BUILDING A HEALTHY INFORMATION CULTURE
By Ulla de Stricker
Every organization containing more than one person has a culture and an information culture. The former encompasses all the activities and behaviors manifested in the course of operations and thus answers the question "what's it like to work here?" The latter includes those activities and behaviors associated in some way with knowledge, communication, information, and data - we could say it answers the question "how does anyone find out about stuff around here?" Given the information intensive nature of most enterprises, it is no surprise information culture plays a major role in the success of their operations.
Of course, some environments provide for more "solitary labor" than most. In general, though, it is safe to say that a culture promoting the lively exchange of information and discovery also promotes productivity and success.
The goal, therefore, is to build a strong and productive information culture that maximizes the effectiveness of the processes employees use to store, find, and communicate information. A strong and productive information culture is based on the appropriate tools (for example a document repository) and policies (for example a practice of posting project summaries in a shared corporate memory repository), but it needs much more: A pervasive understanding that : good information behaviors are paramount; such behaviors are everyone's responsibility; they make everyone's work lives easier.
A recognition that good information behaviors can increase job satisfaction (for starters, by reducing wasted time) wouldn't hurt either.
As a small business owner, it is a good idea for you to foster a healthy organizational and information culture. You may wish to improve on any particular business weaknesses before they develop into real problems.
Organization or information culture is the attitude of the people who make up the organization or business, reflected in their values, behaviours and ideas. A healthy culture will allow your workforce to feel connected to the big picture and share a common sense of purpose. Furthermore, if you create a positive environment, it is more likely that your employees will enjoy their work and be more productive.
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