Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Valuable Informal Relationships

10.06.2008
The most important knowledge in an organisation is tacit, and is shared when employees do things together. That's why informal relationships are positive, asserts Cathrine Filstad at BI Norwegian School of Management.

Organisations are concerned with knowledge. They would like to stand out as knowledge companies and knowledge intensive organisations, where employees have, and continually develop, necessary and unique knowledge.

In order to achieve their goal of knowledge, they focus on learning and how learning results in new knowledge.

“But are we on the right path here? Do we have the necessary knowledge about what learning is and how to accommodate learning in organisations?” challenges Associate Professor, Cathrine Filstad at BI Norwegian School of Management.

She is researching learning and knowledge development and organisations.

A New Perspective on Learning
In an article in the popular science magazine, Magma, Filstad presents a new perspective on learning, based on the idea that learning and knowledge development are continuous processes in an organisation's daily life.

“The most important knowledge in an organisation is tacit,and cannot be expressed through language,” asserts Filstad.

Personal
Tacit knowledge is typically personal, context-specific, and often anchored in experiences, ideas, values, and emotions.

Learning and knowledge development happen through solving challenges, communicating with those involved, observing how others behave, and gaining personal and common experiences.

Knowledge has become a question of know-how, knowing how to apply knowledge in practice.

Sharing Tacit Knowledge
According to Filstad, we need to question the traditional approach to learning and knowledge as individual cognitive processes.

She warns organisations against believing that they address their knowledge development needs simply by sending employees to courses.

“Learning happens in social situations, as know-how when solving challenges, by observing and communicating with colleagues, and, not the least, by having the opportunity to put knowledge into practice. This doesn't normally happen at formal courses,” she says.

Courses have their role in learning, but we must consider the object of the course.

“If the goal of course participation is to bring new knowledge back to a practical work situation, then we have to follow it up, not the least by ensuring further development in the organisation, to ensure that knowledge is transferred to know-how and practical application,” emphasises Filstad.

Situational Learning
This new perspective on learning forces focus back on the organisation and what happens as a result of learning, knowledge development, and knowledge sharing.

“This entails, among other things, that managers must emerge as facilitators for good learning arenas in the organisation and integrate this as part of the workday,” points out the BI researcher.

Formal courses and training should, according to Filstad, happen “in the situation” internally in the organisation, as much as possible, and between those facing challenges together.

We need to develop a culture based on trust, where employees see it as natural to consult each other when solving challenges, in order to share knowledge. Here, managers must emphasise that this is a common responsibility.

Positive Informal Relationships
“Informal relationships are positive and must be encouraged,” believes Filstad, but underlines that employees must understand what type of knowledge development is important for the organisation and for individual employees.

Having access to colleagues is crucial. This can be a responsibility individual employees take upon themselves. Conversely, managers must be conscious of this, and initiate processes to help employees along.

It is entirely necessary that employees have opportunities to gain experiences together, to observe and communicate, to ensure that tacit knowledge is shared across the organisation.

Cathrine Filstad doesn't hide the fact that this approach and understanding of how learning happens in organisations present us with new challenges. Both managers and employees must relate to totally new demands.

References:
This article is based on Cathrine Filstad's article, “New Perspectives on Learning and Knowledge Development in Organisations”, published in Magma no. 1/2008 (Norwegian article).

Audun Farbrot | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bi.no

More articles from Business and Finance:

nachricht Frugal Innovations: when less is more
19.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

nachricht Europe's microtechnology industry is attuned to growth
10.03.2017 | IVAM Fachverband für Mikrotechnik

All articles from Business and Finance >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>