4.20 Technologies and explicit knowledge continued

In the future we will see the fusion of statistical analyses of documents, agents, ontologies, metadata and informal annotation/discussion. Ontological tagging with metadata would allow authors to express their own deep understanding of the domain which may draw on knowledge that is not in the text of documents. This would allow experts to set a document in context in the light of developments since the document was written, or to encode relationships between documents that show important con
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4.18.1 Data mining

Data mining refers to techniques for analysing databases or information systems to try to identify hidden but significant patterns that are not possible to detect by standard querying of the database.

Moxon defines data mining as follows:

Data mining is a set of techniques used in an automated approach to exhaustively explore and bring to the surface complex relationships in very large datasets … most likely im
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3.6 Event risk

This is not unlike default risk but it is a special case meriting its own category. The shareholders or management of a company might consciously and voluntarily enter into a major transaction that radically changes either the company's nature or its capital structure (that is, the balance and mix of shares and various types of debt in its overall sources of finance). Such a restructuring might cause some or all investors to suffer a significant increase in the uncertainty of their investment
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6.2 Gantt chart

Gantt charts show all the key stages of a project and their duration as a bar chart, with the time-scale across the top. The key stages are placed on the bar chart in sequence, starting in the top left-hand corner and ending in the bottom right-hand corner (Figure 7 – Gantt chart for directory production). A Gantt chart can be dr
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5.2 Work breakdown

A work breakdown structure enables:

  • the work of a project to be divided into ‘packages’;

  • these ‘packages’ can be further subdivided into ‘elements’;

  • these elements are then divided into individual ‘tasks’.

This structure provides a basis for estimating the time and effort required. In a large project, the work breakdown structure might allow packages of work to be allocated to t
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5.8 Bibliographic software

If you are considering taking your studies further you might like to consider using bibliographic software. Bibliographic software can be used to sort references, annotate them, manage quotations or create reading lists.

There are several software packages on the market. Some are listed below.

1 What does ‘life sciences’ mean?

During the twentieth century, particularly in its second half, the provision of human healthcare changed significantly because of scientific and technological developments. Before then, medical practice was limited and scarcely differentiated from other trades; in fact, barbers often acted as surgeons or dentists. Throughout the 1900s, there were major advances in most countries in sanitation, nutrition, vaccination, surgery, medicines and medical devices. At the same time, there was an incre
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1.5 Cross-listing

For many companies, particularly MNCs, there are attractions in having a share listing on more than one stock exchange. The last decade has witnessed an increase in such cross-listings globally.

Chouinard and D'Souza (2004) noted that the proportion of non-US listings on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) doubled from about 8.5 per cent in 1994 to 17 per cent at the start of 2003. This period also saw a rise from 7 per cent to 10 per cent in the non-US listings on NASDAQ. Author(s): The Open University

References

Baker, M. (2006). Private communication, Business in the Community, 29 March.
Brewster, D. (2004). ‘CalPERS wave-making brings flak’, Financial Times Fund Management, 9 August.
Business Week (2004). ‘Special report: corporate governance, investors fight back’, 17 May.
Butz, C. (2003). Decomposing SRI
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7.5 Becoming an institutional entrepreneur

While acting in ways that are seen to be legitimate is important for both individuals and organisations, social institutions are not immutable. Some people and organisations seem to have a talent for changing the rules of the game.

Some writers have referred to this as being an institutional entrepreneur. At the organisational level examples might include organisations such as Microsoft or Sun Microsystems working actively to establish industry standards which favour them. At the
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7.4 Avoiding decision traps

While it is not possible to change our human natures, it is possible to immunise ourselves to some extent against common decision traps. Useful strategies include:

  • Get in the habit of reframing problems. For example, if you are considering strategies for avoiding a loss of €10,000 try asking yourself if you would feel differently if you consider them as strategies for making a gain of €10,000.

  • Think about the information you have
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5.5.1 Coercive pressures

Coercive pressures come from the social sanctions that can be applied if we do not act in socially legitimate ways. The law is one source of coercive pressure, but so too is the knowledge that you will get promoted only if you act in ways which fit accepted ways of doing things in your organisation.


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5.5 Social pressures which affect our decision making

Broadly, there are three kinds of social pressure which affect how we make decisions:

  • coercive

  • mimetic

  • normative.

We look at these in more detail below.


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3.6 Collecting and interpreting data

In many projects it can be difficult to make comparisons with anything similar. However, there may be quality standards that can be used for one of more of the outcomes, perhaps alongside different targets for time-scales and resource use. Benchmarks are another possible source of comparative data; they have been established for many processes, and data are available from industry, sector and professional support bodies.

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3.1 Evaluation while developing the vision

A project is often shaped through discussion among those developing the vision and direction of the project. They may agree in general terms about what is to be achieved, but have to make a number of choices before deciding how to proceed. It may be important to allow time for different views to be heard and considered, and for attitudes to change and – hopefully – converge.

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5.2 Using political skills

In particular, a project manager needs to employ good political skills in order to maintain the support of senior management, without allowing them to undermine or take over the project. However, this can raise questions about the ethics of their behaviour. Read the following account that was given by a member of an external consulting team working on a project for a local authority in Scotland. The project's objective was to revamp the structure of the council which had operated in much the
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4.2 Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of a project team

Those involved in a project may have skills that fulfil more than one aspect of the project agenda. This is likely to be particularly important in small-scale projects, where management of the content, process and control agendas are just as important to the project's success, but where fewer people are involved.

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2.2 Effective communication

Whilst effective communication is an essential skill for the project manager, most people tend to be over-optimistic about the accuracy and efficacy of the communication process. Achieving understanding can be difficult, especially in the atmosphere of change and uncertainty generated by a major project. Verma (1996) identifies the following barriers to good communication.


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7.4 Risk assessment and impact analysis

Risk assessment involves measuring the probability that a risk will become a reality; impact analysis involves measuring the sensitivity of the project to each identified risk. The key questions are:

  • What is the risk – how will I recognise it if it becomes a reality?

  • What is the probability of it happening – high, medium or low?

  • How serious a threat does it pose to the project – high, medium or lo
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3.2 Mind mapping

The term ‘Mind mapping’ was devised by Tony Buzan for the representation of ideas, notes, information, etc., in radial tree-diagrams – sometimes also called ‘spider diagrams’. These are now very widely used. Try a web search on ‘Buzan’, ‘mind map’ or ‘concept map’. Alternatively, you could try Compendium. This is open source software that allows you to create a variety of mind, concept or knowledge maps. For more information, please refer to our Author(s): The Open University