasons we talked about our experiences and told examples from real life. I knew they worked but I didn’t quite understand the impact and importance of doing so. What some people see as water cooler gossip can actually be a way of sharing knowledge and organization learning. That’s really awesome!

The first thing I noticed about the Brown & Duguid² was the term downskilling in the tags the authors placed on the text. This is a term I used at the call center for when we had an agent who was trained for a higher level of call queue, work in a lower call level queue in order to lower the wait time. I had never heard of this queue outside call center work so I was interested to see what these authors had to say about it. They don’t outright define it but they reference it to mean the same thing.

An ostensible downskilling and actual upskilling therefore proceed simultaneously. Although the documentation becomes more prescriptive and ostensibly more simple, in actuality the task becomes more improvisational and more complex. The reps develop sophisticated noncanonical practices to bridge the gulf between their corporation’s canonical approach and successful work practices, laden with the dilemmas, inconsistencies, and unpredictability of everyday life. The directive documentation does not “deprive the workers of the skills they have;” rather, “it merely reduces the amount of information given them” (Orr 1990a, 26).

This is very much what we did at the call center. Corporate would tell us what we needed to do and we would find the easiest most efficient way to do so. Corporate has these ideas sometimes they think are great but in reality don’t really work in the real world. So these ‘corporate demands’ aka the “corporation’s canonical approach” need “noncanonical practices” aka work arounds in order for “successful work practices” to occur.

This reminds me of when I learned about ICTs and how they sometimes don’t work because the company that created the ICT doesn’t take into consideration real life use of the ICT. People are lazy and those in the positions they’re trying to force and ICT on or make corporate demands of, typically already know the best way to meet these demands and don’t need to be told step-by-step what to do. Hmmm… maybe corporations should think about speaking to the people they’re trying to make demands of to see how they actually work.

I liked Huber’s³ discussion of unlearning (defined as purposeful and intentional forgetting of knowledge). It wasn’t long (you should definitely check it out on pls 104-105) but it had some good points like: “unlearning opens the way for new learning to take place”.

Words: 662

Words I Had to Look Up

Downskilling: Downskilling refers to a process of reducing the talent or skill level of a position, job, or vocation primarily for the purpose of decreasing short-term cost (Source).

Prescriptive: Giving exact rules, directions, or instructions about how you should do something. Providing rules and opinions that tell people how language should be used (Source).

Noncanonical: Not included within a canon or group of rules (Source).  The origins of this word are biblical but my understanding of this word comes from fan fiction. Canon from fan fiction means: All of the events which *expressly* happen in the fandom. Meaning, everything, person, event, statement, that happens in the show, movie, or book is canon. For example, Megabyte’s real name being Marmaduke is canon because it expressly says in Origin Story that it is. Everything that happens in the show is canon. This is sort of used like a law for fan fiction. Alternate universes are where an author deliberately ignores, goes against, or stop paying attention to canon in order to create their own canon (Source). So noncanonical practices would be them making their own non-sanctioned workarounds to corporate practices.


References

¹ Blackler, F. (1995). Knowledge, knowledge work and organizations: An
overview and interpretation. Organization Studies, 16(6):1021–1046.

² Brown, J. S. and Duguid, P. (1991). Organizational learning and
Communities-of-Practice: Toward a unified view of working, learning,
and innovation. Organization Science, 2(1):40–57.

³ Huber, G. P. (1991). Organizational learning: The contributing processes
and the literatures. Organization Science, 2(1):88–115.

 

Knowledge Management & Social Media

I love reading about social media. It’s a very relevant topic to me. I use social media all the time AND I use it for my internships and classes (this one… :D). I decided to start with the Levy³ article as a way to ease into today’s readings.

Levy talks about the WEB 2.0 (I don’t quite get why she capitalizes it but whatever…) issue and its implications on Knowledge Management (again why is she capitalizing it? I’m just going to use KM). Let’s start with what WEB 2.0 is. WEB 2.0 has many definitions. O’Reilly says it is:

The business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform. Chief among those rules is this: Build applications that harness network effects to get better the more people use them.³ (pg. 121 from O’Reilly)

That is long and can be confusing. I like it when Mayfield says “Web 1.0 was commerce. Web 2.0 is people” (pg. 121 from Singel). McLean says WEB 2.0 is “the catch-all descriptor for what is essentially a much more dynamic internet computing” (pg 121 from McLean). Weinberger defines WEB 2.0 as “an establishment of ‘open architecture, its lowering of the barriers to publishing, the ease with which people can connect ideas, increase in available bandwidth and compu[t]ing power’” (pg. 121 from Weinberger). Weinberger is essentially talking about evolution of the web rather than revolution.

All these different definitions culminate in one definition for me. WEB 2.0 is a dynamic, people centric evolution/revolution of how people use computers.

I really like how Levy made me think about knowledge management in a WEB 2.0 era. She talks about how, with WEB 2.0 and social media becoming how society interacts and shares knowledge, those that were previously not sharing knowledge in organizations are now doing so. Because sharing is such a way of life now, sharing while at work is more nature and less cumbersome than it used to be. I never connected the two in my head before but it makes total sense. Thanks Levy.

Well Hemsley & Mason² even mentions Polanyi at the beginning of my favorite section of his article. Polanyi is everywhere! They write:

For example, wikis support individual participation in group knowledge production, and this coproduction process can make explicit more of the social knowledge. One of the assumptions behind the architecture of wikis is that knowledge is emergent, not static. The knowledge made available through wikis thus can be expected to be more fluid than in more fixed media and may be viewed as more current.

Blogging also arguably contributes to an increase in the availability of knowledge. Hsu and Lin find that knowledge sharing for reasons of it altruism and reputation building are positively related to attitudes bloggers have about blogging and their intention to continue to use blogs (Hsu and Lin, 2008).² (pg. 152)

A lot of the research I’ve done for this degree has been in blogs because they are the sources that are most up-to-date and current like Hemsley & Mason say. I actually got into a discussion (/argument)  with my parents yesterday about how blogs aren’t ‘real’ sources (that’s that they think). Blogs may not be ‘academic’ sources but a lot of the blogs I read and the ones I’ve cited in my papers were just as well sourced (and a lot of times better written) than the academic sources I’ve read. AND when you’re doing research on trigger warnings and whether they should be used in library’s, there are no academic sources so blogs, wikis, and news sites are the only place you can find to cite.

I also love that they mention “contributes to an increase in the availability of knowledge” because that what I see blogs as. There are not enough scholars in the word to write academic and peer-reviewed articles that can cover the amount of knowledge being produced through blogs.

Grace’s article about Wikis as KM tools made me feel a bit dumb. I’ve used my knowledge from working at a call center throughout my academic career and I have just know realized that the database of knowledge called IRIS (Integrated Resource Information System), that we used where I worked was a WIKI! It was this interactive repository of knowledge that we used constantly throughout the day to source our knowledge and tell customers the facts. The only issue with it is that IRIS wasn’t easy to edit for the people who used it. IRIS was maintained by corporate and edits had to be submitted and approved. Towards the end of my career there, they were finally taking the suggestions we submitted (from those who actually used the site) seriously and making changes where it was more like the Wikis Grace talks about.

I really like these readings.

Words: 827

Words I Had to Look Up

None this week! Isn’t that cool?!


References

¹ Grace, T. P. L. (2009). Wikis as a knowledge management tool. Journal
of Knowledge Management, 13(4):64–74.

² Hemsley, J. and Mason, R. M. (2012). Knowledge and knowledge
management in the social media age. Journal of Organizational
Computing and Electronic Commerce, 23(1-2):138–167.

³ Levy, M. (2009). WEB 2.0 implications on knowledge management.
Journal of Knowledge Management, 13(1):120–134.