Saturday, August 25, 2012

Teams & Knowledge Management: New Publication

My most recent published article is now available from the Journal of Knowledge Management.  I was fortunate to work with my professor, Dr. Jeff Allen, and my colleague, TK.  The electronic version is now available from Emerald publishing with their EarlyCite version. Once the finalized version is available for their print version the EarlyCite version will be transferred to a permanent, fully coded, electronic version.  The content will remain the same, only some publication alterations will be made and the author's biographies will be new. The reference for the new article is listed below:

Turner, J. R., Zimmerman, T., & Allen, J. (2012). Teams as a process for knowledge management. Journal of Knowledge Management, 16(6).  Retrieved from

The Abstract / Purpose is provided below:

Within the expansive body of literature on knowledge management, very little research is found that examines the use of teams as a sub-process for knowledge management. This article addresses this limitation by providing a theoretical framework that examines the similarities between the benefits of incorporating teams into the workplace and incorporating knowledge management principles. Recognizing that knowledge management has several critical dimensions, the framework that ties workplace teams to each of these knowledge management dimensions is built. Knowledge management and teams in the workplace are viewed at the individual, team and organizational level of analysis.

The full article will have to be read via JKM due to copyright rules.  However, once the print version is out, if you have trouble obtaining the article, I can probably help with forwarding a pdf version of the article. Just let me know. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Multitasking Illustration

Multitasking can cause cognitive overload, thus reducing the actual amount of material learned and the quality of your output.  People who practice multitasking have "greater difficulty filtering out irrelevant stimuli from their environment... are less likely to ignore irrelevant representations in memory... and they are less effective in suppressing the activation of irrelevant task sets" (Ophir, Nass, & Wagner, 2009, p. 3 or 5). More information can be found in my previous blog post titled Media Multitasking and Memory Processes.

Attached below is an illustration that captures the downfalls to multitasking. This illustration was presented by

Please Include Attribution to With This Graphic Multitasking Infographic


Multitasking. Retrieved from

Ophir, E., Nass, C., & Wagner, A. D. (2009). Cognitive control in media multitasks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 106(37), 15583-15587. dpi: 10.1073/pnas.0903620106

Incorporate a Mindfulness Culture

Weick and Sutcliffe (2007), in their book Managing the Unexpected,  identified that it is one's expectations that can get a team, group, or department into trouble. Expectations work well for predicting planned change and for setting future goals. However, these are only perceived states. Expectations never go as planned. The difference between one's expectation and what actually occurs is what Weick and Sutcliffe (2007) identified as the blind spot. To counter these unexpected events from occurring, the blind spot, organizations need to develop a more mindful culture, termed mindfulness (Weick & Sutcliffe, 2007): "This enriched awareness, which we call mindfulness, uncovers early signs that expectations are inadequate, that unexpected events are unfolding, and that recovery needs to be implemented" (p. 23).

Being mindful includes a culture where employees are able to notice the unexpected, to update plausible interpretations continuously, and to identify potential problems and remedies (Weick & Sutcliffe, 2007). Five common keys to incorporating a mindful infrastructure were outlined by Weick and Sutcliffe (2007):
  • Principle 1: Preoccupation with Failure.
  • Principle 2: Reluctance to Simplify.
  • Principle 3: Sensitivity to Operations.
  • Principle 4: Commitment to Resilience.
  • Principle 5: Deference to Expertise (pp. 9 - 15).

Incorporating your team, unit, department, or organization into a mindful infrastructure takes time. One way to begin this phase is to start with small wins. Small wins that move people from a mindless culture to a mindful culture start with the following steps outlined by Weick and Sutcliffe (2007):
  • Remember that mindfulness takes effort.
  • Offer support to people who are making an effort to become more mindful.
  • Frame mindfulness in novel ways.
  • Mitigate complacency.
  • Remember that reliability is not bankable.
  • Carry your expectations lightly.
  • Balance centralization with decentralization.
  • Let culture do the controlling (pp. 148 - 150).

Having the capability to recognize problems when they occur and the ability to react to these problems will help reduce the amount of down time due to unexpected events.  As stated by Weick and Sutcliffe (2007): "We find failures of expectations everywhere, which is why managing the unexpected is so crucial" (p. 21).

Weick, K. E., & Sutcliffe, K. M. (2007). Managing the Uunexpected: Resilient Performance in an Age of Uncertainty (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
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