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    Posted June 20, 2014 by

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    Defining knowledge within corporate culture?

    Having worked with many corporate giants around the world and attending various conferences regarding stakeholder engagement and people management, I have been thinking if or not managers / speakers really understand the meaning of engaging stakeholders and it's real impact on corporate performance. And if they really do, how do they define it?

    The 21 century global economic challenge lies on management of knowledge within and across global industries and borders. It is significant to argue on how knowledge dissemination can improve organizational performance and overall business success. W. Edward Deming, a well-known American statistician and the man behind Japanese industrial revolution, in his red bead experiment in 1950 explained how information and knowledge should never be mixed to determine success. Similarly, the desire to build knowledge with and within organizations can only be valued through a credible culture or rather a learning culture. I argue, if a skillful process exists in organizations to create knowledge with the ingredients of experience and information to benefit team behavior.

    With this, I must add, corporates are not just an entity made up of the hierarchy, special and vested interests or even just mere strategies. Irrespective of size, every organization needs to think and do its bit to understand it's own culture. I think, there is an urgent need of gap analysis that are to be performed by a collective effort of employees / staff rather than couple of decision making groups. A real understanding of knowledge integration is to be defined. I wonder why an organization still suffer to identify its problem even if they have all strategic steps in place, well qualified project mangers / six sigma belts involved, hierarchy is quite well designed or even in presence of extremely experienced managers? What is it that makes these organizations fail? Do they fail to read and study what’s occurring within? Or they are more interested in making profits?

    If you think, the above questions are relevant then the answer for all problems is the organization's culture. The culture needs to be identified and managed. Now when we talk about identification and management of culture, what do you think it's all about? Well, its to identify how people within a department or function behave the way they do. What might motivate such behavior? If it’s negative, then why? If it’s positive, then why?

    Every behavior is the cause of some relevant or irrelevant information. It may also be the information gap. Now when this information can master mind any behavior, then we need to think what incorrect or incomplete or disruptive information can create. In theory, information, which is not processed to form knowledge, is bound to create noise and functional disruption.

    The key remedy to all the above is the significance of knowledge and its management. As W. Edward Deming said, "there's no substitute for knowledge" and "information is not knowledge". It becomes imperative to see where your organization or department stands with respect to knowledge management. If you think you have knowledge strategy in place then you need to determine how your employees are behaving within such culture. In short, how do your employees behave in presence and in absence of knowledge. A knowledge culture is made of every hierarchy and it starts with bottom level and true leadership. Corporate politics, vested interests and corruption are nothing but a detrimental aspect towards building a knowledge culture and certainly organizations overall performance.
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