Online from: 2006
Subject Area: Organization Studies
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|Title:||Knowledge construction and risk induction/mitigation in dialogical workgroup processes|
|Author(s):||W. David Holford, (Department of Management and Technology, School of Management, University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM), Montreal, Canada)|
|Citation:||W. David Holford, (2010) "Knowledge construction and risk induction/mitigation in dialogical workgroup processes", Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, Vol. 5 Iss: 2, pp.127 - 161|
|Keywords:||Aerospace industry, Group communications, Group work, Knowledge management, Risk management|
|Article type:||Case study|
|DOI:||10.1108/17465641011068839 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine how knowledge is constructed and risk is induced within the workgroup environment of a large North American aerospace company.
Design/methodology/approach – Based on an epistemological position on knowledge and risk, an initial conceptual framework is proposed. This is then evaluated and re-constructed across a qualitative and ethnographic case study approach involving direct observations and interviews, whereby empirical results were interpreted and analysed across discourse analysis.
Findings – A dialogical model is proposed describing both verbal and non-verbal interactions between group members leading towards knowledge complexification on the one hand and risk mitigation on the other hand. Factors leading towards dialogical breakdown and subsequent risk induction are also presented.
Research limitations/implications – This single case study prevents generalizing the findings across the entire firm in question, and by extension any manner of external validity outside of the firm's context. Additional workgroups/teams within the firm need to be evaluated, while similar studies in other institutions within the knowledge economy are to be envisaged.
Practical implications – Workgroup managers must nurture an environment conducive towards mutual trust and respect, where individuals are given the time and freedom to express themselves, all the while being open to differing viewpoints and experiences. Coercive dialogue between members should be discouraged. It is proposed that this can be achieved across a parental “safety net” approach.
Originality/value – The paper presents the “how” and “why” of an effective dialogical knowledge constructing process occurring at the interpersonal level, attempts to propose how management can to help achieve this within their organisation, and attempts to bridge the areas of knowledge creation and risk induction at the interpersonal/workgroup level.
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