[KM-Forum] CoP vs KM Portal = ROI?

Rosanna Tarsiero rosanna at gionnethics.com
Wed Aug 30 17:58:27 IST 2006


I agree with most of what you said on people trying to avoid ROI
***however*** this part:

"KM, nor any other theory or practice cannot win the argument that universal
measurement systems like math are somehow wrong and need to be reinvented."

Reveals all your bias!!!

If, say, the mission of an organization is to "make children happier" how
can you measure it with ROI???? 

There are things, Mark, that simply cannot be measured in terms of numbers
the way milk can't be measured in liters. 

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-----Original Message-----
KM, nor any other theory or practice 
cannot win the argument that universal measurement systems like math are 
somehow wrong and need to be reinvented. -MM

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Rosanna Tarsiero" <rosanna at gionnethics.com>
To: "'Mark Montgomery'" <markm at initiumcapital.com>; "'Global discussion 
forum for Knowledge Management'" <km-forum at ncsi.iisc.ernet.in>
Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2006 12:48 AM
Subject: RE: [KM-Forum] CoP vs KM Portal = ROI?

> Mark,
> You wrote:
> " This speaks to the culture of KM, and why it suffers so from lack of
> credibility with decision makers. Avoiding ROI is a red flag that 
> basically
> says that the investment shouldn't be made- in any field. By not measuring
> and tracking ROI, one is doing precisely with consulting what you suggest 
> is
> being done in software. It's a position no credible leader can support."
> I agree with the sentiment you express, ie: a measure with which to 
> quantify
> effectiveness SHOULD be given.
> However, you miss two things:
> 1. what if the ROI isn't the right measurement?
> There are a plethora of methods (think about value networks, measurement 
> of
> intangibles, etc) that can provide all-encompassing "measurements", less
> than ROI. How would you apply the ROI to a community, for example? The 
> more
> members the better? The more messages the better? That's plain myopic!;
> 2. what if it's the wrong paradigm?
> ROI belongs to a vast list of method with "negative assumptions"
> (engineering model of bodies, minds, "life as a machine" - Lakoff would
> say): like Western medicine, most psychology and a big bulk of finances, 
> it
> focuses in what is "wrong", what is "sick", what need to be "fixed" either
> *supposing* that fixing what's wrong will solve issues without creating
> others or hinting at the the fact that if there is nothing sick there will
> be no issue to come (sounds like Voltaire's Pangloss positivistic 
> thought).
> But, the world is full of examples of bodies that aren't sick, lives that
> aren't halted and economies that aren't on the verge of bankruptcy that
> could benefit from a study of their HEALTH rather than a study of their
> sickness. Life through these lenses is a simplistic, deterministic concept
> of life that resembles the real thing the way a map resembles the 
> territory:
> useful only when you (generic) have no clue of where you're at.
> I won't bug you will all the anti-measurement stuff here, and the 
> confusion
> I too can see in many heads about measurement. It reminds me of the iffy
> concept of body functioning many alternative practitioners have, tweaking
> the conceptualization of body functions to accommodate their beliefs. This
> is done by doctors too but usually doctors do it in the realm of what
> *others* do, rather than in not correcting their actions after proper
> feedback.
> I also won't bug you with the subjectivistic stuff: if I had thought for a
> moment that things are all subjective I would have never developed 
> interest
> into this field.
> I will, however, bug you on what you said about the nonprofit world. As a
> nonprofit consultant, I find it *despicable* to see how many nonprofits 
> care
> about the money more than caring about the vision! There is even an
> outsourcing consulting firm, very used, that contracts with people in
> developing countries to "give more" in terms of work per hour, and all of 
> it
> without providing fringe benefits for the exploited population....
> Ethics is VERY LOW in the nonprofit sector, and mostly is of the 
> utilitarian
> type (ie: "If it gives me or my association gain, then it's right") as
> opposed to normative (ie: "such and such thing is wrong/right because its 
> in
> alignment with my value"). Also this tendency is impacted by culture.
> The above statements explain why nonprofits tend not to do KM: they have a
> hard time taking a normative stand, such as the one you need in order to 
> do
> KM (something like "knowledge sharing is good", "knowledge flow is 
> right").
> Also in fact, the ones that get KM better are faith-based ones,
> traditionally more apt toward normative stands.
> I found a lot more corporate clients able to understand how to commit to a
> vision, mission and corporate culture than I found nonprofits! And yes, I 
> do
> think it's because most people there are *amateurs*, wanna-be 
> entrepreneurs
> with the perspective of a 3 year old kindergarten kid, thinking that the
> only way to make money is to SAVE (rather than to invest it in something
> worthy) and possibly stash it all up in an angle of the living room, so 
> that
> it looks like it's more.
> I find nonprofit "best practices" book, such as this one:
> http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0471788619.html
> openly stating that emails in nonprofits should be done only for 
> "nonprofit
> use", as if social networking, informal learning and adult learning didn't
> exist. The only scholars still questioning the value of online graduated
> students are.... nonprofit scholars (see ARNOVA listserv archives here:
> http://listserv.wvu.edu/archives/arnova-l.html
> Nonprofit scholars too suffer of the same *sloppiness* of the sector:
> they're all convinced to be superior because "it's not for profit", 
> hinting
> at the fact that being non-profit somehow intrinsically means they are 
> more
> ethic (about the only normative stand they can take!), but then favor
> dubious and mindless adoption of "best practices" of various kinds, 
> usually
> dating back of several decades (see the difference between the concept of
> management you find in any random journal on nonprofit and the one you 
> find
> at the Academy of Management).
> When I hear nonprofit buzzwords like "fiduciary responsibility" I *cringe*
> at the thought that such persons could consider their actions and methods
> "holier".
> Than I laugh it away because stupidity doesn't deserve real thoughts.
> Rosanna Tarsiero
> Gionnethics
>   |\      _,,,---,,_
>   /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_
>  |,4-  ) )-,_..;\ (  `'-'
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