: Worktask 1, Summary and Mcq Questions for the Haridimos Tsoukas Article “the Firm as a Distributed Knowledge System: a Constructionist Approach”

Topics: Strategic management, Knowledge, Management Pages: 6 (1698 words) Published: August 16, 2013
Växjö Universitet Informatics/ MSI Programme: Master of IS Date of delivery 26.09.2012

Revision no. and date:

Title: Worktask 1, summary and MCQ questions for the Haridimos Tsoukas article “THE FIRM AS A DISTRIBUTED KNOWLEDGE SYSTEM: A CONSTRUCTIONIST APPROACH”

Author(s): Maxim Kovalenko Email: Kovalenko.max@gmail.com

Course: 4IK005 Teacher: Jan Aidemark

Abstract Haridimos Tsoukas in his article “THE FIRM AS A DISTRIBUTED KNOWLEDGE SYSTEM: A CONSTRUCTIONIST APPROACH” raises the issue of companies in which they face with the utilization of knowledge. He suggests to use knowledge-based approach and to consider a firm as distributed knowledge system to cope with problems more effectively.

1. Introduction In the beginning author gives an overview of common firm’s issues such as how company should be organized and in what direction firm should go. All of his main points are supported by examples. Using examples he tries to outline his knowledge-based attitude in problems recognition. One of the main goals of the article is to highlight that in spite of differences between companies they all face radical uncertainty in management. Sometimes they do not, they cannot, know what they need to know (Tsoukas H., 1996, p.22). Author has also highlighted the importance of collective mind to support his knowledge-based view of organization (Tsoukas H., 1996, p.12). In result he offers to use the model of distributed knowledge system in order to explain main processes in organizations. His model states on 6 main concepts: 1) Firm can be seen as a knowledge system 2) One of the organizational problems of companies is to save and render knowledge since this resource is distributed among people in the firm. 3) The firm is not only distributed, but also decentered system 4) Firm’s knowledge is distributed in an additional sense 5) Normative expectations, dispositions, and interactive situations are inevitably in tension

6) Using the model of distributed knowledge system facilitates us to understand and define what the company and its management are.

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2. Main concepts of the model
2.1.Firm can be seen as a knowledge system

The point of that a firm can be described as a knowledge system states on the following sentences: 1) All resources which a firm uses are created and neither given, nor explored 2) Not resources are important for the firm but services which they generate. The services depend on how resources are viewed, which is a function of the knowledge applied to them (Tsoukas H., 1996, p.22) 3) The workers and other participants are the carriers of knowledge of a firm. 2.2.The problem of knowledge utilization of firms

One of the organizational problems of companies is to save and render knowledge since this resource is distributed among people in the firm. 2.3.The firm is not only distributed, but also decentered system

Firms always face with indetermination in knowledge utilization since there is no definition of what knowledge in the firm is. Moreover, the factual knowledge of the particular circumstances of time and place cannot be surveyed as a whole (Hayek, 1945, p.521). 2.4.Firm’s knowledge is distributed in an additional sense

The latter’s knowledge of a firm is not, and cannot be self-contained a firm’s knowledge is consequent essence since it is not possessed by a single person in the firm; knowledge can be partly produced outside the firm; and it is never complete at any point. (Daft, R. and Weick, 1984, p.285) 2.5.Normative expectations, dispositions, and interactive situations are inevitably in tension (Tsoukas H., 1996, p.24)

These three dimensions should be learn as processes which make firms similar to each other; how in a distributed knowledge system coherent action emerges over time (Araujo, L. and Easton, G. , 1996, 375.) 2.6.Distributed knowledge system model

Using the model of distributed knowledge system facilitates us to understand and define what the company and its...

References: 1. Tsoukas H., 1996, ‘THE FIRM AS A DISTRIBUTED KNOWLEDGE SYSTEM: A CONSTRUCTIONIST APPROACH’, Strategic Management Journal [serial online]. Winter96 Special Issue 1996; 17:11-25. Available from: Business Source Premier, Ipswich, MA. 2. Stacey, R., 1995, ‘The Science of Complexity: An Alternative Perspective for Strategic Change Processes’, Strategic Management Journal, 16(6): 477–95. — — (1996), Complexity and Creativity in Organizations (San Francisco, Calif.: Berrtt-Koehler). 3. Araujo, L., and Easton, G., 1996, ‘Strategy: Where is the pattern?’, Organization 3:361–83 4. Daft, R., and Weick, K., 1984, ‘Toward a Model of Organizations as Interpretation Systems’, Academy of Management Review, 9: 284–95. 5. Hayek, F. A., 1945, ‘The Use of Knowledge in Society’, American Economic Review, 35: 519–30
MCQ Why Tsoukas uses the term “distributed knowledge system” to describe company? 1. Because present international companies have offices in different countries and their departments are located around the world 2. Because companies increasingly host their datainformation and knowledge on several servers which can be located in different parts of the world 3. Because knowledge of a firm it is not possessed by a single agent; it partly originates ‘outside’ the firm; and it is never complete at any point. Explanations: Answer 1 is wrong, because of this statement isn’t connected with knowledge and doesn’t completely reflects distribution oа knowledge in the firm. Answer 2 is wrong, because of this statement isn’t connected with knowledge and doesn’t completely reflects distribution oа knowledge in the firm.
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Answer 3 is right, because of the normative expectations and dispositions of the members of a firm are instantiated within particular interactive situations, whose features cannot be fully known by anyone ex ante, but are actively shaped by practitioners as they confront local circumstances. Thus, a firm’s knowledge is emergent it is not possessed by a single agent. (Tsoukas H., 2004, p.111)
Question: When you can consider the firm as knowledge system? 1) Only in cases when a company produces knowledge for outside using. For example libraries as a service for obtaining knowledge or companies which provides resources for external companies to collect their knowledge. 2) Only in cases when company produce knowledge for the internal using. a. All resources of the firm was created and explored by itself b. Only workers are carriers of knowledge of a firm. 3) Any company which fulfill next points a. All resources which a firm uses are created and neither given, nor explored b. Not resources are important for the firm but services which they generate. The services depend on how resources are viewed, which is a function of the knowledge applied to them c. The workers and other participants are the carriers of knowledge of a firm. Explanations: Answer 1 is wrong, because of word “only” in the sentences since it is only particular case and company cannot create knowledge only for outside. Moreover, resources a firm uses are neither given, nor discovered, but created (Bianchi 1995; Buchanan and Vanberg 1991; Joas 1993). The services depend on how resources are viewed, which is a function of the knowledge applied to them (Tsoukas H., 1996, p.23). The carriers of organizational knowledge are a firm’s routines (Nelson andWinter 1982) and members. Hence, a firm can be seen as a knowledge system (Tsoukas H., 1996, p.23) Answer 2 is wrong, because it is a special case which doesn’t reflects all cases. Moreover, the resources a firm uses are neither given, nor discovered, but created (Bianchi 1995; Buchanan and Vanberg 1991; Joas 1993). The services 6
depend on how resources are viewed, which is a function of the knowledge applied to them (Tsoukas H., 1996, p.23). The carriers of organizational knowledge are a firm’s routines (Nelson andWinter 1982) and members. Hence, a firm can be seen as a knowledge system (Tsoukas H., 1996, p.23) Answer 3 is right, because of the resources a firm uses are neither given, nor discovered, but created (Bianchi 1995; Buchanan and Vanberg 1991; Joas 1993). The services depend on how resources are viewed, which is a function of the knowledge applied to them (Tsoukas H., 1996, p.23). The carriers of organizational knowledge are a firm’s routines (Nelson andWinter 1982) and members. Hence, a firm can be seen as a knowledge system (Tsoukas H., 1996, p.23)
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