Power and Virtual Organizations LO30033

From: Vana Prewitt (Vana@PraxisLearning.com)
Date: 04/02/03

Replying to LO30028 --

Gijs asked us about our experiences and thoughts regarding the social
behaviors of employees who have been asked to document explicit knowledge
in a formal knowledge base and the impact of this on concepts of social
power. His observation is that:
"The result is that the knowledge worker seeks other coalitions to create
a political environment that will enable him/her to create workarounds or
even cooptate some of the ICT department (those who are responsible for
the management of the system."
My own experience has been similar whenever trust is lacking in the
organization. Knowledge as power is an old theme in organizations, and the
desire to hold onto rare or valued knowledge is seen as a political and
economic asset UNLESS the individuals and groups perceive a greater value
in sharing that knowledge.
Personally, I advise clients to postpone implementing "knowledge
management" systems until they have completed a full and honest accounting
of the level of trust and desire for collaboration within the
organization. Without these prerequisites, any effort on KM is bound to
fail in my experience. Clearly, this is a complex issue, but that is the
brief response.
Kind regards,
Vana Prewitt
Praxis Learning Systems
Chapel Hill, NC


"Vana Prewitt" <Vana@PraxisLearning.com>

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