Thursday, July 17, 2008

Organizational Layers ...

I am not sure whether this is the appropriate topic for this post. But, whatever ...

As you probably already know, i am currently reading The Knowledge-Creating Company (almost through), and maybe its because my expectations from the book were sky-high (having heard so much, over a period of time, before i got round to reading it ...), but i found the book, while bringing out very prolific insights, at places, has ideas, which were, at the time of writing, quite appropriate, but over a period of time, tend to seem dated.

One such idea is the concept of the hypertext organization. As the concept of synthesis of the beauraucratic and the task-force oriented organizational structures, this is a wonderful idea (and, one which has not really been implemented too well in organizations to date ... primarily because the various components linked together by the hypertext tend to become islands or mini-organizations in their own right, and the balance to be obtained between the beauraucratic and the task-force oriented organization structures is very hard to achieve). However, there is a concern i have with some concepts mentioned about this.

What i am talking about is the relationship between the business system, the project team, and the knowledge base. I dont think i am competent enough to comment on the relationship between the project team and the business system (after all, i am myself still trying to achieve this balance between the two contrasts of beauraucracy and task-force orientation ... much like a lot of other managers), what i find a little discomforting is the distinction which is made between these two, and the knowledge base layer.

To my mind, this distinction is at best artificial. According to the authors' own model, knowledge is an inherent part of the business system, and the project teams (read tacit knowledge). To this extent, shouldnt the systems related to identifying, and then sharing of knowledge, leading to the generation of the knowledge spiral, and to the unhindered discovery and flow of knowledge, be an integral part of the operational structure of the organization itself? Otherwise, Knowledge Management by itself becomes an end, rather than a means to another end, as envisioned in the corporate vision.

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