This metaphor also demonstrates how this knowledge network is critical to the flow of information. Social networking is a key component in the way learning organizations grow and function in today’s budget conscious environment. Roughly 50% of corporate performance is attributed to responding to change and complexity intelligently (Halal, 1997). A learning organization is more than the sum of all knowledge from individual members because all information is not accessed equally. All information that is stored or processed by members is only accessed when needed.
A learning organization involves the development of higher levels of knowledge and skill and encompasses four levels of learning. This goes from the learning basic facts, processes and procedures (level 1); learning transferrable jobs skills (level 2); learning to adapt (level 3); and learning to learn which corresponds to innovation and creativity (level 4 ) (Fargo & Skyrme, 1995). The last two levels are the types of learning that is preferred in learning organizations. Smaller networks being only partially connected increases the possibilities of a learning organization by leading to better utilization of internal and external knowledge .
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An organization’s real edge comes from having complex, content sensitive knowledge. This core knowledge is found in individual, communities of interest and their connections (Krebs, 1998). Due to the wide use of social networks, employees are raising the bar for company learning systems. With the ease of use and familiarity of the common social networking applications available i. e. MySpace, facebook, blogger, they have something to compare it to. They expect it to be at that level or better.
Social networks such as twitter and facebook are allowing people to connect with each other very readily. Applications are becoming simple and easy to understand. With this is mind it is easier to locate information which is a huge benefit and part of how a learning organization functions. Information must be accessible when it is needed by whomever. Bottom line if the apps are complex and difficult to utilize, people will not use them. In learning organizations social media can serve four purposes: easy contact, information dissemination, rating and tagging, and expert advice.
First, most social networking sites allow easy accessibility to information with their search functions. Second, employees are able to provide suggestions and disseminate information rapidly. Third, information can be rated and tagged for future reference. Lastly, experts are able to share expertise in their field to a large forum (Bersin, 2008). This customer specific is very narrow in its scope and limits the number of personnel who would look for this type of information. This narrow audience makes it have much more impact.
This is basically what a learning organization needs, smaller networks connected to other smaller networks. Everyone is not going to be connected to everyone. This would not be logical or how an organization functions. People are going to connect with people who have the information they require. Just like a brain, all the neurons and synapses don’t all fire off when you listen to music or read a book. Different areas are responsible for those functions and are stimulated as needed. When there are abnormalities in the brain problems can result in people’s behavior i. . Tourette’s syndrome. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke current research points to abnormalities in certain brain regions (including the basal ganglia, frontal lobes, and cortex), the circuits that interconnect these regions, and the neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine) responsible for communication among nerve cells ("Tourette Syndrome Fact Sheet," NINDS,2005). Smaller networks that are partially connected to each other are more functional in a learning organization.
Otherwise there would be too much information to process and nothing would get accomplished. Social networking helps employees connect and share information and by doing this they are better able to utilize corporate resources. Employees who are central in key networks learn faster, perform better and are more committed to the organization. It has been shown that both individuals and groups are in the midst of organizational network who are not overwhelmed by direct ties are the most effective (Krebs, 1998).
Hierarchy structure plays a huge role in the way learning organization functions. Learning organizations have flat decentralized organizational structures. This interconnected network of networks facilitates the dissemination of information across organizational boundaries; a dramatic change from bureaucratic way of doing things. With today’s advancement of information technology, flat organizations are able to use employee knowledge to solve operating problems more directly and quickly (Halal, 1997).
Employee knowledge plays a great advantage in the corporate environment. In 1997, this knowledge accounted for 80% of all corporate assets. Yet despite this fact only 20% of this resource is used. (Halal, 1997). Advances in communications and technology have given rise to network organizations. A network organization breaks down the hierarchical organizational chart (boxes) to one level and then connects each box to every other box. When decision making and operations are decentralized this allows initiative and autonomy to flourish (Friel, 2002).
I don’t see any potential downside to using social media in a corporate environment. I think that social media can help facilitate earning by allowing users to connect with each other by using forums where they can share information, opinions and expertise. This is exactly what we are doing here at TUIU. Through these online courses we are connecting with other students and the professors via the threaded discussions and the water cooler. We leave comments and then someone responds to what we wrote. His is a cyclical process, it goes back and forth.
In the end we all learn from each other in the process. To me each course would be a small network and we are connected to the larger organization (TUIU) via our professors. Although there are many courses in session the only one that is of interest to me is the one I’m currently in. It wouldn’t make much sense to participate in threaded discussions in Business Ethics 501. There is no need to do so. Being that TUIU is a widely distributed and has a narrowed scope and audience makes a powerful impact on how information is processed.
Using the brain metaphor has added a great deal to how companies operate in regards to networking, people and how thing get accomplished. Information sharing is a big component in how learning organization performs. Each part does its own thing, but when information is needed it is readily available. The brain is very specific, time and energy is not wasted. Only those paths that are needed are activated which saves money. Machines are geared toward precision, organisms are self regulating, and brains are centered on connectivity.
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