Systems Thinking Theory and Practice

Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning

By Kevin Mueller,

Most organizations today are aware that knowledge and the capacity to learn are key to their success. The “thinking capacity” of the people in the organization is where the money lies one would think. Or rather, in the capability of the organization to transfer the thinking and learning of the individual into the organization.

Share Your Train of Thought

If in relation to the work context we find ways to post, store, link and retrieve our thinking, others can pick up the trail of thought, now and in future. We can learn from each other, build understanding and new ideas. For knowledge based organizations to truly benefit from its most costly and most valuable resource, this seems essential. And which organization today isn’t knowledge based?

Culture of Trust

In order for people to share their thinking, they must trust it won’t harm them. Also the sharing must be mutually beneficial: if others don’t share their thoughts and we cannot learn from them, we will not be forthcoming with our own thinking. So before we build or acquire systems for knowledge management, we must ensure a culture of trust and collaboration exists. It must be OK and normal to communicate thoughts that might turn out to be wrong, off-topic or misleading. Our thoughts are published so they can be mutually reflected on, refined and made accessible for the organization as a whole.

Further Reading

The works of Chris Argyris, such as “Organizational Learning II” with Donald A. Schön and (in German) Helmut Willke’s “Einführung in das systemische Wissensmanagement”.

This content is linked from “Zettconnect” “Exploring Ideas For a Collaborative Knowledge Management System” project based on Niklas Luhmann’s Zettelkasten method.