Social Learning Aspects of Knowledge Management

Social Learning Aspects of Knowledge Management

Irena Ali (Department of Defence, Australia), Leoni Warne (Department of Defence, Australia) and Celina Pascoe (Department of Defence, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch557
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Abstract

There are probably as many variations of knowledge management definitions as there are practitioners and researchers in the discipline. Complete consensus in such a group would be a surprising finding. This is because the two words are loaded with pre-existing meanings that do not always sit comfortably in juxtaposition, so what it means to “manage knowledge” is difficult to ascertain, and hence comes to mean different things to different people. We do know however, that knowledge exists in the minds of individuals and is generated and shaped through interaction with others. In an organizational setting, knowledge management must, at the very least, be about how knowledge is acquired, constructed, transferred, and otherwise shared with other members of the organization, in a way that seeks to achieve the organization’s objectives. Put another way, knowledge management seeks to harness the power of individuals by supporting them with information technologies and other tools, with the broad aim of enhancing the learning capability of individuals, groups, and in turn, organizations (Ali, Warne, Bopping, Hart, & Pascoe, 2004). Social learning, in this context, is defined as learning occurring in or by a cultural cluster or organizational group or team and includes procedures for transmitting knowledge and practices across different work situations, settings, and time. However, the application of technology must be guided by the needs of the organization and its workers. As Davenport (2005, p.162) states, “While I don’t question the importance of technology in organizations today, it’s only one source of knowledge and learning for knowledge workers.”
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Enablers Of Social Learning

The research team identified seven basic categories that constitute enabling processes and strategies to facilitate social learning: common identity, problem solving, team building, access to information, development of individual expertise, communication, and induction and enculturation (see Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Constructs enabling social learning

Key Terms in this Chapter

Knowledge: An understanding gained through experience or learning: the sum, or a subset, of what has been perceived and discovered by an individual. Knowledge exists in the minds of individuals and is generated and shaped through interaction with others.

Knowledge Management: In an organizational setting, it must, at the very least , be about how knowledge is acquired, constructed, transferred, and otherwise shared with other members of the organization, in a way that seeks to achieve the organization’s objectives.

Social Learning: Learning occurring in or by a cultural cluster and includes procedures for transmitting knowledge and practices across different work situations/settings and time.

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