Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Barriers to Knowledge Transfer

Barriers to Knowledge Transfer

Any of W. Edwards Deming's books relates the cultural differences at the organisational level of any businesses in comparison of American versus Japanese management principles and especially the "bottom up" versus "top down" orientation to knowledge transfer.

It is a great paradox that an American statistician, also an accomplished musical composer, introduced quality management techniques in Japan to market-oriented research and production (production came first!) where it had previously only ever been applied in the areas of mechanisation and machinery of weaponry and armourments. At the same time Americans basically ignored his principles of management and only began to implement them albeit often at a perhaps superficial level during the early 1980s when Japanese global growth of exports began to seriously impact US corporations.

The idea of quality circles as described in Plakalo often does not sustain itself over the long-term in many western corporations where it gets implemented as it often becomes vestigial and toothless. Powerless people become listless and at times emotionally non-responsive (I'm thinking of Office Space).

Rene Cormier a Canadian employee engagement specialist describes the problem as significant indeed as identified by Gallup in the US:

According to extensive studies conducted by Gallup Management Journal, only 29% of employees are engaged in their work. 54% are disengaged (mentally checked out) and 17% are actively disengaged (sabotaging the efforts of their co-workers). What’s more, Gallup has determined that the only source of this problem of employee disengagement is bad managers!

Your Greatest Competitive Advantage

A cool Deming inspired map useful for business planning perhaps?

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