Knowledge Maturing: The Scopes

The macro phase model provides a first insight in the nature of maturing. To refine this view we have to consider the different levels of interaction that accompany this process. Here we find a progression from the level of individuals to the level of communities, and, finally, to the level of organisation. During the maturing process from expressing ideas to formalization we find patterns in the flow of knowledge from the individual to the organisational level.

  • The starting point is the knowledge worker as an individual. Coming up with new ideas and experiences, they often freely share these with others.
  • If these experiences are to spread, a joint understanding is necessary, and is accomplished by communication within groups sharing the same interest and vision. Such communities are compelled to find a common footing for their joint action and the achievement of common goals.
  • However, communities are characterised by common interests and aim at the exchange of experience and not at the realisation of common goals. This is the focus of the organisations, the third level of interaction. In the organisation knowledge workers join their forces to direct them towards agreed or given targets. This requires even more understanding, coherence, and agreement than the mere exchange of information in communities. Thus it is usual that organisations actively propagate to their members the goals for which they strive and the ideas associated with those goals.

It has to be remarked that maturing processes often go beyond intraorganisational learning processes; in particular on the individual level many of them are interorganisational, e.g., personal networks. Not only in SMEs, but also in big companies, communities often cross organisational boundaries and new influential ideas come from partners and customers.