Obstacles in implementing SECI model in organizationsJanuary 14, 2010
The SECI model in extended organizations
Socialisation of tacit knowledge happens when individuals are prompted to accumulate knowledge through physical proximity and interaction with colleagues from different organisations in the apprenticeship manner. Individuals usually talk and share information during work processes without pre-defined shared goals, but they follow their own personal agendas. The main aims of socialisation phase are participating in social networks across various borders, talking about, sharing, shaping and taking ownership of institutional norms and visions. In this mode the organisational objectives, norms and standards should be accessible for individuals from different organizations and shareable between them in electronic format to understand the work situations and task contexts. In organizations with different cultures various official restrictions and individual preferences of sharing knowledge might hinder this cross-border networking. The biggest problem might be the missing culture of building and using personal networks and participating in cross-border communities.
Externalisation of tacit knowledge into explicit should happen when individuals are prompted to create and articulate tacit concepts through abductive thinking, the use of metaphors for concept creation, the use of models, diagrams or prototypes. For example, they could write down their plans and reflect about the activities, but they need to consider the organisational norms and expectations as guidelines in their reflections. This would make the documented individual tacit knowledge explicit, searchable for other people and usable as knowledge objects. Two simultaneous aims are important in the externalisation process: a) workers at industry and university staff need to individually reflect why, how and what they do in their professional practice, and simultaneously harmonise that knowledge with organisational visions, norms, and expected competences (e.g. accepted professional competence scales, accepted theories, etc.); b) They must be provided with the access to documents from different organisational repositories that convey information about such visions, norms and organisational expectations, and in the documentation process some commonly created ontology and mutually meaningful workflow scheme should be used to write down their experience. In the extended organisations, it would mean that individuals should plan their professional competence development (in internalization phase) considering simultaneously norms and objectives from two organisations, using ontologies that are usable across organisational borders etc. This would also mean the cross-border access to the organisational normative documents and knowledge objects created by individuals. However, it is problematic how to motivate people planning their professional development in work situations, harmonising their plans with different organisations’ expectations, externalising their tacit knowledge regularly, and sharing it publicly or semi-publicly with colleagues and supreme members of organisations.
Combination activities of explicit knowledge are primarily group-based and can be supported by organising collaborative group discussions in extended organisation, presentations and meetings, where individuals with different perspectives can ground and negotiate upon the externalised concepts and knowledge objects. The aim of the combination phase is to keep the organisational knowledge, rules and objectives updated with the real work processes and develop new norms and visions for organizations. In the combination phase of extended organisations simultaneously the individual-organisation and organisation-organisation exchange should take place. This would increase the cross-border translation possibilities and enhance the uptake of knowledge into new situations. In this mode individuals may look for collaborators and form various communities or groups that have shared goals. They should discuss about externalised knowledge objects, modify them and finalise as new knowledge object, which could in the future guide organisation’s shared practice. The problems here stand in the formation of cross-unit and cross-organisation communities, forming novel community practices in which the shared identity is formed across organisational borders.
Internalisation phase is mainly an individual planning and learning process. Two aspects are important in internalisation: a) It contains planning and externally reflecting what competencies and goals thay want to achieve, and simultaneously harmonising their plans with organisational visions, norms and expected competencies (e.g nationally accepted professional competence scales, accepted learning theories, etc.); b) planning the professional development suggest learning from other professionals’ experiences and combining it with academic knowledge it with academic knowledge. In the internalisation phase the resources created in the externalisation phase could be accessed and used for planning personal learning flows. The plans created in this phase will be realised in professional practice, discussed in the socialisation phase and the achievements would be reflected in the externalisation phase. Such interpretation of internalisation phase differs from the original SECI model, described by Nonaka & Takeuchi (1995). However, the personal planning as part of self-directed learning (Knowles, 1975) would be more effective if such plans were recorded and constantly used as scaffolds during the professional practice. The challenge in this phase is related with the application of such learning pattern schemas and search ontologies that are acknowledged in both organisations and would enable to find and learn from from others’ professional competence with least obtrusive way. The privacy of documented personal professional knowledge, of the failures and successes in the learning process, must be adobe, while enabling the reuse of the professional knowledge.
Obstacles in temporarily extended professional communities to use SECI model
There is one interesting aspect, the model is usable both for “organizations” and “communities”, however in the latter case, the border of the community is not so clearly defined. Interesting ideas are for example in Lotman’s Culture and explosion.
Professionally aimless: No wish and ability to plan appropriate paths of competence development and no habit of self-direction of professional development .
Inexpressive: Not documenting professional development in self-reflective manner (e.g. not documenting the success and failure of lesson plans, use of learning objects)
Consumerism: Habit of being provided with learning objects and teaching methodologies and not actively searching for knowledge and developing themselves learning objects and learning paths
Digitally walled: No habit of organizing automatic access to digital learning objects in community-sharable manner.
Private ownership: Missing habit of sharing knowledge with different colleagues in the fear of professional competition
Self-autonomy: Missing habit of sharing knowledge with different colleagues because of willingness to be autonomous as a teacher and pride into the uniqueness of personal competences.
Non-systematized knowledge: No habit of annotating knowledge for personal and community purposes.
Unawareness of the community: No habit of social retrieval and community browsing for professional purposes.
Not belonging: Not perceiving their role in the organization(s) (school, teachers’ community, learning sciences community) and in changing the organizational knowledge
Not aligning: Not considering official norms (competence standards), organizational ideals and expectations in planning personal professional development
Individualism: Not knowing how to find, and not wanting to find people with certain competences to socialize knowledge and work together in a professional community
Professional individualism: No habit of collaborating for shared goals with networking partners, with partners from different communities (such as supervison in teacher training context).
Overconfident: No habit of valuing others’ professional experiences, learning from others, trusting of others’ experiences in personal competence development.
Unconfident: Not valuing own personal professional experiences as the learning resources for others.
Feeling insecure: Fear to demonstrate one’s lack of competences to the colleagues and supreme people in organization.
Non-cooperative: no awareness of colleagues professional development, willingness to scaffold their advancements (such as commenting, sharing ideas and resources).
Group-related aspects in collaboration:
….. to be added
Closure: Missing networking culture and habit of building personal networks to socialize knowledge and work together across organizational borders (teachers’ community such as teaching domain communities and community of learning sciences such as didactical centers, teacher-training units).
Narrow identity: Difficulty in perceiving simultaneously alignment to two communities, and no sense of the shared community identity across organizational borders (for example pre-service students do not feel as part of teachers’ community, teachers do not feel as part of learning sciences community of the university specialists).
Constrained alignment: Not considering contributing simultaneously to two communities (teachers’ community such as teaching domain communities and community of learning sciences such as didactical centers, teacher-training units).
The technological solutions to overcome barriers of SECI implementations in extended organizations
Firstly, SECI knowledge management model is based on the idea of increasing individuals’ intrinsic motivation to actively learn in work context by enabling them in self-directed way to carry out their own personal learning goals within the organizational environment. Externalizing individual knowledge as digital KOs is personally meaningful because it enables to utilize and reuse own previous work experiences in new situations, and enables to monitor personal development. The motivation to create and share KOs would be increased if the amount of energy contributed on making, annotating, seeking and reusing KOs was reduced using technological support systems and services. Content/Knowledge provision services would enable to store and search for KOs. The Ontology framework would provide base for annotating KOs with metadata. In the organizational viewpoint, if published work experiences of colleagues could be accessed and searched while planning personal learning, the learner could be scaffolded indirectly by their experiences, and might be more efficient in personal learning. The motivation might rise if each individual recognized how he is contributing to the common good and gaining from the organizational knowledge. For example, the technologically supported guidance mechanisms for social retrieval such as community browsing and semantic navigation might enhance motivation. However, it is important that the services that provide content would enable individuals themselves to decide the access rights to their KOs. Tools that support planning and reflecting about work experiences, such as Learning Path creator, and User monitoring service would help to keep track of personal learning process and receive individualized suggestions. For example, user would need to sort personal or community KOs according to task relevance, personally suitable networking/collaboration partners. The users should be able to create narratives by combining various types of KOs (eg. assignments with the evidences of available human and used/developed KOs, evaluations and certificates).
Secondly, the organizational knowledge base, ideals, norms and objectives should serve as the mould for individual KO creation. The organizational policy tool should indicate organizational expectations and objectives depending of in which role is individual in an extended organization. One option to consider is instead of direct assignments, to give people freedom to choose from the organizationally expected assignments those that are personally relevant (e.g. assignment tickets). In organizations, people may be motivated to reuse more the KOs that they trust such as the KO’s suggested by organization with the Organizational Policy tool (certain learning paths, norms, official objectives, strategies, practices etc.). On the other hand, people may be motivated to reuse the KOs suggested by (recognized) organization members such as experts (e.g. documents validated and acknowledged as appropriate and useful by the community members). Using the personalized search based on User monitoring service data KOs might be automatically pulled or searched from the repositories. The possibility of annotating KOs with the organizationally accepted metadata using ontology frameworks such as Competence ontology, Activity ontology or Domain ontology enables to bring dual access points of searching these KOs across organizations independent of using organization-specific ontologies and mapping similar ontologies in temporarily connected extended organizations. The simultaneous possibility of user-determined annotation with tags enables the evolution of community-favored tagclouds, that could be in certain moments integrated to the official community ontologies. The last aspect might increase the feeling of reciprocity between individual and organization.
Thirdly, the individual networking with various organization members in an extended organization, and goal directed group collaboration with them for both organizations’ purpose serves as the intrinsic motivational trigger in IntelLEO knowledge management model. Gaining from the learning partners in both organizations’ parts, and being involved in contributing to the organizations’ knowledge change is considered intrinsically motivating. These activities could be aided with the User monitoring and collaboration traceability service in one hand, that keeps track of learner’s preferences, and the Human resource discovery service on the other hand that gives suggestions about available learning partners to network individually or to combine knowledge based on various criteria. For example, in brainstorming situations where creativity arises from translation across various domain borders the Human resource discovery service can provide access to people with different expertise necessary for mutual fertilization and synergy. In learning situations it might connect novices with those who can provide expert knowledge, allowing the emergence of scaffolding situations where the more experienced colleague can suggest certain objectives and activities to arrive the best solutions. In task situations the likeminded people in two organizations could be connected, that might increase effective teamwork. In order to constrain the search options and depending of the administratively planned role of individuals in organizations depending on their competences, an Organizational policy tool may suggest access to certain people within organizations. Trusting colleagues as experts may be higher if each networking relation or collaboration event was validated afterwards. The personal recognition in organization and visibility as an expert in certain area might provide intrinsic motivation, creating positive reputation, however the negative rating may also disencourage people to actively socialize and collaborate with other people in organizations. One important aspect in organizations may be the temporal nature of is experts’ availability to networking and collaboration events. The Human resource discovery should enable to indicate the periods of availability in relation to certain roles (e.g. as expert in scaffolding situations, as brainstorming partner). It is important to consider that enjoyment to help others in organization is dependent of time-constraints and task-relevance.