How Knowledge is changing OrganizationsPosted: September 7, 2007
As organizations are realizing the importance of Knowledge, nd have realized the significance of the basically tacit nature of knowledge, they are waking up to the importance of human interactions (not just humans, but the knowledge that is necessarily generated by people carrying certain tacit knowledge interacting with each other, and it not only about trying to convert tacit into explicit). This has led to a shift in the focus from data processing, and the importance of data, to interactions management. To be fair to them, the Japanese always knew that everything cannot be eplained using data, as have we in India. But, the leading business thinkers, trained in the more American analytical way, seem to have ignored this dimension for a very long time.
The way I see it, this fundamental recognition of the importance of people in the organization is changing the way the nature of the organization is evolving. Lots of business thinkers agree that the structure of the organization is changing (this is quite obvious), but while lots of folks have written about the Open-Source movement, and B-Schools are doing Case Studies on his model, not many are looking at the larger implications. Maybe that is because the changes here are more subtle.
The nature of employment is changing. The days of retiring from the organization which you joined right from college are no longer there. There is, though, a larger change in the nature of organizational affiliations. Many consulting and tech firms are today moving towards a shared-delivery model. This gives them them greater flexibility in deploying resources, while at the same time have a single resource handle multiple client projects simultaneously. In other words, the primary work variable has become the skill of the individual rather than the client. If we take this argument to the next logical level, even for indiviuals, the skill parameter is more critical than the employer. Which is why one would expect to see more prliferation of freelancers, contractors, or small boutique shops specializing in a particular skill, which can then be sold to multiple “clients”.
Look at this closely … This is changing the nature of the organization. No longer are the boundaries of the organization as solidly and well-defined as they used to be. This trend, of course, is coming up against corporate inertia. The existing corporate structure trying to stave it off. More at places, and less at others, depending more on the corporate climate. But fact it is. A clear sign … The tension between Collaboration and Intellectual Property.