Relationships within a ba do not exist a-priori , they are not pre-determined or coming from any extra solid model out of human implications. The inner coherency of ba reveals itself through organic interactions based on vision and community knowledge effort rather than as the effect of a mechanical concentration produced by a dominant center. These interactions lead to apparition of a higher self and continuous exchanges strengthen inner relationships.
Individuals create the ba of teams which create the one of organizations. Pierre Fayard, Ed. Dunod, Paris Case study of micro-firms network in Southern Brazil. Reference to the Brazilian culture of strategy is helpful to understand the way KM is penetrating and adapted within this country.
As done in the case of the Japanese way of Knowledge Creation in Japan or Local Wisdom in Thailand, making explicit a specific culture of strategy brings insights about the way KM is proceeded and impacts Brazilian organizations. This paper presents main features of Brazilian culture of strategy and then focused on a case study from the South of the country. The interplay of the two has a mutual benefit effect on evolution on both. For geographical, historical and ethnical reasons, the Brazilian culture of strategy is mainly tactic, instead of strategic; local, instead of global; short term, instead of long term; and appears as individualistic and opportunistic.
As a huge and diverse country, Brazil is rich in terms of natural resources.
All along its five centuries of history, Brazilian people found available resources that are mainly exported: from wood, tire, sugar, coffee to oil, soy or fruits… Once a specific resource is no longer exportable or rentable, Brazilian people used to move to new ones, which often meant going to other spaces in this huge country.
Since its birth as a colony, then republic and til the end of Century 20th, Brazil never mastered its economic relations with abroad. As a result, the country has no tradition of mastering strategic relations with foreign countries. Considerable efforts are currently being developed in order to transform this situation. Cultural strategic background of the country is lying on two opposite traditions: the one from the Portuguese masters, who — by definition — had absolute power, and the one from African slaves, who were led to hide tactical abilities known today as capoeira, a very original martial art under the disguise of a dance!
This second tradition, one of dominated people striving to survive, now represents the main cultural background of the Brazilian culture of strategy: individualistic, fast and opportunistic, indirect, invisible, soft in appearance, but also based on a very strong self-individual confidence to find a way out from any impossible situation.
Jeitinho, a mix of astuce and cunning on a very short term no matter collective or long term consequences is a key concept that summarizes this tactical know-how. Taking into account these characteristics, one might easily deduce that models based on sharing mutual confidence and capitalization of knowledge does contrast as an adequate background for a Brasilian way for KM.
Moreover, short-term survival concerns and lack of strategic visions make things even worse. Nevertheless, it is possible to analyze case studies of networking strategies developed by micro enterprises as a creative way.
One interesting outcome of them is that they act as a learning process to turn short-term, individualistic and local approaches tactical dimension to medium-term, community and global approach strategic dimension. As a result, knowledge management is upgrading capabilities toward strategic dimension from excellent tactical skills. Aiming at fostering the local and regional development, the State Government of Rio Grande do Sul Southern Brazil launched in December a Program for Structuration of Cooperation Networks, whose objective is the promotion and strengthening of competitiveness among SMEs, through cooperative strategies.
Five years after, the Program includes SME networks from different economic segments 2, enterprises with the support of 8 universities and 45 consultants to strenghten network structuring and functionning. All along the setting up of the networks, governmental policies implemented by Rio Grande do Sul State, aim to foster the development of SMEs involved through easy access to credit, managerial skills acquisition, incentive for participation in fairs and events.
They seek to facilitate the governance among actors for collective interests to be preserved. The Assembly gathers a forum of SME managers, each one contributing with ideas, experiences and useful knowledge for networking strategies. They have limited technological development, especially due to the scarcity of resources to be invested in productive technologies, specialized skills acquisition or fashion designing.
Assemblée nationale ~ Première séance du jeudi 23 mai
Such limits and constraints have been partly and gradually overcome through the cooperative strategy used by the SMEs. Apart Governmental incentives, the main motivation that led entrepreneurs to create AGIVEST was survival necessity, since they were so aware and concerned about the reality of an highly competitive market, dominated by large enterprises. The socialization of knowledge about production techniques, market, new goods, technologies and management has caused significant changes, above all through incremental innovations in products and processes. Several network space ba for effective sharing of knowledge have been identified.
According to the guidelines provided by Nonaka, Toyama and Konno , each of these spaces acts as different ba, which promote actual platforms that facilitate the knowledge creation among network enterprises. One of these ba, especially for communication of tacit knowledge, is nurtured by visits entrepreneurs pay mutually to themselves. Through these visits, they identify improvement possibilities in production processes, in technologies and concepts which generate substantial profits.
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The Assembly, which takes place at least once a month, became a socialization context of useful knowledge for the network strategic choices. Decisions are made within a process of debate and reasoning for satisfactory choice to be taken. Informal conversation before and after the sessions allow debates about specific topics, issues in the production processes, information about a new supplier or representative, etc.
Since SMEs are contextualized within a community environment with intense social relationships, they often originate simultaneous friendships and businesses. Social gatherings — lunches and dinners — are generalized among entrepreneurs, employees and relatives that are also part of the network. These moments strengthen trust relationships, talks about opportunities, challenges for the future of the network and its enterprises.
Business trips, visits and exhibition of products in fairs allow entrepreneurs to discover other experiences about market trends and challenges. This market knowledge sounds so useful for strategic actions of the network. In order to enhance the managerial knowledge of network entrepreneurs, the State Government of Rio Grande do Sul provided hour managerial training programs, in which entrepreneurs could learn and develop new concepts and techniques about corporate management. Through the network, they might observe process and production standards which should be adopted by all network enterprises in order to set up high quality level to the products of the AGIVEST brand.
Collective thinking, as in the case of the SWOT matrix Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats , provides a vision of long-term network strategies.
Thus, by involving all members in the definition of objectives, strategies, goals and schedules, this process, besides representing a learning opportunity, sets up a group commitment on performances and continuous bettering. Analysing the different interaction spaces ba within AGIVEST network, a context of strong interaction among entrepreneurs can be observed.
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This interaction, which mainly occurs informally and face-to-face, offers a valuable basis for the creation of knowledge. Under this perspective, a key factor for managers to socialize their knowledge is trust, built much more on informal relationships among actors of a network context than on formal or contractual relationships.
Learning process to upgrade strategic capabilities. The analysis of the AGIVEST case represents an effective process of knowledge creation through emergence of several ba within the network context, which would hardly be found whether SMEs would have acted individually. As a result there were essential knowledge assets for SME competitiveness, such as: new production concepts and know-how, new product designs, better understanding of the network operational scenarii, patent registration of brands, product specifications, knowledge about suppliers and representatives, knowledge about new technologies and raw materials.
The collective learning through the network allowed SMEs to develop strategic capabilities, going from a local, reactive and short-term level to a national, pro-active and long-term level.
The access to new representatives was also facilitated by the network, especially by exchanging information among enterprises. From tactical to strategic though network KM processes. Another example that shows the possibilities of learning for network entrepreneurs were the managerial training programs, provided by the State Government, which had the objective to develop new concepts of management for entrepreneurs. This evidence shows that SMEs, which usually have a competitive disadvantage against the large transnational enterprises, can have their strategic capability strengthened by network collective actions.
In fact, after many years working in the public communication of science at the Scientific and Technology Cultural Center in Grenoble, in I got involved as a researcher in this field with the creation of the Research Laboratory on Scientific and Technical Communication and Information LABCIS and then, in , at the University of Poitiers, with the International Network on Public Communication of Science and Technology , which held its international conference in in Barcelona and its conference in in Seoul, South Korea. Where are we heading now? The scientific cultural action of the s and 80s tried to deal with the discourse and practice of dissemination by affirming the power of questions posed by non-specialists.
Since then, we have witnessed a movement very keen to promote scientific cultural centers and museums, especially in Europe and more extensively in the rest of the world. But sometimes it seems like the celebration is more important than the sciences themselves. The Science and Culture Center in Shanghai is an immense concrete and glass monster where the space devoted to scientific exhibits is ludicrously small compared to the overwhelming size of the building.
Why is that? Just to organize spectacular inaugurations? In general, what really works in terms of effective communication requires much less money and can usually be implemented through projects at the local and community level. As if all debates were defined based on science. What an imperialism! Although much more is being invested in science, scientific vocations are still being lost in Europe , the United States and the world in general.
What are we doing wrong? It is a very serious problem that cannot be handled through persuasive communication alone. However, the drop in the number of people enrolled in scientific majors at universities is a widespread reality. Why are people less eager to study the sciences? Problems are something that affect and touch everyone and can be used to get much closer to non-specialists. But why not focus on this marvelous potential instead of using a word that frightens, separates, selects and creates distance?
Speaking of the sciences is like getting wrapped up in an authoritative discourse when the reality is that the sciences are basically critical, curious and irreverent, given that all truth is temporary until proven otherwise. How can a country deal with the so-called knowledge society if a good part of its population does not understand even the most basic scientific principles?
A very interesting question. These communities bring together a mixed group of players either face to face, over the Internet or a through mixture of the two. The members have different functions and natures, but share a common topic or interest and meet to contribute, exchange and create the knowledge they need. This collaboration strategy implies there is a strong feeling of respect and courtesy toward the other members to be able to advance as a group toward the creation and enrichment of operative knowledge that is useful for all, in accordance with a virtuous logic of going ever deeper and constantly moving forward.
They might be working in anything from healthcare and neighborhood life to economic objectives, but each party, the customers and the companies, obtain benefits. However, if the people involved do not participate voluntarily and because they believe in it, the process immediately breaks down and wears thin. However, things that seem much more necessary are the scientific method and scientific rigor, how to construct a reasoned argument, how to be critical and how to formulate a problem going back to Bachelard?
We miss the point when the focus is on content as an end in itself, as if it were the be-all and end-all of the public communication of the sciences and even scientific culture.