Thursday 9 August 2018

3 ways to look at the KM Paradigm Shift

Here is another couple of ways to characterise the KM paradigm shift.

Image from wikimedia commons
When I looked at this topic in 2009, I saw the KM paradigm shift as a shift from seeing knowledge as personal and individual property, to seeing it as collective. I presented the shift as follows:

The "individual to collective" culture shift

I knowWe know
Knowledge is mineKnowledge is ours
Knowledge is ownedKnowledge is shared
Knowledge is personal propertyKnowledge is collective/community property
Knowledge is personal advantageKnowledge is company advantage
Knowledge is personalKnowledge is inter-personal
I defend what I knowI am open to better knowledge
Not invented here (i.e. by me)Invented in my community
New knowledge competes with my personal knowledgeNew knowledge improves my personal knowledge
other people's knowledge is a threat to meShared knowledge helps me
Admitting I don’t know is weaknessAdmitting I don’t know is the first step to learning

Here is another way to look at this shift, taken from a paper on The Learning Organisation, by organisational Psychologist Gitte Haslebo, translated by Maja Loua Haslebo.

Shift to a learning organisation

Knowledge has permanent validityKnowledge has temporary validity
Knowledge = Adding of information from the outsideKnowledge = Insight created from within
Learning activates the intellectLearning activates thoughts, values, emotions and action
The right answers must be foundThe central questions must be formulated
The expert finds the right solutionNew ways and new methods are co-created by the employees

This mirrors the transition from Knower to Learner, and Gitte suggests it is accompanied by a shift in the attitudes of managers and knowledge workers to transition from the attitudes we learned at school to the new attitudes we need at work.

Shift in learning attitudes

Do not make mistakesLearn from your mistakes
Do not reveal that there is something you do not knowIt is a good thing to admit that there is something you do not know
Do not make a fool of yourselfIt is important to explain what you wonder about.
Know that the teacher is always rightKnow that your manager may be wrong.
What counts is the individual achievementWhat matters is teamwork
If you ask the person sitting next to you, you are cheatingWhen there is something you do not know, ask your colleague

So there are 3 ways to look at the shift, with significant overlap between them. They give you some ideas of the culture you need to aim for in KM - the sort of attitudes and behaviours that a learning organisation, and the people within it, should exhibit.

Now you just have to make that shift, and ensure you don't shift back again.

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