Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Training And KM

This is something i have been thinking about for some time now. This is also a topic i have written about earlier. And this is a topic which i think should probably receive more attention that it does.

The reason why i feel that this should probably receive more attention is because Training, and Knowledge Management are two disciplines which complement each other ... i like to see them as making up an umbrella discipline of Capability Management. OK, so i can almost visualize you wondering why i had to go and make up another term, to add to the already burgeoning lexicon of management jargon. But really, if you look at these two disciplines as contributing to the development of the skill pool available to the organization, this line of reasoning begins to make sense.

Having said this, there is also an inherent tension between the two, which, more often than not, remains unresolved. On the one hand is training ... which is a highly structured approach towards learning. At least the way its being done today. There is a Training Needs Analysis, Training Strategy, and a myriad other steps on the training pyramid or workflow. It all culminates in the curriculum, the course outline which is well-defined, structured course material, and delivery of training in a highly structured manner. Well, sometimes highly, and sometimes less so, but the point is that there is a certain amount of structure associated with it.

Knowledge flows in the organization, on the other hand, tend to be totally, or at least to large extent, unstructured. You cannot define the sources of knowledge in the organization, the consumers of knowledge, and hence, the channels of knowledge flow in the organization, the way you can attach structure to a training.

And this is one more reason that i believe that the two disciplines cannot replace each other, but rather, must complement each other in the organization. However, the issue i see in organizations i interact with, is not so much that they are tending too much on each other's turf, but rather, the other way round, i.e., there seems to be very less appreciation of this basic similarity in their goals, and hence, the requirements to align them, the structural differences notwithstanding.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Yes Atul I agree with your thoughts on this post. It is why a leading Consulting / Solution organization like Accenture has placed KM under the Capability Development space. In short KM Managers come under the Cap Dev organization -> HR -> Capability Development -> KM. Accenture sees KM as practice which improves the overall effectivess / capability of its workforce in order to sell and deliver work better