The Project Manager in the Theatre of Consciousness: A New Approach to Knowledge Creation and Communication

The Project Manager in the Theatre of Consciousness: A New Approach to Knowledge Creation and Communication

Kaj U. Koskinen (Tampere University of Technology, Finland) and Pekka Pihlanto (Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Finland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1788-9.ch018
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Abstract

This paper focuses on knowledge management stressing an individual project manager’s point of view. First, the authors outline two knowledge management strategies as well as the notion of project manager. The authors concentrate on the project manager’s knowledge creation and communication using the so-called theatre metaphor for conscious experience. According to this metaphor, the human brain and consciousness work together like a theatre. With the help of the metaphor, the authors describe and attempt to understand important aspects of the project manager’s mental action in the above tasks.
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Knowledge Management Strategies

Depending on the type of company and industry, different strategic approaches can be utilised in adopting a knowledge management strategy (Haggie & Kingston, 2003; Joia, 2007). Hansen, Nohria, and Tierney (1999) propose codification- and personalisation strategies as alternative ways by which companies can develop their knowledge management strategies. They suggest, for example, that the companies producing customised solutions to unique problems – as many technological project deliveries are – should use the information technology to help people to communicate. Nevertheless, actual problem solving should often take place with the help of personal interaction (e.g., Jonassen, 2006).

Codification strategies are heavily based on technology and they use large databases to codify and store knowledge. The rationale of a codification strategy is to achieve ‘scale in knowledge reuse’ (Jashapara, 2004). This means that after completion of a project, companies will retrieve key pieces of knowledge from the assignment and create ‘knowledge objects’ to store valuable knowledge such as key solutions to problems. This knowledge is stored in knowledge repositories so that other projects and individuals in the company can use the same material for their projects. This means that there is little room for creativity and innovation in this approach and they are likely to be discouraged. Instead, the tried and tested methods of problem solutions are promoted. This is what the projects operating in mechanical project work environments (Koskinen, 2004) is utilised: a solid knowledge management approach based on previous knowledge without the potential risks of innovation. In this case, codification strategies are clearly aligned with the company’s business strategy focused on efficiency, cost savings and cost leadership.

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