e-Strategies and k-Strategies for e-ducation
March 2006

e-Strategies and k-Strategies for e-ducation

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Did we miss knowledge?

Often the modern world is associatedwith rapid change, high speed, fast growth and etc. However, all these factor fallout aside in comparison with today’s  development and “electonification/knowledgefication” of the world. Nowadays, we can put “e”/”k” behind everything and  find them in the internet or World Wide Web. This change brings a big mass of information to our world. The importance of information decreased in one sense and increased in another.  The decline informational importance occurred in sense that you can find dozens of web pages which includes the information which you need. Amplification occurred in sense that only competitive information or   competitive knowledge began to create difference. Knowing explicitly  what, where and how starts to create difference in modern world.  On the other hand, organizations start to look for the new opportunities. One  of these became e-nvironment, the place where you have equal  conditions to compete. Boom of dotcom; provoke many people to invest  heavily in the electronic area.
However, as BCG matrix emphasize heavily investment on stars never  means immediate income from them. Actually, one of the problems of that  ‘crises’ was high expectations and promises, which means lack of  knowledge. (M.Porter, March 2001.) As M.Robert (2000) pointed out in his  book, this is an era of denial or paranoia. Paranoids were those who  tried to do everything and anything they can think of with the internet and  knowledge. Though, as author
continues neither denial nor paranoia is solution. The solution could be to  understand the capabilities (knowledge, information, etc.) and  how they could be used by the company. However, before attempting  to understand the new world, one needs to understand the  organizational strategy for e-ducation of the institution. (M.  Robert (2000), p 6-7.)  In other words, the same content of strategy for e-ducation has to be understood and transformed into the  new context of the new world – eworld or k-world.  Generally, developing strategy for education (even in “e” or “k” world)  with its dimensions means running from the content, through the process, to the context. That means  strategy could not be perceived without its dimensions which are not  different from each other, rather than complimentary. (de Wit & Meyer  (dW&M) (2004), p.5) Therefore, even this paper will focus on the process  dimension it will include and emphasize others as well.  The desire to understand today’s complexity and confusion encouraged me to try to relate two strategies for education  processes in one and create simplicity. Moreover, during the preresearch  of the literature I have not found any explicit academic research on that topic. Even these two topics were quite “fresh” for the strategy  literature. <!–Ads1–>
The paper begins with a brief overview of “e” and “k” strategy and  its current focus on organizational resources and capabilities for education.  It links these strategies in the content dimension of the strategy  process for e-ducation. Building on  this view, it presents an interrelated developing process of strategy transformation to adapt to the gradually/evolutionary changing environment  for e-ducation.

e-Strategy
Changes in IT industry and in the whole world force companies to turn to the IT and develop appropriate  strategies on the organizational level. E-strategy can be regarded as one of these strategies. (M.Porter, 2001)  Therefore  organizations focused on estrategy  process for e-ducation as on a codified set of steps that first of all  “demystifies” the Internet. On one hand, the e-strategy process itself  drives you to think about what information processes you have in
place today, how your functions  relate to each other and to your teachers/senders and students/ receivers. Then, added to that, is the  e-effect of e-ducation, or the impact  that the Internet will have on those things. (M.Robert (2000), p. 107)  Briefly, e-strategy gives you an opportunity to move your organization to the electronic environment and operate there on the  organizational level. Therefore, operations in e-nvironment require organizational level strategy which is the e-strategy for that specific environment.

K-strategy

E-ducation organizations are coming to view knowledge as their most  valuable and strategic resource, and bringing that knowledge to bear on  problems and opportunities as their most important capability. They are  realizing that in order to remain  competitive they must explicitly manage their intellectual resources  and capabilities. However, many executives still have a problem  with   managing their capabilities-knowledgethat can help them to link  knowledge oriented processes to organization strategies, and are unsure of how to translate the goal of making their  organizations more intelligent into a strategic course of action. In other words, they lack of k-strategy  (knowledge strategy). (M.Zack, 1999) Knowledge strategy implies a notion  of knowledge-based strategy, that is, competitive strategy built around  institution’s intellectual resources and capabilities. Knowledge strategy is  oriented toward understanding what knowledge is strategic and why.  (N. Bontis and C. W. Choo, (2002), p.270-271)

Link between strategies
Concerning the fact that both strategies are based on organizations capabilities and resources to have/ create strategies and to develop them,  these strategies in their content can be formulated and understood from  resource-based view (RBV). (dW&M  (2004), p.284) In the RBV, organization resources gave them competitive advantage to create sustained  competitive advantage that will directly mirrored in their strategies. Therefore, here I will try to find links  between e-strategy and k-strategy for e-ducation and vice versa.  Both strategies have several patterns which can be generalized according to  the e-strategy for e-ducation (internet as a process) book of M. Robert,  where he states that generally estrategy is intangible, trying to focus  on moving, evolving target. (M.Robert (2000), p.19). Those general  patterns in broad sense could be applied to every strategy. However,  concerning the structure of k- and estrategies that patterns like  intangibility and evolvement can be particularly observed in knowledge  area/e-ducation where every moment means new person who shares it. And particularly neither knowledge nor  electronic e-nvironments are  intangible. Consequently, the new world/society becomes more and more dependent on information, this shift lends itself  perfectly to the Internet and should be properly managed e-ducation by  the right k-strategy which will intersect with the e-strategy on the  rapidly and evolving Internet area. (Ibid, p. 29).  Since the Internet is primarily a <!–Ads2–>
transporter of information, the more the society becomes dependent on information, the more disruptive the Internet will be to institutions. This is why the institutions most threatened by the Internet today are those with a  product or service mostly based on information, which means there comes  a new era of e+k–strategy (further estrategy= k-strategy will be used as  e+k-strategy model) . As it can be observed  from the  picture the  strategy,  which will  help organizations  to move (process)  to the new  world or  new environment  and even in new  circumstances  (context)  have an ability to properly manage its capabilities and resources (content).  As an example, at Amazon.com, has information on 17 million of its  ustomers. (Ibid, p.32) These  databases allow Amazon.com to know exactly the current interests of its  customers and their future interests as well. Simply by e-mail address  Amazon.com is able to do one-to-one  providing of new book/knowledge.

Developing Interrelated Strategies
After the dot-com fallout, surviving companies/organizations needed to  sharpen strategy and analyze metrics  much better. (M. Epstein,  2004) Since the world entered into the new  world, institutions have to reviewtheir strategies and develop a new one. Therefore, I consider the  importance of the k-strategy which  will provide necessary knowledge to  organizations to develop (which also  means change in strategy formulation process) e-strategies for the new  conditions. In other words, I consider these changes as a ways of  encouragement to develop or interrelate these strategies in e+kstrategy  model for e-ducation the new e-nvironment, which will form and be part of new world. For that reason, I  will mainly refer to the combination ofM.Robert’s book on “E-strategy” and M.Zack’s article on “Developing a  Knowledge Strategy: Epilogue”. However, that part will not be limited  with these sources only and will provide combination of other  publications.Hence, one million of questions come in the mind of most of administrators,  what should I do? How should I do it? ho knows the solution? The answer  is simple, nobody knows. But, in order to make the picture clearer or  eradicate fuzziness I will try to combine the ways of k-strategy  development with the e-strategy development in order to create a  common picture and prove that strategies for e-ducation in process   may be interrelated and similar concerning certain merits and aspects. According to several strategy guru’s the best way to develop e-strategy in  the frame of organizational strategy it is better to start with your employee.  (M.Robert (2000), p.33) That could be easily supported with the k-strategy  development process which focuses on organization/society capabilities  and sources on employees. Consequently, we know with whom or  who will develop/change our organizational/institutional strategy  towards the new model e + k-strategy model in e-ducation world. So, where should we start?  That point is very important and may be most of you will have a feeling that  this paper repeats the traditional way  of strategy formulation. (dW&M (2004), p.7) However, I can argue and  say that the process in general always or in most of the cases remains stable.  The things, which make/create difference, are tiny pieces of similar/  huge process. Thus, I think that every administrator  or person who will start to develop  this model should first of all be able to understand new world/Internet and  structured process for e-ducation that  works. Any strategy must be oriented toward the future. Thus, the first  phase in formulating a clear organizational strategy (for education)  is to determine what the e-nvironment will look like in a few  years down the road. (M.Robert (2000), p.33)  As Business Week observed in an  article about the future impact of the Internet: “It is difficult to determine  how to improve something when you do not know what it is that you want  to do. Our experience has shown us that most people in organization do   ings right. Unfortunately, they are frequently blamed for doing things wrong.” (A. Slywotzky, 2000) In other  words, they are doing things right but doing the wrong things. So, it is  important to get people to identify the right things to work on, to help people  who do things right to work on the right things.  Another way to develop interrelated strategies is the right measurement.  For that kind of measurement there should be developed appropriate  metrics/e-tools. (Tony Ingram & Alison Hedges, 2004) The selected  metrics will likely include a  combination of input, processes, output, and outcome metrics to  effectively measure performance. There is no rule for the right number of metrics to include in a measurement  system; however, including too many tends distract administrators from  pursuing a focused strategy. (M.  Epstein, 2004). These analyses ensure that each unit is making a contribution  to the e-ducation initiative and improving organizational  effectiveness. Additionally, these metrics can be used to provide a gap  analysis that permits administrators to determine what other inputs or processes are required to meet the  organization’s e-ducation project
objectives. Similarly, Zack (1999) points in his  article that he observed many organizations whose strategy dictated a move to an e-nvironment model  without the requisite knowledge and skills and a knowledge management  initiative to address those knowledge  gaps. Others were migrating from providing outputs to providing knowledge-based services and  solutions for e-ducation, without their  first understanding what they knew (or did not know) about being a service provider, or identifying the  unique value (if any) to be found in their existing knowledge.  So, how to know what I or my  organization know? To identify what you know (later part will use  Zacks’(1999) suggestions) usually starts with some type of knowledge  mapping process. That means to  map existing knowledge against what is  required to formulate and execute the organization’s strategy for e-ducation. Further, the map can be used to  evaluate how an organization’s knowledge about e-ducation  compares to its “competitors”. If we  think of strategy as defending knowledge positions rather than “market” positions, then competitive  knowledge benchmarking is crucial for evaluating the organizations  “competitive” position. Where an organization holds a strong strategic knowledge position about e-ducation,  it may be prudent to invest to  maintain that position. Where it holds a weak knowledge position, it may be  prudent to invest to gain strength. These knowledge management  decisions must be made within the context of knowledge-based competitive opportunities and threats. It is also crucial to know what  “competitors” know. Some organizations try to know that via  intelligence or similar scanning  function. However, most intelligence functions attempt to identify what “competitors” are doing, not what  they know about e-ducation. On the other hand, Zack (2002) suggests that  those who want to learn may be become and ultra-aggressive organizations. Those, who proactively  transfer their knowledge out of the institution to accelerate the learning  cycle via e-strategy that approach is  frequently applied in software industry. An example of perhaps the  most aggressive strategy is that of the open-source movement used, for  example, to develop the Linux computer operating system,  which makes public the core source code to take advantage of those innovations others may develop. (E. S. Raymond, 1998)  Knowledge is not static and what is innovative knowledge today will  ultimately become the core knowledge  of tomorrow. The similar trend can be observed in e-nvironment  today’s innovative product – e-ducation can  became tomorrows’ core knowledge/ competitive advantage.

Discussion
This paper mainly focuses on the interrelation of these two strategies in the context of strategy processing for e-ducation. However, it could be  argued that different developments are unique in their occurrence and  interrelation may create a catastrophe as Einstein’s atom, which was  interrelated to the nuclear weapon. Another contradictory argument may  come from knowledge strategist who will argue that this strategic  development has nothing to do with the e-strategy, at least because  they are applied in  different worlds. And even, going deeper they can  bring up the  argument that these  two different strategies have  different starting  points and different  destinations so, their processes  could never be interrelated or  at least linked.  On the other hand,  considering these  arguments I can emphasize the fact  that the world is becoming more global and smaller at the same time;  nowadays, the  news/information flow  all over the world in a second. And there is no possibility to stop it. Those floods are mainly supported  by the electronic  devices or let us  ay e-nvironment. Regarding that  fact it is even too late to   orry  bout its impacts because the  process already started and it is impossible to stop it.  According to the M. Roberts, technological change takes 25-30  years to find a valuable application  and another 50 to 70 years to infiltrate all the nooks and crannies of the society that it will eventually affect.  (Ibid, p.40) As an example he gives a microprocessor which was found in  1960 and still  applicable, even it had  its impacts after 18 years. Later he points that the same is true of the Internet and it was invented  in 1968. Therefore it means this new development have not yet applied to all parts of our life. It  only starts to affect the e-ducation/ world in late 1990.  Therefore, I personally think even these different strategies may have different starting point but, they go in  the same destination. All this happens with the aim of increasing  organizational “competitiveness”, “uniqueness” and etc. which in new   world will mean going “e”. And  being there will require resources  and capabilities which are basics of k-strategy. For example, (referring back to the picture)  the starting point in soccer,  volleyball, basketball, etc. is a ball   content) and destination point is the basket/gates (context). Here,  goal (destination) is to win and process is to play. Therefore, even if it seems to  you that this paper tries to  predict the future I would call it as another scenario analyze for the  nowadays trends. 

Conclusion
In the conclusion I would like to come back to M.Porters’ words:  Don’t   throw the strategy baby out with the  Internet bath water. And probably will  add there following phrase: Instead wash him/her with the knowledge soap and teach/e-educate him/her  how to use this beauty (knowledge) in the slippery Internet bath.  It is obvious to all of us that being paranoiac while experiencing a new  process will not help us to survive in today’s world. Therefore, we have  been more creative and innovative in the process of our strategy  fulfillment. In this way we exploit, explore and as was mentioned in this paper interrelate/link different  ways/processes to get better results.  Even these ways may seem quite strange and fresh (for some even  old and musty),  the difference  which we may create is lying in ourselves, in our knowledge. Here I tried to provide an idea that this  uniqueness can be strengthened in combinatory way and help to get  advantages in e-ducation. However, that work characterizes only a  different outlook which has not been tested yet. But, again using your knowledge you  can judge whether that way is  appropriate to  you or not. ❏

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