Thursday, October 20, 2011

Learning Organizations - Why aren't they all good at it?

I have done some research previously on Knowledge Management and comparison of tacit knowledge transfer vs explicit knowledge transfer. I've included a chart of IT project success/failure for 30 different cases, where you can see the more tacit the knowledge is the less success you see and the more explicit it is, the more successes you see.

Source: Grant, K. & Qureshi, U. "Knowledge Management Systems -- Why So Many Failures?" Innovations in Information Technology. 2006.

In order for an organization to become a true learning organization, it has to have the following:
- low employee turnover
- good knowledge transfer practices between teams, employees, departments, etc.
- effective information technologies that support in storing information and knowledge within the organization
- quick response to the needs of external and internal stakeholders
- more centralized organizational structure

I think when we are talking about learning organizations, we need to investigate their knowledge management practices as well. In the organization I work at, at least in our department, there is a high degree of employee turnover and the result is:
- we are putting out a lot of fires with respect to problems occurring with previous work that was done
- we are lost a lot when looking for documents, as the previous employee kept the file where no one else knows where it is

Because we are spending more time looking resolving issues that shouldn't have occurred in the first place if we hadn't had such a higher employee turnover or better knowledge management practices, we are spending less learning as a team, keeping up with the organizational vision, and learning new skills as individuals.

1 comment:

  1. this is wonderful to read really. the chart is explaining all the things about the projects very clearly. i liked the way you described this with some good examples. good day!