Magazine article Workforce Management

The Wiki-Powered Workplace

Magazine article Workforce Management

The Wiki-Powered Workplace

Article excerpt

5 Questions JIMMY WALES, founder, Wikipedia.org

Workforce Management: What are your thoughts on how businesses use wikis to manage their workforces?

Jimmy Wales: A lot of organizations are successfully using wikis inside the corporate network, basically for simple knowledge sharing. And they realize a lot of subtle but powerful efficiencies from people having a quick, easy tool to document what you might call the oral culture of the company. There is stuff people know - the corporate culture and shared memories - that can now get written down for the first time. And it's really very powerful.

WM: Have companies used it to its fullest?

JW: Not necessarily. One of the problems people have had in some organizations is that this is a tool that is both an expression of and a cause of flattening of a hierarchy in an organization. So if you have an organization that is a very command-and-control, authoritarian, top-down sort of organization, a wiki can be very disconcerting. Anyone can edit anything. There's accountability because you can see who edited what. To compete in today's world you want to get the most intelligent ideas from anywhere in the organization. The wiki is a great tool for doing that, but not if everyone is terrified. That's a problem that's not a technological problem. I've heard people say this is a problem in some companies where if the boss says something nobody dares touch it. That sort of defeats the purpose.

WM; Is that a problem in your organization? …

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