Operational departments (as some of them captioned in Figure 1) are a mix of Man and Machine and the output is purely machine based (processes) and knowledge exists in these departments is more of explicit in nature and encompasses the technology based matters with in its cross fold. The knowledge obsolescence and re-generation depends upon the technological automation.
Every next meeting of the circle shall discuss outcomes of previous meeting, in case if any new document is generated or any specific steps (corrective actions) have so far been taken to address any problem. Initially the members would take couple of days to get acquainted with the keen usage of documents to perform their activities but in a week days time they feel comfortable and start enjoying the whole cycle and their respective participation shows sign of intense involvement in the circle and this involvement bears fruit for the whole organization and apart from many social and organizational influencing factors they keep on rotating in the knowledge cycle.
Functional Knowledge Circle
Functional departments in an organization revolve around the human element and their outcome is purely Man based while machines perform the facilitating part and their presence is secondary in whole process. The knowledge type in these departments is usually tacit and close human interaction is the success key to produce profitable and consistent outcomes. These departments are core and fundamental in any and every organization as they are the ones which truly create/generate new knowledge at the first place and support all the other departments. The flow of knowledge is initiated by these departments as they derive policies, expansion plans, human resource automation initiatives, technological automation guidelines, growth matrix etc., and their sole input is knowledge which they initially gain, have it documented and then forward to other departments.
Functional knowledge circles are more into issues that encircle human equation and it is indispensable to keep on resolving any upcoming issues between knowledge workers as if they are not mentally settled then their performance bears a big question mark that eventually hampers the organizational progress, growth and expansion; including their own interest and growth. These circles help in bring new changes to organizational design on lasting basis.
The very next meeting incorporates the findings of the previous meeting as the top agenda and goes on with usual proceedings. It is important to keep under close considerations that functional circles are more dynamic and vibrant as they are related with multi-dimensional issues, organizational and social factors, well being of knowledge workers, work place environment, job satisfaction, peers behavior and other sophisticated matters.
Top Management’s Review of Performance
Top management must sit together along with the circle runner and review the performance of these knowledge circles in monthly Management Review Meeting, the core purpose of these meetings is to review the performance of these circles and finalize rewards for circle members and other knowledge workers who helped implement the findings of the circle meeting in their respective working area and further allocate more resource for better functioning of these circles. The involvement, seriousness and interest shown by the top management would not only accelerate the performance of the circle but be helpful in modifying organizational culture and bring necessary changes in organizational design.
Knowledge Circles enrich Organizational Knowledge and Organizational Learning
The focus of individual knowledge and learning is altogether different as compared to organizational knowledge and learning (Sanchez, 1997) and it would not be adequate to patch individual knowledge and learning phases on that of an organization as the knowledge acquisition and learning process of an individual is uni-dimensional while that of an organization is more complex and spiral (Cook, 1996) where concept of groups and teams dominate the process of knowledge sharing and learning. It must be kept in mind that individual and organizational objectives with reference to learning are not the same (Antonacopoulou, 2001); the cognitive perspective (Grant, 1996) of knowledge, positions knowledge as a an outcome of sensory interaction with the objective external world and it is individualistic in most of the cases, since that the sesory perception of an individual are different form others. The positivists (Gherardi, 2000) are of the opinion that knowledge can be gained, codified, retained and disseminated across organization and all the processes right from knowledge creation to dissemination are undertake as isolated or auonomous processes with in their very nature. The knowledge repositories in an organization are different in their location and existence; rahter the nature of knowledge is different from one another and it varies from tacit-implicit-tacit; which is in its truest sense is individual knowledge shared by all other member of an organization in purely objective a manner.
Organizational learning arises out of the social interaction between People usually occur at the work place (Huysman M. , 1999) as individual dress their experience in a rational manner or it can be said that individual interpret his/her experience or develop a distinctive sense of it which helps achieving the organizational objective (Oswick, 2000). In fact collective activities, sharing in groups and cultural composition pave the way towards organizational learning (Swan, 2001) that undertakes in a spiral mode taking all those involved on board. The other side of the coin tells us that Organization learning involves many intricate, complex but productive processes and mingles them together in order to achieve a combine goal; interpersonal communication (Dixon, 1997) links people with people in an organization coupled with accommodation, tolerance, compassion and meaningfulness.
Individual knowledge and team knowledge are gained in two different circumstances with two different mind sets while the process of organizational learning is in spiral mode and fundamentally based upon communication and socialization. It is not our intention to discuss the Nonaka’s model but just to vitalize the idea that learning is purely a collective process. If we take organization as an inorganic totality then its interfaces would be closer to that of a human. Learning loops with built in traps, organizational politics (Coopey, 2000) is a major hurdle in the process and it cannot be overlooked in any circumstances.
Knowledge circles create spirals and maintain these spirals in a generative mode, the immediate benefit of this mode is that, it diminished the possibilities of inter-personal, inter-departmental and intra-organizational conflicts with reference to knowledge sharing and dissemination.