British Petroleum Essay

1. How do “peer assists” contribute to BPX’s ability to learn? How is a peer assist an act of network brokerage? Peer Assist brings together a group of peers from one business unit to another unit to elicit feedback on a problem, project, or activity, and draw lessons from the participants’ knowledge and experience. Peer assist are generally useful when: * You are starting a new job, activity or project and you?want to benefit from the advice of more experienced?people. * You face a problem that another group has faced in the past. * You had not to have to deal with a given situation for a long time. You are no longer sure what new procedures to follow. You are planning a project that is similar to a project another group has completed. It contributes to BPX’s ability to learn by allowing people to interact so that one person can transfer knowledge from their own experiences to others who have not had that experience. This is quintessential network brokerage. Particular people tend to be in high demand as “peer assistors” – the typical broker. Those people then bring back information from the groups they have visited, and pass it on to their own business units – thereby facilitating the transfer.

These people would have adapted to speaking “multiple languages” and as such, become even more in demand. Four mechanisms: * peer assists * peer groups * other federal organizations * personnel transfer The objective is to identify all of the problems that an asset is eventually going to experience and include these in the thinking on day one. This sharing of experience across the Peer Groups is a powerful learning tool. It provides breadth, timing and arbitrage! 2. How do “peer groups” contribute to BPX’s ability to learn. In particular, what incentives are in place to encourage managers to transfer knowledge?

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They contribute by allowing certain business units to bring in knowledge from others to improve their processes, or solve a problem. Take for example the drilling of oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico – by interacting with units from other countries, they were able to cut down drilling time by using different equipment. One incentive = projects and technologies were becoming increasingly complex in the face of oil embargoes and decreasing supply. This increased complexity encouraged knowledge seeking in order to improve tech processes.

A knowledge framework was built to make knowledge available whenever and wherever. Hardly ever denied a request for a peer assist. Often the person giving the peer assist gained “moral high ground” and the receiver had to take on board the recommendations for consideration. It also allowed people to do new things. 3. How would you move BPX’s learning capabilities to other parts of BP, or to other companies? BP Chemicals not good at learning sharing, BPX – British Petroleum’s E;P division was. Personnel transfer – engineers on rotation….

Preventing “group think” or like minded people from clustering together at senior levels, where much of the info dissemination occurs. Learning from alliances and JV’s. IT infrastructure Inter company IT infrastructure standards that allowed sharing of non strategic info across industries…. IT group was turned into a team of brokers, rather than a traditional inward focused IT team. VT allowed them to build higher levels of trust between international teams – this in turn propagated further info transfers…. BP oil = command and control. I would fire those that don’t comply.

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