Individual Final Portfolio Proposal

timer Asked: Oct 16th, 2018
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Question Description

Your Final Portfolio Proposal should include the following items:

  1. The name of the organization that will serve as the basis of your project.
  2. A brief description of the organization in terms of its main products/services, markets, purpose, size, and location. Organization size can be measured in terms of number of employees, annual dollar sales revenue, or annual budget.
  3. Identify whether you plan to discuss your KM activities with any company personnel or whether you intend to do it solely through silent observation.
  4. Identify at least two but not more than three areas of the company you plan to redesign in order to support and enable what McElroy (2001, 2002) terms knowledge processing to occur freely.
  5. Identify the top three concepts, ideas, or models from the McElroy reading (i.e., second-generation KM) that will serve as the focus of your project.

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1 An Excerpt From: The New Knowledge Management Complexity, Learning, and Sustainable Innovation By Mark W. McElroy (A Forthcoming Book To Be Published By Butterworth-Heinemann in October, 2002) * * * * * Chapter 1 - Second-Generation Knowledge Management1 At a conference on knowledge management (KM) not too long ago, attendees could be heard grumbling about what they felt was the event’s myopic obsession with technology. “Document management and imaging – that’s all I’ve seen and heard about here,” one man complained. He then amplified his discontent and shared his broader disappointment with knowledge management as a whole: “…an idea that amounts to little more than yesterday’s information technologies trotted out in today’s more fashionable clothes.” Point well taken. Indeed, at the heart of most KM strategies to date can be found data warehousing, groupware, document management, imaging, and data mining. By continuing to promote that kind of narrow, technology-centric brand of thinking, the nascent field of knowledge management places its own credibility at risk. Merely re-labeling yesterday’s technologies in the sexy new name of today’s KM brings nothing new to the table. And businesses won’t stand for it. As reported above, evidence of the backlash is already apparent. We, the community of KM practitioners, can do much better than that. As an advocate and strong supporter of KM, I and many others hold an entirely different view of the field compared to what we typically see in the press and in trade shows. Recently, a new name for this hopefully more-enlightened brand of KM has emerged: “Second-Generation KM”2 (aka, ‘The New Knowledge Management.’ Unlike first-generation KM, in which technology always seems to provide the answer, second-generation thinking is more inclusive of people, process, and social initiatives. I believe we should embrace this term, along with its expanded perspectives, as a way of differentiating the new KM from its technology-minded ancestry. A comparison of these two competing frameworks follows below. The Fundamentals The arrival of second-generation KM includes the introduction of some new terms, new concepts, and new insights, which together give second-generation KM some real depth and distinction when compared to first-generation models. Copyright © 2002 Mark W. McElroy 1 2 These concepts, of which there are many, include the following ten (10) key ideas: 1. The Knowledge Life Cycle 2. KM Versus Knowledge Processing 3. Supply-Side Versus Demand-Side KM 4. Nested Knowledge Domains 5. Containers of Knowledge 6. Organizational Learning 7. The Open Enterprise 8. Social Innovation Capital 9. Self Organization and Complexity Theory 10. Sustainable Innovation Each of these concepts is defined and discussed in more detail below. The Knowledge Life Cycle (KLC) The conventional practice of knowledge management – if there is such a thing – is often associated with the following common phrases:    It’s all about getting the right information to the right people at the right time If we only knew what we know We need to capture and codify our tacit and explicit knowledge before it walks out the door Most of us in KM have heard these expressions many times before. In a very real way, they speak volumes about our assumptions concerning the purpose and value of KM, as well as the scope of it. In particular, the unspoken assumption behind each of these statements is that valuable knowledge exists – all we need to do is capture it, codify it, and share it. According to this view of knowledge management, the practice of KM begins sometime after knowledge is produced. Ergo, the purpose of KM is not to enhance knowledge production; rather, the purpose of KM is to enhance the deployment of knowledge into practice (i.e., by taking steps to diffuse it throughout an organization and into the minds of individuals and groups who need it). This is a view of KM that we shall call ‘first-generation KM’ – a view that places its emphasis not on knowledge production, but on knowledge integration. While practitioners of first-generation KM tend to begin with the rather convenient assumption that valuable knowledge already exists, practitioners of secondgeneration KM do not. Instead, they – or we – take the position that knowledge is something that we produce in human social systems, and that we do so through individual and shared processes that have regularity to them. We can describe this process at an organizational level in the form of what is now being Copyright © 2002 Mark W. McElroy 2 3 referred to as the knowledge life cycle, or KLC (see Figure 1-1). This is perhaps the single most important foundation of second-generation thinking, since most of what we do in KM, according to this view, is designed to have impact on the KLC. If it doesn’t have impact on the KLC, or if it is not intended to have impact on the KLC, then it is not KM. This is a view of KM that we shall call ‘second-generation KM’ – a view that places its emphasis on both knowledge production and integration. Info About SKC Knowledge Production Individual And Group Learning Knowledge Integration Broadcasting SKC Knowledge Claim Formulation CKC Info About FKC Knowledge Validation Process Searching OK FKC Teaching Info About UKC Information Acquisition Sharing UKC Feedback Loop External Inputs Feedback (including the detection of problems) Business Process Environment Business Process Behaviors of Interacting Agents Knowledge Processes Knowledge Sets DOKB ‘Containers’ - Agents (Indiv. & Groups) - Artifacts (Docs., IT, etc.) DOKB: - Objective Knowledge - Sunjective Knowledge CKC - Codified Knowledge Claim OK - Organizational Knowledge COK - Codified Organizational Knowledge SKC - Surviving Knowledge Claim DOKB - Dist’d Org’l Knowledge Base UKC - Undecided Knowledge Claim FKC - Falsified Knowledge Claim Figure 1-1 - The Knowledge Life Cycle (KLC) 3 The KLC shown in Figure 1-1, and referred to variously throughout the remainder of this book, was conceived of, and developed by, a handful of active members at the Knowledge Management Consortium International (KMCI), especially by Joseph M. Firestone and myself. In presenting this model, we often take care to point out that the KLC is actually not a ‘model,’ but is a ‘framework,’ instead. What we mean by this is that the KLC can be thought of as a framework for placing models in context, in which many different competing views of how knowledge is produced and integrated in organizations can be organized and positioned relative to one another in a coherent way. Moreover, management Copyright © 2002 Mark W. McElroy 3 4 strategies and programs for enhancing knowledge production, diffusion, and use can be seen in context when viewed against the backdrop of the KLC. But the KLC is not just a neutral conception, or framework, of how knowledge is produced and integrated in human social systems. It does reflect a particular point of view. Some of the claims embodied in this view include the following:       People tend to engage in learning as a result of experiencing gaps in their current and goal states. Detections of these gaps constitute the emergence of ‘problems,’ which involve a lack of knowledge of what actions to take in order to achieve desired outcomes. The detection of problems by individuals, or agents, in a system triggers learning activity which eventually leads to the formulation of ‘knowledge claims.’ Knowledge claims are conjectures, assertions, arguments, or theories about which potential actions might lead to desired outcomes, in ways that will close the gap between current and goal states. As they engage in learning and the development of new knowledge claims, individual agents sometimes co-attract one another and form groups in which they collectively, and often informally, share ideas and subject them to peer review, in the broadest sense of this term. In these and other ways, they vet and evaluate their claims to their own satisfaction. At an individual and group level, this may be as far as things need go before being placed into practice, but at an organizational level, validation must also occur in the eyes of a wider audience, if not in the minds of a controlling group or authority structure (e.g., management). This processes of Knowledge Claim Formulation and Evaluation can be thought of as ‘Knowledge Production.’ Not all knowledge claims formulated by individuals and groups succeed at an organizational level. Those that do can be thought of as ‘surviving knowledge claims’; those that don’t fall into either of two categories: ‘undecided knowledge claims,’ or ‘falsified knowledge claims.’ Informational accounts about these outcomes are also produced as a consequence of the Knowledge Production process. These additional records, themselves, are knowledge claims – or meta-claims, if you like (i.e., claims about claims). As knowledge claims are evaluated and validated at different levels of organizational scale, attempts may be made afterwards by managers and others to share their content and value with other members of the group or organization, in which case efforts are made to integrate them into the operations of a wider population of people. This process of managed knowledge sharing and diffusion can be thought of as ‘Knowledge Integration.’ As knowledge is successfully integrated throughout an organization, it manifests itself generally in two forms: mentally held knowledge by individual or group agents (i.e., knowledge held by people in minds), or held in the form of explicit linguistic expressions in artifacts (i.e., spoken Copyright © 2002 Mark W. McElroy 4 5   claims; or claims in documents, computer files, etc.). Here, we find the ideas of the great twentieth century philosopher Karl Popper4 to be useful, according to which he distinguished between ‘world 2’ knowledge (knowledge in minds) and ‘world 3’ knowledge (knowledge encoded in linguistic expressions or works of art). Popper also referred to these two forms of knowledge as ‘subjective knowledge’ and ‘objective knowledge,’ respectively. The combination of subjective and objective knowledge in an organization may be thought of as an organization’s ‘Distributed Organizational Knowledge Base,’ or DOKB. In discrete form, the components of a DOKB manifest themselves in what we can think of as two kinds of ‘containers’: agents and artifacts. More specifically, they may take the form of beliefs or belief predispositions held in the minds of agents (individuals, teams, groups, communities, departments, divisions, etc.) – these are subjective forms of knowledge. But knowledge may also be held in the form of linguistic expressions and/or encodings in speech or in objects, such as files, documents, computer systems, microfilm, disks, videos, tapes, books, articles, papers, essays, lectures, music, other works of art, etc. – these are objective forms of knowledge, which we can also refer to as ‘knowledge claims.’ The knowledge life cycle, strictly speaking, begins with the detection of problems by agents in the context of business processing (i.e., while they are engaged in the practice of instrumental behavior, such as business processes, and as they experience gaps in their knowledge of how to move from current states to goal states), and ends with the choice of newly validated knowledge claims, beliefs, and belief predispositions in the DOKB and its containers. Knowledge use, which later follows, occurs within the context of business processing, not knowledge processing, and it is in the midst of knowledge use in business processing, in turn, that new problems arise and are detected. In Figure 1-2 we show the relationships between the KLC (aka, the Knowledge Processing Environment) and the Business Processing Environment – the two realms of processing do indeed connect and interact with one another. These and other claims, discussed variously below, comprise the theoretical foundations of second-generation KM. Of particular importance is the view that valuable knowledge does not simply exist. In fact we produce it, and we produce it as a consequence of engaging in knowledge processes that have regularity to them. Once we learn to recognize and expect this regularity, we can then have impact on an organization’s capacity to produce and integrate knowledge by making a range of interventions aimed at supporting, strengthening, and reinforcing related patterns of behavior. This, then, is the fundamental outlook held by practitioners of second-generation KM, and the KLC is their most important touchstone. Copyright © 2002 Mark W. McElroy 5 6 Knowledge Management Knowledge Processing Environment Knowledge Processing Knowledge Outcomes • •Strategies Strategies • •Org’l Org’lModels Models • •Operations Operations • •Processes Processes • •Policies Policies • •Procedures Procedures • •Skills Skills Business Management Business Processing Environment Business Processing Business Outcomes Figure 1-2 - The Relationship Between Knowledge Processing and Business Processing KM Versus Knowledge Processing Armed with an understanding of the knowledge like cycle, we can now make the very important distinction between knowledge processing and knowledge management. At an organizational level, people and groups engage in the kinds of activities encompassed by the KLC. We call this ‘knowledge processing.’ Knowledge processing includes Knowledge Production and Knowledge Integration, the two major areas of activity within the KLC, as well as their subprocesses. In fact, we can also think of knowledge processing as occurring within the lower levels of scale encompassed by the KLC, namely Individual & Group Learning. Individuals and groups also engage in knowledge processing and experience their own knowledge life cycles, accordingly. In this sense, their KLCs are nested within the organizational KLC (discussed further below). Knowledge management, then, is a management discipline that seeks to have impact on knowledge processing (see Figure 1-3). While the distinction between KM and knowledge processing is a critically important one, the two are constantly being confused with one another in the marketplace. Designing a portal to enhance knowledge sharing is an act of knowledge management because it seeks to have impact on an aspect of knowledge processing as defined by the KLC, namely Knowledge Integration. But knowledge sharing is not the same Copyright © 2002 Mark W. McElroy 6 7 thing as knowledge management. Nor is engaging with others in, say, a community of practice a form of knowledge management. Rather, engaging in a community of practice is a form of Individual & Group Learning, a sub-process of Knowledge Production, which, in turn, is a form of knowledge processing. KM Info About SKC Knowledge Production Individual And Group Learning Knowledge Claim Formulation Knowledge Integration Broadcasting SKC CKC Info About FKC Knowledge Validation Process Searching OK FKC Teaching Info About UKC Information Acquisition Sharing KM UKC KM Feedback Loop External Inputs Feedback (including the detection of problems) Business Process Environment Business Process Behaviors of Interacting Agents DOKB ‘Containers’ - Agents (Indiv. & Groups) - Artifacts (Docs., IT, etc.) DOKB: - Objective Knowledge - Sunjective Knowledge Knowledge Processing KM Figure 1-3 - The Relationship Between Knowledge Management and Knowledge Processing This distinction between KM and knowledge processing is crucial to understanding the meaning and perspective of second-generation KM because without it, there really is no differentiation between first- and second-generation thinking. In first-generation thinking, there is no KLC, no foundational view of knowledge processing, no social process with regularity to it that accounts for Knowledge Production and Integration in firms, and no conception, therefore, of KM as something which has impact on knowledge processing. What there is, by contrast, is an assumption that valuable knowledge already exists, and the sooner we get it into the hands of the people who need it, the better. Ironically, when viewed from the perspective of the KLC, first-generation thinkers are essentially focusing only on the Knowledge Integration side of the cycle, although they might not think of their work in these terms. Moreover, they tend to think of the problem as one of how best to capture, codify, and deploy valuable organizational knowledge. Victory is seen as that pivotal moment in the performance of a business process when a worker suddenly develops a need for Copyright © 2002 Mark W. McElroy 7 8 information and is quickly able to find it, thanks to the quality of the ‘KM system.’ It’s all about making the delivery of information successful in support of individual business decisions. First-generation KM is very transactional, in this sense. Unfortunately, this interpretation of KM has done nothing but confuse the business world for years now, since what’s really going on in the scenario above is just information integration (i.e., information or knowledge capture, deployment, and retrieval), and not knowledge management, much less knowledge processing. As discussed earlier above, knowledge differs from information by virtue of the strength contained in the claims about claims (metaclaims). If a knowledge processing system lacks meta-claims of a sort that can tell us what the value, context, or veracity of its information or knowledge claims are, even as it purports to be a ‘knowledge management system,’ it really is no more than an information processing system. And all efforts to build and deploy it, therefore, are merely acts of information management, not knowledge management. If, on the other hand, a system is developed in such a way that the information or claims contained in it are accompanied by evaluative meta-claims, the presence of such information can give users access to the arguments behind the claims, in which case we’re now dealing with a knowledge processing system. All efforts to build systems of that kind could, therefore, be fairly described as knowledge management efforts, but the systems themselves are knowledge processing systems, not knowledge management systems, except in the case where they also support knowledge processing by knowledge managers. Does this mean that information processing and information management have no role to play in knowledge processing? Of course not. Researching and accessing information (i.e., Information Acquisition) plays a significant role in Knowledge Production as clearly shown in the KLC in Figure 1-1. But we should not confuse knowledge processing and information processing, and we should certainly not view the knowledge manager’s work as ‘done’ simply because we’ve made information more generally accessible through technology interventions and otherwise. All of that in the absence of validation information (meta-claims) is nothing more than information management and information processing. Knowledge managers should never forget this. Supply-Side vs. Demand-Side KM As I have explained, the hallmark of first-generation KM is its overwhelming emphasis on the capture, codification, and distribution of existing knowledge throughout an organization. This accounts for the heavy use of technology in most first-generation initiatives. Groupware, information indexing and retrieval systems, repositories, data warehousing, document management and imaging Copyright © 2002 Mark W. McElroy 8 9 systems are all classic answers to the prevailing ailment first-generation ...
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