2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW
ORGANIZATIONAL LEARNING APPROACH
Learning has to do with changes in behavior as a result as a result of experiences. There are various ways people learn in an organization which could be through studying, experiences, information, conversations etc. It could also be behavioral, cognitive or constructive. ‘In order words, learning is an activity performed by an individual who facilitate organizational learning' (Love, Fong and Irani, 2005, p.135). Organizational learning can be seen as the change processes in an organization. Ray, Quintas and Little (2002) described organization learning as the manner in which an organization uses its skills in acquiring, creating and transferring knowledge which will reflect greater insight into knowledge in its output. Organization learning is accomplished from sharing of information and knowledge by employees with an entity (Pedler et al, 1997). In these organization employees are always learning to improve themselves and get the best knowledge for maximum productivity within their organization. These experiences of individuals are turned into macro structures that eventually become organization learning successes. However, the approaches and theories in organization learning share a common hypothesis and phenomena that change in organizations is connected to internal processes of learning. The main objective of organization learning processes is for organizational knowledge to be gained through employee or personal knowledge (Senge, 1997). Organizational learning makes available the methods, concepts, instruments that generate organized learning in an organization (Maier, Hadrich, and Peinl, 2005). Interrelating this perspective, learning organizations encourage the learning of its employees in order to transform the organization which is done through sharing of knowledge and ideas. An organizations memory is key to an organizations learning (Love, Fong and Irani, 2005) and this memory is referred to as the backbone of the organizations transformation. Organizations should focus on maintaining their memory by strengthening their information processing capacity, creative capacity of its teams, synergizing their data and creating checks and balances for its IT systems to meet the external demands (Malhotra, 1998). Some of the characteristics of learning organizations as stated by Ray, Quintas and Little (2002) is to be problem solving, learning from others and learning using personal experiences. Others is to be risk takers which means that organization should be experimenting on new approaches to solving problems or use new approaches in process delivery. Also, knowledge gained should be transferred quickly and more efficiently. Examples of this include rotating of jobs, reports written, tour and site visits, trainings, education, presentations and videos. Similarly, some other researcher is of the opinion that learning organizations are to have a vision that is shared by all members of the organization. They should have personal mastery in what they do and are mental models (Senge, 1990). Additionally, learning organizations have a team learning attitude and are system thinkers – meaning they are focused on the overall projections of the organization. This characteristic, the researcher say will reinforce the organization.
However, some of the barriers that learning organizations are faced with are resistance to change by members of the organization, poor leadership, disregard for teams success, poor value for learning, dictatorship and focus on the short term (Silberman, 2013).
3.0 KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT FEATURES
There is a popular notion that says knowledge is power and interestingly this makes a lot of sense because everything that revolves around the world today resonates with having which generates power. Today's society where there are products, technology, regulations, markets, institutions, organizations etc springing up with constant innovations, without quality knowledge those innovations will not take place as this is what makes them better and in turn competitive. An example of this is Dell Corporation that honors the most outstanding inventor in its organization which is done annually to motivate them to do more (Dell.com, n.d.). Knowledge management can be defined as the creation, development and implementation of knowledge for the overall functioning of the organization (Wang and Wang, 2008). Knowledge management can be seen from two distinct approaches which is from the human perspective and the technology perspective (Nonaka and Teece, 2001; Maier, Hadrich and Peinl, 2005). The human perspective relates to how humans or individuals interpret knowledge which is based on their perceptions or beliefs. On the other hand, the technological perception or approach is knowledge interpreted in formal forms such as using ICT related tools to express the information in forms like data, formula, emails, databases, computer systems etc. These two approaches to knowledge creation cannot work in isolation or else it will fail. The human perspective cannot work without the interaction of the technological approach. An organization creation of knowledge marries these two aspects for it to be successful. The process of interaction between the two approaches is called knowledge conversion (Nonaka and Teece, 2001). Knowledge conversion is of four forms which are socialization, combination, externalization and internalization.
Knowledge management performs certain processes to achieve its aim which involves collaborating with clients, partners, suppliers to improve the effectiveness of the organization. Similarly, these processes follow a particular sequence in which knowledge is harnessed. These are also known as knowledge management feature. Ray, Quintas and Little (2002) stated these features as acquiring, organizing, codifying and deploying. However, some other are of the opinion that they are other features such as creating, maintaining, distributing (Maier, Hadrich and Peinl, 2005), capture, develop, share and utilize (Lee and Hong, 2002). Nissen et al (2000) are of the view that knowledge framework in an organization has to be creating, organizing, formalizing, distribute, apply and evolve. The table below gives a proper illustration of the various research views by different authors concerning knowledge management framework.
KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT FEATURES/ FRAMEWORKS
S/N RESEARCHERS FEATURES/FRAMEWORK
1 Ray, Quintas and Little (2002) Acquiring, Organizing, Codifying, Deploying Knowledge
2 Maier, Hadrich and Peinl (2005) Creating, Acquiring, Transferring, Modifying, New insight
3 Nissen et al (2000) Create, Organize, Formalize, Distribute, Apply, Evolve.
4 Lee and Hong (2002) Capture, Develop, Share, Utilize
4.0 DELL INCORPORATED AND HOW THEY EXPLOIT OF SOCIAL MEDIA
BRIEF HISTORY –
Dell Incorporated formerly known as Dell Computer Corporation was founded in 1984 by Michael Dell at age 19 in the University of Texas, Austin, United States of America. The company started its first product with just a thousand ($1,000) dollars as startup capital but has grown over the years to be one of the world's leading companies.
Dell started its business with the manufacturing of personal computers (PC's) in the 1990's but has moved over the years to lot more larger range of products. These products include computer notebooks, network servers, monitors, workstations, printers, storage products, softwares and computer peripherals. Others are projectors, television and handheld computers. Most of its products are manufactured by Dell itself which has six (6) large manufacturing facilities scattered around the world. The different continent of the world has atleast a manufacturing plant that has made them reach a larger population with their products.
In 2003, Dell diversified and increased its product line to storage equipments, and servers. This diversification made the company grow in profit to an all time high of $41.44 billion dollars. Dell made a huge profit margin growing from $6 million dollars in their first year of business to $41.44 billion in 2004. Over the years Dell had taken giant strides in the use of different forms of social media to become innovative and keep up with the yearning needs of its consumers.
EXPLOITING SOCIAL MEDIA –
In the early 1990's – 2000s, Dell faced a high cost of manufacturing of its products and also had a poor profit margin of sales of its products to consumers due to market purchase. Dell decided to venture into social media by launching its internet website in 1996/1997. Dell however, regained its market share by selling computers through their website. Already existing clients preferred to use Dell's website due to its flexibility and multiple features in its computer products. Dell capitalized on meeting their consumer needs by selling directly to them as against using a third party. They made clients build their personal consumer to their desired specification based on how much they had to spend and getting it delivered to them in a few days. This increased Dell's demand and made their profit margin rise as well while the general market trend was low. Dell expanded its market lead by venturing into new technology of manufacturing powerEdge servers that were cheaper and more affordable than its competitors. Subsequently, Dell moved into areas like printers, television, digital audio player etc as a result of the knowledge gained from customers through their website. Furthermore, Dell opened up a new unit (internally) that catered for home PC users – having computer products made tailored for individuals. This lead to other PC manufacturers/ vendors going low as a result of the unsteady trend which Dell was benefitting from and eventually leaving the market or being bought over by other firms.
In 2006, Dell had another great milestone in the use of social media for its benefits as they launched a blogging site to look into customer issues with Dell products. This was as a result of Dell being a passionate social listener (Fidelman, 2011). There was a lot of buzz in the media about issues Dell products were facing and learning from this, Dell decided to have a blog to know what issues their consumers had so as to improve on it or rectify it. This a major way where organizations can learn about their products inorder to stay relevant in the market.
INCORPORATING DELL'S WORKFORCE IN SOCIAL MEDIA –
Dell has over a hundred and three thousand (103,000) employees worldwide and they are all social media certified (Fidelman, 2011) meaning employees are also using social media for their day-to-day interactions with the public making them in tune with the workings of the trend and encouraging knowledge sharing within the organization. An example of knowledge sharing is the principle adopted by the US Navy where knowledge transfer within the navy is compulsory as every activity or project executed within the day must be demonstrated or explained to other team members at the close of the day or after the project is completed so the knowledge of that circulate to everyone. Apart from knowledge sharing within the organization, it has helped employees locate industry influencers which they have nurtured or assisted with an issue that have in turn made positive remarks about the company.
DELL SOCIAL MEDIA COMMUNITY –
The organization is involved and actively participating in social media platforms with massive followership. Below is an illustration of the the different social media Dell is involved in and their followership.
S/N SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWERS VIDEO VIEWS VIEWS
1 Flicker 4,406
2 Linkedln 116,000
3 Youtube 6,447 8,326,928 416,268
4 Twitter 200,000 +
5 Facebook 599,650
6 Ideastorm 743,594
These are eventually perspective clients or advocates for the company.
5.0 DELL'S INNOVATION THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA
As a result of venturing into blogging to know what their clients issues were and how to tackle it, today, Dell has a media center that uses sentiment analysis to locate problems with the Dell brand and help resolve consumer issues. Similarly, this center monitors consumer behavior for possible future research and development benefits. Also, this center uses social media applications such as Dashboards, Radian6 and BazaarVoice to help Dell stay informed by monitoring the computer market through social stream.
Moreover, Dell has a Social Media University that has trained professionals to listen to customer issues and proffer solutions on the go. This initiative is one of Dell's projects to have trained social media experts that will be brand ambassadors for the company and also assist consumers worldwide. This Social Media University is expanding as it now trains professionals in eleven (11) foreign languages meaning for those customers that cannot speak English, they just might be able to communicate their issues in their languages. Eventually, this will bring a closer customer relationship, loyalty and better brand insight.
Furthermore, Dell's top management are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Wechat, Linkedln etc. what this means is that transparency with employees and consumers is higher leading to increase in trust and when people learn to trust, they give their all. Also, employees feel free to engage in social media as a result of having their bosses on social media leading to increased brand awareness. On facebook a lone Dell has a social community of over 599, 650 followers meaning they have a community they can influence by posting comments, events, products etc.
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