Communication in Organizations Analysis of Knowledge-Sharing Networks Essay

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Communication in Organizations

Analysis of Knowledge-Sharing Networks and the Contributing Roles of Technologies

Trust and transparency have emerged as more critical than ever for organizational and personal communication to flourish. This is paradoxical given the hype and heavy promotion of social networks today, as their success is predicated on trust being earned. Communication networks throughout organizations, their ability to share knowledge and support organizational direction and goal attainment emanate from the use of technology between individuals and teams. These two factors of communication networks and channels within organization being the primary catalyst of their profitable growth, and the positive impact of technologies on personal communication are the foundations of this analysis. A key finding from this analysis, which is consistent with an extensive study of the Toyota Production System by Dr. Jeffrey H. Dyer Dr. Kentaro Nobeoka is that the greater the level of interdepartmental and interdivisional collaboration, the greater the pace that knowledge transforms from a foundational element in a business to a competitive one (Dyer, Nobeoka, 2000). Based on personal observation, it is evident that to the extent a business can enable greater use of communication-enabling technologies between employees in key supply chain and production functions, the greater the potential this knowledge and insight will be turned into a competitive advantage. This analysis looks at this aspect of using knowledge-sharing networks to transform information and insight into a competitive advantage.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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Communication in Organizations:

Analysis of Knowledge-Sharing Networks and the Contributing Roles of Technologies

TOPIC: Essay on Communication in Organizations Analysis of Knowledge-Sharing Networks Assignment

The greater the level of knowledge sharing through automated and manual means, using technologies in addition to in-person effort, the greater the level of trust over time. Trust, once established becomes the catalyst of transforming information, data, unstructured and structured content, and insight into greater competitive advantage. The combining of communication networks and channels within organizations and the cumulative effect of technologies on communication are primary catalysts of this transformation. In my experiences working in both non-profit and profit-driven organizations, the same dynamic begins to occur over time as communication channels become clearer, faster to respond to needs. Augmented by the personal use of communications technologies, the most pervasive being social networks (Bernoff, Li, 2008) organizations are getting more adept and agile in how they transform all forms of data, insight and intelligence internally into a competitive advantage.

This paper shares my personal observations of these dynamics and provides insights into how the organizations I've worked for have been able to accomplish this. The first section of the paper is focused on communication networks and channels within organizations and the lessons learned from participating in them. The second section of the paper assesses the impact of technologies on communication, both at a personal and professional level. The pervasive adoption of social networks and their unifying aspects across both of these areas is included throughout the analysis. Social networks are bringing an entirely new communications dynamic to relationships and the formation of groups, both informal and formal, defining their purpose and roles of members in the process (Bernoff, Li, 2008). The ethics and privacy of data included in social networks is also analyzed from a personal standpoint. Facebook's business model, which is based on advertising, has long held information is public when it is disclosed (Zimmer, 2010). The implications of data privacy from a communication and collaboration are also discussed in This paper. The reliance on the latest generation of Web 2.0 technologies (Andriole, 2010) are also discussed, as they are also revolutionizing the agility, accuracy and speed of communication between individuals and organizations, and serving as a foundation for collaboration between and within organizations as well.

Assessing Communication Networks and Channels within Organizations

How effective a communication network and channels are within any organization directly relate to how its leaders have chosen to define information and data within the corporate culture. Transformational leaders see content, data, information and insight all as the catalyst of competitive strength and actively encourage cooperative competition between departments (Tsai, 2002). Leaders who successfully do this reward initiative and authentic sharing of data, often creating measures of organizational performance that seeks to enable, not stifle, information sharing (Dyer, Nobeoka, 2000). It has been my experience that when scorecards and key performance indicators (KPIs) are used specifically for nurturing and promoting collaboration, even the smallest tasks get a high level of cooperation from all over the company. The studies of the Toyota Production System that is excellently analyzed and assessed as a knowledge-sharing network by Drs. Dyer and Nobeoka (2000) provides insights into how metrics, KPIs and dashboards that measure the performance of teams based on collaboration can lead to knowledge becoming the competitive advantage over price alone (Dyer, Nobeoka, 2000). it's been my experience that leaders have a much greater impact on this level of shared collaboration and achievement happening vs. just relying on processes alone, which is the one criticism I have of the study completed by Drs. Dyer and Nobeoka (2000). Being process-centric alone will not transform communication networks and channels within organizations far or fast enough for knowledge to become a competitive differentiator or strength. It takes a transformational leader to bring a sense of focus and urgency to getting to shared and often very challenging goals while aggregating and transforming the many forms of knowledge in a company (Hirunyawipada, Beyerlein, Blankson, 2010). The transformational leader's ability to put the many diverse strategies and programs in context while also showing individual contributors how their efforts matter is the pivot point in the success or failure of communications networks and channels generating a strong competitive advantage (Hirunyawipada, Beyerlein, Blankson, 2010).

It's been my experience that transformational leaders can often get people to change much more effectively and for the long-term by stressing their how critical their contributions are. These leaders, and I have been fortunate to be in organizations with a few of them, have this innate ability to show why contributing insight, intelligence and knowledge to the broader network and channels is also critical to their professional growth as well. Contrasting this experience are those leaders who attempt to force others to do as they say and the knowledge sharing, collaboration and ultimately the goals of the company, fail. Transformational leaders who can create a unique organizational culture where sharing content, data, intelligence and insight leads to greater rewards -- both financial and from a reputation standpoint -- are being effective in making their communication networks and channels the source of competitive strength. What is also fascinating about how these transformational leaders can make everyone from individual contributors to directors and vice presidents want to share information for the common good instead of hoarding for their own political gain. This ability to overcome resistance to change becomes very personal when one sees co-workers who resisted and even lied about having highly valuable market, sales, pricing or competitive data willingly share it when a greater leader gets a company culture to change. I've seen this, and the differences in attitudes, behaviors and beliefs is striking. From just two years ago seeing one department in the sales team hoard information and pricing, to transforming itself to be one of the most active contributors company-wide based on the support and of the company CEO is remarkable. Now with that data available special pricing requests and specific pricing programs aimed at the more competitive areas of our market segments can be completed. It all started with a leader who stressed authenticity and transparency over information hoarding, and the transformation of data, content and information into a competitive asset. Transformational leadership is most tested when employees must be convinced to share the most precious of political assets -- information and knowledge -- for the greater good of a company (Hirunyawipada, Beyerlein, Blankson, 2010). Having seen the transformation of a company that had held information as the most precious of political assets, it is clear that a transformational leader can completely redefine communication and knowledge sharing behavior throughout an entire company relatively quickly.

Another aspect of communication networks and channels within organizations is the ability they have to enable and nurture long-term learning. I have also seen this first-hand in the organizations I have worked with. When organizational cultures become more focused on using knowledge not just as political currency but as the catalyst for selling more, serving customers more effectively -- in short being much more competitive than they have in the past -- the level of trust also goes up in an organization as well. Earlier in this analysis, the observation was made based on personal experience of how trust is such a powerful catalyst of organizational change over time. I've seen trust be not only the catalyst of content, data, and information becoming more of a competitive strength, I've also seen it free up employees to pursue long-term learning and ownership of their jobs.

From the studies of long-term learning and motivation in the context of communication, the three attributes of autonomy of task, mastery of a given series of tasks… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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