Unilever (Uk/ Netherlands) Essay

1298 Words Jul 3rd, 2015 6 Pages
Two weeks after Paul Polman had been appointed as Chief Executive, he asked for a review meeting with Cathy Bautista, Head of Unilever’s Knowledge Management Group. At the meeting they discussed Unilever’s achievements in establishing communities of practice and various knowledge repositories. However, he was concerned about the extent to which Unilever’s knowledge creation and transfer processes were aligned to corporate objectives and strategies. His fear was while there may be a lot of learning and knowledge within Unilever, it might be insufficiently focused towards delivering better products and services. He asked Cathy to re-evaluate current knowledge management activities from a strategic perspective and to put forward …show more content…
They have developed a framework of organisational knowledge processes and focused their efforts on locating, capturing, sharing, transferring and creating knowledge. Cathy Bautista sees two clear reasons for this approach: ‘Firstly, as a group it is helpful to have a structured way of organising the what and the how of knowledge acquisition. Secondly, the team knows that to be able to give better advice and support to their customers, they must excel at what they do’. She recognises the benefits of learning from mistakes and ‘error harvesting’ but appreciates that it is more of an aspiration in some parts of the organisation. ‘Learning from success is relatively easy as we can actively promote and help embed lessons derived from successful experiences. Learning from failure is more sensitive but just as important. We are promoting a culture of being willing to learn as you go and to embrace and apply learning both from success and failure. This is what I would call a “wholesome way of learning”.’
Unilever started its knowledge management activities in 1996. A key strand of its activities has been the development of several dozen communities of practice (CoP). To initiate these informal networks, they organised ‘Knowledge Workshops’ to bring together key experts and practitioners from around the world. The purpose of the workshops was to focus efforts in a functional domain and to ascertain what people did and didn’t know about the area. The domain had to

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