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Friday, September 14, 2007

Thought for a Friday afternoon and a response

From Jeffrey Pfeffer

"Everybody has equal access to knowledge - however not everyone acts on it which gives an organisation competitive advantage"

I also read a great article from Bruce MacEwen who writes the excellent Adam Smith Blog on Knowledge Management. I wrote back to him and he was kind to post my response which is here but if you want to read it in full then click here .

I notice that there is a comment from another reader and I'd like to comment a little.

To me yes there are hidebound firms - but I do agree with his comments regarding altruism and have seen people that do give information for no desire for reward but academic research has shown that people do expect reciprocal altruism - or as I call it the God father approach to KM. 

I also don't believe that the PSL is dying out, I feel that the role needs to change and this is agreed by the reader who is looking at the role of the PSL in his firm and that the old style PSL who just does research will diminish and disappear. They will have to add value to the process and get involved in value added processes such as say an employment PSL running training course for particular clients. However, I think that firms will have to review their PSL's career paths - something I see this week Herbert Smith have started to do.

I have also read 'The Modern Firm" by John Roberts and also have read The Wealth of Nations so am fully aware of Adam Smith's views expressed in his work on Moral Sentiments and Wealth. 

My view is that if law firms or any other organisation wish to survive, then they will need to adapt and allow their employees and the organisations they serve to be able to create knowledge, capture that knowledge, connecting people and then finding ways to circulate that knowledge.  

One quote is quite apposite from Adam Smith "How selfish soever man may be supposed there are evidently some principles in his nature which interest him in the fortune of others and render their happiness necessary to him though he derives nothing from it.

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