A boundary object refers to a group of information items used by different groups to fulfil their needs. Aspects that include biases, needs, and experiences of various communities are considered when using boundary objects in organisations. An example of a boundary objects is population data that is analysed and used for different purposes by marketers and demographers.
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Boundary objects are used by organisations for various reasons that include promotion of communication, improvement of understanding, and expression of meaning. They have two main characteristics that set them apart from other forms of knowledge items. They are theoretical and universal with regard to the information they provide.
Examples of boundary objects include ontologies, classification systems, and paper forms. An enterprise resource planning (ERP) entry is another example of a boundary object. Many organisations use them to promote communication, motivate employees, and solve organisational problems. Organisations use the concept of boundary objects in fields that include information technology, project management, and knowledge management. These fields use that concept to share knowledge and information within organisations.
Finally, entities use boundary objects to manage disagreements between different groups of stakeholders that exhibit conflicts of interests. An example of a boundary object is an automobile prototype that offers an opportunity to different groups that include engineers, sales personnel, marketing professionals, and production experts to develop communication strategies to meet their needs.
Each of these groups of experts uses the prototype to enhance communication and interaction through sharing of knowledge. For example, the sales team develops strategies to facilitate the sale of the finalised product while the production team devises ways of producing the product at a low cost. These activities promote communication, interaction, and transfer of knowledge among employees.
Explain the idea of culture as a root metaphor and culture as an internal (i.e. organisational) variable
Smircich distinguished between the use of culture as a root metaphor and culture as an organisational variable. The consideration of culture as an organisational variable focuses more on traditional approaches that incorporate concepts of sociocultural subsystems and common organisational variables. This approach involves the consideration of organisations as units that have distinct values, norms, and rituals that affect the behaviour of employees.
This implies that management of organisational culture involves the development of values, norms, and rituals that improve the operations of an organisation. In contrast, the use of culture as a root metaphor involves the consideration of an organisation as a culture. The approach uses anthropological approaches to develop organisational paradigms. Organisations are considered as cultures, which are understood in terms of their symbolic and ideation aspects.
As such, organisational culture is seen as a puzzle that needs to be deciphered. According to this perspective, the image of an organisational culture is used as the foundation on which all the organisational processes and operations are interpreted. For example, organisational aspects, such as turnover, number of customers, and employees, are only important to an organisation based on their cultural value and meaning.
Culture is an important aspect of any company. However, it is viewed differently from the two perspectives. According to the metaphor view, culture affects all the aspects of an organisation, which implies that all the organisational processes and operations share certain meanings. In contrast, the variable view considers culture like something that an organisation has, which helps define certain components of the company.
What is a community of practice and how might knowledge be useful?
A community of practice refers to a group of people who interact regularly in order to increase their knowledge and expertise with regard to shared values and precepts. These people usually have common problems, challenges, and concerns that they try to solve through exchange of knowledge among them.
Communities of practice are special groups that focus on increasing knowledge and expertise in specific fields, which they achieve sharing gained information. They look for solutions to problems and obstacles, and use their expertise to develop a shared store of knowledge. The goals of community of practice are flexible and change depending on individual intellectual needs and the challenges that members encounter. Knowledge is the most important aspect of a community of practice.
It is important because members use it to improve their expertise on certain disciplines. In addition, they use the information they acquire through interactions to achieve their goals. Communities of practice facilitate development and exchange of knowledge among members who use it to address challenges that they encounter in their daily lives. Individual members use this knowledge to develop strategies that aid in the attainment of goals and objectives.
The defining characteristic of a community of practice is development and improvement in a particular field, and the consequent sharing of experience among its members. It is very important for all to interact as a way of exchanging ideas and opinions. Members of a community of practice can work on a single task or activity because they are joined by shared goals. Involvement of members in execution of tasks is of utmost importance.
Is cutting cost a good way for an organisation to respond to drop in profits?
Many organisations implement cost-cutting measures in order to address drop in profits. However, opponents and proponents of cost cutting give different arguments in support of their specific stands. Cutting cost is a good way for organisations to address reduce in profits because it provides more money for the most important organisational operations and processes. Cost reduction measures are most effective when they focus on organisational operations and not employees.
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Many cost reduction strategies affect organisations negatively because they focus on employees instead of inefficiency in operations and processes.
Relieving some employees of their duties contributes to the destruction of human capital. Several measures could be implemented to cut costs without destroying or interfering with human capital. These include eradicating non-performing contracts, discarding non-performing assets, reducing energy costs, eliminating inefficient organisational processes, and changing unreliable suppliers.
Cutting cost benefits organisations because the latter do not instigate layoffs that affect the output and productivity of organisations. Employees are the most important component of an organisation that plays an important role in the achievement of goals. Some organisations lay off employees as a way of addressing drop in profits. However, they exacerbate the problem because the expertise and knowledge of the employees are lost in such a case.
This leads to decline in the efficiency of organisational processes and operations that depend on the experience of employees in order to gain increased output. Therefore, cost-cutting measures should be implemented in a way that does not affect employees. Cutting cost saves a lot of money that is invested in organisational processes that guarantee high returns. This increases profits and the organisational value.