Innovation and Change are 2 of the very most used buzz words in the modern corporate period. Some industries are entirely predicated on creativity. The survivability of companies functioning in such establishments are, to a large extent, based on their capacity to innovate. The electric consumer goods industry is a superb example. The frequency in which organizations like Apple and Yahoo scrap their penultimate design and go for the new one is just alarming. Alternatively, Change is another similarly important concept for companies in the present day era. Change becomes inescapable for firms functioning in volatile business as they need to answer quickly to the ripples on the market and change their own inner functions as a reaction. This necessitates effective 'change management' every time an organization undergoes an alteration effort. As Kotter(XXXX) discovered rightly;
"The speed of change won't slow down any time in the future. If anything, competition generally in most industries will probably speed up even more within the next few years. "
Through this piece of work, I'd like to look at knowledge theory and the way the concepts of technology and change have advanced from traditional linear model to the present day knowledge intensive varieties. The article would be focusing mainly on information technology functions of companies and how they manage their invention and change process. We'd also explore the functional implications of trusted academic conditions like 'knowledge management', 'knowledge personnel', 'boundary objects', 'stickiness of knowledge' etc with the aid of some examples from the technology front side.
For the scope of this essay, we will use the word Knowledge theory as one which refers to the concepts of knowledge management and the gratitude of intellectual capital as a fundamental element of an organisation's property. As a broad term, this also includes the various conditions frequently used in knowledge work like knowledge limitations, boundary things etc. Through the commercial revolution, labour and capital were considered as the major resources to develop an organisation. Management emphasis was on effectively managing these resources and the role of professionals was limited mainly to financial management and individuals tool management. However, with the introduction of the info age, we've seen managers being increasingly alert to another major resource - knowledge. This increasing need for knowledge management is reflected in the works of several academics as well. Bell (1973) suggested that knowledge will be a central feature of post-industrial societies.
The concept of knowledge management mainly revolves around 2 popular views on knowledge, the 'knowledge as ownership view' and the 'epistemology of practice'. Knowledge as a possession considers knowledge as something an specific/organisation can possess, and pass on to others seamlessly across different situations and contexts. However, the practice view of knowledge takes into account the value of 'tacit' knowledge and argues that knowledge is intrinsic to specific contexts and is established and negotiated through public interactions (Newell et al. , 2009). Thus knowledge work could be thought as any work that handles knowledge. However, for a specific spectrum of analysis, we shall limit our examination and then the so called 'knowledge intensive firms'. These are firms which have a high percentage of highly qualified staff who trade in knowledge itself (Starbuck, 1992). Consultancy companies like Ernst and Young or Deloitte are excellent cases for knowledge rigorous organisations. Consultants sell their knowledge to organisations or specific and organisations in need and quite evidently does indeed knowledge work on a daily basis. Organisations like Yahoo and Apple, where research and development is key to gaining competitive gain over rivals are also knowledge rigorous. Other types of knowledge intensive experts include pharmacists, educationists, doctors, accountants etc.
The majority of knowledge intensive companies are under increasing pressure from the external environment in terms of being competitive and profitable. Thus essentially, capacity to innovate and change is vital to their success as organisations. We will now briefly go through the traditional views on technology and change through the task of some academics and the progressive shift in theory in the information era. This would set the stage for our research how and where knowledge management fits in the operations of change and development.
Several academics have obviously differentiated the ideas of creativeness and advancement. Organisational creativity identifies the technology of novel and useful ideas, whereas organisational invention details the realization of those ideas(Make meals, 1998; Jones, 1995). Thus creativity can be explained as the process where a new component becomes available within the marketplace or is launched into an organization with the intent of changing or challenging the status quo (Ruler, 1995).
The invention process can be categorized into 5 types (Andriopoulos and Dawson, 2009):
Product development - As the name implies, this refers to the creation of a new product. Common for example the ipod device and the latest ipad devices from Apple, which took the market by storm. Innovative methods of processing are released each year which is changing the facial skin of the IT world.
Service innovations - This identifies the creation of new and increased services. Hotmail - world's first free web based email service is a primary example.
Process innovations - Here, the innovation is on the process alternatively than on the end product or service. In america, Netflix offers membership based DVD leases online. That is now the major of its kind on earth due to several innovations in its process. The company uses distributed warehouse system to provide DVDs to its customers via post. The came back DVDs are scanned first if they're wanted again before it dates back to the warehouse. This streamlined and fast delivery model has helped Netflix end up being the market innovator. (Rappa, 2008)
Management improvements - The adoption of Japanese manufacturing techniques by American and Western european companies through the eighties and nineties is an exemplory case of Management development.
Market or position advancement - This identifies the creation of new marketplaces because of this of innovation. With all the introduction of Second life, a whole new virtual truth market has sprung up and is fast growing. Before this, this market simply didn't exist.
The traditional take on innovation considers it as a linear process beginning with creation of the invention, going right through several stages before invention is accepted or rejected by the implementing unit. Rogers (1995), in support of the linear methodology, used the term 'diffusion' for the procedure of conversing the advancement through the channels of your public system. The innovation-decision process corresponding to this model can be depicted as below:
Fig1. 1 Innovation-Decision process (Rogers, 1995)
Knowledge - The director or decision manufacturer or even more generally 'the implementing device' becomes aware of the advancement.
Persuasion - The unit develops either a favourable or unfavourable frame of mind towards the invention.
Decision - The machine undergoes some activities resulting in the choice of approval or rejection of the innovation.
Implementation - The machine puts the invention to utilize.
Confirmation - The innovation is verified and the technology becomes a daily habit if the overall feedback from the machine is favourable. In any other case, the invention is declined.
The traditional model also talks about development as a logical process where professionals use industry-wide accepted benchmarks or 'best practises'. This model revolves around the theory that best practises, once created, all that is left in the development process is the communication of the across the company. Thus the traditional model of invention essentially suggested that innovation can be executed in a linear fashion and can be forgotten with rational thinking. However, this model's inability to make clear the intricate and dynamic inventions in the present day era has resulted in various criticisms, which would be mentioned at a later level in the article.
Andriopoulos and Dawson (2009) define organisational change broadly as 'new means of organizing and working'. And much more specifically(p14):
"Organizational change is the process of moving from some current state that, whether organized or unplanned, comprises the unpredicted and unforeseen as well as the expected"
The definition plainly identifies 3 important elements of organizational change - (1) the as-is condition, (2) the to-be condition and (3) the changeover path. However, the change from as-is to to-be state, in the views of several academics, rarely takes the 'planned' or 'expected' route as obvious from the above explanation. Studies on organizational change process have been conducted thoroughly by academics. However, the powerful nature of this issue itself has intended that people still don't have a prescriptive reason in conditions of theory and idea as far as this issue of Business change can be involved, as evidently portrayed by Pettigrew et al. (2003:p351):
"This constant procedure for change and renewal means that, whilst scholars and managers can take forwards certain key announcements, there will always be a dependence on more research on impressive types of organizing"
Organizational change can be of assorted degree and form from modest changes in the organizational operations to major organization large re-structuring initiatives. Palmer et al. (2006) recognizes 2 types of changes:
Incremental adaptive change - is when one company performs catch-up in response to another firms activity in an incremental adaptive fashion. E. g Microsoft and Yahoo generally used google applications like maps and videos.
Reactive shape breaking change - handles a much bigger size of change. E. g Major restructuring and downsizing was necessary for investment banking institutions like RBS as they emerged under increasing administration and open public control following the recession powered bailouts using taxpayer money. It is interesting to notice that most bankers haven't cut down on their IT spending as they may have recognized IT as an instrument to boost efficiency and spend less.
Outside both of these more 'reactive' changes, there exists of course the strategy influenced large scale operational changes that organizations undergo.
The traditional ideas on organisational change have been modelled mainly around the concept of 'unfreeze-change-refreeze' submit by Lewin (Collins, 1998). This 3-step model essentially looked at organisational change process as a linear one. On this model, Lewin(1958) also discusses the helping and restraining forces for and resistant to the change.
Fig1. 2 Lewin's 3-step change model (Lewin, 1958)
An prolonged 7-step model was suggested by Lippitt, Watson and Westley (1958) which more and more focussed on the role of the change agent than the genuine change. The 7 stages were:
Diagnosing the problem
Assessing capacity and determination for change
Assess motivation and capacity of the change agent
Choose intensifying change objects
Clear segregation of role of the change agent
Maintain the change
Termination of the change agent (Lippitt et, al. , 1958)
Kotter(1995) later suggested his 8-step model for effective change management in his analysis on why most change projects fail.
Other innovations like Open up Source Software Development, Extreme programming(XP) and Agile methodologies are also illustrations for experimental creativity models including active, planning, assessment and regular releases (Beck, 2000; Highsmith, 2002). The wide open source developers' community consists of developers from throughout the world and from different functions of life. Regardless of the living of semantic, syntactic and pragmatic knowledge limitations among them, they still manage to interact amazing well and come up with innovative solutions. It interestingly performs the role of a boundary object in the form of the Knowledge Management (KM) website or forum. The wide open source KM forum is exceedingly well looked after and firmly moderated, equally well as the knowledge intensive businesses, if not better.
In a more organisational framework, knowledge intensive companies like consulting and software services companies consider knowledge management as a fundamental element of development and change projects. The money they spend on keeping a centralised repository for knowledge management is testament to the truth. The consultancy organization Ernst and Young spends 6% of their revenue on knowledge management (HBS, 2001). It may appear that the plethora of knowledge employees and technology would automatically foster a favourable environment for Kilometres in such companies; some academics assume that this isn't always the case. Andriopoulos (2003) suggests that knowledge can be considered a 'two times headed' sword. Since knowledge personnel in such organisations are highly specialised in their area, this may enslave them inside a design of thought, thus inhibiting innovation and change (Bengtson, 1982). Such a view of 'experts' becoming not receptive to new ideas was distributed by Starbuck (1992) as well. On similar lines, Carla O'Dell, president of American Efficiency & Quality Middle said:
"The number-one reason KM initiatives might not function is usually that the 'evangelists' fail to connect with the real business issues. "
Relevant academic literature claim that such organizations make an effort to work for this problem by creating a strong culture and by relating to the specialists more and more in organisational dialogues (Blackler, 1995). Such 'enabling contexts' created by the organisation would be a key point for fostering knowledge creation for invention and change. Google, for example, provides one day weekly because of its employees to focus on their pet tasks and ideas. The ideas can be placed by anyone on the repository via email. Rocket drive, as it is named, has also led its opponents to build similar jobs like - Microsoft's Technorati and Yahoo's Exalead (Business Week, 2005).
The ideas of knowledge theory has indeed influenced just how organizations start undertaking innovation jobs as obvious from the above illustrations.
Through this piece, we have viewed knowledge theory as a term relevant to the opportunity of the topic. We've also looked the traditional view on invention and change process via the works of several academics plus some industry examples. A number of the criticisms against these views were also talked about. In the specific portion of knowledge intensive companies, we examined how these knowledge ideas affect the technology and change process.
Having viewed the modern unstable and network based mostly modes of innovation and change, it could seem that the original concepts are actually outdated. However, most knowledge management work continues to be based on the assumption that a lot of forms of knowledge can be codified, stored and distributed. Change consultants still follow the detail by detail way for organisational innovation and change. Thus the apt final result here would be one of your compromise between your two. It is important that organisations, especially the knowledge intense ones cannot ignore the importance of knowledge management for invention and change. However, the strategy shall be made the decision upon considering the institutional context at length.