“Knowledge Is Power” or Is It “Knowledge Shared Is Power”? – Preparing the Way for the Baby Boomer Generation

4 thoughts on ““Knowledge Is Power” or Is It “Knowledge Shared Is Power”? – Preparing the Way for the Baby Boomer Generation”

  1. Luis, as always, I appreciate your lucid and thoughtful comments. These exchanges with you have been very helpful in my efforts to understand how current technologies and practices are relevant to knowledge management.

    Keep in mind you are responding to my comments on a single interview. I will be reporting on others. The situation described in these first writeups may not be typical.

    The fact remains that in many organizations a culture supportive of the “free and open” sharing of knowledge and expertise may not be pervasive. As you have said, we all know about departmental “siloing.” We all know that individuals differ in their willingness to share knowledge and expertise.

    If an employee actively resists sharing knowledge — no matter what that individual’s age — that should be viewed as counter to the best interests of the organization. Management has to be concerned that a refusal to collaborate is counterproductive and involves an individual putting his or her interests above those of the organizations.

    If this is happening widely this takes the situation beyond the realm of knowledge management into an immediate management issue. Management might say, “True, if our corporate culture included open and free sharing of knowledge and expertise we wouldn’t have these problems. But I can’t wait years to solve the problem! What can I do now?”

    This is one of the reasons that the CIO “Boris” whom I interviewed turned to an outsourcing solution to initiate the process of legacy system documentation. He didn’t have time to wait for a change in the corporate culture. He saw an opportunity to use technology — using software to reverse-engineer a data model and functional design — to accelerate the documentation process while still involving the “baby boomer” senior specialists responsible for system maintenance.

    His is a pragmatic approach. It’s an example of a situation where, while there may be a clear need for a strategic alignment of corporate culture to embrace more open and collaborative knowledge sharing practices, there is also a need to take immediate actions to solve specific problems that cannot wait for a culture shift.

    You have already written on how to incorporate Web 2.0 techniques into the enterprise:

    http://blogs.ittoolbox.com/km/elsua/archives/5-key-steps-towards-adopting-web-20-within-the-enterprise–10873

    I’ll also be addressing this in future posts.

  2. Thanks very much, Dennis, for dropping by and for the extensive feedback comments ! Lots of great input in there ! I certainly agree with you that perhaps having commented about this on the first interview may not have been the best thing. I shall be looking forward to further interviews and insights you may be able to share and see how things may have changed a bit, or not. I feel that somehow those other interviews may bring some other interesting perspectives into the table. Please do keep us posted.

    We all know that individuals differ in their willingness to share knowledge and expertise

    Yes, indeed, that is out of the question and I can certainly understand how that knowledge sharing and expertise may not be that pervasive. However, I would expect that for every company out there who would want to transition from a labour-based model into a knowledge-based model would not have many chances than to establish a KM strategy that would meet the needs both of the company itself and those of the employees. Otherwise I doubt that particular business would be able to survive in the long run. At least, I cannot see how it would be able to make it watching how others are transitioning into that knowledge-based model. That is why I agree with you that if knowledge workers refuse to collaborate and share knowledge in that particular environment it would no longer be an issue related to KM but more to Management itself, like you mentioned above.

    Good point as well about the pragmatism vs. the long term goals of provoking a knowledge sharing cultural shift. Yes, sometimes it may all well be a question of looking for a balance between the two. Not having to give up on that pragmatism but looking already into provoking that cultural change. As I said, I feel that companies which do not transitioned into the knowledge-based model are bound to get into trouble as time goes by so the sooner that cultural change is provoked the better it would be, in my opinion.

    I look forward to your commentary on that particular weblog post that I put together over at elsua – The Knowledge Management Blog. I am sure that you would have some interesting insights to share and I can’t wait to read some more about them. Whenever you have them ready, that is 🙂

    Thanks again for the feedback !

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