Knowledge Facilitator vs. Knowledge Dictator in Today's Organizations

Knowledge Facilitator vs. Knowledge Dictator in Today's Organizations

Victor C.X. Wang (California State University, Long Beach, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-883-3.ch086
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Abstract

With the wide use of computer technology nowadays, organizational management in recent times appears to be more complex than it ever was. Electronic human resources management (e-HRM) has become a popular term in today’s organizations. Does this mean knowledge facilitator is better than a knowledge dictator or vice versa? The author of this article puts forward an indispensable dichotomy to discuss the interdependence and relationship of a knowledge facilitator and a knowledge dictator in order to determine effective training or management for human resources development (HRD) and human resources management practitioners in today’s organizations. Numerous studies (e.g., Grow, 1991; Jarvis, 2002a; Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 1998, 2005; Rogers, 1951, 1961, 1969) have postulated that the knowledge facilitator is superior to the knowledge dictator in Western literature in that a knowledge facilitator is germane to learning whereas a knowledge dictator may well stifle learning in today’s organizations. Because Rogers (1961) defines growth not as a process of “being shaped,” but as a process of becoming, he maintains that we cannot teach another person directly, we can only facilitate the other person’s learning. After many years of providing corporate training in different organizations, Knowles, Holton, and Swanson (1998, 2005) replaced getting rewards for controlling students with getting rewards for releasing students. The latter rewards are much more satisfying because knowledge facilitators have positive assumptions about human learning whereas knowledge dictators have negative assumptions about human learning. However, in some other cultures such as in China, South Korea, Japan, or Singapore, scholars and practitioners may prove otherwise (Biggs, 1996). This may be due to the fact that the major determinant of the subservient role expected of a learner in collectivist Eastern cultures is the traditional hierarchical relationship between students and instructors (Hampden-Turner & Trompenaars, 2000); students expect their instructors to be unchallengeable figures (Wang, 2007). The issue of knowledge facilitator vs. knowledge dictator seems to be a perennial topic for scholars and researchers in all cultures. The open relationship between students and instructors in individualist Western cultures (Hampden-Turner & Trompenaars, 2000) encourages students to take charge of learning; scholars and practitioners in the West do not seem to agree with their counterparts in oriental cultures. Likewise, scholars and practitioners in the Eastern Hemisphere do not seem to buy into Western thinking on the premise that knowledge facilitator necessarily leads to effective learning (Wang, 2007). On the basis of this dichotomy, little agreement has been reached regarding whether a knowledge facilitator or a knowledge dictator is more needed in today’s organizations. Because of this dichotomy, subsequent research has been sparked to determine which side of the coin is conducive to learning.
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Introduction

With the wide use of computer technology nowadays, organizational management in recent times appears to be more complex than it ever was. Electronic human resources management (e-HRM) has become a popular term in today’s organizations. Does this mean knowledge facilitator is better than a knowledge dictator or vice versa? The author of this article puts forward an indispensable dichotomy to discuss the interdependence and relationship of a knowledge facilitator and a knowledge dictator in order to determine effective training or management for human resources development (HRD) and human resources management practitioners in today’s organizations.

Numerous studies (e.g., Grow, 1991; Jarvis, 2002a; Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 1998, 2005; Rogers, 1951, 1961, 1969) have postulated that the knowledge facilitator is superior to the knowledge dictator in Western literature in that a knowledge facilitator is germane to learning whereas a knowledge dictator may well stifle learning in today’s organizations. Because Rogers (1961) defines growth not as a process of “being shaped,” but as a process of becoming, he maintains that we cannot teach another person directly, we can only facilitate the other person’s learning. After many years of providing corporate training in different organizations, Knowles, Holton, and Swanson (1998, 2005) replaced getting rewards for controlling students with getting rewards for releasing students. The latter rewards are much more satisfying because knowledge facilitators have positive assumptions about human learning whereas knowledge dictators have negative assumptions about human learning. However, in some other cultures such as in China, South Korea, Japan, or Singapore, scholars and practitioners may prove otherwise (Biggs, 1996). This may be due to the fact that the major determinant of the subservient role expected of a learner in collectivist Eastern cultures is the traditional hierarchical relationship between students and instructors (Hampden-Turner & Trompenaars, 2000); students expect their instructors to be unchallengeable figures (Wang, 2007). The issue of knowledge facilitator vs. knowledge dictator seems to be a perennial topic for scholars and researchers in all cultures. The open relationship between students and instructors in individualist Western cultures (Hampden-Turner & Trompenaars, 2000) encourages students to take charge of learning; scholars and practitioners in the West do not seem to agree with their counterparts in oriental cultures. Likewise, scholars and practitioners in the Eastern Hemisphere do not seem to buy into Western thinking on the premise that knowledge facilitator necessarily leads to effective learning (Wang, 2007). On the basis of this dichotomy, little agreement has been reached regarding whether a knowledge facilitator or a knowledge dictator is more needed in today’s organizations. Because of this dichotomy, subsequent research has been sparked to determine which side of the coin is conducive to learning.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Culture: The ideas, activities (e.g., art, foods, businesses), and ways of behaving that are special to a country, people, or region. In this article, it is also used to refer to ways of behaving that are special to an organization.

Self-Actualization: This is a term used by educational psychologist, Maslow, in the 1960s to refer to one’s potentialities and abilities that have been developed to the fullest. According to Maslow, very few people can realize self-actualization during their life time.

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