The main aim of this critique is to provide an opportunity to learn from scholars and to try as much as possible to analyze the concepts and theories brought forth. One aspect of the critique attempts to link concepts and theories with my Ph.D. thesis topic, which is “impact of organizational culture in knowledge sharing behavior in organizations.” Knowing critical evaluation is imperative in the analysis of others’ works because examination of literature reviews, designing research methodology, data analysis techniques, discussion of findings and ultimately making recommendations and conclusions enables one to come up with a high-quality critique paper. To accomplish the task, the critique will examine research purposes, objectives and research questions, theories and concepts, methodology, and implications of the findings of the thesis. Moreover, the critique seeks to compare the definition of organizational culture in two journal articles and relates concepts and theories of organizational culture with my opinion. Ultimately, the critique examines whether the journal’s arguments have the same or opposing views. Two articles that the critique examines are “Organizational Learning and Communities of Practice: Toward a Unified View of Working, Learning, and Innovation” written by Brown, J. and Duguid, P. and published in 1991, and the second article is “Organizational Knowledge, Learning and Memory: Three Concepts in Search of a Theory” written by Spender, J. and published in 1996. Therefore, the main objective of the critique is to provide an opportunity of analyzing theories and concepts presented in the two articles with a view of relating them to my thesis, “the impact of organizational culture in knowledge sharing behavior in organizations.”
Journal 1: Organizational Learning and Communities of Practice: Toward a Unified View of Working, Learning, and Innovation.
Purpose and Objectives
The main purpose of the article is to underscore that work, learning, and innovation are integral components of an organization that need synchronization to optimize organizational culture for the optimal performance of workers. Conventionally, organizations tend to emphasize canonical job descriptions to enhance organizational performance, which restricts the way people work by inhibiting learning and innovation. Learning and innovation are critical for a vibrant organization’s behavior because they improve sharing of knowledge and the development of adaptive behavior that responds to numerous challenges and dynamics that many organizations face. Despite the inherent relationship that exists among work, learning, and innovation, conventional organizations tend to separate them into different entities by focusing on canonical practices that not only mask but also hinder learning and innovation. Brown and Duguid (1991) argue that overreliance on canonical practice at the expense of noncanonical practice has a detrimental effect on organizational performance because it down skill practices of workers (p.41). Thus, the article argues that noncanonical practice plays a significant role in enhancing knowledge-sharing behavior in organizations, which promotes learning and innovation.
To underscore the importance of work, learning, and innovation in enhancing organizational performance, the article attempts to answer several questions that relate to organizational behavior. Thus, the research question seeks to establish the interrelation of work, learning, and innovation in an organization. Since learning mediates between work and innovation, their relationships are critical in promoting organizational performance. Normally, most organizations perceive work, learning, and innovation as separate entities that have no inherent relationships. In this case, the article questions if considerable variance exists between canonical practice and noncanonical practice. Moreover, given that conventional learning theory supports canonical practice over noncanonical practice, the article analyzes the detrimental effect of separating knowledge from practice. In essence, the article argues that learners and workers are the same because organizational culture dynamics and processes require continual adaptation to challenges and changes. According to Brown and Duguid (1991), organizational adaptation to changing situations, membership, and communities-of-practice provide a vibrant environment that favors innovation (p.41). Thus, it shows that ability of an organization to adapt to different challenges and changes in varied organizational environments determines its organizational culture.
In a bid to answer research questions concerning organizational behavior effectively, the article has several objectives. One objective of the article is to determine the effect of canonical practice in shaping the organizational performance and behavior of workers. Canonical job description usually limits workers from exploring and expanding their casual skills according to the dynamics of organizational culture. Thus, the article seeks to illustrate the ineffectiveness of canonical practice in enhancing organizational performance and culture. Additionally, the objective of the article is to describe the relevance of noncanonical practice in enhancing organizational performance and culture. Brown and Duguid (1991) assert that social interaction in an organization is very important because it creates a discourse that eventually led to the resolution of a problem (p.44). An interrelationship between rep and specialist as in a case scenario in the article illustrates the essence of noncanonical practice in the diagnosis and repair of machines. Ultimately, another objective of the article is to illustrate relationships that exist among noncanonical practice, learning, and innovation. Ideally, noncanonical practice is central in promoting learning and innovation as part of organizational culture.
Key Concepts and Theories
The article employs several key concepts in elucidating organizational culture using three integral components of an organization, work, learning, and innovation. Conventionally, organizations view work as a descriptive process that workers must comply with despite changes in organizational culture. However, work is a flexible process that requires modifications for workers to adapt to changing organizational culture that promotes sharing of knowledge. Thus, the concept of noncanonical practice, which is casual experiences that workers gain in the course of their duties, is imperative in enhancing learning and innovation. In contrast, the concept of canonical practice explains how organizations give formal jobs descriptions that restrict workers from expanding and exploring their knowledge and skills in an organizational context. Moreover, the article defines learning as a social process that workers undergo for them to gain essential experience in their workplaces. Thus, the article asserts that vibrant organizational culture depends on the extent to which an organization recognizes noncanonical practice as critical in promoting learning and innovation. Hence, the article explains the concept of organizational culture based on canonical practice, noncanonical practice, learning, and innovation.
An exposition of the concepts of work, learning, and innovation, the article employs some theories to elucidate their interrelationships in an organization. According to ethnographic theory, which emerged from examining roles of technicians and specialists, espoused practice significantly differs from actual practice. The theory envisages that emphasis on espoused practice over the actual practice has a detrimental effect on the performance of an organization because it undermines learning and innovation. Hence, the theory supports that noncanonical practice plays a significant role in determining the performance of organizations. Additionally, in learning, the practice-based theory states that learning occurs best in a working environment that promotes the noncanonical practice. Hence, from the perspective of practice-based theory, learning acts as a bridge that links work and innovation. The theory of social construction also elucidates the essence of noncanonical practice in enhancing social interaction and sharing of knowledge among workers and promoting vibrant organizational behavior. Brown and Duguid (1991) argue that the narration of stories regarding daily activities enables workers to construct and develop their identities as well as their community of workers (p.47). The contribution that emanates from individual workers and the community of workers determines organizational culture that ultimately dictates sharing of knowledge in organizations. Therefore, ethnographic theory, practice-based theory, and social construction theory agree that noncanonical practice is central in promoting learning and shaping organizational behavior.
The articles conduct qualitative research that examines a great deal of literature review and significant cases that illustrate relationships between work, learning, and innovation. Majorly, the article examines ethnography study of reps during training and work with a view of establishing the essence of the noncanonical practice. The ethnographic study indicates that there is a significant difference between actual practice and espoused practice, thus confirming they are different entities that intricately link one another in determining organizational behavior and sharing of knowledge among workers. In the ethnographic study, a rep encountered a strange error when using a machine that was difficult to resolve using normal troubleshooting strategies according to its manual instructions. Since the rep was unable to troubleshoot and correct the error, he summoned a specialist to diagnose and repair the machine. The specialist also was unable to troubleshoot and repair the machine based on the canonical approach. However, after lengthy discussion and brainstorming, the specialist and the rep managed to correct the defect in the machine using a noncanonical approach. Brown and Duguid (1991) note that discussions between the specialist and the rep resulted in insightful ideas that enabled the correction of the defect in the machine (p.44). Therefore, the use of ethnographic studies to expound on the importance of noncanonical practice is effective because it reflects real-life scenarios, and thus enhances the validity and reliability of the findings.
Based on an ethnographic study of reps presents a practical aspect of noncanonical perspective. In this case, scenario, although the rep and the specialist relied on the canonical approach that the organization demands, findings proved that it is not always an effective way of enhancing the performance of workers. In contrast, the findings indicate that the noncanonical approach is effective in enabling workers to construct and develop their skills through a vibrant organizational culture that promotes sharing of knowledge learning, and innovation. According to Brown and Duguid (1991), narration, social construction, and collaboration are central features of noncanonical practice (p.44). These features reflect how workers interact in an organization that promotes sharing of knowledge and canonical practice. Narration is an essential component in the working environment because it promotes social relationships and subsequent development of organizational behavior as it determines relationships between audience, narrator, and narrative. Given that concerted efforts of the specialist and the rep helped in correcting the defect in the machine, it indicates that collaboration among workers is necessary for sharing knowledge and skills. Collaboration also enhances the development of a vibrant organizational behavior that endorses organizational performance. Ultimately, noncanonical practice enables workers to construct their social environment and improve organizational culture.
The findings have significant implications for my thesis that states that organizational culture influence knowledge-sharing behavior in organizations. In the article, the findings indicate that work, learning, and innovation intricately link one another and significantly influence sharing of knowledge and skills through organizational behavior. Hence, the findings support my thesis by indicating that work, learning, and innovation are inseparable aspects of the organization that rely on vibrant organizational culture for them to occur optimally. Since conventional organizations perceive work, learning, and innovation as different entities, the findings prove that they are intricate entities that have complicated relationships. Thus, the findings imply that knowledge-sharing behavior among organizations is dependent on relationships among work, learning, and innovation. Normally, an organization’s misunderstanding of relationships of work, learning, and innovation has led to the restriction of workers from applying a noncanonical approach in resolving problems. Given that the canonical approach does not provide freedom to workers to expand and explore their skills, it results in poor development of organizational culture and sharing of knowledge. Brown and Duguid (1991) state organizations that promote the canonical practice and suppress noncanonical practice tend to inhibit robust working, restrain learning, and prevent innovation (p.53). Thus, the findings have significant implications for my thesis because they point out that canonical practice, as well as noncanonical practice, is essential in the development of knowledge-sharing behavior in organizations.
Since practice-based theory supports noncanonical practice among workers, it is in tandem with my thesis that organizational culture determines knowledge-sharing behavior in organizations. The findings show that organizational culture advances working, learning, and innovation via sharing of knowledge and skills, as organizations are community-of-communities with a wide pool of knowledge and skills that needs synchronization. Ideally, synchronization of work, learning, and innovation requires the adoption of noncanonical practice as an integral component of organizational culture. Brown and Duguid (1991) recommend that for organizations to enhance their behavior and performance, they must look beyond their canonical practice and promote noncanonical practice among workers (p.53). Therefore, these findings have significant importance to my thesis because they imply that organizational culture favors synchronization of work, learning, and innovation, and eventually influences knowledge sharing behavior. Generally, the findings imply that effective integration of work, learning, and innovation is central in enhancing organizational culture and promoting knowledge-sharing behavior in an organization.
Limitation of the Study
Even though the study has strong evidence to support its claims based on case scenarios and extensive literature review, it has a limitation in that it relies too much on a literature review to support its central claim that work, learning, and innovation are important elements of an organization that need separation. The use of case scenarios to demonstrate the importance of noncanonical practice provides a strong basis for the study. Distinctively, although an ethnographic study gives sufficient evidence to support the claim, the study does not consider the presence of confounding variables that may influence the development of organizational culture and sharing of skills. Confounding variables such as qualifications of workers and organizational behavior may influence how workers relate, interact and share knowledge rather than noncanonical practice. Moreover, the study effectively illustrates how working, learning, and innovation relate in an organization but it does not depict the extent of canonical and noncanonical applications in various organizations to substantiate their impact on organizational performance. Lastly, since both theoretical and practical bases are essential for research, the study seems to have its basis more on the theoretical aspect in organizational culture as compared to the practical aspect. Thus, the study needs to provide more case scenarios that explain interrelationships of work, learning, and innovation relative to the dynamics and factors of an organization.
Journal 2: Organizational Knowledge, Learning, and Memory: Three Concepts in Search of a Theory.
Purpose and Objectives
Since organizational knowledge provides the competitive capacity to an organization, the main purpose of the article is to provide pluralistic epistemology of organizational knowledge by pulling diverse ideas together. While some management experts perceive organizational knowledge as consisting of learning and memory, others perceive it as fragments of literature that need refinement to validate the organizational theory and practice effectively. Thus, on this basis, the article seeks to synchronize various perceptions of organizational knowledge because an organization is a system of knowledge where different forms of knowledge interact. Spender (1996) argues that the problem in understanding organizational knowledge arises from an attempt to separate knowledge, learning, and memory as different entities of an organization rather than inherent and interrelated parts of an organization (p.66). Thus, the article seeks to harmonize different aspects of organizational knowledge with a view of enhancing organizational knowledge and practice. To achieve its main purpose, the article employs positivistic and pluralistic epistemologies in establishing relationships of knowledge, learning, and memory because they determine knowledge-sharing behavior in an organization.
As the article utilizes pluralistic epistemology in defining organizational knowledge based on relationships among knowledge, learning, and memory, it has four objectives. The first objective of the article is to highlight that the conceptual problem that many contemporary organizations are grappling with is that they perceive learning literature from a narrow positivistic perspective. In this view, Spender (1996) argues that the dominant perception of knowledge appears to be naively positivistic while learning seems to be a simple mechanical process (p.64). Thus, the article disputes these perceptions of organizational knowledge with a view of delineating what constitutes organizational learning literature. The second objective of the article is to embrace both interpretive and positivistic perspectives in developing pluralistic epistemology. Pluralistic epistemology examines organizational learning literature to draw distinctions of implicit and explicit forms of knowledge from individual and social perspectives. The third objective is to explain how different forms of knowledge contrast and relate with each other. This is critical because it provides a basis that elucidates the relationship between knowledge, learning, and memory. The fourth and final objective is to explore opportunities that management can utilize to shape an organization as a system that consists of knowledge, learning, and memorizing.
Key Concepts and Theories
The article seeks to define the concepts of knowledge, learning, and memory as an integral part of an organization as a system. Interrelationships among knowledge, learning, and memory determine organizational capacity to empower workers through social sharing of knowledge. The article argues that knowledge can be either implicit or explicit depending on its application in an organization. For instance, while explicit knowledge is conscious and objectively applicable among workers, implicit knowledge is automatic and is collectively applied to the organization, thus creating organizational culture. Spender (1996) explains that implicit knowledge emanates from personal experience in the workplace and is subject to organizational culture (p.68). Thus, organizational culture is central in promoting knowledge-sharing behavior among workers. The article also uses the concept of organizational learning to explain how the learning process occurs in an organization. In this view, the article asserts that organizational learning entails behavioral and cognitive learning processes that occur at individual and organizational levels. Since knowledge is more about practice rather than reason and truth, organizational knowledge should entail systems of activities that workers perform. Ultimately, the article examines the concept of memory in relation to organizational knowledge and learning. Since organization is a system of knowledge, it must have memory that it uses storing and retrieving essential information when needed. Hence, the concepts of knowledge, learning and memory are interrelated components of an organization as a system
To elucidate interrelation of knowledge, learning and memory, the article employs various theories. In exposition of organizational knowledge, the article uses knowledge-based theory to elucidate pluralistic epistemology. System’s collective theory posits that organizational knowledge originates from interaction process of individuals in an organization. Moreover, social construction theory states that cognitive abilities of an individual depend on social interaction. The theory supports that knowledge acquisition and sharing is a social process that occurs in organization level. Thus, it means that interaction of workers in an organization influence organizational culture via sharing of knowledge. Hence, social construction theory is against separation of knowledge, learning and memory as different entities in an organization. Spender (1996) argues that social construction theory elucidate relationships between social and individual epistemologies in a context of organization (p.69). In this view, organizational knowledge is a product of individual interactions in terms of learning and memory, which occurs in a context an organization. According to activity theory, organizational activities depict process of knowledge, learning and memory. The theory posits that knowledge flows from social level as explicit knowledge to individual level as implicit knowledge. Therefore, organizations need to create working environment that promote transfer of knowledge from social to individual levels. To achieve this, vibrant organization culture is integral to augment sharing of knowledge among workers and promote organizational performance.
To argue that organizational knowledge, learning and memory intricately link one another and are significant part of organization, the article examines great deal of literature as well as theories to support it claims. Firstly, the article examines positivistic approach of organizational learning literature with view of determining its relevance in organizational knowledge. As organizational learning involves both cognitive and behavioral learning, it is subject to organizational culture that determines sharing of knowledge among workers. Epistemologists argue that organizational knowledge consists of theoretical aspects in which their practical implications are subject to organizational framework where they are applicable. Spender (1996) asserts that problems in organizational learning emanate narrow perception of organizational literature (p.64). In essence, positivistic approach to learning is very shallow in that it does not effectively elucidate acquisition and sharing of knowledge in an organization. Therefore, from the assertion, it is evident that organizational learning requires wide and deeper perception of organizational literature. On this basis, organizational literature is critical in determining learning process in an organization via sharing of knowledge.
Moreover, the article uses pluralistic epistemology to explore different forms of knowledge that are present in an organizational environment. Using theories and literature review, the article contrasts implicit and explicit knowledge as two forms of knowledge that workers in organizations acquire and share during the process of their duties. Theories supporting these forms of knowledge such as social construction theory and activity theory support the claim that knowledge flows from explicit to implicit in social and individual environments respectively. According to Spender (1996), knowledge consists of automatic, collective, objectified and conscious forms, which implies that learning and memory processes vary basing on each form (p.74). From this perspective, the article suggests that knowledge, learning and memory have some intricate relationships that form part of organizational system. Since organizational culture determines how individuals relate as critical entities of an organization, sharing of knowledge is central in promoting and improving organizational performance. Therefore, examination of different forms of knowledge is necessary in determining organizational culture in terms of knowledge sharing behavior.
Examination of knowledge, learning and memory in a context of organization has significant importance to my thesis because it gives an insight as to how organizations acquire knowledge and share amongst its members. Acquisition and sharing of knowledge play a significant role in shaping organization culture and behavior because they are indispensable elements in which workers require so that they can enhance their performance. Spender (1996) argues that organizations must perceive knowledge, learning and memory as essential parts of a system that intricately link one another (p.75). Thus, intricate interrelation of knowledge, learning and memory implies that they determine organizational culture that ultimately influences flow and sharing of knowledge among different organizational members.
In support of my thesis that organizational culture influence knowledge sharing behavior, the findings show that pluralistic approach to epistemology is essential in promoting relationships among knowledge, learning and memory. Since conventional discourse about organizational knowledge, learning and memory is shallow and narrow due positivistic approach of epistemology, pluralistic approach of epistemology shows that knowledge, learning and memory are inseparable components of an organizational system. Spender (1996) explains that meaning of all forms of knowledge lies in their development and application, but positivism hampers development of knowledge because it separates objectification and application of knowledge (p.75). Therefore, positivism approach to epistemology is restrictive compared to pluralistic approach to epistemology. The pluralistic approach to epistemology conceptualizes knowledge, learning and memory as a community of practices that determine organizational culture. Given that expansive and diverse forms of knowledge are determinants of organizational knowledge, learning and memory, it implies knowledge sharing is integral part of organizational culture in accordance to my thesis.
Limitation of the Study
The study has considerable wealthy of evidence from theoretical and empirical aspect to support its claims that pluralistic approach to epistemology is invaluable elucidating relationships among knowledge, learning and memory. However, limitation of the study is that it bases its evidences more on theoretical aspect of epistemology as compared to empirical aspect. Moreover, the study extensively explores how pluralistic and positivistic approach to epistemology, and thus acquisition and sharing of knowledge. Nevertheless, the study’s support of pluralistic approach to epistemology over positivistic approach has a limitation because there is no sufficient evidence to back up the claim that knowledge, learning and memory have intricate relationship that is critical for development of knowledge in an organization. Spender (1996) argues that overreliance of knowledge on abstract theory is a limitation because it promotes arbitrary rejection of positivistic epistemology (p.66). Hence, excessive focus on pluralistic epistemology can lead to blanket rejection and generalization of knowledge, learning and memory as intricate components of organizational culture. Therefore, the article needs to consider essence of both positivistic and pluralistic approach to epistemology by exploring their impacts on organizational culture and sharing knowledge.
Comparison of the Papers
The two articles examine the concept of organizational learning as it relate to organizational culture and knowledge sharing behavior. Organizational learning is critical because it determines organizational culture and interaction of workers as they share knowledge. The first article by Brown and Duguid (1991) holds that work, learning and innovation are intricate components of an organization that determines its capacity to perform effectively. In essence, organizations that promote canonical practice perform better and have numerous innovations. Comparatively, the second article by Spender (1996) argues that pluralistic approach to epistemology is valuable in understanding knowledge sharing behavior in an organization
Summary of comparison between the two study papers
|The Journal Title||Key concepts||The relation to my field/ work “The Impact of Organizational Culture on Knowledge Sharing Behavior in Organizations”|
|Brown, J., & Duguid, P., 1991. Organizational Learning and Communities-of-Practice: Toward a Unified View of Working, Learning, and Innovation. Organization Science, 2(1), pp. 40-57.|| ||Brown and Duguid (1991) emphasize that work, learning and innovation are essential in development of organizational culture and enhancing sharing of knowledge among organizational members. |
From this article, there are practical benefits that my paper may draw. The article by Brown and Duguid (1991) focuses on elucidating integral relationships among work, learning and innovation. On this basis, interrelationship of work, learning and innovation plays considerable role in determining organizational culture that subsequently influence knowledge sharing behavior. Therefore, interrelation of work, learning and innovation has the capacity to influence knowledge sharing behavior and practice of an organization.
The concepts in the paper such as canonical practice and noncanonical practice benefit my paper in many respects. Canonical practice describes how management team of an organization allocates responsibilities and dictates their performance. In contrast, Noncanical practice illustrates how casual experiences of workers plays considerable role in enhancing performance of an organization. Hence, both canonical and noncanonical practices significantly influence organizational culture and sharing of knowledge.
After reading the journal, I have noted that organizations that promote canonical practice over noncanonical practice suppress effective interrelation of work, learning and innovation. Moreover, I have noted that noncanonical practice is very important for an organization to enhance its culture and performance. Thus, the article provides an opportunity for me to examine importance of both canonical and noncanonical practices in an organizational culture and knowledge sharing behavior.
|Spender, J., 1996. Organizational Knowledge, Learning and Memory: Three Concepts in Search of a Theory. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 9(1), pp. 63-78.|| ||Spender (1996) argues pluralistic epistemology approach to organizational knowledge is very effective in understanding knowledge sharing behavior of an organization. |
The article is relevant to my study because it examines relationship of knowledge, learning and memory as they relate to organizational culture. An organization with effective interrelationship among knowledge, learning and memory has robust development of knowledge and enhanced organizational behavior.
The concepts of positivistic epistemology and pluralistic epistemology clearly contrast different ways to which organizations explore and amass knowledge. Therefore, perception of knowledge, learning and memory as intricate components of an organization enhances depiction of organizational culture and sharing of knowledge.
As the article asserts that knowledge, learning and memory are intricate components of a system; their interrelationships enhanced my understanding of their roles in promoting organizational culture and knowledge sharing behavior.
|Comparison between major concepts/ theories/ arguments/ approaches etc||The two articles focus on the concept of organizational learning as a key concept that influences organizational culture and knowledge sharing behavior among organizational members. Despite the fact that the two articles examine different aspects of organization, learning is a central theme because it influences acquisition and sharing of knowledge. While the first article examines interrelationship among work, learning and innovation, the second article also examines interrelationship among knowledge, learning and memory. Additionally, both articles are similar because they have support broad perception of their respective three concepts and their collective influence on organizational culture and knowledge sharing behavior. |
The findings of the two articles reveal that conventional practices in organizations are wanting because they suppress development of vibrant organization culture and knowledge sharing behavior. In the first article, the findings support application of noncanonical practice in enhancing organizational performance and knowledge sharing behavior. Likewise, in the second article, the findings indicate that pluralistic epistemology is effective in understanding process of acquisition and sharing of knowledge among organizational members.
|Theories||The authors of the articles have extensively reviewed numerous theories to support expansive literature review that they utilize.|
The critique of the two articles shows that organizational learning is important in mediating various aspects of organizations. In the first article, learning appears to mediate work and innovative behavior of many organizations depending on whether they employ canonical or noncanonical practice in management of human resources. Likewise, the second article clearly elucidates how learning is integral in mediating knowledge and memory. In this case, it is evident that pluralistic approach to epistemology is the most effective in defining organizational knowledge and culture. Therefore, both articles support that organizational culture influence knowledge sharing behavior in organizations.
Brown, J., & Duguid, P., 1991. “Organizational Learning and Communities-of-Practice: Toward a Unified View of Working, Learning, and Innovation.” Organization Science, 2(1),pp. 40-57.
Spender, J., 1996. “Organizational Knowledge, Learning and Memory: Three Concepts in Search of a Theory.” Journal of Organizational Change Management, 9(1), pp. 63-78.