Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Knowledge creation

Marwick quotes Nonaka
"the key to knowledge creation lies in the mobilisation and conversion of tacit knowledge".
For example, a particular contractor would learn much from Internet sources or the local BCS. He would share this knowledge in a two page document that other team members could then work with and expand to a 15 page report. The contractor mobilised knowledge.

Nonaka has a matrix of four forms of knowledge conversion. One form is tacit to tacit knowledge conversion, which is socialisation and can be done in meetings and discussion between people sharing a common culture. "Thus tacit knowledge sharing is connected to ideas of communities and collaboration, Marwick argues. So far okay, but I'd argue that you need more than collaboration. Collaboration is where people have to work together. Collaboration is about groups of people, organised groups of people who've agreed to work together. You can have such groups in a meeting but they don't engage because engagement is different from collaboration. It's more personal and involves respect for what other individuals have to say, and what their experience is. If engagement is lacking then the tacit knowledge won't get shared. For example, consider a project that runs over time, perhaps because resources for testing are not available. One group, the users, tell another group, those allocating resources that there'll be a problem, but without engagement between the two groups, the words will go unheard. There's a lack of client-client engagement.

Of course this could all be hogwash if you don't believe Nonaka. I see Gourley has critiqued his work [1].

Marwick, A. D. (2001) 'Knowledge management technology', IBM systems journal, 40 (4). 994

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