Updated: 6/23/2005; 9:37:24 PM.


...giving birth to learning...
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  Monday, January 05, 2004

  Quality that emerges in action

I know that I'm not going to catch up with all interesting posts from Internet-cafe, but I'm still trying :)

John Moore (and long chain of others) point to a quote from Art & fear:

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the quantity group: fifty pound of pots rated an A, forty pounds a B, and so on. Those being graded on quality, however, needed to produce only one pot -albeit a perfect one - to get an A. Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the quantity group was busily churning out piles of work - and learning from their mistakes - the quality group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

John adds a connection with the book Changing Conversations in Organisations by Patricia Shaw.

This is such a fantastic book I can't do it justice here, but essentially Shaw discusses
(moving from a) thought-before-action, design-before-implementation, systematic, instrumental logic of organizing, towards a paradoxical kind of logic in which we see ourselves as participatingin the self-organizing emergence of meaningful activity from within our disorderly open-ended responsiveness to one another

Shaw is talking about how we talk to each other, the story is about making pots; they're both about recognising that it is misleading to think we can entirely separate thinking from doing - an insight that may trouble a great many management thinkers.

At the same time Martin Dugage writes about smart people driving out action linking to Why Can't We Get Anything Done?

All those provoke many ideas for my thinking on learning vs. doing and would provide an interesting angle to look at the actionable sense story, but I guess I'm not writing on it now :)

  Diablog by Jon Hoem

Jill Walker points to another "PhD on weblogs" weblog in English :) Diablog by Jon Hoem. From Jon's introduction:

I'm doing a Phd on how to use "personal publishing" as a tool for learning. I'm employed and give lectures at IKM / NTNU, but some of the time you'll find me at HiB in Bergen.

Between other things Jon links to an instruction for publishing del.icio.us links on your site (del.icio.us is a social bookmarks manager; I signed at the end of December, but didn't have time to write about it).

This post also appears on channel weblog research

More on: blog new blog research 

  Knowledge networker

Thinking about terminology for my PhD again. I wonder if I should introduce knowledge networker as a term. I like it because it stresses social side of knowledge work, being a node in a knowledge network, which is often missing in a "mainstream" knowledge worker literature. From another side, it may be percieved as a narrow one, focusing only on the networking side of the knowledge work. May be it should be something like knowledge net worker :)

There is another problem with knowledge networker. Knowledge worker is the one who does knowledge work. Following this logic knowledge networker does knowledge network :) It could be netWORK as used by Nardi, Whittaker & Schwarz, but their meaning is not mainstream too and means "networking part of work".

Next to the assosiations that people may have with new term, my problem comes to a usual dilemma about introducing new terminology. For example, many people do not like knowledge management or weblogs for several reasons and introduce new terms to stress specific aspects of the phenomena behind these terms. I undestand them and in many cases admire their persistence in introducing terminology that captures their views better than existing one, but I belong to another, more pragmatic, camp. For the sake of common language and being understood I use "mainstream" terminology. For example, I do not believe that knowledge can be managed, but I use knowledge management because it establishes a common ground to start. If we go in depth I would introduce my assumptions about KM stressing that "of course, we can't manage knowledge"... Sometimes it feels as a bad compromise, but I choose it instead of starting with trying to address the same thing with different terms.

So, may be I should just stick to knowledge worker and explain what I mean with it :)

  The power of lurking

I'm thinking about "core" vs. "fringe" in a community and at this moment it's more about a "fringe"... As far as I know there is not enough attention paid to legitimate peripheral participation in communities, to the "learning" and "belonging" effects of lurking (I may be missing something here, any pointers are welcome).

As I wrote before, there is a great value of an on-line community as a content provider: it could be a small group generating most of the discussions, but many people can benefit from finding and learning from them. I wonder what lurkers do in a community, how their activities ("passive" reading is an activity as well :) and effects of those activities can be accounted for and what role lurkers play in a community dynamics. I believe there are some hidden treasures there :)

And as usual, my questions have to do something not only with communities, but with blogging as well: regular reading of a weblog is a sort of "lurking" that creates similar effects of awareness of what's going on and "silent" learning.

More on: communities lurking 

  Back to writing

Red berries in snowI'm back. Still in Moscow (or, to be precise, in a village 100 kilometers from it at the moment of writing this :), off-line most of the time. Enjoying time with my family and friends, time to read and to reflects. And having a lot of fun trying to explan in Russian the tricky combination of knowledge work and blogging in my PhD research to my friends who know nothing about KM and weblogs.

Most of the things I'll be posting are written at other times...

More on: life 

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© Copyright 2002-2005 Lilia Efimova.

This weblog is my learning diary. Sometimes I write about things related to my work, but the views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

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