Reflect on Shirky’s concept of “publish -> then filter” and its relationship to knowledge management. If knowledge is now socially developed, what is the role of leadership in knowledge management?
One of the greatest quotes I have read by Shirky (2008) appeared in Chapter 4 when he asked, “Surely it is as bad to gorge on junk as to starve? (p. 83). What he frequently refers to as “user-generated content” is the result of society’s tendency to “publish, then filter” (Shirky, 2008). As we all heard in Shirky’s TED talk (2009) in Week 1, “we are living in the middle of the largest increase in expressive capability in the history of the human race.” This concept of publish, then filter has inundated social media and the overall ability of society to rely on the Internet as a source of information with communications media (communication intended to be between two people) (Shirky, 2008). This has, as a result, drastically changed the nature of knowledge management.
As we are aware, knowledge management became an integral part of organizations in the early 90s as leaders began to determine the best way to “house” it and provide access to it for the employees. Fast forward to where we are today, and knowledge management has drastically evolved. Social media and web 2.0 tools have required leaders to relinquish control over KM and promote contribution and collaboration amongst employees. Dixon (2012) stated that people are more honest in regards to their opinions and ideas through technology rather than face-to-face. If this is the case, leaders must provide their employees with opportunities to make this happen.
Describe the evolution of knowledge management as impacted by the web.
Knowledge management has evolved from an individual-focused mindset in the early 90s to the more collaborative, group-effort of today. There have, however, been significant milestones in this development along the way as a result of shifts in mindsets and the introduction of the World Wide Web. As we have read this week, Nancy Dixon (2009) references three distinct knowledge management categories. The first is leveraging explicit knowledge and it “is about capturing documented knowledge and creating a collection from it – connecting people to content.” Prior to the Internet, organizations operated independently from each other, organizing and storing their knowledge so their own employees could access it, but no one else. Dixon (2009) described the mental image of a warehouse housing the knowledge as if it was a commodity that needed to be managed rather than a constantly evolving entity within an organization. With the introduction of the Internet, explicit knowledge was able to be stored on servers so that it could be shared from company to company and easily accessed by employees at all levels.
According to Dixon (2009), the second category of leveraging experiential knowledge “gave rise to communities of practice and social networks”. The goal of this category was to connect people to people (Dixon, 2009). The internet allowed for people to connect with each other via the World Wide Web to collaborate and share knowledge. Though Web 2.0 tools had not yet evolved when experiential knowledge was first recognized within knowledge management, the formation of networks became present on the Web. The Internet allowed for relationships to form between employees within the same company as well as others. It also provided an opportunity for knowledge to be exchanged between people via the World Wide Web.
The third and final category is leveraging collective knowledge and it is “primarily about conversation both in its virtual and face-to-face forms” (Dixon, 2009). This category is all about the “conversation”— who is in it and what is it about (Dixon, 2009). It is within this category that we see the evolution of Web 2.0 tools making a significant impact. “Research indicates that people are more honest about their ideas and concerns when communicating over digital media, than they are in face-to-face situations” (Dixon, 2012). Dixon (2012) further stated that many organizations today use blogs to promote communication between employees regarding concerns and ideas.
Discuss ways that web-based tools can improve the management of information and knowledge.
Web-based tools allow organizations to effectively meet the rising demands for information and knowledge. More importantly, they allow for accessibility of this information by the employees. Training classes and the traditional distribution of information, though they still exist, have been replaced by webinars, blogs, wikis, etc. Dr. Anupam Kumar Nath (2012) found that the use of Web 2.0 for KM in an organization “paves the way for the employees to earn the reputation of being an expert in the use of a tool and/or technology within the organizations and at the same time creates an opportunity for the employees to acquire knowledge and gain help from the expert and/or knowledgeable people within the organization.”
These tools can also assist with the overall management of the information and knowledge. People are able to search for specific topics, virtually collaborate in “real-time” with colleagues and publish their research and ideas to the Web for the world to see and respond to. Organizations are no longer isolated, sharing their own knowledge within company ranks to their own employees. Rather, web-based tools allow organizations manage their knowledge publicly, and as a result, learning from each other rather than by themselves.
Dixon, N. (2009, July 30). Where Knowledge Management Has Been and Where It Is Going. Retrieved from http://www.nancydixonblog.com/2009/07/where-knowledge-management-has-been-and-where-it-is-going-part-three.html
Dixon, N. (2012, August 8). The Three Eras of Knowledge Management. Retrieved from http://www.nancydixonblog.com/2012/08/the-three-eras-of-knowledge-management.html
Nath, A. (2012). Web 2.0 Technologies for Effective Knowledge Management in Organizations: A Qualitative Analysis (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from http://libres.uncg.edu/ir/uncg/f/Nath_uncg_0154D_10898.pdf
Shirky, C. (2009, June 16). Clay Shirky: How cellphones, Twitter, Facebook can make history. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_iN_QubRs0&feature=youtu.be