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Learning And Knowledge-To-Wisdom Management In Complex Adaptive Systems: A Socio-Technical Approach

The growing speed of change, downsizing and reengineering, the growth in organizational scope, globalization of markets, proliferation of networked organizations, the growing intensity of knowledge-based products and services, and the advancement of information technology and internet has given rise to interest in organizational learning and knowledge management. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that today too many organizations (and nations) are unable to learn from their mistakes; they fail to adapt to changing internal and external environments. Meanwhile, intellectual capital is beginning to eclipse fixed assets and financial capital as a source of economic development and competitive strength.

The increasing role that knowledge plays in creating economic value and the recognition of the importance of knowledge based systems has been in the forefront of the strategic management debate for some time now. Recent studies show that “the only thing that is sustainable is what the organization knows, how it uses what it knows, and how fast it can know something new.” However, The approach to organizational learning and knowledge management has been fragmented and inconclusive on a variety of fronts, culminating in the less than satisfactory results. Specifically, until recently the technical perspective has taken a dominant role, making organizational learning and knowledge management a “technology thing” or a “computer thing.” Relatively few firms have attempted the kind of holistic (systemic) approach that would lead to dramatic improvements in organizational performance.

Therefore, at ACASA we have developed a socio-technical or complex man-machine systems approach that:

  • Takes into account the contextual factors that influence learning and adaptation, i.e., culture, strategy, structure, technology and internal and external environments
  • Proactively extracts, captures and disseminates, from repositories and other sources, the knowledge and understanding required to operate in a world characterized by increasing complexity and accelerating rate of change
  • Explores the cutting edge adaptive techniques and technologies (devices, human, organizational) across the range of possibilities, in order to extract common principles and advance the state of the art

The research is currently directed at helping organizations to find the means to dramatically accelerate learning and enhance their own processes of creating, transferring, and deploying knowledge-to-wisdom assets.