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Harvard Business Review on Organizational Learning 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1578516155
ISBN-10: 1578516153
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Since 1984, Harvard Business School Press has been dedicated to publishing the most contemporary management thinking, written by authors and practitioners who are leading the way. Whether readers are seeking big-picture strategic thinking or tactical problem solving, advice in managing global corporations or for developing personal careers, HBS Press helps fuel the fire of innovative thought. HBS Press has earned a reputation as the springboard of thought for both established and emerging business leaders.
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Product Details

  • Series: Harvard Business Review Paperback Series
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (June 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578516153
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578516155
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,575,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 11, 2001
The title of this review is borrowed from Derek Bok who, when president of Harvard, responded to parents who crticized a recent tuition increase. Now the review.
This is one in a series of several dozen volumes which comprise the "Harvard Business Review Paperback Series." Each offers direct, convenient, and inexpensive access to the best thinking on the given subject in articles originally published by the Harvard Business School Review. I strongly recommend all of the volumes in the series. The individual titles are listed at this Web site: [...] The authors of various articles are among the world's most highly regarding experts on the given subject. Each volume has been carefully edited. Supplementary commentaries are also provided in most of the volumes, as is an "About the Contributors" section which usually includes suggestions of other sources which some readers may wish to explore.
In this volume, we are provided with eight separate but related articles in which their authors examine these subjects: "The Organizational Frontier" (Wenger and Snyder), "The Smart-Talk Trap" (Pfeffer and Sutton), "Balancing Act: How to Capture Information Without Killing It" (Brown and Duguid), "What Your Strategy for Managing Knowledge?" (Hansen, Nohria, and Tierney), "Good Communicating That Blocks Learning" (Argyris), "Coevolving: At Last a Way to Make Synergies Work" (Eisenhardt and Galunic). "Organigraphs: Drawing How Companies Really Work" (Mintzberg and Van der Heyden), and "Stop Fighting Fires" (Bohn). Here are a few brief excerpts:
"As communities of practice generate knowledge, they renew themselves. They give both the golden eggs and the goose that lays them.
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This is another great book in the extraordinary Harvard Business Review (HBR) paperback series. It is one of the books I highly recommend.

This book begins with an outstanding article on communities of practice by Wenger & Snyder. If you can't read Wenger & Snyder's entire book, be sure to read this article/chapter.

There is a chapter by Pfeffer & Sutton on the knowing-doing gap that's very helpful. John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid offer a fascinating chapter on knowledge transfer through casual discussion.

Perhaps the most useful chapter in the book is Hansen, Nohria, & Tierney's article on managing knowledge. In this chapter, they discuss the critical distinction between codification and personalization knowledge management systems. This chapter alone is worth the cost of the book.

Add to these chapters the work of Argyris, Mintzberg, and others, and you have a resource every practitioner should own.

Michael Beitler
Author of "Strategic Organizational Learning"
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While the articles in the review contain some gems that certainly stand the test of time, most of the articles are about to reach their 10th birthday - and with changing times comes new challenges.
"Communities of Practice: The Organizational Frontier" aptly demonstrates this by describing how groups of people informally bound by shared expertise and passion for a joint enterprise can connect a learn from each other. All good stuff but in this day and age breakfast and lunch meetings are now being superceded by new technology platforms that connect people globally online.
My favorite article was "The Smart Talk Trap". For those working in big companies the issues outlined are probably familiar. However help is at hand because this article not only outlines the issues but it also provides some concrete and actionable remedies.
For those with interest in this subject it is well worth reading - but more recent reviews will hold more relevance for todays business environment.
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