Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Participation in Social Networking and KM

Mike Gotta tells us -
A common thread between social networking and KM that strategists should acknowledge is the principle that volunteered participation and resulting contributions are a daily decision employees make – and one that they essentially control."
I largely think of KM as a failure exactly because of the level of effort required for participation and it worries me that Mike sees such a close parallel:
Ultimately, people still make choices on sharing what they know. How do we influence them (if possible) to make choices that directly help co-workers and indirectly help the organization overall when they are not compelled to do so by the structure of their role/task? How do you instill a sense of volunteerism (if that's even the right phrase)? We find ourselves shifting from tooling into the realm of attitude and behavior change (some might include culture change) which are better understood through the lens of psychology, sociology, etc. I agree with Kate that changing culture is difficult but not impossible. Enabling an environment where people are more willing to volunteer above that which they feel is necessary has been one of the intractable challenges faced by industrial-age organizations.
My gut tells me there is something different here now. That participation is different when it's a natural part of how we work, network, etc. But, I do worry about the 90-9-1 Rule and the resulting perception about participation. Much of what works outside of an organization does so because of scale and with 90-9-1, you still have enough participation. Inside an organization, 90-9-1 can be seen as a failure.

What do you think? Is there something different here?

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