Leadership & Organizational Learning in Knowledge Management Practices in Global Organizations

Article excerpt

This study attempts to find out potent organizational level variable(s) affecting the knowledge management processes and also to design a framework to be used by the firms. Based on the extensive review of literature relating to the practice of knowledge management in enterprises, an integrative framework with practical orientation is presented. The learning at an organizational level is a necessary precondition for becoming a knowledge managing company but the discipline of organizational learning thrives under higher form of leadership practices in operation. The framework developed could be customized to the needs of a particular business entity. The research framework articulates leadership practices in conjunction with organizational learning impacting knowledge management in the enterprise.

Introduction

The art and science of knowledge management depends upon learning on the part of the members to reach at organizational levels and practicing significantly different leadership styles. This inquiry is a conceptual level effort in that direction. It is said that the present financial meltdown and its impact can be successfully overcome by increasing the understanding of different aspects of globalization and interrelationships between the underlying factors and their changes, whether their primary operating environment is domestic or global (Jokinen 2005).

The present world scenario makes it imperative to develop global competencies for persons especially in leadership roles in the corporations. McCall and Hollenback (2002) believe that these competencies should be based on a global business strategy which determines what kind of global presence is desirable, how many and what types of international or global jobs, projects, task forces, and other types of interactions exist such that what happens in a small city in USA impacts immediately and significantly on businesses in the Indian subcontinent as well. Zahra (1999) says that tomorrow's global marketplace will reward companies which will value entrepreneurial risk taking, invest heavily in developing intellectual capital, promote individual growth, and adopt policies that are environmentally friendly. Competitiveness in 21st century will demand visionary and dedicated leadership.

Organizational Leadership for Learning Organizations

The construct of Leadership is defined by knowledge, skills, and abilities, rather than by position or title. The core competencies of leadership, can be learned, and the learning is a life-long process. It is purely a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent. The leaders carry out this process by applying their leadership attributes, such as beliefs, values, ethics, character, knowledge and skills. Today, CEOs are under constant pressure to find new sources of growth in an increasingly demanding and competitive business environment. Senge (2000) enunciates three core characteristics for a person to be in a leadership role in the present day organizations and they are of an architect, a teacher, and a steward. These three qualities helps in clarifying mission, vision and values; specifying strategies, structure and politics; creating efficient learning processes; and helping subordinates continually develop their mental model and system thinking.

Today's CEOs must learn to inspire their organizations to new levels of inventiveness in everything that they do, not just in marketing or new product development (Leavy 2005). Therefore, it calls for a new kind of leadership role and thinking whereby all the stakeholders are internally energized for continuous renewal in people, processes, and products. Survival and growth of organizations are based on a dramatic shift in leadership. It is no longer the time of a heroic leader--the leader walks in and takes up all the space in the board room. …