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Free Example of The Problem of Knowledge Essay

The aim of this paper is to show my progress on the problem of knowledge hoarding that is affecting our investment team. It also discusses the issues that I encountered as I tried to solve this problem. The steps that I took while solving this problem and their outcomes are also described in this paper. It also shows how literature from different scholars helped me to understand the problem of knowledge hoarding.

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Problem Overview

The problem that I identified in our investment team was knowledge hoarding among the members of our investment team. Some members in our investment team do not share any viable investment ideas that they may have heard of. Due to this, our investment team has been generating weak investment ideas that are not competitive in the market. Our client base has reduced because of this. Members of our investment team fail to share the knowledge that they have due to several reasons. Some of the members argue that they do not like sharing investment knowledge since it helps guarantee their job security. It makes them uncomfortable to assist new employees since they fear that new employees may become better than they are. The issue of knowledge hoarding has negatively impacted the cohesiveness of our investment group. Most employees prefer individual success instead of achieving group success. This problem has not only affected our team but also the overall teamwork of our organization. I believe if I find all factors that motivate members of our investment team to hoard investment knowledge they have, the overall profitability of our investment team will increase.

Action Learning Set

I presented all the facts about this problem in action learning meeting that took place in the beginning of June. Members of my action set encouraged me to first find the factors that made employees hoard knowledge so that I would be able to know the root cause of this problem. If I knew the source of the problem, I would be able to mitigate the chances of worsening of the situation. At first, the members of my action set told me to construct a rich picture. The rich picture enabled me to know my position in our organization. Before I drew the rich picture, I conducted personal interviews with all members of our organization. By using personal interviews, I was able to get clear responses concerning how different stakeholders contributed to the overall success of our team. During the meeting, members of my action set told me that the only way that I could succeed in solving this problem was if I adopted participatory research. If I decided to use participatory research, it would require me to interact with all research participants so that I could get first-hand information regarding the extent of the problem of knowledge hoarding. In addition, I would be able to gauge the accuracy of responses that participants might have given me.

Literature Review

In order to begin the process of examining the issue of knowledge hoarding, I examined two sets of literature. The first literature related to bad organizational culture in our organization and the next portion of literature related to knowledge creation. Members of my action set encouraged me to concentrate on the issue of poor corporate culture since they argued it could be a significant factor that determined relations between the members of our investment team. They argued that if our corporate culture did not promote free communication between employees, the members of our investment team would not be willing to share the knowledge that they had.

Many scholars have investigated the issue poor corporate culture and its consequences on the management of an organization. According to Banduch, Pate & Thies (2008), top management of an organization has a substantial influence on the quality of organizational culture. If the board of governors happens to select leaders with no clear vision, these leaders are likely to formulate inefficient strategies for running an organization. Inefficient leaders are also likely to practice poor leadership styles. Galbreath (2010) states that poor leaders always adopt an authoritative leadership style. They expect their employees to follow their directions without questioning them. If managers adopt an authoritative leadership style, employees will not be willing to participate in the decision making process of an organization. Decisions made by the management will be ineffective if employees are not willing to provide their suggestions. This situation contributes to poor corporate culture.

Research has also established that poor corporate culture may cause employees to become less committed to the tasks they perform. Employee commitment is critical for the success of new strategies suggested in an organization. The level of employee commitment determines whether they will be motivated to complete tasks on time. In addition, the level of employees' commitment determines if they will be willing to sacrifice their time to perform tasks that be given to them by organization's management. Committed employees are always motivated to ensure that the objectives of an organization are achieved. It makes them be willing to share any ideas that they may have, which will help an organization achieve its goals and mission.

Poor corporate culture also results from a situation when organizations formulate goals that are individually based. Management of an organization may set individually based goals in an attempt to ensure that employees succeed in their individual fields of performance. However, individually based goals may end up making an organization develop poor culture since employees may not be willing to help each other. According to the recent research, organizations should consider adopting strength-based goals instead of individually based goals if they want to promote teamwork and group success in an organization. Strength-based goals concentrate on finding the strength that a particular employee has and utilizing this strength while performing organizational tasks. Each employee is, therefore, able to perform tasks that he/she is strong at contributing to the overall success of the team. For this strategy to succeed, human resource managers should have enough knowledge about strengths and weaknesses of all employees. After managers analyze weaknesses of employees in their organization, they should formulate the strategies aimed at ensuring that the workers are able to improve on their weaknesses in an attempt to ensure that they contribute to the overall success of the group.

Poor corporate culture has a negative impact on the success of an organization. It causes an organization to experience high rates of staff turnover. Workers in an organization are forced to look for alternative employment opportunities in companies that have good corporate culture. In addition, the number of conflicts between employees in an organization with poor corporate culture is also very high. After conducting a literature review on the issue of poor corporate culture, it became clear to me that poor corporate culture could be contributing significantly to the problem of knowledge hoarding in our organization. This is because it creates a negative workplace environment decreasing employees' motivation to work together. It makes it hard for employees to share ideas that they might have. My action set members told me to research on whether poor corporate culture could be among the factors contributing to the culture of knowledge hoarding in our organization. It motivated me to consider literature on critical action learning as a first step to examine this issue.

Knowledge Creation

Knowledge creation is very critical while searching for a solution to the problem of knowledge hoarding. Mohrman, Gibson & Mohrman argue that it is important to involve practitioners in joint interpretation of results of a particular research if researchers want the results of their research to be useful. When practitioners are involved in the whole process of research, they are able to give their suggestions on whether research findings reflect true findings obtained from a particular research. It makes results from a research to be credible and reliable. Mohrman, Gibson & Mohrman conducted a study that aimed to find out whether joint interpretive forums involving researchers and practitioners lead to formulation of a positive perspective. The results of their study proved this fact.

According to Creswell (2013), a researcher can adopt five methodologies while conducting qualitative research. These methodologies include phenomenological research, narrative research, grounded theory, case study research, and ethnography research. When a researcher decides to use case study research, he/she concentrates on a single department or on one organization. Zivkovic (2012) argues that case study approach explains complex casual links with the use of real life interventions. Scholars prefer this methodology of research since it makes use of multi-perspective analysis. However, this methodology is inefficient since it concentrates on theoretical knowledge rather than on practical knowledge. Researchers who use grounded theory methodology usually utilize inductive approach while collecting data. Researchers using ethnography concentrate on studying the culture of particular group of people.

Most researchers prefer to use interviews as a tool for collecting data from participants (Easterby-Smith, Thorpe, & Jackson 2012). By conducting interviews, a researcher is able to get first-hand information from the participants of a particular study. In addition, it is possible to get clarification on unclear responses using interviews. Interviews can be structured, semi-structured, or unstructured. Researchers use unstructured interviews when the topic under investigation is not well known. Such interviews are highly interactive. According to Creswell (2013), during semi-structured interviews researchers have more control over the interview process compared to researchers who conduct structured interviews. Interviewers use a script known as interviewer guide while conducting these interviews. Researchers use semi-structured interviews when they want to obtain specific details about a certain topic. Questions of structured interviews are worded carefully. They are used when the researcher already possesses enough knowledge in a particular field. Questionnaires are also used as a tool for data collection. They are common especially in quantitative research since they enable researchers to gather responses in a standardized way. It makes this method more objective compared to interviews. In addition, questionnaires are a quick method of collecting data. It is also cheap to collect data using this tool, especially where the number of respondents is large. However, critics argue that this tool is not efficient since all questions are answered in a standardized way. It is, therefore, difficult for a researcher to get additional information regarding a particular research question.

Researchers should adhere to ethical principals while conducting both qualitative and quantitative research. Code of ethics helps researchers deal with issues such as conflicts of interest that may arise when a researcher conducts his/her study. Moreover, researchers face the risk of being subjected to affiliation bias. If affiliation bias affects a researcher, his/her personal issues may end up affecting findings and conclusion that he/she arrives at after conducting a research. For a researcher to adhere to ethical principles while conducting a research, he/she needs to keep all the information provided by his clients confidential. In addition, the researcher has a duty of being honest and transparent while conducting research.

Steps Taken to Address the Problem and the Outcomes

After reviewing literature on poor corporate culture, I discovered that the problem of knowledge hoarding in our investment team could be solved if I conducted a study to find out the causes of poor corporate culture in our organization. After reviewing literature on ethnography research and receiving suggestions from members of my set, I came to a conclusion that I should use ethnography research in order to determine the factors that led to poor corporate culture in our organization, which in their turn led to the problem of knowledge hoarding. I also decided to use a combination of interviews and questionnaires as a method for data collection. It would help me collect both qualitative and quantitative data. However, members of my action set advised me to consider several critical issues while conducting ethnographic research. They told me that since I will be in direct contact with the participants of this study, there is a possibility that I may end up developing affiliation bias. It was, therefore, critical for me to adhere to all ethical principles of doing research to ensure that the conclusions I made in my study were credible and reliable.

I also used the idea of designing interventions while designing the actual research process. Designing interventions helps participants be actively involved in the process of research. The contributions made by all members of my investment team will help make the results of my study conclusive. Members of my action set also encouraged me to use triangulation method while conducting my research. This would help in making the research process more reliable.

I conducted personal interviews with all members of our investment team. One of the questions that I asked members of our team was whether they thought knowledge hoarding affected the way employees related with each other in our organization. I also issued questionnaires to the top management team of our organization. I asked them to provide their opinion regarding whether they thought our organization culture provided a good environment for positive relations between employees. The results that I received from interviews and questionnaires showed that the culture in our organization did not promote teamwork or good communication. A strategic meeting was held and all employees were told to provide suggestions on how to improve our organizational culture. We agreed that we should create a flexible work environment so that employees would be free to share their ideas. Since then, the relations between employees in our organization have been improving significantly.

Concluding Reflections

Although the problem of knowledge hoarding was not eliminated completely in our organization, employee relations have significantly improved. Members of our investment team have started having informal meetings where they discuss the trends in the investment market. The number of work-based conflicts has significantly reduced. The research I conducted made me learn a lot and I believe it will significantly benefit me as a leader in the future. I determined all problems that employees went through as they performed their tasks. I also learnt how significant culture of cooperation is to the success of an organization. I could not have succeeded in handling the problem of knowledge hoarding without the help I received from my action learning set.

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