Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Diversity and Homogeneity (Part 2)
[Following on from yesteterday’s post].

We're social animals that innately classify tribal membership - in-group and out-group. If I spend an hour on a bulletin board on cycling helping a complete stranger, its partly because I enjoy the topic, but also because its a 'fellow cyclist' (note the affinity language in the cliché) - one of my tribe.

Where do these boundaries lie and how should an organisation react? I probably help other KM practitioners as readily as a fellow employee. Should my company be concerned?

Goodheart describes 'calculus of affinity', the sum we all do when deciding to help. "[its] easily mocked in media reporting of disasters - two dead Britons will get the same space as 200 Spaniards or 2000 Somalis. Yet everyday we make similar calculations in the distribution of our own resources. Even a well-off, liberal-minded Briton who already donates to charities will spend, say, £200 on a child's birthday party knowing that such money could, in the right hands, save the life of a child in the third world." would we equally decide to spend an hour helping somebody at the next desk to save 4 hours when we could help an unknown colleague save 2 weeks by using that our instead to write up some guidelines?

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