Venture Knowledgist Quality Integration
ADVANCED WEB 2.0 BASED INTERACTIVE
TECHNOLOGY TO SUPPORT INFORMAL LEARNING FOR ENHANCING QUALITY OF
- A MODERN APPROACH OF INFORMATION SOCIETY TO KNOWLEDGE
WORK ENVIRONMENT FOR MANAGEMENT
Right knowledge and managerial skills are foundations of quality
and success of organizational management. A major part of this knowledge
is tacit knowledge. Organizational knowledge is particularly related
to exchange of information between organization and its stakeholders.
Organizational and personal learning are prerequisites for enhancing
management knowledge and skills in striving for quality of business
management. Multifarious managerial knowledge and skills are needed
in a consistent way at different levels in organizations. Effective
learning requires application of new learning theories like connectivity,
interactivity, and sharing knowledge. Factually 80% of learning
takes place by informal learning. Management learning is integrated
with normal managing activities of the business leaders.
A Knowledge Work Environment reported in this paper is to facilitate
effective and efficient knowledge-intensive and networked business
activities. The approach is based on proved social software and
Web 2.0 technologies from the open source software community. This
solution is also aligned with Enterprise 2.0 and Real Time Economy
Continual organizational and personal learning are prerequisites
for an excellent management and leadership and for a sustainable
business success [21, 23] in all kinds of organizations. Management
consists of coordinated activities to direct and control an organization.
Quality management  is now understood as quality of management
and it means the degree to which needs and expectations of organization's
all stakeholders are being fulfilled by organization's managerial
activities. Leadership refers to organization's leading persons'
ability to influence and direct the performance of organization's
people towards the achievement of organizational goals . Systematic
leadership should be exercised formally and informally throughout
the organization. This includes structures and mechanisms for decision
making, selection and development of leaders and managers, and reinforcement
of values, ethical behavior, business directions, and achievements
of performance needs and expectations.
Successful management of organizations is based on right business
related knowledge and management skills to use the knowledge on
time effectively and efficiently for the current business needs.
Business leaders also need in their daily tasks a lot of very specialized
knowledge and information. Many business leaders are not necessarily
well prepared or committed in their special responsibilities in
today's complex business environments . Although they may consult
with experts to consider specialized questions they can't delegate
their responsibilities, e.g. in the fields of finance, statutory
regulations, quality, information security, social responsibility,
human resource management, etc. Additionally to key business leaders,
continuous and efficient exchange of information is a necessity
between organization's all stakeholders, including customers, employees,
shareholders, suppliers, business partners, and the great public.
In today's business environments, both number and variety of stakeholders
has increased, and communication between them has increased, intensified,
diversified, and accelerated tremendously due to global information
and communication networks and services [1, 2, 14]. This applies
to all types of organizations including business companies, public
civil service organizations, and even third sector not-for-profit
Organizations that will prosper are those that most effectively
take advantage of social collaboration networks and use those benefits
in organizations' managements to foster and further develop their
competitive advantages. This paper's approach is referred as Knowledge
Work Environment (KWE) to support an organization's managerial activities
and to enable organization to operate in and benefit from the modern
digital communication networks and facilities. The KWE is a collection
of software components and methodologies that support social collaboration
in networks. The approach of this paper has been realized and experienced
in many practical cases. Those realizations and lessons learnt have
described in this paper.
KWE's principal aim is to improve effectiveness and efficiency
of working practices in knowledge-intensive organizations and business
processes. Management is an important application area of the KWE.
Essentially this includes the purposes of continuous genuine on-the-job
learning in the field of business leadership and management.
Typically management learning in organizations is based on training
by traditional or e-learning means. Investments in these solutions
have not proved very effective. Only basic management and leadership
skills may be learned by traditional training courses or corresponding
educational events. Business people who are responsible for managing
organizations are busy and they have not enough time to attend comprehensive
training and education programs and they are not very interested
to use e-learning systems. On the other hand, 80% of all learning
factually takes place through informal learning [18, 5].
The KWE is based on the idea that nowadays all employees and particularly
executives and managers are in all organizations knowledge workers
in one way or another. Knowledge workers use their intellect and
social networks to convert their ideas into useful outcomes in their
working processes. In general, knowledge working practices are core
skills in the whole post-industrial society. To get things done,
knowledge work requires human interaction in social context and
utilization of modern knowledge infrastructure of IT (Interactive
Technology) and tools to benefit of the reduced transaction costs
for learning, communication and collaboration [7, 39].
Realization of the proved KWE is based on disruptive innovations
 as server-based software system that is used by a group of
users over the Internet through a standard web-browser, the approach
that is often referred as SaaS (Software as a Service) . KWE
draws from the idea that knowledge work and learning are actually
networked phenomena. KWE is more like a landscape which utilizes
a global network for the benefit of the knowledge worker .
Applying new learning theories and
principles for quality of learning
Traditional training and education means do not necessarily support
effectively on-the-job learning for management and leadership skills.
There have been a lot of positive expectations and promises for
e-learning solutions especially based on standardized approaches
like SCORM (the Sharable Content Object Reference Model) , AIC
(The Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training) , and SingCore
(Singapore-defined standard for metadata to tag learning objects
and assets) . Practical experiences, however, prove that these
approaches do not provide effective solutions for on-the-job learning
In the first stage of e-learning it was understood only as usage
of new technological solutions facilitating distant learning and
automation of certain activities of training and education and their
management. The next stage was the development of particular "learning
management systems" in order to manage training activities
comprehensively. However, still traditional training practices were
followed, e.g. training was still based on course structures. Experiences
at least in business environments and relating to specialized management
knowledge have not been encouraging . Learning systems are too
expensive, learning too boring, search of material (learning objects)
too cumbersome, and reusable objects not really reusable [16, 17].
One should also note that the decay time of knowledge - and especially
as needed by business management - has been remarkably shortened.
Behaviorism and objectivism, cognitivism and pragmatism, and constructivism
and interpretivism have been the most significant learning theories
and traditions often utilized until now in the training and education.
Learning needs and theories that describe learning principles and
processes should, however, be reflective of today's underlying social
environments. Quality in e-learning requires application of new
learning theory-approaches like connectivity, interactivity, and
sharing knowledge [16, 17, 19, 30]. New social software technology
and Web 2.0 - that has also been used in the KWE solution - give
possibilities to realize these new learning theories in practical
cases particularly in business organizational environments. This
also facilitates learning in networks which is now practical situation
in all business cases.
Today learning objects are not presented ordered in a sequence,
but randomly unordered. That does not take place in classrooms or
schools but in the environment, to where business people find themselves,
in their workplaces or "third places" . We don't present
learning objects at all, we contribute them to the conversation,
and we become part of the conversation. They are not just texts;
they are our publications and speeches, our thoughts - in fact,
we in real-time conversation and communication. 
Managing quality of training and education has drifted to problematic
situation when too inflexible learning management systems or quality
management systems have been introduced in training organizations.
One example is to apply too mechanistically the European higher
education quality approach in universities according to the well-known
Bologna Process . The situation has drifted to similar problems
as with quality management systems in business organizations applying
mechanistically e.g. the ISO 9000 standards . Quality approach
in the organizational learning should be seamlessly integrated with
an innovative way to manage an organization's business as a whole.
Learning in knowledge-based business
Learning in a business-management context refers to new knowledge
and skills acquired for business managing activities. Learning includes
organizational and personal learning. Learning needs to be embedded
in the way the organization operates. This means that learning is
seamlessly a part of regular daily work that is practiced at personal,
business process, business unit and corporate levels by solving
problems at their source, focusing on building and sharing knowledge
throughout the organization and among its stakeholders, and striving
for advantages of opportunities to effect significant, meaningful
changes [21, 22].
On-the-job learning offers a cost-effective way to link learning
to the organizational needs and priorities. Learning in organizations
is directed not only toward better products but also towards more
responsive, adaptive, innovative, and efficient business processes
 for gaining organization's marketplace success sustainability
and performance advantages and giving business leaders' and employees'
satisfaction and motivation to excel.
Management and leadership skills are needed everywhere and at different
levels in organizations. This includes board of directors, CEO and
executives, strategic business areas, headquarter functions, supporting
functions, business processes, projects, teams, and individuals
(self-management). Management / leadership awareness around the
organization is an essential topic for realizing management and
leadership skills in practical organizational cases. This also includes
understanding good management practices and their application .
This awareness may be defined very simply: having knowledge of management
and leadership. However, what is the meaning of this is not at all
any simple thing. Awareness is a profound totality of physical,
psychological, and philosophical aspects of sensations, perceptions,
ideas, attitudes, and feelings related to an individual or a group
having knowledge of the abstract and comprehensive of good management
at any given time or within a given time span. In time dimension,
developing of the knowledge and learning become interesting aspects.
It may be recognized different depth-levels of intellectual behavior
in learning [4, 5].
Leadership emphasizes business leaders' personal and human aspects
in conducting business resources and actions, and is based on managers'
inherent understanding, knowledge and behaviors. A great challenge
is to combine explicit and tacit knowledge in all managerial business
decisions and to get knowledge moved among individuals within the
whole organization between different actors, and from tacit domain
to explicit domain and also vice versa (Fig. 1). Working collaboratively
using intellectual capacity of the whole organization is the target
for business benefits.
Figure 1. Organization's actual business situation is composed of
facts in business processes. Management's decisions and interventions
are based on information from these facts combined with management's
previous information and tacit knowledge (understanding). Managerial
knowledge develops mainly through collaborate learning. ("Ba"
is a Japanese name for knowledge creating and learning environment
by SECI process .)
A well-known theoretical foundation for knowledge transformation
is a process for knowledge transformation from tacit to explicit
and vice verse through "Socialization - Externalization - Combination
- Internalization" (SECI) of the knowledge . Managing a
SECI process is a key issue in organizations appreciating and enhancing
intellectual and social capital.
KWE as Web 2.0 application
The core of KWE consists of ability to lead knowledge workers into
work areas, where they work in collaboration to learn by building
new knowledge. They have also all relevant explicit information
easily available through related document files. The toolset that
is available for use at work areas is meant to improve internal
and external communication of such knowledge working in teams.
The five basic tools of KWE include wiki, blog, aggregator, forums
and files . These tools are based on social software and Web
2.0  technology. Many organizations are already using these
tools but in the KWE they have been integrated as a comprehensive
knowledge working platform. Both tacit and explicit organizational
knowledge may be managed by these tools consistently.
Other tools that may be easily integrated with a KWE include email,
Skype , calendar, virtual meeting, and organization's existing
legacy IT systems.
Basically aggregators and blogs bring ideas in the collaborative
knowledge building (forums) from which crystallized knowledge is
created as iterative documents (wiki), while file storage serves
as a place for storing related documents. The method of reflecting
on experience (blogs) and building knowledge models (wiki) collectively
produces results that can be blogged further to other teams or individuals.
This creates an intelligent link for new knowledge building. Fig.
2 summarizes tools and their roles included in the KWE. Technology
of these tools and popularity of their benefits have been proved
in large scale public use in Internet. Now a big challenge is to
use those tools also internally in organizational business purposes
and especially in the business management process. This approach
is also titled as "Enterprise 2.0" approach.
Figure 2. Tools and their usage in KWE: "Raw material"
for group conversations is got via participants' blogging and automatic
aggregation-feedings. Resulting new group-knowledge is published
in wiki and further shared e.g. In organization's information blogs.
Practical social media based organizational knowledge-work and
learning solutions are continuously enhancing in all types of organizations
and business communities and organizations have strategic initiatives
to get business advantage through their application . These
- Mashup: Website or application that combines content from more
than one source into an integrated experience 
- Tagging: Visual depiction of content tags used on a website 
- Facebook: Social utility that connects people with friends and
others who work, study and live around them 
- Real Time Economy (RTE): Speeding up information flow between
companies, each having capabilities to monitor their businesses
continuously and quickly react to changes and exceptions [32, 33]
Within KWE, the intelligent links consist of people who process,
analyze and reflect on aggregated observations and experience to
create value in form of new refined ideas that are socialized as
inputs to other intelligent links. In this way several intelligent
links form a social knowledge building network that resembles the
way organizations and people work in human interaction. This is
resulting improved communication where ideas are not only communicated
but processed and refined to support the business activities of
the participants. (Ref. SECI )
Basic KWE tools
Blog operates as a user's own or group's online news site. The
latest blog entry is always the topmost and the earliest entry is
in the end. Each entry has a link for reference and commenting ability.
Each entry has a title, release date, author, set of subjects or
categories, hypertext content, ability to link to other websites
or blogs, and comments that are relevant in the context of a blog
The most important feature of a blog for knowledge work and collaborative
learning is the fact that it provides a place for observation and
reflection from experiences in a social context. The idea is to
make one's reflections visible to others, thus making ideas visible
in an organization to cultivate their growth into new ventures.
Since year 2003 blogs have gained increased momentum in the way
people use the social web. Blogging can nowadays be considered as
one of the corner stones for maintaining industry-specific expertise
in a social context. Blogging is the most prominent tool for knowledge
work and learning basic knowledge work skills. Many business leaders
have their business-related blogging pages also in Internet. "Blogosphere"
covers all human aspects and activities . Audio- and video-blogging
are interesting forms of blogging.
Aggregator is a tool which enables a user to combine a set of sources
like news, blogs, commentary, announcements etc. into a single unified
place. It is like a private newspaper the user forms on need basis
from multiple sources. Aggregator syndicates information feeds that
are machine readable versions of information sources using techniques
like RSS (Real Simple Solicitation) . With an aggregator a knowledge
worker is able to speed up the process of reading and analyzing
sources for relevant up-to-date information. Aggregator combines
a self-updating information landscape, where a user is able to categorize
various feeds and read them in the way one likes. Each aggregator
feed has a name and icon. Feeds are collected into folders specified
by the user that provides a way to navigate between and through
feeds. Each entry in a feed has a title, author and date, hypertext
content with links, and a set of metadata.
Wiki is a tool for collaborative document writing where a group
of people work simultaneously on various documents which are hyperlinked
together through simple easy-to-use links to other pages within
the KWE or in Internet. Wikis grow through these hyperlinks, as
new links are added to the existing pages. Each wiki page has a
version history of edits making the iterative nature of wiki editing
visible. It is possible to roll-back into earlier versions or simply
just see, what changes other users have made to a single document.
Wikis operate as organizational memory and a way to capture knowledge
assets in more easily manageable environment. In fact, all organizations
and their operational domains, e.g. business processes, are like
wikis, with information that is shaping under labels like "Strategic
management", "New product development process", and
Managing information security within
The KWE includes detailed procedures for managing access rights.
It is possible to provide access rights to various areas in the
system for visibility, read, create, modify, and remove information.
Compared to typical public blog, wiki and aggregation implementations,
user groups can separate their own work area from other work areas
and control the authentication of external parties for access to
their own information. In this way blogs, wikis and aggregators
become also safe for business critical communication.
KWE is used through a web-browser through a secure protocol, HTTPS
(Hypertext Transfer Protocol over Secure Socket Layer). Browser
cookie authentication method can be tweaked to terminate user session
based on idle timeout and immediate cookie termination in cases
where the browser is closed. For increased security, VPN (Virtual
Private Network) and network-based access rules may be created.
Some users want the software to be installed on their own servers
for increased security and control, but in most cases this is not
more secure than outsourcing the service through "Software-as-a-Service"
(SaaS)  by trusted operators and administrators who are specialized
in securing KWE for business purposes. Features that require users
to use certain operating systems, browsers, or installing new software
on their computers are avoided by using a KWE as a service.
Open source software technology for
realizing a KWE
Open source software community is the biggest resource in the world
for developing software products. Therefore it is a challenging
basis for realizing the KWE platform. It provides rapid application
development. Under the terms of the open source software license
everyone has the possibility to modify the source code of KWE and
re-distribute the changes.
Open source ensures to apply experiences of extensive software
engineering in a global environment. Also many users from various
business areas, cultures, age groups and levels of technical expertise
may contribute to the design of the usability in the system. The
aim is to create a simple, usable and flexible user experience.
Strategic management is one of organizations' significant business
processes . Its purpose is to strive for enhancing overall business
performance of an organization for better competitiveness and success.
Strategic management consists particularly of organizational change
management. However, simultaneously also organization's current
business results should be ensured as a whole as planned. Strategic
management is strongly a knowledge-based collaborative and innovative
activity where typically organization's board of directors, executing
managers, selected experts, personnel representatives, and stakeholders'
representatives are being involved. Strategic collaborative learning
is a significant prerequisite for organization's sustainable success
Fig. 3 shows how the KWE tools are available at the user interface
of the system for collaborative strategic management.
Figure 3. Window-elements of KWE tools at users' system-interfaces
represents virtual space for organization's strategic management
process (virtual board room, "war-room").
The KWE is useful in all kinds of networked collaborative knowledge-intensive
cooperation, group work, and on-the-job learning. Especially benefits
are obvious in cases where participants are geographically scattered
and where arranging synchronous meetings is difficult. An individual
may easily contribute via the KWE to many simultaneously active
groups which is a typical situation for individuals in business
Typical cases where the KWE approach has proved useful in practice
- Corporate-internal expert groups, e.g. product designers, human
resource people, quality managers, and maintenance people
- Project groups
- Process teams
- Organizations' supplier or customer networks
- Benchmarking clubs of different organizations
- Collaborating business-clusters
- Networked SME's, e.g. small cooperating consulting or expert companies
- Networked learning in educational institutes
There are lots of problems in traditional practices in leveraging
effectively usage of traditional training and learning or e-learning
practices in organizations at management level . A KWE solution
based on social software or Web 2.0 technology offers simple, easy-to-implement
/ use / modify, and inexpensive solutions. It is particularly useful
when organizations or people are operating in networks and work
is strongly knowledge-intensive. Organizations may develop their
information and knowledge management from passive documentation-emphasized
and information-chaotic situation of organizational intranet systems
to effective leveraging the usage of information and knowledge for
the purpose of continuous on-the-job learning in managing effectively
and efficiently business performance. Social media based organizational
knowledge-work and learning applications and initiatives are continuously
enhancing in all types of organizations and business communities.
I would like to thank Mr. Teemu Arina, CEO of Helsinki, Finland
based company DiCoLe Ltd. (Discover- Collaborate-Learn), for fruitful
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[This text is based on papers presented in Mumbai, India in 2006
(ICIT 2006) and in New York, USA 2008 (ICELW 2008)]