Monday, May 17, 2004

I recently enjoyed reading an article called “A learning organization”. As a person who dons the role of a knowledge manager, I was able to relate to so much of what it had to say... For KM to happen it is so very essential that the organization encourages an environment of collaboration rather than that of competition. This I realize is a great challenge since competition is all you get to see anywhere in the world! Both within and outside. In fact, I do believe, to be honest, that performance can increase significantly in a competitive environment. Is it against the human nature to eradicate competition altogether? Can collaboration and competition co-exist? Collaboration undoubtedly exists, but does it exist in the right place and at the right time? Do people understand when they have to collaborate and when compete? Any sport is a typical example! For example, team members in a cricket team will have to collaborate amongst themselves, but they ultimately have to compete with another team! But all said and done, there was this programme I was watching on Discovery about modern machines, and the TV anchor wound up the programme with the thought that “the best of modern machines will be developed not when Airbus and Boeing compete, but when they collaborate”. Here, we are talking about ‘competitors’ and not team members. If rivals collaborate, will it not mean a great benefit to the society at large? But isn’t the world too much after money and fame/glory to think about society? Being a part of the KM team, I might have vested interests in promoting this concept/thought…but genuinely, I wonder how right I am in thinking so! When can we discern the differences between the two concepts and choose the ‘right’ one to apply in given a context! Is it a paradox that does not have a simple solution?

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