About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A new framework: Part II

As I have been thinking through the framework I mapped out in yesterday's post, I began to think of how this might be used (see the questions I asked at the end of the post). It has been my contention that workers at different times in their career may have different needs in terms of work literacy.

Using the diagram I created, I thought how these categories might be used to assess training and technology needs and how different groups might use different tool sets.

New Workers as New Hires

Coming out of school, I think most new hires are used to using cognitive and performance skills. Organizations often hire based on performance skills, and evaluates new hires during probation areas using performance skills objectives. Universities use cognitive skills, so these are the skills most new graduates use to navigate the knowledge business environment. As a result they need to develop socio-cognitive and social skill sets.

Veteran Workers as New Hires

Knowledge workers that come into a new organization, bring the social network and knowledge needed to do their job, but need to understand the new social situation they are in. As a result, they are more apt to use their social or socio-cognitive skills to accomplish their work. While performance skills may still be used to hire them, they are less apt to worry about new performance skills that will not affect their immediate job. As a result, they will resist training that is "teaching" them something for which they will not be evaluated or they will only learn the minimum level of performance to maintain their job.

This group may also need to work on their cognitive skills as they may not see the need to learn new things, instead relying on their social or social cognitive skills. They may also not be confident in their cognitive skills as they have increasingly been required to rely on their social skills to accomplish their work. However, coming into a new social climate, they will most likely want to focus on the social skills as they try to learn the "new organizational culture" of which they are now a part. It will be important for them to learn the new communication structure, the management structure within the organization, and the organizational norms while maintaining ties within the various communities of which they are a part. They may be more open to learning or using new tools that will help them to maintain these social ties. Is it any wonder why consultants are more apt to use social networking tools?

Veteran Workers within the Organization

Veteran workers within an organization will have a deep understanding of the social network and will base much of their work on the social and social cognitive skill sets. Unlike those that have moved to a new organization, though, their social skill set may, in fact, not be stretched as they become entrenched in their organization's social structure. As a result, they would be less likely to see a need in becoming a part of a new community, relying on old ties and structures. This group, therefore, may need some periodic "retooling" of their social skill sets so as not to be outdated in comparison to the changing environment. Likewise, they may also need a Performance skill set retool, as external pressures require new performance skills (i.e. video conferencing instead of just telephones, mobile technology use).

These workers also will see a need for cognitive skill set retool only for specific instances. However, they may be resistant to new ways of learning unless they are required to do so. For the most part, these veteran workers will rely on (and have a high level of ability in) socio-cognitive skill sets for their learning. They will take their cue on what to learn through interaction in teams and participation in professional organizations.

Next Topic

I think this same framework can also be used to address the different types of knowledge work, with some skill sets more important than others dependent upon the type of work and tasks workers must do. I will try to blog about that later.

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