By Adokiye Tom Briggs
This analysis will seek to evaluate organisational forms managerial strategies and structures used to embed intrapreneurship and knowledge sharing in knowledge intensive industries especially the oil and gas industry. The aim of this article is to overview the managerial strategies and practices of a medium sized indigenous oil and gas exploration and production company, Moni Pulo Limited (MPL) as between its employees and across organisations, for the purposes of suggesting more appropriate entrepreneurship enhancing and knowledge sharing processes across cross-professional teams to enhance competitive advantage.
The report is important as it analyses the ongoing managerial practices of a knowledge intensive firm or organisation in view of the current trends in the industry in order to suggest and bring about better strategic and process gains for competitive edge.
An exploration and production company established in 1992, Moni Pulo Limited, a fully indigenous company in Nigeria, has grown to a production capacity of 15,000 bpd from its single concessionary block to a potential four blocks of vast oil and gas reserves, with production likely to rise to 100,000bpd. (http://monipulo.com/index.html) last view on the 24th of January 2011. Much of the growth of Moni Pulo has been anchored on the expertise of its hugely qualified personnel and its strategic relationship with its suppliers. Moni Pulo’s organisational structure is traditionally dominantly hierarchical, vertical and bureaucratically oriented with almost all of its operational decision-making done at top management (www.monipulo.com ) last accessed on the 24th January 2011.
Moni Pulo’s work and value creation is largely done in traditional functional groupings with people in their departments sitting side by side often in self contained locations and face to face interaction is the primary mode of coordination, with occasional networking using information technology and leaving very little opportunity for multiple cross professional interaction and or knowledge sharing. Factors that promote Organisational Intrapreneurship and Innovation.
Generally oil and gas organisations improve their competitiveness using one of several ways: adopting new business models or technologies, transforming existing structures to support world class manufacturing, or new value added product (Walters, 2008:700) Alvesson (2004) however, is of the view that innovation is crucial to the creation of competitive advantage in knowledge intensive industries. Davis et al, (2005) is of the view that most successes in knowledge intensive firms like the oil and gas industry are achieved by the organisational knowledge sharing and interpreneurial/innovative ethic. Innovation can only be enhanced through knowledge sharing between cross professional groups or units, as such interdependencies provide learning opportunities for the diverse groups or units (Gillian Pallis: 2010).
According to Sasiadek (2004:1) Intrapreneurship is the production of individuals who operate as entrepreneurs in an organisation who have no risk to the success or failure of that organisation. Thus cross professional knowledge sharing is the interaction and collaboration of diverse professionals with highly honed and distinct knowledge sets, but who have to work together to meet diverse and simultaneous goals in an organisation underlies innovation, which is a crucial driver of competitive advantage. (Alvesson: 2004). Collaboration and knowledge sharing in cross professional teams is key to enhancing innovation and intraprenuership in knowledge intensive firms.
Collaboration of knowledge intensive workers refers to the coordination and integration of work groups or individuals of diverse professional backgrounds towards the achievement of set objectives or projects (Alvesson: 2004). These may be between functional or cross-functional work groups, which are either in one location or dispersed. (Mohrman: 1999). Collaboration amongst knowledge intensive workers is essential towards improving the trust levels between these Knowledge Intensive workers traditionally withhold from sharing their asset, which is their acquired knowledge. (Tiegland: 2007).
B. Knowledge Sharing.
Knowledge is described as the framework and capacity to reason and make sense of information (Davenport and Prusak 1998 as cited in Alvesson: 2004; 43). Knowledge is said to encapsulate the ability to make judgements through the critical assessment of information as and when needed, hence cannot be stored or codified. (Alvesson 2004). Although knowledge is not exactly competence as postulated in the resource based view as being critical to a company’s strategy and performance ( Prahalad and Hamel :1990), it is knowledge in operation that forms a critical part of the core competence of an organisation. (Alvesson 2004: 42). Knowledge sharing is thus the coordinated exchange of processed information and learning between cross-functional individual workers or groups (Gillian Pallis: 2010).
Knowledge sharing underlies intrapreneurship and is a primary source of innovation. It presupposes the exchange of knowledge between units or across organisational boundaries (Trickey: 2004). Boddy (2004) is of the view that developing intrapreneurship through knowledge sharing involves much more than the contact of the exchange of reasoning, it involves a psychological understanding which binds professional worker with another as well as worker with manager or superior. This relates to the building of a trust relationship between professional workers that is the nucleus towards innovation (Gillian Pallis :2010), such trust in relationships are more properly managed laterally as knowledge-work interdependencies, which are the source of important knowledge content, more often than not extend beyond a particular team(Mohrman: 1999).
Hence knowledge sharing between cross professional workers in knowledge intensive industries is indeed the fabric of organisational intraprenuership as it facilitates knowledge exchange as well as the learning opportunities crucial to innovation. (Gillian Pallis: 2010).
This is the first of a two-part analysis of Moni Pulo. In this analysis, Adokiye Briggs has taken a cursory look at the knowledge sharing activities of Moni Pulo which are expected build the intrapreneurial characteristics of decision-making and accountability. The next instalment will highlight the importance of knowledge sharing in the context of the company and how this impacts on the overall performance of the company. Also, Adokiye Briggs will emphasize that to gain competitive advantage in a dynamic industry involving knowledge intensive workers, a reinforcement in the logic of organisational structure, practice and culture is necessary for Moni Pulo. For more information on this article and to view Adokiye Briggs' Professional Profile, Click here -->