Looking Back

Over the course of twelve weeks many topics have been discussed and disembowelled in order to understand them better. I would say now looking back my opinion hasn’t been changed on most topics but the way I think about them has. I think one of the main reasons for this was as each week passed and each week was reflected on I thought about different aspects in terms of what I was doing at the time. I have been working on many different projects and each is completely different to another. This has given me the opportunity `to apply what I’ve learned in a variety of ways. A main topic of interest I have preened over this time has been to understand others and how it is important to work to everyone’s strengths when trying to attain a common goal. There is no point in looking at something and seeing it as merely a problem. It has to be resolved and worked around so the team can keep moving forward. This was certainly applicable to the group situation. To this extent the culture of the group in this case has been extremely important. It is something I wouldn’t have given much consideration before I started reading about it and understanding how it works and how it can be used to benefit everyone involved.
From the outset I’m not entirely sure what I expected to learn, I have done courses before where theories have been the focus and a specific way of doing things in order to achieve results has been the basis for the classes. Obviously a better understanding is always a goal when you start out a class and probably something I have gleaned from the class was just that in relation to thinking alternatively. It is an important theme in my PLN project to really get under the skin of an people and how they see things differently and understand how they operate. It has been of great importance to relate what I have learned here to my own situation. People have to be clear on what is happening so they can buy into and be involved in the process. This will lead to better workflow and concise parameters to work within when trying to achieve certain goals. Which I’m sure everyone can agree on will be important to success, success in terms of end result but also success in developing working relationships. Furthering on to this point would be to learn more which I think will be hugely beneficial and will come with experience in future situations that arise throughout the rest of the year and beyond that.

The class has been different in terms of work to other classes; it hasn’t been overly intense but instead much more thought provoking. It was good to have time to reflect and develop ideas. Sometimes in college it’s just a matter of getting through the work and you don’t actually take much from it. Now that we are coming to the end it has reaped its rewards. It’s an area I am interested in for obvious reasons but it tackles an important issue in my life right now and has even made me think down the line about next year exploring the idea of what I will do. My interest peaked when I was developing my PLN which opened my mind to what other people do and to try and understand their processes of doing things which I touched on in my first paragraph. In terms of how things could have been better, more time to focus on certain topics but that is something that would make me interested in doing more classes where their goal is to focus on more specific areas. The most enjoyable thing about the class has been the building my blog overall. I have done other blogs but not in this portfolio set-up. Its definitely a hub I can come back to and increase it over time. There is still work to do but it will definitely benefit me its complete and I will look back in a positive fashion.


Margaret Heffernan: Dare to Disagree

Most people instinctively avoid conflict, but as Margaret Heffernan shows us, good disagreement is central to progress. She illustrates (sometimes counterintuitively) how the best partners aren’t those who just follow like sheep and are happy to agree regardless. Also how great research teams, relationships and businesses allow people to deeply disagree. While a lot of people would agree with this it isnt always put in to practice which can and is detrimental. Part of the problem was that it takes time to transform perception, even if data shows that something is incorrect it isnt always that simple. We not only need to Dare to disagree, but also dare to believe in an alternative view or belief based on data and new information. We must ourselves be open to changing our own views or consider other possibilities.

Link: Margaret Heffernan: Dare to Disagree

Drew Dudley: Everyday Leader

In this talk about leadership Drew Dudley takes a slightly different slant on what it is to be a leader. Instead of holding leaders on some sort of plateau that very few of us will ever successfully reach he breaks it down to everyday tasks. He tries to show how important influence is in everyday life in helping others think and act differently. More importantly, leadership is about getting things done through relationships and interactions with people that are talented and skilled, even when they don’t yet realize it. All too often it’s too easy to get caught up in what the definition is of being a leader and not focusing on what it actually takes and what forms it can take. Leaders come in all different forms and its important to remember that when you find yourself in a situation where you may need to take charge.

Link: Drew Dudley: Everyday Leader

The interplay between individual and collective knowledge: technologies for organisational learning and knowledge building

The article further builds on what has been outlined in other studies but in relation to specific technologies. Social-tagging systems, pattern-based task-management systems, and wikis are all looked at in terms of how they can be used to build knowledge via collaboration. They are discussed in terms of the model that is presented which brings together Nonaka’s knowledge-creating theory and Luhmann’s systems theory. The authors argue that knowledge is built as a co-evolution of cognitive and social systems. By examining the methods listed above this idea is explored further with examples used to identify suitability depending on specific incidents. It takes it further and examines how individuals use previous knowledge and how organisations use it when addressing these technologies. A certain type of software that is useful for knowledge building will depend on its ability to cause cognitive conflicts. What is interesting in this article is the fact that not all technology will have a positive impact and that some technology will have a greater impact than others. Other articles tended to look at the bigger picture. This article in particularly useful for further defining aspects that other articles hit upon but don’t explore deeper such as the Networks, Digital Libraries and Knowledge Management article.

Kimmerle, J., Cress, U,. Held, C. (2010) “The interplay between individual and collective knowledge: technologies for organisational learning and knowledge building” (Electronic Version) Knowledge Management Research & Practice, Vol. 8, Issue: 1, pp. 33-44.

Knowledge management as a mechanism for technological and organizational change management in Israeli universities

This journal article looks at the impact that technology has had on higher education on two fronts, firstly how it is the main cause of change and in turn how it is the main tool for dealing with change. In order to deal with this change, knowledge management is looked at as a possible way of fully utilising technology in the education sector. In order for universities to fully incorporate an ever changing digital world it needs clear guidance so that organizational and inter-organizational processes for managing innovation and change in the long run have a stable foundation. Thereby shaping the university into an organization that learns and manages knowledge. An interesting topic that is brought up is that of “Communities of practice” and how they are an integral part of KM. The journal provides a framework of extensive research detailing potential models in an effort to create a suitable model for universities. By looking at a system which is alternative to a business or non-profit organisation this study provides a different prospective but reaches many of the same conclusions. By doing so it strengthens the importance of knowledge management in the digital age. This study highlights the importance of sharing information when striving to improve what has gone before it.

Shoham, S., Perry, M. (2009) “Knowledge management as a mechanism for technological and organizational change management in Israeli universities.” (Electronic Version) Higher Education, Vol. 57 Issue: 2, pp. 227-246.

Brett L. Simmons Positive Organisational Behaviour

Lead From Anywhere
There is a great message in this piece which is that leadership behaviors should be exhibited from everyone even when they might not have the formal title or position. Leadership is something you never stop learning how to do well, and you should start learning how to lead well before you are ever formally expected to assume that role. This point really stood out to me because its something I have been giving a lot of thought too lately. There are many different types of leader and there are many different ways to lead. Knowing your environment is crucial to how you exhibit your leadership qualities but you should always be striving to do so in some capacity. It can be great to be looked at as a leader and your opinion to be held in high regard but sometimes that is not how a situation unfolds but you must be willing to work with people and get the best results and if you have the know how, you should show how to do so.

Effective Organizational Citizens Help, Then Challenge
With recent experiences I can honestly say I fall foul of what is being said here. If you show up do your job and do what is expected of you there can be no complaints. However if you meet these goals and strive for more by helping others around you, then you can be considered effective. This year has been tough with the amount of work I found at my front door and the temptation in group work is to do what is expected of you and no more. At times thats exactly what I have done, not too be lazy but I had to make a decision what could I feasibly manage, although it never sits well with me. Being aware that I need to strive for more is the first step and there are a few words of advice in this piece along the lines of are you willing to voice your concerns about the direction of the work team or company. Another good point is; Are you willing to risk disapproval in order to express your belief about what’s best for the organization. This is not easy and playing the role of the villain is sometimes necessary as I found out in my group work last year and referred to in my blog post Developing my PLN

Elevator Pitch

I am currently a student in UCD studing information systems to attain my Msc. What this involves is studying, carrying out research in a development capacity and working with different groups of people in a wide variety of classes and subject topics. It is completely different from when I studied economics for my BA. Its a hand on approach to learn skills that are transferable to the job market. I have worked in quite a few different part time jobs really exploring what it takes to actually be successful, from a banana factory to a catering system and working at events such as Bloom garden show in an organisational capacity and Electric Picnic music festival as bar staff. I find these jobs through a business interest I am involved in which Stepone Permanent Solutions, a recruitment agency where I am learning first hand experience at what it takes to run a successful business and develop my leadership and managerial skills. Going forward I want to bring these experiences with me and carve out my own unique path which begins in the upcoming year.