PBL Training and Hiring for Vision

PBL Training and Hiring for Vision

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8398-1.ch006


In this chapter, the authors present some original findings in relation to knowledge and personnel management. In particular, they argue that one of the major challenges modern organisations face is the ability to retain and make the most of their internal knowledge. Whether tacit or explicit, knowledge transfer is a key component of organisational success, and this should be enhanced through external and internal factors, such as individuals who benefit from an educational system that values a problem-based learning approach, and an “hiring for vision” attitude embedded in the organisation. Hiring for vision implies that employees are selected according to their technical skills, as well as their personality traits and values, which facilitate them to be active agents of the organisational culture.
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In a hyper-competitive economy, companies must be dynamic and capable of change. Looking at the way markets answer to this new era of crisis, strategic management has to step up as key for survival. Since strategy is such a diversified tool, managers are asked to choose carefully the right one. Literature has highlighted the prominent role of knowledge management as a competitive advantage for a firm (Quinn, 1992; Grant, 1996). Drucker (1993), among others (Quinn, Anderson and Finkelstein, 1996; Thurow, 1997; Sveiby, 1997; Pascarella, 1997), affirms that knowledge, as an input resource, will likely have a greater impact than physical capital. For a firm, being able to develop, retain and transfer knowledge in all organisational processes, could mean the capability to compete, or at least survive in the market place. According to Bell, “knowledge has of course been necessary in the functioning of any society. [...] What has become decisive for the organization of decisions and the direction of change is the centrality of theoretical knowledge” (1999, p. 20).

In order to suggest a suitable solution to this in a work place, where it is demonstrated that ninety-nine percent of the work done is knowledge based (Wah, 1999), we will investigate the value of knowledge within the organisation, suggesting a new model for knowledge circulation that resembles the photosynthetic process. Looking at the process in these terms, will better highlight the role of traditional and non-traditional enablers of knowledge. The originality of this model sits in the central role given to education and vision. Because knowledge is embedded in people’s minds, making them knowledge retainers and transmitters. We can argue that it is key for companies’ innovation and sustainability to embrace an educational common ground that emphasises the importance of critical thinking and a sharing attitude. If people, or workers naturally transfer their knowledge, companies will gain a competitive advantage that is bound to guarantee their success in the market. Griffith (2011) recognises this as a strategic shift from what he calls the “need to know” to a “need to share” approach, similar to what happens with social media.

How can an organisation fit the new model into its managerial processes? The first step should come from the outside. The educational system should create the ability to develop knowledge through non-traditional teaching, in particular using a problem-based learning (PBL) approach for lifelong learners. The second step is internal to the company, and will concern hiring employees that have the right attitude, and truly embrace the firm’s vision.

These two steps, a PBL approach transferred from the educational system to the company’s managerial processes, and a ‘hiring for vision attitude’, are the keys to unlocking a powerful knowledge circulation within the organisation, that will create competitive advantage for sustainability, and a strong connection to society.

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