Friday, May 02, 2008

Live KM blogging: Changing organizational culture when it comes to knowledge management

Over at AN UNOFFICIAL COAST GUARD BLOG, Kennebec Captain commented on my post Cross-posted: Department of State blows away the Coast Guard when it comes to using social networking tools for KM. Wrote the Kennebec Captain:

Wikis and blogs used as you described are powerful tool that likely greatly improve effectiveness and efficiency. The Coast Guard however is a military organization that is highly hierarchical and the culture of the officer corps has a strong focus on the careerist standard. My guess is that wikis would be largely ineffective in such and environment.
This raises a very pertinent question: How does an organization change its cutlure so that knowledge management, knowledge transfer, knowledge sharing can take place.

Someone here yesterday, and for the life of me I can't think of who it was, talked about this. Perhaps it was Carla O'Dell. Anyway, the point was this: you can't say, "Let's change the culture." What needs to be done is to change behaviors and practices. And how that happens is by people modeling the behavior we want to see. We change the culture by changing what we do.

One of the things I've been trying to do with the family of sites is to model the behavior I'd like to see. In the past, I've called it transparency, but I think it's actually more than that. It's knowledge management, too.

If the "careerist standard" is going to hold the Coast Guard back, then we need to change that culture and that expectation. We do that, I suggest, by modeling the behavior we want; we do that by sometimes pushing the envelop and making the organization uncomfortable.

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