Tuesday, 29 November 2016

OL and KM - chickens and eggs?

Chickens and Eggs - one way to think  about Organisational Learning and Knowledge Management

My chickens, Nutmeg and Buffy,
queueing up at the egg-laying station
KM and OL are closely related.

They differ partly in their starting point: the starting point for KM is that knowledge is valuable and should be managed; the starting point for OL is that learning is valuable and can be managed at the individual, group and whole organization level. As learning is the 'receiving' part of knowledge, there is often little difference between KM and OL, and in some ways, KM is the management system through which Organizational Learning is attained.

I often call KM and OL "two sides of the same coin" but in many ways, they are more like the chicken and the egg.

Organisational learning and knowledge management can together create a closed learning loop, much as chickens and eggs form a closed loop. It must be a loop. You can't just create eggs. Or just chickens. The two need to morph one into the other in a closed cycle.

Similarly the management of knowledge results in an organisation that learns, and an organisation that learns creates new knowledge.

You can,t just manage knowledge unless you learn as well, and you can't learn as an organisaiton without creating knowledge. Knowledge leads to learning and learning leads to knowledge, much as a chicken leads to an egg, and an egg leads to a chicken.

 As they say, a chicken is just an egg's way of making another chicken, and knowledge management is  OL's way of creating more learning for the organisation. 

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