How to Manage Knowledge You Don’t Want – Melbourne Seminar

June 3, 2011

I’m looking forward to my upcoming trip to Australia and New Zealand.  While in Melbourne Ian Miller and I will be presenting a short seminar on emotion in the workplace with members of the Melbourne knowledge management community.  It will take place on Wednesday 15 June between 6 and 8pm.  If you’d like to join us head over to the signup page here.  Meanwhile, additional information on what we’ll be doing is outlined below and here’s a link to the interview I did with the Australian Financial Review.


How to Manage Knowledge You Don’t Want – Emotion in the Workplace

Emotion at work is an emotive issue.  If we are to believe what we read, organisations are rational places focused on task driven activities conducted in passion free (or potentially passion free) environments – that is unless those passions have been sanctioned by management as important for the delivery of the organisation’s goals.  Emotion is either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – the former associated with job satisfaction and the latter with stress.  Either way, emotion is considered to be dangerous territory; an out of control state; associated with irrational behavior and warranting control.

Yet we don’t attend or return from work in a feelings neutral manner.  We tell stories of relationships; we articulate how work ‘feels’; we are often required to demonstrate particular feelings (in the service industries it’s a requirement to be happy and welcoming).  Organisations are emotional and emotion generating environments and attending to the emotional climate of organising can reveal rich intelligence about how systems function – so why are we afraid that organisations will collapse if emotion remains unmanaged?

This session will include a brief presentation on some of the key issues relating to emotion in the workplace and will be followed by a facilitated discussion on some of the following topics (intended to be suggestive, not exhaustive).  Participants’ experiences of emotion at work are particularly welcome.

  • How do we manage knowledge we don’t want? Are feelings at work a legitimate source of workplace intelligence?
  • How do we ‘feel’ about work?
  • What are the emotion rules in organisations? What is it permissible to feel and not?
  • What do my feelings (as a consultant, or organisation member) tell me about my client or work organisation?

Participating in this event will enable you to…

  • Recognise the operation of workplace emotions
  • Think about the place of emotion within knowledge management


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