Organisational awareness : mapping human capital for enhancing collaboration in organisations

Abstract : How can we become more aware of the sources of insight within human organisations? Rapid economical and technological changes force organisations to become more adaptive, agile and interdisciplinary. In light of this, organisations are seeking alternatives for traditional hierarchical communication structures that hinder bottom-up collaboration practices. Effective bottom-up methods require empowering members with access to the information and expertise they need to take qualified decisions. This is a complex challenge that involves organisational culture, IT and work practices. Failing to address it creates bottlenecks that can slow down business processes, hinder innovation and often lead to suboptimal and redundant work. For example, a 2014 survey of 152 Campus IT leaders in the US, estimated that 19% of the campus IT systems are redundant, costing US universities 3.8B$ per year. In aggregate, knowledge workers find the information they need only 56% of the time. With a quarter of knowledge workers total work time spent in finding and analyzing information. This time waste alone costs 7K$ per employee annually. Another example of the waste created is that newcomers and remote employees may take up to 2 years to fully integrate within their department. Furthermore according to extended surveys, only 28% of millennials feel that their current organizations are making ‘full use’ of the skills they currently have to offer and 66% expect to leave their organisation by 2020. Successfully resolving this challenge holds the potential to motivate organisation members, as well as enhance innovation and learning within it. The focus of this thesis is to better understand this problem by exploring the challenges faced by a university IT department and an interdisciplinary research center. Second, co-develop and implement a solution with these institutions, I describe their usage of the software tool we developed, outcomes and value obtained in these pilots. Third, test the effectiveness of the solution, and explore further applications and potential for a similar system to be used in a wider scale. To better understand the problem I engaged in discussion with members and leaders of both organisations. An important conclusion from the discussions is that members of these organizations often suffer from lack of awareness about their organisation’s knowledge capital—the competencies, knowledge of processes and social connections of their colleagues. Due to this exposure to innovative ideas, opportunities and common interests of peers is severely limited. This causes unnecessary delays in inter-team projects, bottlenecks, and lack of awareness about internship opportunities. I further broke down the problem, and defined it as one of information fragmentation: Different information is stored in disparate databases or inside people’s heads, requiring effort and know-how in order to obtain it. Following the conclusions of this analysis and state-of-the-art review, we have set together the goal to create a collaborative visual database to map the people, projects, skills and institutions for the IT department of Descartes University, and in addition, people, interests and internship opportunities within the CRI, an interdisciplinary research and education center. We have also conducted interviews, surveys and quizzes that ascertain that people had difficulties identifying experts outside their core teams. During the course of this thesis, I progressively addressed this challenge by developing two collaborative web applications called Rhizi and Knownodes. Knownodes is a collaborative knowledge graph which utilized information-rich edges to describe relationships between resources. Rhizi is a real-time and collaborative knowledge capital mapping interface. A prominent unique feature of Rhizi is that it provides a UI that turns text-based assertions made by users into a visual knowledge graph. (...)
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Dor Avraham Garbash. Organisational awareness : mapping human capital for enhancing collaboration in organisations. Library and information sciences. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016USPCB134⟩. ⟨tel-02141742⟩

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