Monday, May 05, 2008

IS 456 Class V - 4/30/2008 - Organizational learning

Review of Last Class and Homework.
Al reviewed the homework submitted by the students. He chose 10 homework submissions that according to him were well scoped and commented on those. Not sure why he did not pick the ones that were not well scoped and provided feedback, but he is the boss in class, so he chooses!!

Tonight's Threads
Diagnosing and solving knowledge problems in organizations. I have started using MS one note following the discussion in Class IV. Here are some notes that I made on themes such as problem solving and decision making:

Problem solving stages: Make decisions, solve problems or make tasks. Difference between decision making and problem solving:
Some decisions solve problems, or they can create a problem that you have to solve later. Problem solving is probably bigger than Decision making because you have to do a lot more. Reframing the problem is an important step in Problem Solving

Decisions: structured decision, ill structured decisions (mergers and acquisitons)
Problem: awareness of a discreprency, resources to do it and pressure to act. Root cuase, fishbone diagrams etc are problem solving. Decision making: more programmed, Story: irrational exuberance. Al was looking at 14 schools, Schools were asking Al, if they made the short list?.

Al used his decision making approach when picking his first teaching Job:
a. Identification of a problem, --->identify decision making criteria, --->allocation of weights to criteria. --->develop alternatives--->Analysis of alternatives--->selection of an alternative --> implementation of alternative-->evaluation of decision effectiveness.

Naturalistic is decision making under pressure --->trader floor -->fighter pilot etc

Problem solving and decision making in in organizations
See the week 5 zip files on COLWeb--with blog questions enclosed. Some more about analyzing problems, specifically organization design content. Here are the answers to the questions that are required for this homework.

Please answer these questions on your blog, based on the articles enclosed in this folder:

* Action learning article:

o Focus on the "Problem solving process" picture, Fig. 4-1.

o There are 6 steps. Which is the most important?

§ ANS: “Reframe the problem” is the most important in my opinion, because it reviews the presented problem and digs deeper to understand if it is a knowledge problem or an Information problem. Framing and Reframing the problem are critical steps of creative problem solving. While Framing the problem, presents it, Reframing the problem scrutinizes the problem further, by asking why. So this step by far is the most important as it provides the information necessary for the root cause.

o Note that 2 new steps are described, before 'determine the root cause'.

* Understanding & Supporting Decision Making.pdf

o What is naturalistic decision making, and how is it different from the traditional decision making, i.e. the theory-hypothesis-test-conclude?

§ ANS: The naturalistic decision making process uses observation as a s first step prior to testing hypothesis. NDM also tries to understand the role of intuition in the decision making process that the theory-hypothesis-test-conclude model does not include in its framework. The premise of the NDM theory is that the scientify investigation of how people makes decisions begins with observation.

* What data mining can't do.docx

o In terms of data, data modeling, data warehousing and data mining, why is more not necessarily better?

§ ANS: Recency and Frequency are two measures that have been around for a long time. Most time they are all we need in the Analytics process. Data collection technology should work toward making these measures more accurate to get a better bang for the buck. Having more data there fore does not necessarily mean it is a good thing, rather, Collecting data geared toward the models you are using should be the right approach. Another train of thought to consider is that suppringly simple spreadsheet models can take you much further, particularly in capturing initial behaviour. As the author puts it “Start Simple”, you will be surprised how much you gain by starting out in the spreadsheet realm.

General Reflections:

* Is there a difference between decision making and problem solving?

ANS: Yes, Problem solving follows the premise that there is an awareness of a discreprency, resources to do it and pressure to act. Tools used for problem solving generally provide a Root Cause Analysis and selection of best possible choices among a series of solutions.

Decision making on the other hand, tries to be “more programmed” and tries to eliminate BIAS from the process of decision making to arrive at a rational approach to process. The steps in decision making normally follow: Identification of a problem, --->identify decision making criteria, --->allocation of weights to criteria. --->develop alternatives--->Analysis of alternatives--->selection of an alternative --> implementation of alternative-->evaluation of decision effectiveness.


* True or false:

o There are good decisions, and there are bad decisions.

§ ANS: False, there on only “decisions”, based on alternatives, analysis of alternatives and selection of alternatives.

o Better information yields better decision making.

§ ANS: True, Better information (as opposed to Bad information) yields better decision making. It can help you develop better alternates and help you allocate weights better.

o Better knowledge yields better decision making.

§ ANS: True, Better knowledge (more actionable pieces of information) yields better decision making.

End of Homework.

Multimedia and cognitive processes
An interesting exercise. Al had the class read the lyrics, then listen to the sound track and finally watch the video and soundtrack of Mettalica's song labeled "One". At step he requested the class to write down what the song is about and then compare it to the previous answers. The idea behind the exercise was to understand the influence of media in the learning process, particularly the impact of BIAS. In this particular case study, my analysis was as follows:
1) After reading the lyrics, my impression: the song was about WAR and its RAVAGES.
2) After listening to the soundtrack: I was glad I had read the lyrics, as it was hard to decipher the sound bytes. I guess heavy metal is a hard listen (atleast for me).
3) After watching the Video: I picked up some additional BIAS that came through, such as the Son and father relationship and the soldier sending signals via morse code as a plea for help.

Parting Shot:
4 types of learning we’ll discuss later:
1) Knowledge acquisition is the process by which knowledge is obtained.
2) Information distribution is the process by which information from different sources is shared and thereby leads to new information or understanding.
3) Information interpretation is the process by which distributed information is given one or more commonly understood interpretations.
4) Organizational memory is the means by which knowledge is stored for future use

See you next week.

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