The Hidden Basics of Knowledge Management

Lessons from an Earthworm

Lessons from an Earthworm

Aerating the Soil

Most managers would agree that every employee should give 100% as the company strives to succeed. There is a theory called the “feedback loop” (Bateman-Snell, 2007, p.41) that reveals a hidden basic of knowledge management. This theory suggests that organizations are a system that takes resources from the surrounding system such as raw materials and re-structures these materials in a cyclic manner. An analogy would be the common earthworm that aerates and enriches the soil. Employees enrich the organizational base by contributions. Managers want higher productivity and want employees to produce, to aerate their fields.

Higher Yields

As in all production higher input achieves higher capacity. The goal is to reach 100% capacity. Maximum optimization of resources is expected to have a higher return. As an earthworm is complex, so is the organizational business. Managers can put too much pressure on workers in the production lines that breakdowns can occur. Running at full capacity is stressful and difficult to maintain. So, contrary to expected logic 100% is not productive.

Requires Replenishment

When an employee is not taking time to replenish, they can burn-out. This loss of production is not beneficial for the employee, manager or organization. Consider raw materials if they are not replenished? Consider what happens when raw materials are not sustained. The same is true for organizations and the hidden basics of knowledge management are to replenish the resources. Take a lesson from the earthworm and learn to replenish.

References

Bateman, T.S., and Snell, S.A. (2007). Management: Leading & Collaborating in a Competitive World (7th ed). New York: McGraw-Hill, Irwin: Inc. Retrieved January 26, 2010, from Meritus University, rEsource, MGT/1130 – Management Concepts Course Web site.

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