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Information Systems in Business and Organizations - Coursework Example

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Summary
All firms have some kind of data and information that they need to gather and understand to make sense and hence, use out of. Creating useful knowledge out of this data and information is crucial for competing firms. In this paper, we will examine what options and techniques are available to businesses in order that they can enhance their ability to create information to knowledge.
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Information Systems in Business and Organizations Coursework
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Download file to see previous pages Because this employee expertise is so important to them, the first step businesses must take to improve their capability of creating knowledge out of information is to understand its 'deep smarts'- what they are, how they are built and how they can be transferred to be made useful (Leonard & Swap, 2008).
Once a business understands what its knowledge assets are, it can capture and convert that knowledge each time they fear losing it. For example, consider an employee who is retiring soon. It will be useful for a firm to know what all knowledge assets he contributes to the business and how it must capture these, tacit and explicit, before this employee retires and leaves. An option given by Leonard and Swap is to adopt 'coaching'.
An employee of an organization builds up its knowledge in the shape of experience, wisdom and intuition over the years. This knowledge may be explicit, that is, things that can be easily captured, unfolded and passed around and are more open like who to call when something goes wrong. Or this knowledge can be tacit, things that cannot be captured and communicated and are silent, for example, an employee's ability to judge colleagues based on gut feeling and intuition.
This employee's knowledge, tacit or explicit, must be captured as much as it can so that when he leaves, the new employee can be trained with it. The person who will train this employee will be the coach. This process of transferring knowledge from one employee to another with the help of a coach is called knowledge 'coaching'. The transfer will never take place without a skillful coach and an able receptor (Leonard & Swap, 2008).
Another option that technology-driven businesses have to use their information as knowledge is to create encyclopedias or databases of lessons learned. They could also make templates out of it to further facilitate transfer of information (that is, to create knowledge) (Stewart, T.A., 2003). This is all very valuable for any organization. But at the end of the day, it must realize that all of the information in the database is gathered about explicit assets. What about tacit knowledge These silent assets are extremely important to get comprehensive knowledge but are also extremely difficult to capture. Therefore, the shortcoming of this technology approach is that knowledge cannot be captured comprehensively. But can it ever I don't think so.
Until now, most of the focus has been on explicit knowledge; how firms use coaches to coaches to transfer knowledge (explicit) from one employee to another, how firms use technology to capture knowledge (explicit again). Now we will look at the tacit side of knowledge.
The Japanese are jack of all trades. Why so The secret to their success is that they focus on tacit knowledge rather than explicit knowledge. One way to create tacit knowledge in an organization is by adopting a 'middle-up-down' management style, rather than a top-down or a bottom-up style.
The authors argue that these traditional styles leave little room for effective knowledge creation. The top-down model aligns the outcome of a top few managers with the outcome of the firm. In the bottom-up model, knowledge creation takes much time because of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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