Organizations play several different roles at one time and have been studied to have different roles in different scenarios. Morgan distinguishes eight different metaphors of organisations. Morgan's metaphors highlight the organisations in the various forms that it takes at each time and period. The eight metaphors that organisations take on include Machines, Organisms, Cultures, Political Systems, Brains, Psychic Prisons, Instrument of Dominations and Flux & transformation (Buchanan and Huczynski).
This paper aims at analysing the role of organisations as a Brain. The paper includes a clear explanation of how the efforts and knowledge of every person in an organisation actually grow and nourish the organisation to become a success. A brief explanation of knowledge management will also be included in the paper.
Organizations and Knowledge Management:
People have to be recognized as valuable assets and is much more than merely capturing data or manipulating it to obtain information. Managing intellectual capital requires a change in mindset (Sanchez and Heene). Carlie (1998) highlighted that several theories were developed to manage the intellectual capital in the 21st century (Carlie). Graham and Thomas (2008) believed that Knowledge Management is supported as a means of harnessing and utilizing intellectual resources to address challenges, as well as improving innovation, business performance and client approval (Graham and Thomas).
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A learning organization is one where the organization uses all the knowledge that is present from all members and uses it to improve its own knowledge (David Skyrme Associates). Ron Young, CEO of Knowledge Associates International has defined KM as, "the discipline of enabling individuals, teams and entire organizations to collectively and systematically create, share and apply knowledge, to better achieve their objectives" (Knowledge Management). The implementation of knowledge management within an organization refers to a 'learning organization'. In an organization although number of people work together, it cannot be considered as a big social network as here people with similar experience, skills and working styles come together to work as a team to meet the vision and mission of a company. There are higher chances for the organizations to become learning organizations where the skills and working nature of the people is similar or has some form of similarities. Here the employees can share their experiences as long as it helps and benefits people within the organization or the organization as a whole. In an organization where the employees work together there are higher chances for the organizations to become learning organizations.
Learning Organizations and Social Networking:
Bersin & Associates has brought out an excellent point where they speak of how the local management systems of a company are being used by the employees to share knowledge and information. It is essential to note that the local systems provides the employees to share their views and opinions of the working of different things and this can also lead to growth of the systems within the organization and the knowledge and skills as well. There is however a very big downside of the use of such media. This permits the employees to use the systems wrongly for personal purposes. Chances are high that the systems are used for personal reasons and the official emails provided by the company are abused. KM is a growing and established discipline and is used in many large organizations. Organizational knowledge creation involves developing new content or restoring existing content within the organization's tacit and explicit knowledge (Pentland as cited in Alavi & Leidner).
For a very long time, there has been an extremely important and true saying, 'Knowledge is Power'. Knowledge is the foundation for almost every activity in everyday life. McInerney (2002) believed that KM allows companies to benefit from the knowledge that resides in the organization by using it to achieve the organization's mission (McInerney). With the attention that is being provided to products and services over the years, the most significant key to value creation has been missed. It is important to realize that knowledge is one element in every business that creates the success within the organizations and is one of the major reasons of the overall production strategies. Knowledge can be very useful if the company has people with good knowledge and is willing to share with others within the organization so the overall performance of the organization can be improved.
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Individuals with the highest knowledge have a high potential for high value creation within the organization. This however, is useful only if the individuals who have the knowledge know how to use and execute the knowledge well. In addition, knowledge is normally difficult to access and it can leave the organization if the person who contributes to the organization leaves the organization. The productivity of that capital depends on how effectively people share their competence with those who can use it (Carnegie).
Organization as a Brain:
There have been a number of approaches to knowledge in companies. Some scholars believe that knowledge is a capital that possesses an economic value and is a resource for strategic increase of productivity. Others believe that knowledge is a stability factor for businesses especially in unstable and highly competitive environment. Knowledge has been noted to bring about the possibility for managers and businesses to make decision to create higher success and competitive advantage (Hewitt). The three key factors that form this objective are as follows: a) Capitalize: This element focuses on providing information and knowledge. It includes an understanding of what to do with the knowledge. b) Share: This element plays a role for individuals as well as the businesses. This involves providing an understanding of sharing and moving from the 'I, me, myself' to collective intelligence. c) Create: This mainly refers to the creation and being innovative to ensure the survival in the business.
All these factors highlight how KM is the main challenge for managers. Inclusion of KM would mean a considerable change for the company and the involvement of newer visions. DeNoni et. al (2009) found that organizations compete for business based on knowledge. 'Managing knowledge represents the primary opportunity for achieving substantial and competitive advantages' (Noni, Orsi and Pilotti). This can bring about several changes to the company and thus needs a lot of care and attention from managers and business owners.