David Wilcox at Designing for Civil Society has some interesting thoughts about how participants perceive forced efforts at engendering participation. Be sure to check out his mindmaps.
The mindmapping exercise brought home to me that it may just be that participation is peripheral to the way most people lead their lives. They/we are mostly concerned with relationships - with friends, family, workmates, interest groups and so on.
Then George Siemens chimed in with a connection to KM.
The truth is - we are consumed with our own stuff. Making an organizations "stuff" a priority is difficult when it's in a completely different world from our daily activities.
I like this connection. As an individual, I am feeling mightily altruistic when I help "the organization." I am much more interested in helping my neighbors, my colleagues, and even my boss. But the organization as a whole doesn't always connect to me strongly enough for it to be a priority. Of course, if helping "them" gives me a boost, then I might be encouraged to put some more effort into it. For example, as I leave a client, I am encouraged to provide them on a positive note. That means thinking in their terms and providing "stuff" they need, so that they think of me the next time they need someone. (Yes, this means I am looking for clients again.)