Why focus on the human factor?
"What has tended to happen in development is that organizations have generally leaned towards linear and technocentric interpretations of KM, more in line with the descriptive early traditions of knowledge management and organizational development or ‘institution building’" (Hovland, 2003)
"Careful attention is needed to the processes by which values and purpose are defined and articulated so as to create an enabling environment for knowledge management to succeed. Without these processes, organizational learning and knowledge management merely become toolkits and methodologies in a vacuum" (Pasteur et al., 2006). There is also a need to better understand how knowledge and learning may practically address and deal with issues of personality, culture, language, religion, and so on (Ramalingam 2005).
As Davenport and Prusak (1998) put it: “Effective knowledge management cannot take place without extensive behavioral, cultural and organizational change (…) Technology alone won’t make a person with expertise share with others. Technology alone won’t get an employee who is uninterested in seeking knowledge to hop onto a keyboard and searching or browsing.”
Knowledge management is first and foremost a people issue. Does the culture of your organization support ongoing learning and knowledge sharing? Are people motivated and rewarded for creating, sharing and using knowledge? Is there a culture of openness and mutual respect and support? Or is your organization very hierarchical where ‘knowledge is power’ and so people are reluctant to share? Are people under constant pressure to act with no time for knowledge-seeking or reflection? Do they feel inspired to innovate and learn from mistakes, or is there a strong ‘blame and shame’ culture?
These questions are essential to ask and to solve. There is a need to further understand the reasons why people engage in knowledge sharing behavior.
Let's use this group to share articles, insights and experiences to shine a light on the human factor in knowledge management for development!