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KM and Organisational Learning in Bahrain

It’s been a while since my last blog and an update is well overdue.

I’ve recently returned from my first piece of work in Bahrain and what has struck me is the critical the lack of investment in learning and development.  Bahrain is in transition, moving from an economy traditionally built on natural resources, oil and pearls, to a future built on an even more natural resource, knowledge.  The government has set out its vision fro human resource development through its 2030 economic strategy.  However, organisations on the ground appear reluctant to invest in the development of their human capital.

During a focus group meeting in Manama it be came clear that the core reason is the fear of empty investment – the employee who is seen as a cost centre, one that will take the investment in learning and deploy it within another organisation.  The mindset is therefore, why bother investing in L+D, let the next company be the fools who invest the money.  The sentiment, while naive, and lacking in understanding of the knowledge economy drivers and the importance of adaptive capacity to an organisation, is also founded on a lack of awareness as to the benefits of KM and organisational learning concepts.  Investment in people is essential, after all, human capital is the foundation of the knowledge economy.  However, investment in people development has to be married to the development of organisational memory, and I’m not talking about technology solutions here.  The socialisation of knowledge has to be a key consideration for any firm looking to invest in the unpredictable world of learning and development – especially in these times of global austerity.

Wherever I meet people, regardless of sector or geographic location, it seems that the term KM is deemed as being expensive.  The term is synonymous with technology based KM solutions, the word “solution” being the one that should concern any organisation – how does a piece of technology provide a knowledge solution, something that has always puzzled me?  I’ve spent a week raising awareness of the true benefits of KM and the non-technology based processes that can be put into place to scaffold investment in learning and development. 

The buy-in is there.  I’m now going back for ten days in November/December to work with a NGO as a demonstration of what is possible in KM using non-technology based process frameworks… I’ll update you on what happens.  These are exciting times in Bahrain and it’s a pleasure to be a part of its development.

2 comments on “KM and Organisational Learning in Bahrain

  1. roanyong
    October 31, 2010

    Hi David,

    It’s a wonderful article! Thank you. I love your idea that Learning and Development has to go with preserving organisational memory. I think that’s should be the way.

    The Bahrain executives’ concern is a valid one. No organisation would want to develop their staff, only to be poached by competitors.

    I think Learning and Development has to be explained in win-win terms. It’s a win for employees because they could become experts in their chosen field, i.e. personal development. And it’s a win for employer because they can get better ideas from the employees. Better ideas can lead to big time innovation and eventually financial windfall. Furthermore, employees may stay on because they can implement their ideas (they get appreciated). It’s no secret that people want appreciation and acknowledgment of the good work that they have done.

  2. Pingback: Getting KM right! (4 Functions and 12 Constructs) « Theknowledgecore's Blog

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This entry was posted on October 31, 2010 by in Uncategorized.
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