Knowledge Leadership

The Art and Science of the Knowledge-based Organization

  • Lee Lee, Professor of Management and Organization at Central Connecticut State University
  • By

    • Steven A. Cavaleri, Ph.D., Professor of Management, Central Connecticut State University; Editor of the journal, The Learning Organization
    • Sharon Seivert, President of The Coreporation in Cambridge, MA, USA;

    In Knowledge Leadership, Cavaleri and Seivert describe the dawning of a new era in which individuals are “leading” rather than “managing” knowledge. In the past, many knowledge-based initiatives have failed because leaders underestimated the powerful link between knowledge and performance improvement – and also because they mistakenly thought that “information” was the same as knowledge. Cavaleri and Seivert claim that, while information is a necessary precursor to knowledge, it is not sufficient in itself for improving business performance. The authors describe notable organizations that use the pragmatic knowledge strategies they describe to gain competitive advantage. Pragmatic knowledge is the result of individuals’ developing a deeper understanding of how (and why) things work best in practice. The process of creating pragmatic knowledge transforms key lessons from systems thinking, total quality management, and organization learning into a powerful new business strategy.To help readers apply the concepts and tools in this book, Cavaleri and Seivert draw on case examples and a decade of original cross-cultural research about knowledge leadership. They also invite readers to use The Knowledge Bias Profile to discover their knowledge leadership style. The book systematically outlines a user-friendly strategy for becoming a knowledge leader and for building high-performing, knowledge-based organizations.
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    Executives and middle managers charged with improving efficiency, increasing revenue, spearheading change, within organizations, knowledge management experts and practitioners, management consultants, and academics and students studying organizational change, change management, leadership and motivation


Book information

  • Published: May 2005
  • ISBN: 978-0-7506-7840-7


From Harvard Business School’s book review (August 8, 2005 edition of Working Knowledge) Knowledge management is a tad passé if all we imagine is managing the brainpower of our colleagues. More important these days, according to this book, is for individuals to actually lead the creation of knowledge in their organizations in a systematic and pragmatic way: That's how innovation and competitive advantage take hold. This serious book offers a comprehensive framework in that direction, helping you first to evaluate your own "knowledge leadership" style and then see the big picture within the company. In a non-gimmicky way, the authors-specialists in learning organizations and management-serve up the Yogi and Commissar figures once described by Arthur Koestler, the late novelist, philosopher, and political activist. As used here, the Yogi is someone who challenges others to question their assumptions and beliefs in order to forge a new path for learning. Commissar leaders prefer to focus on action and changing the outward behavior of others. "The message for knowledge leaders from Arthur Koestler's book, The Yogi and the Commissar, is that any rigidly held worldview, although seductive on the surface, is inherently limited and likely to cause leaders their own demise. Although it is no small task, becoming a knowledge leader requires you to become aware of-then reduce the dysfunctional effects of-your own worldview and perpetual blocks," they write. The book is divided into six parts: Why Should You Care About Knowledge?; Becoming a Knowledge Leader; Putting Knowledge into Action; Developing Pragmatic Knowledge; Leading Fast Knowledge-Based Organizations; and Putting it All Together. Plenty of examples, illustrations, and executive summaries help to clarify what can be a difficult and unwieldy challenge for a fast-paced company. "Starting change efforts by increasing self-knowledge may not be the most comfortable for business leaders, but it is where knowledge leaders have to begin-and we think it will be a differentiating trait between good and great leaders in the future," the authors conclude. "The authors of this well-researched and clearly written book stimulate reflection with intriguing images and practical tools, and they guide towards action with examples from private, public, and not-for profit organizations. Readers will come away not only with an up-to-date understanding of the field of knowledge management, but also with greater self-knowledge, enabling them to hone their leadership skills and strategies." -- Ariane Berthoin Antal, Social Science Research Center Berlin and co-editor The Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge "A refreshing scholarly perspective of Knowledge Leadership for creating functional, adaptive, sustainable, and timely knowledge-based organizational strategies to affect bottom line performance. Drawing upon a solid pragmatic understanding of systems thinking, the authors offer an incisive analysis of how to develop and apply pragmatic knowledge in today's organizations. Real world industry cases and scientific analyses of knowledge profiles support the conceptual and pragmatic framework while offering tools for bridging the knowing-doing divide." -- Dr. Yogesh Malhotra, PhD, MBA, BE, CCP,CEng Founding Chairman and Chief Knowledge Architect, BRINT Institute, LLC; Faculty of Management Information and Decision Sciences, Syracuse University Whitman School of Management "Knowledge Leadership is a timely response to a widely felt need within the KM field. Practical, readable and with sound foundations, it is a valuable guide for leaders who want their companies to become part of the elite Knowledge-based Organizations, those companies that base their long-term strategies on knowledge differentiation. If you lead, you must read." -- Javier Carrillo, Professor of Knowledge Management and Director of the Center for Knowledge Systems, ITESM, Mexico. "Knowledge leadership is the key to sustained competitive advantage in the knowledge economy. Steven Cavaleri, Sharon Seivert and Lee Lee help us to understand what knowledge leadership is and show us how to recognise, develop and become knowledge leaders. If more people in business, the professions, and public and voluntary organisations use this book to undertake similar journeys to become leaders in their fields we will all benefit." -- Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas, author of 'The Knowledge Entrepreneur' "Kudos to Cavaleri and Seivert for sharing this enlightening volume on the wisdom and power of skillful knowledge management. For those of us who have the fortune of working within a visionary and well-balanced "robust learning" environment, Knowledge Leadership: The Art and Science of the Knowledge-based Organization is a great resource to keep our knowledge strategies and processes on track. For organizations that have not yet effectively embraced the "era of knowledge" or utilized knowledge as the source of innovation and success, this book provides a gold mine of tools to integrate the knowledge development process and knowledge management initiative. This illustrative resource can guide receptive organizations to 'develop actionable and pragmatic knowledge,' which can facilitate engaging employees to foster innovation and ultimately yield a competitive edge. This book provides an invaluable guide to managers who are on the journey toward understanding knowledge-based organizations, and can serve as a useful overview of the role of knowledge in organizations for managers just beginning the journey." -- Lynn S. Quinn, Manager, Retail Human Resources, Eileen Fisher, Inc.

Table of Contents

Part I. Why Should You Care about Knowledge Leadership?Chapter 1: The Knowledge Leadership ChallengeChapter 2: The Emerging Era of the Knowledge Leader Part II: Becoming a Knowledge LeaderChapter 3: Discovering Your Knowledge Leadership StyleChapter 4: Learning from Commissar and Yogi LeadersChapter 5: Stepping Back to Envision New Possibilities Chapter 6: Studying Knowledge Leadership Behavior: Lessons from Cross-Cultural ResearchPart III: Putting Knowledge into ActionChapter 7 Aligning Knowledge with Business StrategiesChapter 8 Understanding the Role of Knowledge in Organizations Part IV: Developing Pragmatic KnowledgeChapter 9: Putting Action into Knowledge Chapter 10 Learning to Make Knowledge Pragmatic Chapter 11 Leading Knowledge ProcessingPart V: Leading FAST Knowledge-Based Organizations (KBOs)Chapter 12 Developing FAST KBOs Chapter 13 Learning from Experience: A Case of Mistaken Identity Chapter 14: Balancing Knowledge and Management SystemsChapter 15 Constructing Effective Knowledge Infrastructures Part VI: Putting it all TogetherChapter 16 Using 5-Point Dynamic Mapping to Lead FAST KBOsAppendices: Appendix A: Development and Use of the Knowledge Bias ProfileAppendix B: Essentials of Creating Pragmatic KnowledgeAppendix C: 5-Point Dynamic Career Mapping for Talent Retention and Development