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Why is organization culture and organizational politics important to information and knowledge management?

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Introduction

Why is organization culture and organizational politics important to information and knowledge management? Organizations are essentially the products of the ways that the people that comprise them think and interact. Every organization is made up of both the official hierarchy as shown in the organizational charts and unseen associations between people in the networks and communities. People bring with them an unavoidable culture and politics. Politics is present in organizations as the relationships which allow particular people to have power over others. They say knowledge is power. In some organizational cultures it certainly is. Consider how much Bill Gates or Richard Branson's Business Skills would be worth, could you even put a figure on it? Overcoming professionals' natural reluctance to share their most precious asset, knowledge, presents some common and difficult challenges. The true engine of today's organizations is the brainpower of employees. An organizational culture is the way an organization views the world, based on the experiences of its previous successes and failures. Culture is the way we do things around here, a set of tacit assumptions that have developed over time. ...read more.

Middle

For a strategy to work the people involved need to be genuinely committed, not sullenly compliant. Take the example of some of the worlds most successful organizations. Hewlett Packard, Microsoft and Motorola, all have one thing in common. They have the ability to learn. While experience is a good teacher, it is a private tutor. The central precept, and frustration, of organizational learning today is that people act collectively, but think individually. The tendency of each profession to regard itself as an elite with special cultural values may get in the way of cross disciplinary sharing. Studies of the NHS have revealed that Doctors and Nurses do not communicate with each other as well as they should. They belong to different communities of practice. The nurses and doctors communicate amongst themselves soundly but sharing information and knowledge across the subculture boundaries becomes a seldom occurrence. Political and social influences affect the culture so that professionals have little respect for those outside their field. This in turn effects the ability of the organization to manage information and knowledge. [e.g.] Doctors and nurses example given my Christine Urquhart The presence or absence of strong social networks any communities of practice gives us the sense of the social capital in an organizational culture. ...read more.

Conclusion

No organizational culture is a panacea. Culture differs from organization to organization, they are as varied and as individualistic as the people that comprise them. Any organization will have multiple personalities and to a certain extent, subcultures can be healthy but can become destructive when conflicts arise and when they become too ingrown. Culture and Politics are part of that environment. They both affect how receptive that environment is to learning. How the knowledge grows. Like a vine of tomatoes will not grow in a frosty, nutrient-sparse environment, information and knowledge sharing will not flourish without the culture that rewards it. Politics and Culture affects an organizations ability to learn. Knowledge is our most important asset; it is what makes us competitive. Although the study of tacit knowledge is in an embryonic stage, it can give us the advantage that makes the difference. Recommendations from scholars are often far too abstract, and too many questions remain unanswered. Before the people and hence the organizations can improve, they first must look beyond the rhetoric and high philosophy and focus on the fundamentals. 1 Senge, Peter. The Fifth Discipline. 1990 2 the Greek word for knowledge gained through wisdom. Tacit Knowledge. 3 Schein, Ed. The corporate culture survival guide. Knowledge Management Assignment 2 -1- ...read more.

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