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Name: Karina Permata Sari

NIM: 29115447

Program: GM 2
Knowledge Management

Managing Change at HP Lab: Perspectives for Innovation,


Knowledge Management, and Becoming a Learning Organization
Introduction
The learning organization paradigm and the concept of knowledge management have received
substantial discussion in literature (The Learning Organization) which stresses that organizations
can create a key source of competitive advantage, embrace innovation, and improve bottom-line
results by developing capabilities for knowledge management and becoming a learning
organization. Fifteen years after the publication of The Learning Organization, the emergence of
what is being referred to as Creative Economy is calling for organizations to adapt to a new
marketplace paradigm. Nussbaum (2005) reports that the greatest challenge for managers may be
moving away from the structure thinking associated with their Six Sigma process skills and
embracing new ways of thinking. Organizations, in turn, will require new sets of values and
organizational principles for successful transformation. The purpose of this paper is to describe a
change process used at HP Lab to transform it to support knowledge management, innovation,
and becoming a learning organization. A major focus to study is to summarize key change
processes and actions that helped transform HP Lab.

The Change Process


HP Lab is the central research lab for the Hewlett-Packard Company. The labs primary role is
finding inventing, and transferring technologies to maintain HPs global competitiveness.
Although HP Lab had been performing well and was considered a productive organization, it
functioned like most R&D technology centers. In this regard, the scientist and technical staff
worked in their esoteric functional silos with little collaboration.
Description
1. The Implementation of a dialogue process
The process began with the Director of HP Lab, and the senior VP of R&D launching an
organization-wide dialogue with two questions asked:
How far are we from being the worlds best industrial research lab?
What metrics do we need to evaluate ourselves?
In this regard, employees would be asked: what the worlds best industrial research lab
precisely meant relative to their current job/position?
2. The creation of a support function

Whereas the Lab Director and the SVP R&D initiated the dialogue process, the HR manager
of the Lab was placed in a full-time support role and given adequate financial resource to help
facilitate the transformation process. The HR manager also role-modeled specific behavior
congruent with creating a learning organization culture, which the key behaviors are:
Listening and questioning to enable collective exploration between different suggestions
and others similar or different ideas
Encouraging thinking-outside-the-box
Encouraging risk-taking and trying innovative ways of doing things
3. The emergence of communities of practice: networks for action taking
The dialogue process, coupled with the HR managers supportive and facilitative behavior,
provided a fertile climate for communities of practice to grow. During the first year, 36
informal groups emerged that collaborated on specific issues and projects focused on
transforming HP Lab into being the worlds best industrial research lab. These metrics were
adopted across all HP lab facilities, thereby exemplifying the theme improve knowledge
access and transfer throughout the company.
Sustaining Change
One factor was that the emerging communities of practice described above supported the
emergence of new cultural norms. These emerging cultural norms legitimized and empowered
informal groups toward dialogue and action taking. Another key factor was informal networks
emerged from the process of dialogue initiated by the HP Lab Director and the SVP R&D. The
HR VP and the HR Lab Manager also responsible in a growing atmosphere of excitement, trust
and openness among HP Lab personnel also contributed to the changing cultural norms. The
emergence of a new cultural norms appears to be a key ingredient in the transformation of HP
Lab inti a knowledge-based, and learning organization
The Impact of Change
There have been five significant organizational changes at HP Lab:
1. From little collaborative work to work that has been rated as 30-40% collaboration across
technical functions
2. From primarily vertical communication with little lateral exchange to webs of
communication in all directions.
3. From no consistent measure of output across the various labs to robust measures that
were adopted across the HP Lab organization.
4. From no quality program to over 100 results oriented improvement programs targetning
various dimension of quality, cost, and process innovation.
5. From no vision for the labs to unifying vision for the HP Lab organization.

Discussion

Although executives believed that they were doing a good job as far as generating knowledge,
and in obtaining knowledge from the environment, they were not transferring knowledge within
their organization well. The difficulty in most knowledge management effort lies in changing
organizational culture and peoples work habits. The difference is in the systems and the day-today management practices that create and embody a culture that values the building and transfer
of knowledge and, most important, acting on that knowledge. A learning organizations has
appropriate cultural factors (vision, value, assumptions, and behaviors) that support a learning
environment; processes that foster peoples learning and development by identifying their
learning needs and facilitating learning that enable learning activities to be supported and
implemented in the workplace.
The culture can have a powerful impact on the implementation of programs and practices
focused on knowledge management and innovation. Company should carefully conduct a culture
audit to determine the extent to which their culture current support such values as collaboration,
empowerment, and action taking. With respect to the change process used at HP Lab, one key
focus was to enhance collaboration across technical specialties and functions. Factors which
related to structure, culture, human resource, and technology began to emerge as important
factors during the change process.
Beginning the change process at HP Lab with an initial dialogue process to gather and share data
is a cornerstone of organizational change and development. Launching an organization-wide
dialogue at HP Lab facilitated open forums for discussion, questions and answers. It also
established a foundation for the creation of knowledge repositories, which in turn, enabled
learning from past successes and failures. The creation of new knowledge from which
organizational learning can emerge involves capturing the tacit, subjective views and insights
numerous personnel who have relevant work experiences. In this regard, the change process at
HP Lab appears to have facilitated the transformation of tacit, implicit knowledge into explicit
knowledge. The dialogue process facilitated capturing and organizing the subjective views of HP
Lab personnel regarding factors/actions supporting and constraining collaboration and
innovation.
The change literature also stresses the importance of top management support and leadership
during programs of planned change. It appears that the change process used at HP Lab was
successful because it did not focus on several factors related to the fallacy of programmatic
change. In essence, the common, though incorrect, view is that change should initially target
attitudes, which will lead to changes in behavior. The most effective way to change behavior,
therefore, is to put people into a new organizational context, which imposes new roles,
responsibilities, and relationships on them.
General managers in the successful change group focused on aligning employee roles,
responsibilities, and relationships to address the organizations most important task a process
they refer to as task alignment. In the case of HP Lab, the initiation of the dialogue process
which focused on how far are we from being the worlds best industrial research lab, what
metrics do we need to evaluate ourselves, and what the worlds best industrial research lab
precisely meant relative to their current job/position provided a forum to reassess and align

work with the lab. The need to reassess and develop new metrics can dramatically improve
innovation.
Management innovation also provides several important perspectives to actions taken at HP Lab.
Innovation in management principles and processes can create long-lasting advantage and
produce dramatic shifts in competitive position. Management innovation defined as a marked
departure from traditional management principles, processes, and practices or a departure from
customary organizational forms that significantly alters the way to work of managements is
performed. In essence, management innovation changes how managers do what they do.
The target of change at HP Lab, as well as the change processes used, confirm three of four of
Hamels prescription regarding: how to become a management innovator. Those elements are:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Commitment to a big problem


Search for new principles that illuminate new approaches
Deconstruction of management orthodoxies
Exploit the power analogy from atypical organizations that redefine what is possible

On concluding note, the HP Lab case study highlights the need for organizations to use a process
of planned change when focusing on developing a knowledge-based, learning organization
focused on innovation.