The Excellence Theory in PR and its relevance to KM

In 2006 James Grunig wrote a lengthy, somewhat self-congratulatory, but compelling summary of his and others' work in researching strategic public relations over four decades, resulting in what is known as the Excellence study.

The resulting article, Furnishing the edifice: Ongoing research on public relations as a strategic management function, is well worth a read. From a Knowledge Management perspective there were some very interesting echoes in some of his conclusions:

The Three Laws of Employment

Isaac Asimov, the legendary science-fiction author, famously invented the Three Laws of Robotics: a hierarchy of three rules which governed the behaviour of the robots in his stories:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Asimov's laws served a narrative purpose: he needed to move his stories beyond the "Frankenstein" trope of robots turning on their master which was prevalent at the time. By ensuring that robots would always serve the best interests of their human masters (albeit as determined by the robots themselves), the impact of robots on society could be explored without worrying about their destructive capabilities.

[Have we considered the implications of the three Laws of Employment?]

Are staff costs or investments?

Do you agree or disagree with this tweet? ("They" refers to an organisation's staff.)

(Hat tip: Henry Blodget)

Do what I say, not what I do

Do what I say, not what I do

(View larger image.)

A brief follow-on to my earlier post about Bain & Co's Management Tools and Trends survey. Each of Bain & Co's surveys provide a very unusual source of data by asking managers to identify which management tools they currently use as well as ones they are forecasting they will use.

KM is dead ... long live Knowledge Management!

UPDATE Nov 2015: If you are interested in an ongoing conversation about Knowledge Management and how to apply it, please check out our newly launched online magazine RealKM!

Impersonal trust in organisations

I wrote this brief on impersonal trust in organizations up last year, but somehow forgot to write about it here. I can't take credit for the material, it's based on a doctoral dissertion by Mika Vanhala. However, I've never seen a better treatment on trust and I thought it deserved broader exposure:

The difference between trust and authority

For many years, the doctor-patient relationship was simple: they would make a diagnosis, tell you what should be done, and it was expected that you would passively comply (there's a good chap/lass). And why not? After all: they were the experts. What could a layman contribute to solving a problem when the learned doctors had done 10+ years of intensive study to become qualified?

knowquestion "Empowering Business" workshops - Early Bird registrations close this week

It's not too late to get a discounted Early Bird registration for the knowquestion workshops.

Launch of Dropforge

"Launch" is perhaps too strong of a word for something that is more of a personal hobby. Dropforge is a site containing the web-based tools I have developed for my own personal use over the past several years. Specifically, they are:

  • munchcrunch – a RSS reader in the style of Google Reader
  • Clamshell – an OpenID 1.1-compliant authentication provider

Metered email - a transitional approach to managing email records

Email has been (and remains) the biggest thorn in the side of recordkeepers in modern organisations. For most people it consists of a mish-mash of routine work correspondence, significant collaboration efforts, records of critical decisions and sometimes even legally binding agreements – along with funny JPGs, invitations to lunch, and records of deeply personal non-work events.

This makes a email a serious and ongoing risk for organisations, potentially vital but also risky to access after staff members leave due to privacy concerns

[Read on to find out about a possible solution]