Winning the knowledge game, McGraw Hill, Sydney: ch. 15 Measuring your know-how– Week 12 – 20 May 2011

Synopsis:

Winning the Knowledge Game explains how effective knowledge management develops a competitive advantage. The author examines how to win the hearts and minds of people to smarter learning and to sustain lasting success by measuring know-how requirements for example tracking performance over time, discovering the best measures of knowledge and innovation, the desire to generate a more enlightened approach, creating forward-looking financial statements and deeper analysis of how talent generates business value.

Critique:

In the knowledge era organizations one can no longer measure performance and potential merely on financial reports that emphasises on tangible assets. Investigating how knowledge contributes to business success is important, for instance business explores how its know-how creates value in an organization in moving into a successful future. However, the author stated that the dilemma for many experts is that placing value on genius or on talents is an imprecise science which makes several measures and indicators unreliable. The credo suggested is that it matters less about the present or the past, as long as systems and processes are in place to capitalize in the future. The author’s ideas are important in achieving both productive environment and in creating a happier workplace.

Reflection:

Today’s information age requirements are to be smarter in using knowledge. There are many questions that are central in ensuring success, for example are organizations able to build the systems and processes it requires to foster and improve service delivery and innovation? How successful are the organizations in stimulating a healthy learning culture while protecting its intellectual property, and how do companies, organizations and businesses relates to its customers? According to the author only when reporting becomes second nature will there be a formula for long term growth, renewal and inspiration.

Reference:

Rylatt, A 2003, Winning the knowledge game, McGraw Hill, Sydney: ch. 15 Measuring your know-how

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‘The human side of strategic change’, International Studies of Management & Organization, – Week 11 – 13 May 2011

Synopsis:

Creating and maintaining competitive advantage is an ongoing struggle. The authors examine the different labels and forms of strategic changes such as renewal, realignment, reengineering, rejuvenation, transformation, revitalization and reorientation. The authors also examine the behavioural study of the human challenges caused by different strategic changes in an organization. Because strategic changes are planned, interpreted, negotiated, reacted to, implemented and continuously altered by human beings they became broad and central issues.

Critique:

Research on strategic change indicates many problems in bringing productive, satisfactory and lasting change. These difficulties according to Blake and Mouton, (1985) are consistently attributed to the human factor, typically in terms of prevalent employee resistance to change. Increase understanding of strategic change lack systematic comparison among the different types of change, for example strategic alliances consists of joints ventures, strategic alliance and other forms of inter- organizational cooperation (Lorange & Roos 1992). Strategic change is difficult for practitioners. However, they must consistently try to meet challenges brought by economic growth, technology, globalization, systems and practices. Human information processing perspective suggests that strategic changes can involve reengineering and harnessing the powerful human processing capacity of the employees in an organization.
Reflection:

The key to studying and managing strategic change is addressing both the cognitive and cultural issues. Common cultural explanations of employee resistance can be differentiated with the alternative explanation of stability inducing reward systems. Implementing change in an organization is a challenge, the use of the change related reward model assist in understanding employee resistance to change.

Reference:

Blake, RR & Mouton, JS 1985, “How to Achieve Integration on the Human Side of
the Merger.” Organizational Dynamics, /3, 3 , 41-56.
Eneroth, K & Larsson, R 1996, “The human side of strategic change”, International Studies of Management & Organization, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 3-15.
Lorange, P & Roos, J 1992, “Strategic Alliances” London: Basil Blackwell.

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Innovation management measurement: A review’, International Journal of Management Reviews, vol. 8, no. 8, pp. 21-47. Week 10 -6 May 2011.

Synopsis:

The authors addressed measurement of innovation management at the organizational level by developing a synthesized framework of the innovation management process which consisted of seven categories namely: Inputs management, Knowledge management, Innovation strategy, Organizational culture and structure, Portfolio management, Project management and Commercialization. They populated each category of the framework with factors empirically demonstrated to be important in the process of innovation. Authors also illustrated measures to map the territory of innovation management measurement which made important contributions in an organization.

Critique:

The authors examine measurement of the process of innovation by measuring the above seven categories. It provides a framework against which managers can evaluate their own innovation activity. They also explore the extent to which the organization is nominally innovative and have identified areas for improvement. Examination made it clear that a holistic understanding of innovation management must include a systematic and procedural perspective. Several studies  investigated the limitations of different approaches to measurement (Trajtenberg 1990). However, this paper unfolded that innovation measurement does not appear to take place routinely within the management practice , where it does it focuses on output measures.(Knight 1967) stated future research should place more emphasis on how innovation emerges.

Reflection:

The authors populated each category of the framework with factors empirically demonstrated to be relevant in the process of innovation. These are all important is today’s literature and research. In the absence of a comprehensive framework for innovation management measurement, organizations will inevitably resort to an ad hoc and partial metrics, which can encourage wasteful practice for measuring innovation management.

Reference:
Adams, R, Besant, J & Phelps, R 2006, ‘ Innovation management measurement: A review’, International Journal of Management Reviews, vol. 8, no. 8, pp. 21-47.
Knight, K.E. (1967), “A descriptive model of the intra-firm innovation process”, The Journal of Business, Vol. 40 No.4, pp.478-96.
Trajtenberg, M. (1990). A penny for your quotes –patent citations and the value of innovations. RandJournal of Economics, 21, 172–187.

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Organisational change, Prentice Hall, Harlow: Ch. 6 -The Leadership of Change. Week 9 -28 April 2011.

Synopsis:

In this article the authors Senior and Flaming stated that organizational change relates to the role of those who lead it. Leaders and managers continuously make an effort in accomplishing successful and significant change/s which is inherent to their jobs. In this article the authors addresses issues of leading change and discussed whether there is one style of leadership best suited or work in managing change . They also identify some of the strategies in managing change and talks about the barriers and resistance to change.

Critique:

House (2004, p. 15) defines leadership organizationally and narrowly as “the ability of an individual to influence, motivate and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organizations of which they are members.”
The authors examine different investigation of the organizational change process by:
• Model, Theories and approaches to leadership
• Traits and behaviors of leaders
• Comparing Leadership to management
• Managerial roles
• Matching organizational change model and leadership roles
• Forces for and against change, responding to resistance to change
The authors’ opinions in overcoming or reducing resistance to change were addressed competently. When an organization evolves through variety of life cycles, changes its overall strategy for success, it changes how it operates, changes its practices, this is when organization changes occurs. Evidently, for an organization to develop they must undergo significant changes to achieve organization objective.
Reflection:
In understanding organizational change and guiding successful change effort, the change agent must have a broad understanding of the context of the change effort. This includes understanding on the basic systems, practices and structures in an organization. This also applies to the leaders and managers of an organization.

Reference:

House, R. J. (2004). “Culture, Leadership and Organization”, The GLOBE study of 62 societies. California: Sage Production.

Senior, B and Fleming, J 2006, Organisational change, Prentice Hall, Harlow: Ch. 6 The Leadership of Change

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The medium and the message: communicating effectively during a major change initiative – Week 8 April 2011

Synopsis:

In this article, Goodman and Truss showed readers how two organizations used different communication strategies via the implementation of change programs and how these strategies effects individuals had within an organisation. Their findings showed how important both the process and the content of the communication strategy particularly the timing of change messages and matching communication strategies to the employee profile. Authors found the minimization of uncertainty, the use of appropriate media and flexibility is important.

Critique:

Organizational Communication, deals with the interaction of human organization and human communication (Monge and Poole, 2008).

The authors examine two organizations undergoing major change by uncovering some general principles useful for managers in developing communication strategies through stages of change programs. Harkness (2000) has indicated their findings lack appropriate and rigorous tools in measuring the effectiveness of communication during change programmes so as their approach essentially exploratory. The way the organization communicate with their subordinates during this change programmes , showed substantial effect on the successful change initiatives particularly on the employees morale and commitment. However, prior studies have explored how organizations develop and deploy communication strategies in support of major change initiatives. Contrary to an effective communication, the authors suggested that communication needs to be context specific in order to be effective. What works well in one organization under one set of circumstances cannot necessarily be successfully applied in another (Balogunand Hope-Hailey, 2003).

Reflection:

At the individual level, appropriate communication has been recognize as significant factor in assisting employees in an organization, understanding the need for change, and the personal effects of the proposed change. Message, media, channel and approach are the four quadrants of the communication wheel; four aspects of communication in which change managers will actively make a decision as to the best approach to adopt. This approach is dependent on the four elements which are external to the wheel: the change itself, program characteristics, organizational context and the purpose of the communication and employee response. (Goodman & Truss 2004).

Reference:

Balogun, J. & Hope Hailey, V. (2003), “ Exploring strategic change”, FT/Prentice Hall, London.

Goodman, J & Truss, C 2004, “The medium and the message: communicating effectively during a major change initiative”, Journal of Change Management, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 217-28.

Harkness, J. (2000), “Measuring the effectiveness of change—the role of internal communication in change management”, Journal of Change Management, 1(1), pp. 66–73.

Monge, P., & Poole M.S. (2008). “ The evolution of organizational communication”. Journal of Communicaiton, 58, 679-692.

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Power, politics and organizational change: Political expertise: why you need it, and how to develop it. Week 7– 15th of April 2011

Synopsis:

In this article the authors examines:
• The nature of political expertise in the context of change agency and how expertise can be developed
• Identifying the factors which triggers organisation politics
• Consideration of the argument that political skills is becoming important particularly for  change agents and management
• Explore Michel Foucault’s perspective on power and politics
• Why organization politics are significant for the change agent, given current organizational trends, and the factors that trigger political behaviour.
• Finally, the author explore the concept of political expertise and how it can be developed

Critique:

The authors took an alternative approach on this article, rather than focusing on the external agents and consultants they focussed on the change entrepreneur which is analytical. They examine the basic concept of how an organisation need power, politics and change.

The authors reflect the following beliefs.
• The political behaviours play an important role in an organization, for example there are people who are crafty, deceitful and people who have high aspirations, and organizational behaviour therefore, is unable to fully understand the role of political behaviour.

• Political behaviour can either be positive or negative; the authors examine and provided examples for the readers to judge if this justifies political manipulation.

• It is important to understand the existence of political behaviour in an organization. There are four factors that encourage and intensify political behaviour namely: personal characteristics, the decision characteristics, the structural characteristics, and organizational change (Chanlat, 1997).

• The management development should be able to help managers and change agents to face the realities of politics in an organization.

Reflection:
Pfeffer (1992a, p.37) notes that power is more important in major decisions, such as those made at higher organizational levels and those that involve crucial issues like reorganization and budget allocations. The practical approach the article takes to politics
is stimulating. The notion that power corrupts is balanced against the observation that power assist in achieving organisational goals and objectives.

Reference:

Buchanan, DA & Badham, RJ 2008, Power, politics and organizational change, Sage, London: Ch. 9 Political expertise: why you need it, and how to develop it.

Pfeffer, J, 1992, Understanding power in organizations, California Management Review, Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 29- 50.

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Managing change, a framework for change Week 6– 8th of April 2011

Synopsis:

In this article the author examines how organisation:

  • Can increase the degree of choice when under taking change
  • Which of approaches to change are most appropriate to an organisation?  
  • Understanding of managing and changing organisation
  • An insight on varieties of change and;
  • Why company have much to learn from charities

 Critique:

In this article the author describes and examines organisation “change” models, particularly the “framework for change”. The author provided me an easier and better understanding on the topic as he describes this model in four different quadrant parts, where each of these quadrants (Q) has different focus to change.   An organisation facing and needing a larger scale of change is categorized as Q1 and Q2, changes includes either organisational culture or structure. Q3 and Q4 is where organisations operating in a stable environment only need to make  smaller scale of change.  This includes adjustments to employees’ attitudes and behaviours or task and procedures. The concept of a framework for change allows approaches to be matched to organisational constraints and environment conditions.  However, the weakness of change theory as Stickland (1998: 14) stated “studying change is that it parades across many subject domains under numerous guises, such as transformation, development, metamorphosis, transmutation, evolution, regeneration, innovation, revolution and transition to name but a few”.

 Reflection:

For a successful change process, one must first start by understanding why the change must take place. According to Lewin, Motivation for change must be generated before change can occur. One must be helped to re-examine many assumptions about oneself and one’s relations to others. This is the unfreezing stage from which change begins. Most people resist change for fear of the unknown and expectation of loss, this article assisted me in my understanding how change can be managed via approaches to change and the degree to which the approach aligned with organisation’s vision, goals and objectives.

 

Reference:

Burnes, B 2004, Managing change, 4th ed., Prentice Hall, Harlow: Ch. 10 A framework for change.

 

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Teaching smart people how to learn Week 5 – 1st of April 2011

Synopsis:
In this article the author examines how human behaviour patterns block in learning organisations and how well educated and professional people are affected to these patterns. The author talks about how the firm can increase its people’s knowledge by implementing organisation learning across all levels of the organisation.
The author also examines the method of teaching people how to come to terms with their behaviour with the aid and implementation and introduction of new and more effective ways to assist in breaking down the defences that block organisational learning. Learning dilemma must be resolved first in order to become a learning organisation and for this to occur, learning agents, discoveries, inventions and evaluation must be embedded in organisational memory.

Critique:
It’s quite interesting how the author differentiate the Single-loop learning and describing it like a thermostat that learns when it is too hot and turns the heat on or off. The thermostat can perform this task because it can receive information (the temperature of the room) and take corrective action. Double-loop learning occurs when error is detected and corrected in ways that involve the modification of an organisation’s underlying norms, policies and objectives. But are these two models pertinent to organisational learning? Mackenzie (1994:251) noted the main conclusion after 30 years of effort, the scientific community devoted to organisational learning has not produced discernible intelligent progress.

Reflection:
I have found the article informative as it walks you through the reasons why smart, intelligent educated people refuse or unable to learn. The author also describes how to break through this mode of thinking. I learnt that learning involves the detection and correction error (single loop), it is generally in operation when conceptual frameworks, strategies, values, beliefs, goals are taken for granted without critical reflection. On the other hand Double–Loop learning is the opposite and it is not how a person feels but it is about how he/she thinks.

Reference:
Argyris, C 1998, ‘Teaching smart people how to learn’, in Harvard Business Review on Knowledge Management, Harvard Business School Press, Boston.

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Does strategic Human Resource Management matter in high-tech sector? Some learning points for SME managers – Week 4 – 25 March 2011

Synopsis:
This article examines the impact and nature of Human Resource (HR) involvement and functions in organisation performance, SME sector. The second aim is to explore the nature of the HR involvement in developing business strategies both in low and high performance SME firms. This paper also explores the CEO’s perception and attitudes towards HR as strategic asset.

The authors (Karami et al 2008) stated that corporate governance structure helps determine the strategic policy and the decision making framework in all types of the organisation. Therefore, it becomes instrumental in intervening the insufficient resources and adopts its relative value. They (authors) concluded in their findings that HR is the key elements for an organisation success and the development and implementation of its business strategy through HR strategic approach increase organisation effectiveness.

Critique:
Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) suggest that in the high performance firm HR have been involve in the process for formulating strategy in comparison to low performance ones. Recent study of HRM has been considered inappropriate for SME’s especially small businesses; number of these differences can be explained by lacking economies of scale and scope which amongst others is caused by less provision for HRM (Fitzsimmons & Fitzsimmons, 2003). However, there is no concrete evidence on any research and theoretical framework for SHRM to support this.

Reflection:
Storey (2007 p.10) claims that SHRM refers to the conscious attempt to formulate and implement HR policies that are mutually reinforcing and help to deliver the organisational wider objectives.

My understanding of SHRM is involving the HR functions as a strategic partner in the formulation and implementation of the organisational strategies through HR activities for example, Selection and Recruitment, Training and Development and Performance Management. However, SHRM is such a complex process and is constantly evolving, Organisation (large or small) have different approaches and strategies to match HR activities and policies to their organisational goals and objectives.

References:
Fitzsimmons,J.& Fitzsimmons M. (2003). Service Management, McGraw Hill, Boston, M.A.
Karami, A, Jones, B & Kakabadse, N 2008, ‘Does strategic human resource management matter in high-tech sector? Some learning points for SME managers’, Corporate Governance, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 7-17.
Storey, J (2007), Human Resource Management, A Critical Text, 3rd edn. Thomson Learning, High Holborn House, London.

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Enhancing Creativity at Work

The Definition of Creativity is the tendency to generate or recognise ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems and communicating with others (Weisberg, 1993).  An example of creativity can be drawn by focusing on the following: the creative product, the creative process  and the  creative person, people are seen as creative by demonstrating certain abilities, personality, traits characteristic and are judged by virtue of their field of activity. They are motivated to be creative in order to communicate their ideas and values, to solve problems the need for novel, varied and complex stimulation. (Anderson, 2003).

One of the earliest models of the creative process consists of the following four phases, the Preparation (definition of issue, observation and study). Incubation (laying the issue aside for a time), Illumination (the moment the new idea finally emerges) and Verification (checking out) Wallas (1926). Torrance (1988) asserts that Wallas’ model is the basis for most of the creative thinking training programs available today. However, the first and last phases of Wallas model, the notion that creative thinking begins with purposeful preparation and ends with critical verification suggests that creative and analytical thinking are complementary, rather than opposing. Creative thinkers study and analyse and they have trained their perception mechanisms to notice things that others may have missed.

It’s important to acknowledge that creativity is neither inherently positive nor negative. Satisfying the need to be creative and for recognition are some of the advantages. However, it could also open the door to resistance as many are threatened by the direction of change. The call to embrace creativity in view of the present economic challenges requires organisation to develop a long term strategic outlook beyond the ‘traditional’ systems, processes and determine what is needed for the future.

References:
King & Anderson (2003) Enhancing creativity at work’, Managing innovation and change: a critical guide for organizations, 2nd edn, Thomson, London. CCQ University Course Resourses Online (HRMT20019).
Torrance, EP (1988) “The Nature Of Creativity As Manifest In Its Testing,” in Sternberg, RJ (ed) The Nature of Creativity. Cambridge, England: Cambridge Univ. Press.
Wallas, G (1926) The Art of Thought. New York: Harcourt Brace.
Weisberg R., (1993), “Creativity – Beyond the Myth of Genius”. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company. 312pp.

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