Book Review - Organisational Psychology by Edgar H. Schein
Excerpt: He recovers, however, in his review of formal and informal groups in organizations. Schein’s discussion of informal groups is particularly convincing, arguing that these informal groups arise out of formal factors. He cites striking correlations between informal association and structural factors that include direction of doorways and geographic distance of desks. Long before Google bribed its engineers to stay on campus with a myriad of perks, the field of organizational psychology knew the importance of designing physical facilities to maximize probability of interaction. The discussion on cliques – horizontal, vertical and mixed / random – is also highly informative for managers and aspiring theorists seeking to facilitate informal “communities of practice.”
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Academic Essay - Knowledge as Competitive Advantage
Excerpt: In general, we find that knowledge which is possessed alone tends to be a weak source of competitive advantage, with the main exception of explicit-group knowledge (especially that which enjoys legal protections). Knowledge which is held by individuals can walk away from the firm on two feet, or otherwise accrues benefits to the owner rather than the firm. Knowledge that is easily codified and transferred tends to ‘leak’ away (Brown and Duguid 2001), especially in this era of digitization. Knowledge that is, in its essence, rules for behaviour offers trivial advantage next to the constantly negotiated practice of such knowledge. As Brown and Duguid notes, knowledge without the context of practice and social learning is only a tool, and one that could potentially even fossilize into a competitive disadvantage (Hamel and Prahalad 1994).
Academic Essay - The Community Approach to Managing Knowledge
Excerpt: Assessing the value of the community approach from a management perspective has historically been a stumbling block to focused adoption. As Duguid (2005) has noted, skepticism around the reality of tacit knowledge as an irreducible and distinct form of knowledge has led to a corollary skepticism about the real value of communities of practice. If one did believe that all knowledge could be reduced to the explicit, then the incremental cost associated with this ‘social endeavor’ (Duguid 2005: 2) seems somewhat inexplicable. However, if one does acquiesce to the wealth of social science literature on tacit knowledge (Polanyi 1966, Cook and Brown 1999, et al), as we do, then the business case is far more convincing.
Academic Essay - Organisational Development in Non-Western Cultures
Excerpt: The human genome shows that human beings share over 99% of their genome sequences (“Human Genome Information Project” 2010). It should not be surprising that we share a number of biologically driven motivations as well. These motivations drive our value set, some of which have been shown to be universal...Despite this striking commonality in shared values, Hofstede (2002) has noted that conceptions of business are “part of national value systems, which belong to national cultures.” He finds significant differences between nations on five cultural value dimensions of Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance, Individuality, Masculinity and Long-Term Orientation. China, for instance, has a high power distance, meaning that the culture is relatively accepting of unequal distribution of power. This implies a preference for more formal organization and centralized hierarchy than, say, the United States. These more formal cultures tend towards high-context communications, meaning that most information conveyed is contextualized in the person and manner of conveyance rather than explicit coding.