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 Microtechnology industry is hiring – positive developments of past years continue
09.04.2018 | IVAM Fachverband für Mikrotechnik

nachricht RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index with minor decline on a high overall level
20.03.2018 | RWI – Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung

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: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>