Long term org memory LO7845

Valdis E. Krebs (InFlow@cris.com)
Wed, 12 Jun 96 11:27:44 -0400

Replying to LO7827 --

Kent Myers wrote...

>1. Part of the reason that the US government wanted to keep building an
>unneeded and grossly expensive submarine is that, otherwise, welders who know
>how to do some tricky work would leave the business and would not be
available to
>train others. When the next subs are needed, in perhaps 20 years, nobody
>will be able to weld them. Similar arguments were made about keeping the
>production line 'warm', that the system has knowledge that can be maintained
>with a trickle of activity, but can only be recaptured with major investment.
>(I don't find either argument very convincing, but some credible people
>think it is true.)

IMHO, this is a credible argument. The 'community of practice' concept
[IRL/Xerox PARC] supports the above reasoning very well, especially when
it concerns very complex and/or implicit knowledge. You learn by becoming
a member of the community -- learning is a social activity --
collaborative problem solving[we each bring part of the expertise needed]
and apprenticeship. If you destroy the community, you destroy the ability
to pass the learning on.

Listed below are some of the principles of learning from the Institute
for Research on Learning [IRL]:
* Learning is fundamentally social
* Knowledge is integrated in the life of communities
* Learning is an act of membership
* Knowing depends on engagement in practice
* Engagement is inseparable from empowerment
* "Failure" to learn is the result of exclusion from participation

See IRL's web page: http://www.irl.org Contact person: Susan Stucky
They are located in Palo Alto, CA

IMHO, one reason we are now hearing how many downsized companies can NOT
respond to growth and new market forces is because in their pruning of the
organization tree [the boxes on the org chart] they unknowingly destroyed
or dismembered many vital communities of practice. By removing one or two
key nodes the network can fragment into many unconnected groups. It will
take awhile for these connections and communities to re-emerge [and then
management will go shooting in the dark again!! ;-) ]

Valdis Krebs
Krebs & Associates
Cleveland, OH
Los Angeles, CA



"Valdis E. Krebs" <InFlow@cris.com>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>