It is widely known that Knowledge Management(KM) as a discipline and a tool is meant to provide an integrated way to identify, capture, reshape, and, share, the organization’s information assets so as to create faster response time for seekers in the organization.
It is often a debatable question if KM should be a separate department by itself handling the various aspects of KM or should it be integrated with an already established department.
This brings me to the Human Resource (HR) department. KM is all about people and the culture of sharing and not just the tools employed. Hence from my perspective,the HR department has a very crucial and vital role to play in not just its formation but also in giving KM its shape.
In many large organizations the HR department is in itself divided into smaller units looking at various components within the company like policy making, recruitment, corporate communication & entertainment, etc. However, given that the policies created will go a long way in shaping the attitude of its employees, KM, and its policies need to be integrated and also worked along these lines.
So what exactly can HR Management (HRM) do for KM? There are a few Basic Criteria that should be followed by HRM when implementing KM
1. HRM can and must help with articulating the main purpose of knowledge management. Since HR deals with people, knows the workings of the organization, the vision of its Board/Trustees, it is in a strategic position to understand how KM can be employed for the benefit of its employees and the organization as a whole.
2. Along with the vision, HRM should and must align KM along the organization’s mission, and, policies. The main purpose being, is to create an atmosphere of sharing and using knowledge to its optimum to begin with, at least.
3. The most crucial purpose is to transfer tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge. This can be done through its traditional training methods via building employee personality and career skills and competencies, through workshops, through fun and entertainment, through internal social networking sites and mailing lists via the intranet. It has to employ not just tools, but, the human capital to energize the company towards the change that it must bring. And change it must!
4. Initiate culture change and Learning initiatives: HRM can help facilitate this through a series of event related initiatives and talent fairs and interactive e-learning modules with mentorship, within the organization thus involving all levels of employees from across projects and the organization. HRM has to be the enabler for behavioral change for KM to succeed.
HRM itself has to undergo some change in its use of technology – it needs to be at the forefront in understanding what technological tool/s are appropriate for the sharing of knowledge, moving it from internal email niches to wider discussion forums on the intranet.
HRM has to be the catalyst for culture change to be effected – connecting the traditional to the new methods, that is appropriate with the Next-Gen, to leverage the collective knowledge in an atmosphere of “openness” with a competitive edge.
KM by itself cannot survive in a vacuum. It involves people and communication, employee favoring policies, updated technologies, and, above all, a change in the culture of an organization, without which the organization’s transformation into a knowledge driven company cannot be achieved.
Culture Change, studied earlier only by anthropologists and sociologists, is now a very relevant [...]
Culture Change, studied earlier only by anthropologists and sociologists, is now a very relevant aspect of study for anybody trying to understand present day workings and desirous of bringing in change.
Technology is often seen as one of the prime movers of culture change in almost all academic disciplines.
Recently, after reading an article on how we desperately latch on to innovative medical treatments to escape death which is inevitable, made me ponder on some aspects of how technology has changed the social as well as cultural patterns of interaction and relationships.
What comes to mind immediately is where technology has changed the cultural ethos of communities in India– erratic driving on Indian roads and a lack of traffic rules. There is a blog on Driving a Cultural Change in India : Better and Safer Road Safety and Traffic in India, which very interestingly has put together a few videos and traffic rules for people to learn from. Now the question is, do people really want to know this? The roundabout in India, is never ever used in the right way. People always take the nearest turn, rather than the next turn. I am not sure whether it is unawareness of this rule or simply “care-a-hang” attitude, or the “always in a hurry” attitude that Indians today seem to personify in all their actions and words. Can then roads be built with a better designed roundabout that can perforce get people to take the next turn of the roundel rather than the immediate one? Is technology the culprit here or is it the people’s lack of awareness of this rule? The website is trying to instill this change among people, given the internet usage, with the hope that a bit of it will penetrate and help in the long run. Also, pedestrians have footpaths, but they always tend to walk on the road- their main excuse – there are always vendors on the footpath, or the footpaths are badly cemented with too many hindrances. They would rather love to be knocked down by a speeding vehicle rather than trip on the root of a plant or navigate around the vendor! Another explanation that someone mentioned was that, given that India was earlier composed of villages, and motorized roads were hardly the norm, nor was traffic in such abundance, hence, there was never a concept of a footpath, which is more related to the British colonists, and hence, the habit continues.
Another example is where technology has shaped the way the agrarian population behaves. Telecommunication and access to media have been the major tools of change in the agrarian population, which now not only drives people to migrate to cities, but has also increased the awareness of the value of the goods they produce and sell, and often does away with the middleman who was known to cheat them out of a good profit. One small but long term disadvantageous change that technology has wrought is that, with education and internet large scale migrations to the cities have emerged, leading to social changes in relationships that tended to be much more close knit in the past than today, despite the high penetration of telecommunication.
Culture change in organizations also has its advantages and disadvantages. For change to be initiated, it is very necessary to understand from the past, the growth, and the present interactions in an organization. This cannot be done overnight nor in a couple of months, but requires change that works vertically in both directions as well as horizontally, till the “twain shall meet”. Pockets of resistance will always exist, and are necessary, as the old too has its value in the chain of evolution, to help understand the why and the hows of socio-cultural patterns of interaction. For any new technology to be introduced in the organization, understanding of present tools and their scope needs to be understood. Without this, new technology that can help say speed up collaboration or knowledge gathering and management, is very crucial, to bring about a gradual change from traditional technology to more prevalent and collaborative techniques.
In order for technology to really be adopted and adapted by the people in a wholesome way, the culture and social interactive patterns need to be understood before change is initiated to bring about a culture change. Also, new technology or innovation should not always be pushed upon people, but there should be a gradual proliferation, and adoption, in order to bring about its maximum benefits which can impact the culture change in a community or society or organization.
I thought that a well timed change with my obsession on Time was needed. [...]
I thought that a well timed change with my obsession on Time was needed. And I think Change Management is the best thing right now to write- not that a lot has not been written already!
Change Management can be both, for self, as well as for organizations. However, neither are easy to work on. And neither can be worked upon just by reading blogs like mine. To want to change has to come from within. And this refers to both the individual as well as the organization.
Many questions come to mind when the word “change” looms in front of us or even an organization- Do I need to change? Why? When is the right Time? How can I do this? Will it be for better or worse?
One has to remember that change is both constant and dynamic, and, without change growth is stunted. As human beings we are changing everyday- our nails grow, our hair grows or falls off, etc. If you meet with an accident, even if plates are within you, your bone still grows albeit slowly, but it grows. So if your body is changing everyday, what makes you think you do not have to undergo change?
Change can come gradually or suddenly. Gradually refers to a slow maturing of the individual or organization. Sudden change refers to a kind of crisis that can push upon you to change, for the better or the worse.
Sudden Change forces individuas as well as organizations to look inward, even if the forces are external.
However, for Change Management to succeed, in an organization a lot more than looking inward is required. Moreover, it is not the responsibility of the individual but that of the management and executives. Individuals, here in this situation, will need to be guided and nurtured to bring about change
5 Basic Criteria for Change Management in an organization :
1. Consensus from top management, as well as, at all managerial levels
2. Planning has to be long term and not just short term to address the crisis
3. Collaboration and not Coercion for effective Change to take place
4. Culture plays a crucial part for Change Management to succeed
5. Commitment for a long period. Even if some plans fail, the commitment to bring about change has to stand.
Change Management is not a magic mantra, nor can be an overnight remedy for a crisis situation. It will not take weeks or months or a year, but years. As I said, Change is constant, and dynamic, and, changing. So while external factors pull, the internal push has to be strengthened to keep the cybernetics at a constant.
No one theory or approach can be fitted into an organization’s Change Management. It requires the old order as well as the new to interact. Each culture of an organization is different and bringing about change in a culture, is easier said than done. What is required – a slow change that starts simultaneously from top down and bottom up. Dynamic as well as Change Representatives from each order and hierarchy need to be identified, to bring in this change. A little of both, autocratic as well as democratic factors, is required to bring about a successful change!
Being a Knowledge Manager for a few years in an [...]
Being a Knowledge Manager for a few years in an IT environment, got me working with different kinds of technology-open source as well as the state of the art kind of technology. Moreover, being in an IT environment taught me how besotted and clouded one can become – thinking that technology can drive and solve all Knowledge Management problems.
The only thing I realized that can drive and sustain (not solve) Knowledge Management in any organization, was people! If people had it in them to share, to question, to discuss, technology can only help drive it, but not motivate the way knowledge is too be managed, especially in a large organization. Given most companies with a strength of 1000+ are hierarchically based, there are limitations – after all such companies are driven by profits at the end of the day. Moreover, motivation using the stick and carrot for employees to go beyond their “working schedule” and deliver not only work but also their expertise, formulate problems, share what they read, does not really turn the “culture” of a company. Nor should a company expect results within 2-3 years! Culture is not a magical formula!
Building the culture of an organization/company, is not the sole “duty” of the Knowledge Manager. This role is just a facilitator’s profile. The support should come from all units that go towards making the organization run- from the CEO, HR, CTO, Business Development, Product Development, Process Department, Administration, etc- every single department is as responsible as the KM manager to facilitate the pure and simple art of sharing!
Yes, today Sharing is an art that needs to be learned. It can be learned by imitation, if not already inherent. (However on googling just, The Art of Sharing, the only link that sent an impulse to click was The Art of Sharing on Facebook!) Another “interesting” link was to teach kids the art of Sharing! But on googling Knowledge Management and Sharing, I got an even longer list, and one that got to the point was the 3Cs of KM – Culture, Co-opetition and Commitment. But given a changing environment in an organization, sustaining all the above is not as easy as it is written about. Hence, Commitment is the most essential of all ingredients, for a long lasting evolution of organizational culture- given that culture is never static (only heritage is) and keeps evolving and changing.
Knowledge Management, a buzz word, is pure and simple – getting people to discuss the problems without having ego issues, and those who know the answers or probable solutions to share without feeling all that important! Simple, but not so in the competitive world that we live in- where knowledge is power! Now we just turn around and say, ” if you share knowledge you get popular, and that earns you brownie points!” Why can’t we teach our children the joy of sharing for its pure unadulterated pleasure that it can give oneself! In selfishness (to feel the pleasure), there is sharing and pleasure without external gratification. Try it!
Humans shared the idea of the wheel, of course those who had it first were able to survive over their counterparts. Today, Ideas via technology go viral within a few seconds! And in a way Technology has helped humans share much more than ever before. But then why doesn’t this work in a work environment? Facebook works because we share our personal lives. But may not always work inside an organization, as its being watched by eyes other than people we know? or could it be that work thoughts are not meant to be shared? Do we live to work or do we work to live? Once that dilemma is solved, sharing in an organization will be as easy as sharing a sandwich (even that sometimes is seen as suspicious when traveling in unknown terrain for fear of being robbed).
Changing Times sure calls for interesting solutions to solve the simple art of sharing. Do you have a simple solution that doesn’t involve the carrot and stick for an individual to learn the Art of Sharing?
I have been involved in structuring or restructuring organization(s). This means creating ladder, hierarchy or flattening the organizations. I have dealt with making very big, critical or overhauling kind of…
I have been involved in structuring or restructuring organization(s). This means creating ladder, hierarchy [...]
I have been involved in structuring or restructuring organization(s). This means creating ladder, hierarchy or flattening the organizations. I have dealt with making very big, critical or overhauling kind of...
I have been involved in structuring or restructuring organization(s). This means creating ladder, hierarchy or flattening the organizations. I have dealt with making very big, critical or overhauling kind of changes. In process you make people jittery. However transparent you remain in process with folks, you happen to face the wrath or ire of some. How much ever you take them in confidence explain you still lag a wee bit short of right expectations. It than makes you feel that you are complete idiot in front of these ones. Here in this post we would discuss probable or common causes for change to fail
Changes are inevitable, continuous and constant. Once we make it clear to the folks in the beginning just like embedding some chip, you don’t need to justify why Change. Expectations is what we need to keep noting down while we are thinking or making changes in the system. People come up with lot of expectations when we are making change.
Expectations: Met or Missed
One of the most common mistake management does when introducing change is increase the expectations deliberately or unknowingly. This becomes harmful when change actually unfolds. The reason is many times change doesn’t meet the expectations of even management (which is understood). However folks keep it in their sleeves as the next argument point. Hence management should be extra careful when they are introducing change down the ladder.Meeting expectation(s) is what matters for everyone, even for you who is thinking/bringing change is expecting something from this Change. When working on change, expectations should be taken in consideration for e.g someone wants to work on some project or lead some responsibility etc. Then evaluate that such expectations are going to fulfilled when change progresses and its aligned with the overall objective of change. If expectations of individuals not aligned to the objective, then make them understand that their expectations would not meet with this change. This will help in reducing the risk of emotional backfire.
Change: Is it some kind of Experiment ?
Sometimes management wants to introduce change as a pilot of proposed change. So they start with a small section and observing how the team is behaving/responding to change they than propagate it further. In theory this may be right/correct but in practicality this may have adverse impact. It is not necessary a change for good for one will hold true for other. The dynamics of teams differ and hence there reasonings as well. The change should be custom for every team or section/department however the objective(s) should remain same for all. In experimentation the risk that remains is, if it fails on pilot the entire organization would be aware of its failure. On other side there is a positive aspect as well if it succeeds the organization will be receptive. But again since the dynamics change from section to section it cannot be guaranteed that this proposed change would be successful at large. If its departmental fine, but if its large you can create common goals for these experimental changes and there success / failures would remain same for all.
People handling: Hey this guy is creating ruckus about change…
This is a most common place when a change fails. The reason, guys are not receptive for change and they do not accept changes easily. This issue has to be tackled properly, by making change agents. Change agents should be made aware of situation and the purpose of being change agent. These change agents can communicate why what and when to the team and push change forward. Take a note from change agents about feedback, ask who is jittery. The major reason of people feel rattled is that they feel insecure. Such folks create a comfort zone and they fear that the change would break this comfort zone. In such situation talk to them and discuss why change is important for them. As far as comfort zone is concerned they should feel comfortable but just not in a zone. Some folks are selfishly motivated ensure they are taken care of. Handle every single individual who creates noise in the system about change or show some resistance. Ask for logics and reasoning if valid handle them immediately before starting for change, if invalid convey them properly convince them that why are they wrong.
Radical Changes: Isn’t this a tumble dry…
Often it is seen that changes are radical people or processes are moved and torn down/created respectively. These changes are rapid and for sure without any gap between any two changes. These changes are not emerging from one and merging in other, in other words transition between two successive changes is rough or in fact there is no transition. Such changes lead in sure for mess and their efficacy is zilch, since cleanup takes lot of energy. Hence radical changes would be important for your organization but create a smooth plan between changes, do not make it one-go change. Create the chunks of changes and put them in succession and fall back plans, communicate these plans before they are applied. Call for stakeholder and change agent meetings. Never create a change plan which has several changes (small or large) without connected or dependent change. This will be hay-wired since you would not be able take a feedback and control the situations as every change in independent of one another. When in one department changes should be dependent but in different or many departments you can go on with independent/parallel changes. For organization wide it has to be serial and successive changes one leading another in smooth manner. Failing to this can take a toll on system which will require effort to straighten up.
Communicate & Propagate Change: Hey don’t you think it is necessary to tell us..
As in previous all reasons, this reason should be considered as sum of all. This has a very large impact on the results of change. The reason for this is that changes have not been communicated to any stakeholder. Since they have not communicated and kept in closed doors, individuals involved get sudden surprise(shock). They(Individuals/Stakeholders) must be taken in confidence, take some time to introduce one change in and allow sometime to gather feedback. Keep change agents involved always and ask them to maintain their contacts with all affected. Rectify any issues -> move forward -> Wait For Some Time -> Gather Feedback -> Rectify another set and again repeat. Once you are through this cycle move to next change and repeat the same cycle. This is best way to propagate changes in the system since they rectify issues generated there and then instead of them getting collated for last moment.
In my observation above are the primary reasons when change fails and how to mitigate such risks. There is no right and wrong method for bringing changes since they depend largely on circumstances. Also, there are no definitive pitfalls where changes may go down the drain, that depends on how are you bring changes and what is the magnitude of the change. However above points of observations are pretty much most common ones where every organization struggles.
To read more about changes please go through these books. Also I would be happy if you comment on this post and suggest me books or method