Esoterics in Organisations

Existence of tacit knowledge is accepted and well-known. It’s know-how, unwritten, accumulated over years in minds of those having done the work. It is hard to teach, it has to be trained, exercised.

Esoteric knowledge is its relative, but it’s the rotten apple, black sheep in the family. It is inside information formulated in a way to deceive the recipient:

  1. codes that mean something else they imply
  2. codes the denotations of which do not exist
  3. sheets that have to be filled in a certain way
  4. &c

If one uses these kinds of items every day, they might not cause huge problems, especially if there are not very many of them. However, they may be an enormous productivity hit, if the number is large and/or there are pauses in occurrences. They are symptoms of silos, cliques, isolation, separation, groups willing to exclude others. They cause uncertainty, delays, misunderstandings. If one sees information as a flow coming from a source going to a destination, these points of esoteric knowledge cause disturbances in the flow, countercurrents, vortices, flow is not smooth. As the world is, these bits tend to accumulate, one piece of esoteric knowledge is compensated with another. After some time has elapsed information is in a tangle like a thread after cat’s play.

What to do? Not easy to do. Temporary personal or group advantages often outweigh sustainable progress and development. But preventing a problem is always better than fixing it afterwards. It should just be done immediately, piece by piece, one at a time. It might be hard, especially if one is already used to inside jargon. Belonging to insiders probably feels good, too. These sentiments should be fought, however. All the better for the organisation, if the individuals look for its good, not their own, its a win-win situation.

© Jyrki Wahlstedt 2015