The following blog will reflect on Friedman’s concept of the Triple Convergence and its relationship to knowledge management. It will also explore the relationship the role of leadership in knowledge management.
Chapter three of Friedman’s broad message of a flatter playing field explores the concept of “the triple convergence”. He explains that with the use of the ten flatteners, leaders from all areas of business are enabled to “get comfortable with, and develop, the sorts of horizontal collaboration and value-creation processes and habits that could take advantage of this new, flatter playing field” (Friedman, 2005). Friedman compares the era of Globalization 2.0, which he describes as being “vertical silos” of collaboration to Globalizations 3.0, which he considers to be a flatter, side to side method of collaboration. The new technology that he introduced in Globalization 3.0 fosters a fresh way of conducting business practices. According to Friedman, the combination of computers, web tools, and a faster means to retrieve data through fiber-optic cable, businesses are able to connect and collaborate “horizontally.” Friedman suggests the concept of “the triple convergence” is “reshaping the whole global business environment” (Friedman, 2005). In the following blog, the author will explore the relationship of “the triple convergence” to knowledge management and how it plays a role of leadership today.
Knowledge management (KM) can be defined as a process to share, provide, represent, and distribute information in an organized way so that it is available for the use of organizations and individuals. Friedman’s contribution in explaining “the triple convergence” helps us to understand the foundations and relationships that it holds with knowledge management. Today, individuals not only retrieve and view information across networks, they also can comment and share thoughts about the same information through social networks. The convergence of a plethora of technology has enabled organizations in an increasingly competitive world, to access knowledge in a multitude of settings. The use of this knowledge has shaped the way people share ideas through horizontal organizational structures.
The role of leadership, as it relates to knowledge management, has been discussed in many forums. Jarche (2013) describes ways to incorporate KM in a recent blog post titled “From Hierarchies to Wirearchies”. Jarche (2013) explains that organizations should support environments that are cooperative and collaborative and for organizations to be successful in an emerging “network era” it must “support both types of activities”. This will help to encourage “social networking which can increase innovation through a diversity of ideas”. The relationship between these ideas describes how organizations are no longer sending information from top down, but the information is provided “side to side” or within a “wirearchy”. The following example of provides an example of an organization that supports both of these concepts.
The following paragraphs will demonstrate an example of the role knowledge management plays in leadership today. XYZ Organization, a cable company offering land-line phone, internet, cable, and wireless services, implemented a strategy to organize and distribute data and information for internal and external stakeholders. The internal stakeholders include the organization’s staff and the external stakeholders are its customers. By providing the information to internal and external stakeholders helps to “flatten the playing field”. These efforts focused on outcomes that would improve overall organizational performance to stay competitive in an ever-changing industry. The knowledge management system (KMS) acted as a compass that provided information to help sales, marketing, technology, engineering, human resources, and innovative operations that provided the individuals of these groups the ability to solve problems and think critically. The idea is to provide all stakeholders with the same information to be accessed anywhere at anytime. The KMS is a revolutionary system that changed the way XYZ Organization conducted business.
This has enabled the user, both internal and external, to gain useful information to improve their practical understanding about the products and services that were provided at XYZ Organization, hence, “flattening the playing field”.
Friedman, Thomas L. (2007). The World is Flat 3.0 – A Brief History of the Twenty-First
Century. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Florida, Richard. (2005). The World in Numbers, The World is Spiky. The Atlantic Monthly,
Jarche, H., (2013). From Hierarchies to Wirearchies. Retrieved: http://www.jarche.com/2013/03/from-hierarchies-to-wirearchies/