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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Information Sharing Initiatives:Discussion Groups and Online Communities

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Information SharingBusiness industry today is very competitive compared with the past. It is clear that to maintain this competition, people must be aware and updated. One of the easiest and proper way to keep updated is "Sharing Knowledge" or "Share Information". The use of groups and online communities is probably the best alternative of all.

Group A is not another medium through which people can connect on the web and communicate to share information. Here, people discuss about common interests and seek appropriate solutions. There are many providers of free services available to the user group. Most popular are:

o Google Groups

o Yahoo Groups

o MSN Groups

o AOL Groups

These days users have started a trend that uses the group as a means of free advertising. If you use the right way, the group can create heavy traffic relevant to your website. Moreover, these groups are easy to join and we can easily sustain one's profile.

Once you are registered in certain groups, the next step is to find the right category to post. Once you've found it, just add your new post in the form of an email. When posting a topic, the following points should be noted:

o Do not overexpose your organization's profile. It should be like that you are just talking about your company.

o Always be precise in everything you post. Remember that the higher post content, visitors to the higher will refuse to read it.

o Target the right audience to get relevant traffic.

o Frequently update your profile and posts.

Online communities are also used for the same purpose as a group. They are also a good choice for sharing knowledge. Posting process remains the same in terms of online communities. One of the major benefits of groups and online communities is that if for example you find that you join the group or community that is not relevant, then you can easily stop in a few minutes. This is what groups and online communities can do to users. Use them and share information on how to best!

Reference:
[1] http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mike_James_Thomas

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Knowledge Community

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Knowledge CommunityIn this article you will read about what the society of knowledge, strategies, tools and processes.

What knowledge society?

Knowledge Community (KC) can be defined as:

"Knowledge communities are groups of people who share common challenges, opportunities or a passion for a particular topic, and who work together to deepen their understanding of the topic through ongoing learning and knowledge sharing." (AIA Knowledge Communities)

Theoretical aspects of knowledge society based on technology management, and managing people who share their knowledge effectively. Sharing of knowledge are dependent on information seekers who need specific types of knowledge. So that they can perform certain tasks with confidence and sources of knowledge that may have all the necessary information. Theoretical aspects are implemented in such a way that effective knowledge sharing is possible between the seeker of knowledge and sources of knowledge. This helps the search terms and resources to realize their needs and resources.

The concept of Knowledge Society mostly comes from what is known as a community of practice (CoP). The term was coined in 1998 by Jean Love, and Etienne Wenger who claimed that the practice of people everywhere and that we are generally involved in a number of them whether in the workplace, school, home, or the interests of our civil and recreation. In some groups we are core members, on the other we are more on the margins. (Smith, 2003)

Towards the end of the last century included the idea of sharing knowledge for use in the business world and form broader than developing CoP known as the "knowledge society".

"The basic difference between the CoP and KC is that the scope of participation of members is clearly defined by the job description (such as the farming community) in the CoP, while in case of participation of members of the KC wide open and include in some cases, all employees working in a large organization" ( Yamazaki, 2004).

KC is the first time to practice by Xerox are confronted with a global IT infrastructure transition project. Top managers decided to launch a knowledge-sharing initiative called the Transition Alliance. The Alliance consists of fifty IT professionals who are responsible for managing 70,000 desktop workstations, nearly 1,200 servers, and networking hardware across five continents. It was observed that the motivation to learn and develop at the individual level appear larger in the structure of society than in other organizations. This has important implications for long-term performance of the participants. (Storck and Hill, 2000) Since then, large companies have been using the KC with documented positive results.

KC Strategies

KC based on the idea that knowledge and insight that is created and acquired when humans interact with each other and their environment. Any strategy to implement the KC because it must be stressed on the need for a variety of social interactions, such as one-one conversation, information and communication technology (ICT) tools, discussion groups, research projects and presentations. Storck and Hill (2000) identified six guiding principles that are important to the success of organizational learning. This is stated below and apply for KC in a corporate environment:

-Design a format that promotes interaction of openness and allows for the chance.
-Building upon an organization's culture.
-Indicates the existence of mutual interest, after initial success to solve problems and achieve company goals.
-Leverage aspects of organizational culture that respects the value of collective learning.
Embed knowledge-sharing practices into the group process.
-Establish an environment where knowledge sharing is based on process and cultural norms defined by society than other parts of the organization. (Storck et al,. 2000) Apart from the management of both technology and context in order to provide effective support for learning and sharing knowledge is essential.

KC Tools

In this section, the aim is to clarify where the IT tools support the knowledge society. Most of today's KC on-line, there is very little interest in face to face KC. Tools commonly used for KC because that e-mail, groupware, e-learning systems teleconferencing etc. But there are constraints on the benefits of these technologies. Face-to-face interaction can sometimes be very important for example in developing and strengthening relationships of trust among team members. Most of the knowledge society Knowledge Management component architecture standards that are based on knowledge portals, components, and databases. This architecture acts as a tool to organize and classify knowledge in a skillful manner. In Knowledge Management, Portal is the basic source of knowledge from which community members have started to enter, search, and knowledge access by using various methods of KM. Most of the search tools used by the knowledge society is a system based portal server that can handle different organizations. These tools must be designed so that they follow a top-down design approach. Because of their inherent complexity basic, this is a centralized, inflexible and slow to respond to changes in the knowledge base.

If the knowledge base should be handled by an individual rather than society, the approach will be bottom-up design, and the level complexity of the equipment to a minimum. Of course, all the tools used for infrastructure must be maintained so that they can provide the necessary knowledge in ways that are classified as necessary. Knowledge society using the knowledge asset for applications such as collaborative product development, different business process automation and real-time collaboration for online applications. If the application is user-centric, then the storage costs can be reduced with the help of knowledge assets that are provided and maintained by the society of knowledge. Based on the knowledge base that is managed by the people at large, it is possible to improve the ability of search-based applications. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools can only provide basic infrastructure and environment to support learning. But tools alone are not sufficient to stimulate effective learning in the knowledge society. "The technology but has a central part to play in providing facilities and infrastructure for learning within and between public knowledge if the motivation and the learning context already exists." (Barrett, et al.. 2004)

Discussion: KC Process The process used in the knowledge society are as follows:

1. Creation or construction of knowledge database. This is the main process in the development of information databases, and it must be implemented efficiently so that other processes can use this process again if necessary.

2. Storing knowledge so that it can be used to study and implement the knowledge database. This process is also related to the retrieval of information if data loss is clear.

3. The next transaction process with the transfer of knowledge from one category to another. There are several different methods available for transfer and for anyone of them can be selected according to need. Transfer process is different for different types of users, and can occur at various levels.

4. One other important processes are supported by a community of knowledge is the application. Knowledge base is only useful if he is able to provide useful information for users.

5. The deal last with the learning process, which is useful for organizational knowledge base. It discusses the process by learning what is needed, and why it is needed.

Knowledge communities have their utility in the field of high structure, process and task automation, and stable business environment. Applications must be based on the most suitable conditions with a pre-specified knowledge base. The structure of this application should be able to take advantage of the knowledge society. automation process of this new technology that is used on and based workflow can get a proper backup of the public knowledge with other systems. This application uses the knowledge base generated by the community to achieve lower costs, higher quality, and greater market share for existing products and services. The process of formation of KC is not direct. Needs or context of knowledge sharing must be defined first. So we must focus on where to get knowledge of, namely, that members of the organization or community to focus on. After the community and context knowledge have decided we need to decide on the media. KC Putting in place is not too difficult but to maintain and run this efficiently, especially when community members are expected to have lost interest in the future or if there is lack of trust among users. periodic examination and review are therefore very important to maintain each KC.

Relationship with knowledge management

KC strongly associated with knowledge management. Knowledge Management is to capture, manage, and store knowledge and experience of individual workers and groups within an organization and make this information available to others in the organization. This is KC not too so that we recognize that KC is a very effective tool for knowledge management.

Examples of system KC

A good example of the use of KC at the firm level is the Hewlett Packard IT Resource Center (ITRC) which brings together engineers, internal IT staff and customers. Communities using the intranet or extranet and focused on a particular product or problem. Communities inter-organization has a membership runs in thousands and include topics such as planning and business recovery operating system software. Community participants can ask questions and receive answers in a short time. So, when the system administrator has a problem, they can post electronic signs on the intranet, and receive detailed help on how to proceed in a few minutes. For such communities to succeed, members must have mutual trust. Hewlett Packard associated with mistrust by using a system of user profiles and ratings. Members of the public up to the level of each response from 1 to 10. The response now has a 'credit rating and the problem is difficult queries with ease to assess the utility of this reply. (Barrett, et. Al, 2004.) KC Success stories like that abound in the corporate world today.

Conclusion

It's a fact that people are well-established with the public interest facing similar problems to learn faster when in groups. Interaction between the individual creating the knowledge base is very important for every member of this community. The knowledge society is based on the basic premise. They tried to bring people together mostly using advanced tools currently ICT. KC has found tremendous acceptance in the corporate world because of their simplicity and usefulness. ICT tools best work in creating the KC when the stimulus is enough to learn already exist in society. ICT tools have the constraint, however, and face-toface interaction becomes important at times. For KC to succeed there must be a learning context, enough members to contribute knowledge, media and mutual trust among members. If these requirements occur, KC can be an indispensable tool for any organization or community. The society of knowledge helps the organization to identify the priorities of their knowledge, so that these organizations can upgrade their devices to become more user-friendly platform in the handling of knowledge. It helps organizations to develop management knowledge base that is more appropriate, meaningful and useful.

Reference:
[1]Maria Johnsen,http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Maria_Johnsen

Monday, December 27, 2010

Knowledge Sharing Best Practice Iniatives

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Knowledge Sharing Best Practice Iniativeslarge organization knows many things but they may not necessarily know what they know. Knowledge sharing has become much more challenging while at the same time become much more important. It's an issue faced by many organizations, once a day and the reason why the management of knowledge sharing has become so important. The main objective is to ensure that the right information to the right people so that they can make the right decision. Some people argue that there should be a straightforward process, but in reality, it is not so simple.

The organization has struggled with this for a long time, this is certainly not the flavor of the month. We have too large a traditional, though still highly effective, methods of sharing information such as the interaction of people-to-person. Top-down flow of knowledge of traditional organizations is no longer adequate as the information must flow across the organization. What about the technology, it can provide answers to the needs of our information flow? When used appropriately, technology can be a great asset to the organization if he also has a knowledge sharing initiative in place, but can not replace a culture of sharing knowledge. Knowledge management means a lot more from the database and network. The issues are more difficult to handle most people's problems. And this is the most predictable element of knowledge sharing initiatives, the most difficult to manage, but the most important. If the employee is unable or unwilling to share knowledge in basic human level, all the technology in the world will not convince them to do otherwise. Technology must be built on a strong foundation of internal cooperation, if it's like building a structure on top of a swamp.

What are examples of human obstacles, we need to overcome in building a culture of sharing information? Some still believe that "knowledge as power," which became the only one capable of certain tasks will make them much needed and keep them secure jobs, especially in this current economic time. But how true is the company today where so much depends on teamwork and collective knowledge? In the end, there is little to gain by knowledge accumulation and can be self-defeating. Sufficient mandate to share knowledge does not solve the problem. Managers need to lead by example, setting up a mentoring program where new entrants have access to the carrier of knowledge and applying knowledge contributors' Hall of Fame "or" Donor Month "program. In these ways and others, norms can begin to be set so that knowledge as power can begin to be transformed into "shared cultural knowledge as power."

Sometimes technology is so embedded in the user's mindset that they sometimes forget it's not the be-all and end all to share knowledge and communication. Technology is only a tool used to support and enhance social knowledge-based organizations to share, not a substitute for a system of well-rounded knowledge sharing is marriage-based tools of modern technology and good old-fashioned people skills - and the two should compliment each other.

Reference:
[1] Marsha Stein,http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Marsha_Stein

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Business Knowledge Management Software

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Knowledge Management SoftwareBusiness Knowledge Management, in which the idea of a comprehensive and conscious companies collect, share, review and manage knowledge based on the document, skills and resources. Form of management has two fundamental objectives in the business. The main objective in the collection of business-critical knowledge and is directly related to business strategy. The second objective is the planning organization's intellectual assets and create a large volume of information obtained by the company as well as sharing best practice through technology that allows the functions above, including groupware and intranets.

It also plays a very important role to maintain a business method in triumph. With a sound knowledge management there is a link between business strategy management, and practice issues. Form of management influence on various business sectors that include best practice, change management, benchmarking, risk management. Most of the professionals at the firm level and analyze business-class knowledge management as a business process reengineering. In most past research conducted on business strategy has been recognized that knowledge and information are business assets and business needs and policy instruments to manage these assets.

Need for general knowledge of business management focused on increasing creativity and also in the sense of creating new knowledge. There has been a growing understanding that intellectual capital is essential for the growth of the organization and discussion of intellectual capital has mushroomed into the world, but only a few businesses have acted on this understanding. Where companies have taken action, and the growing number have done so - the application of knowledge management is different from technology driven to control the process, provide and access information with a massive effort to change the company's tradition.

Most of the times of knowledge and information requirements are often used interchangeably by business writers. Knowledge has two basic definitions of interest. The first relates to defined body of information which can consist of opinions, facts, theories, models and principles. Of course there is the possibility of additional categories as well. Subject (eg, chemical mathematics, etc.) is just one of probability. Also knowledge is a condition of a person into information about a person. These countries consist of awareness, ignorance, understanding, facility, familiarity and so forth. In the conservative viewpoint on the role of knowledge in business organizations, tacit-knowledge is often viewed as a real key in getting things done also create new value. No explicit-knowledge. As a result we often see an emphasis on organizational learning and other approaches that emphasize the internalization of information through the actions and experiences and creating new knowledge through interaction is managed.

Therefore it can be concluded that the intangible wealth of knowledge, where it provides the organization with the ability to destroy competition, in addition to proven weight in influencing itself. Every organization does not have to look only at the best practice in the field, but must adjust to the needs of each approach is exclusive and tradition to effectively use knowledge management.

Reference:
[1] Jamie Hanson, http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jamie_Hanson

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Knowledge Management in Service Industry

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Knowledge Management in Service IndustryIn the twenty-first century,industry compete heavily. Employers try to use technology to grow their business. However, the technology used to produce a high cost. So companies must find new ways to survive by using existing resources to gain maximum benefit. Knowledge Management is one attractive alternative because it can provide competitive advantages such as competence and greater synergies, more balanced decisions and fewer errors, more creativity and innovation, a broader collaboration and knowledge sharing, and links easier to expertise and more in understanding.Knowledge management has been used in most enterprise-based products and also has been expanded for use in the service sector.

However, there is not much research looking closely to explain the situation in the service industry, while the service sector continues to growing.Thus, it is necessary to understand the situation and how the service sector to develop knowledge management strategies. Knowledge management can play an important role for the company to compete productively.Service industry is one of the industry sector involves providing services to other businesses and to end consumers. Activities relating primarily to the provision of services rather than tangible objects for the benefit of end users and / or other industries. This includes insurance banking and finance, supply gas and electricity and water, health care, transportation, communications, entertainment, retail and wholesale, and central and local governments "are. Knowledge of the fluid mixture framed experience, values, contextual information and expert insight that provides a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and this information is derived and applied in the minds of knowers. In organizations, it often becomes embedded not only in documents or repositories but also in organizational routines, processes, practices, and. norm "to help. Knowledge to produce information from data or information which is more valuable than less valuable information. Thus, knowledge is essentially the same as the information and data, although the richest and deepest of the three, and consequently also the most valuable.When company that creates knowledge, he has concerns about the process of interactive teamwork.

This process involves a different background, cutting across organizational boundaries, and combing skills, artifacts, knowledge and experience in new ways. There is the assumption that when people work together, they can produce results that are more creative than those working individually. It is difficult to establish effective teamwork because people come from different backgrounds and have different knowledge bases.Teamworking is a key factor for creating mutual understanding knowledge with tacit knowledge that depth of experience to share together for a long time. Tacit knowledge is knowledge that is in people's heads and is difficult to explain or communicate with others. For explicit knowledge, it is knowledge that can be expressed in text form or by talking. Explicit knowledge is easy to explain and advance communicate.While computers and technology has helped people to connect to each other, people are also concerns about the geography of their influence in the emergence of new knowledge economy.The virtual space does not reduce the significance of physical space. Although people have a quick step technology to communicate and the ability to transfer data across distances, they still want to contact with others in person by gathering together for the event, shaking hands and hugging.

Time is another factor to consider because the virtual community or online community to make people work with their colleagues anytime and anywhere. For example, an employee can work at four o'clock in the morning with other employees from other continents.Another aspect of time is the knowledge obsolete. Although the sharing of knowledge from time to time are considered as important, one should not overestimate the knowledge of the past. Knowledge of the past can not always be the basis for the work today; the things that can change quickly and radically innovate industries.Nowadays in the creation and application of new knowledge is essential for the survival of tangible products - ideas, processes, and information - grow in global trade share of, the real traditional stuff from the application of new knowledge creation economy.The increasingly important in society. Increased staff turnover. People do not take a job for life anymore. When they leave they leave with the knowledge organization of global them.Large geographically small or even organizations not rapid changes in technology, business and society can lead to knowledge obsolete. As things change so quickly, in some companies, decreasing their knowledge base. Some 50 percent of what the staff knew five years ago may be obsolete. To create a Knowledge Sharing Culture, this is about making knowledge sharing the norm. Sharing knowledge does not only share the information. The purpose of sharing knowledge is to help the entire organization to achieve business goals. This not only share the benefits of one department.Sharing knowledge is as significant learning to make knowledge productive. It's hard to change a culture.

Companies that want to create a culture of sharing knowledge that need to encourage staff to work together more effectively, to collaborate and share - the last to make knowledge more productive organization. However, the direct and indirect benefits should be put in place to encourage knowledge workers may be financially sharing.Knowledge or admirable appreciated to contribute to working knowledge. However, it may not be true in all cases because it is impossible to make people share their knowledge with their benefit only. Some employees are motivated by more than just money, such as experience and knowledge they can get themselves for doing the work of knowledge. Therefore it is necessary to ensure that the appropriate reward in place.Behavior knowledge sharing can be encouraged when employees realize that sharing knowledge is valuable to them. Sharing knowledge helps employees do their jobs more effectively. Also, help them maintain their jobs, assist them in personal development and career advancement, reward them for getting things done, to understand what they know in the whole picture. Skills learned and applied in one part of this organization is not utilizing the sustainable innovation processes will maintain a competitive advantage in most companies.

Reference:
[1]Renita Dubey, http://www.articlesbase.com/management-articles/knowledge-management-and-its-benefits-to-service-industry-2051629.html

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Important of Knowledge Management in Business

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Knowledge Management BusinessKnowledge is a philosophical concept defined by Plato as a belief that is supported by an account or explanation (Blair, 2002). In the context of view of an organization's knowledge, the definition indicates the knowledge that comes from increasing the company's ability to utilize and a sense of the information available to create value for shareholders (Leiponen, 2006).

There has been significant growth in knowledge-based school of thought, which shows that the yield and retention of knowledge can have a positive effect on firm performance (In Mattia & Scott, 1999). To manage the company's intangible assets with leverage for these benefits are considered a core capability. Knowledge management (KM) has aimed at capturing, integrating and using existing organizational knowledge and consequently creating a knowledge asset that can be a source of sustainable competitive advantage in the long run (Brooking, 1999; Havens & Knapp, 1999). Revolution in KM come with the advent of technology and there have been misunderstandings linking IT with MI, although only facilitate the process (Papers4you.com, 2006).

The literature divides knowledge into two main categories depending on the nature to be codified for use in the KM system. Structured and systematic knowledge that can be described in a formal language and easily communicated and shared through formal means qualify for this kind of explicit knowledge (Elizabeth, 2001). It was decided that the knowledge is easier to arrange in the form of a database and viewed as a basic resource for the inherent nature of easy imitation by other organizations. Another form of knowledge that has been gained tremendous importance of collective behavior is automatic and is called tacit knowledge (Richard et al, 2001). Tacit knowledge, according to Sajjad et al (2005), consists of mental models, values, beliefs, assumptions and perceptions that are fascinated to the organization's intellectual capital. It has been suggested that tacit knowledge is clearly faced with a dichotomy that is imitated features that make it a sustainable source of competitive advantage also makes it difficult to capture and share in the organization to obtain the potential benefits.

Therefore it can be concluded that elusive asset knowledge, which provides organizations with the ability to weaken the competition also proved to be a challenge to leverage itself (Papers4you.com, 2006). Every organization should not only see 'best practices' in the field but had to adjust each culture unique approach and requirements to successfully using MI.

Reference:
Blair, D.C. (2002), "Knowledge management: hype, hope, or help?", Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 53(12), 1019-1028

BROOKING, Annie (1999), "Corporate Memory: Strategies for Knowledge Management", Intellectual Capital Series London: International Thomson Business

Di Mattia, S. & Scott, I. A. (1999), "KM: hope, hype or harbinger?", Library Journal, 15 September, 122(15), p. 33

Elizabeth A. Smith, (2001), "The role of tacit and explicit knowledge in the workplace", Journal of Knowledge Management; Volume: 5 Issue: 4; 2001 Research Paper

Havens, C. & Knapp, E. (1999), "Easing into Knowledge Management, Strategy and Leadership", 27(2), p. 4

Leiponen, Aija (2006), "Managing Knowledge for Innovation: The Case of Business-to-Business Services", Journal of Product Innovation Management, May2006, Vol. 23 Issue 3, p238-258

Papers For You (2006) "P/M/440. Tools of knowledge management", Available from http://www.coursework4you.co.uk/sprtmgt8.htm [22/06/2006]

Papers For You (2006) "P/M/325. Knowledge management: definition of the concept", Available from Papers4you.com [21/06/2006]

Richard T. Herschel, Hamid Nemati, David Steiger (2001), "Tacit to explicit knowledge conversion: knowledge exchange protocols", Journal of Knowledge Management; Volume: 5 Issue: 1; 2001 Research paper

Sajjad M. Jasimuddin, Jonathan H. Klein, Con Connell (2005), "The paradox of using tacit and explicit knowledge: Strategies to face dilemmas", Management Decision; Volume: 43 Issue: 1; 2005 Conceptual paper


Read more: http://www.articlesbase.com/management-articles/how-important-is-knowledge-management-for-businesses-40447.html#ixzz17K86bDgF\

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Communication Issues in Knowledge Management Implementation

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Knowledge Management ImplementationInside Knowledge magazine talks to Andréa Thompson about the change management issues surrounding KM.

The knowledge that exists within your organization is your only sustainable source of competitive advantage. We believe this makes knowledge management a strategic imperative. But how do you ensure that your KM initiative is effective, that it delivers on its promises and that your organization sees a return on its KM investment?

Change communications and engaging employees is a critical part of this process and in this interview we talk to Andréa Thompson, Managing Director of Marmalade Consulting about some of the key communications issues organizations face in implementing KM.

Q. What are the key change-management issues that organisations need to address when looking to develop a KM programme?

A. The key change-management issues are: committed support from the top, the need for companies to put KM at the heart of their business strategy, introduce measurement tools and recognise the importance of engaging with target audiences through a comprehensive and robust communications plan.

Large companies tend to be composed of specialist units (commonly known as silos) and therefore no one person has a clear understanding of the overall corporate objectives in terms of what a KM initiative should achieve.

Organisations need to bridge the gap between ‘doing’ and ‘acting’. KM is a culture shift that transforms the way the company does business. It is about encouraging cross-functional working and improving individual performance for the benefit of the employee, the company and ultimately the customer.



Q. Do you think organisations looking to implement a KM programme have paid enough attention to these issues in the past?

A. Definitely not. We have a work culture that is information rich but most definitely knowledge poor. Companies need to define clear principles for KM rather than hold a mass of data that serves little purpose in growing the business.

In my experience one of biggest barriers to success is the failure of senior management to understand the value that informed internal communication can bring. By all means focus on process but don’t forget the emotional experience. It is your employees whose knowledge you require and they are the ones that will make it happen – if you cannot engage your audience you have little hope of improving operating performance and little chance of success.



Q. What can a well thought-out change-management strategy bring to a KM programme?

A. Success. Stakeholders need to establish a common recognition of the change required, agree the benefits of a clearly defined KM approach, establish a process to support it and define what level of support is required to make it happen. KM needs to become part of the culture and ‘the way we do things’.



Q. What techniques can organisations use to help increase acceptance of changing working practices?

A. There is no prescriptive method and no perfect way to communicate change. However, whatever the method, communication has a critical role to play in gaining the acceptance and participation of employees. There are many frustrations regarding methods of communication. Inevitably you can’t please all the people all the time, but there are some fundamentals that can be addressed. One overriding factor is that communication is vital for a successful change programme.

Many different channels can be used from a simple CEO memo through to full-scale staged event and getting the balance of communication channels right is extremely important. The most important aspect is to segment the audience and target messages and channels appropriately and consistently over a specified time period.

The overall lesson for communication is that the ‘closer’ you can get to the individual the more effective communications will be – hence the importance of the cascade process and face-to-face delivery.

People need to be listened to during times of change more so than usual. One-to-one meetings with managers should be seen as a critical part of the process. In difficult times, spokespeople are listened to more than ever, so it is essential that all messages are co-ordinated and that the company speaks with one voice. A leader’s behavioural can make the different between success and failure.

For example – the knowledge steward: We worked with Innogy One, the engineering division of Innogy (now RWE Energy), on the branding and communication of a knowledge-management initiative. There was a small, dedicated team to ensure the successful implementation of the programme and knowledge stewards were introduced into the process. The knowledge steward was someone who was not only supportive of the KM principle but was also experienced in the business and, importantly, a good networker.

This ensures that positive messages are being relayed to the team in which they operate and also other departments across the division. This works successfully on two levels: it begins to break down the silos in which so many companies operate and it brings together dedicated champions from each department on a regular basis to share experiences and ideas. In effect, they become the communication lynch pins through which everything is funnelled, creating consistency and commitment.

Another important aspect, and one that has worked for GSK and the United Health Group, is measurement. It should be a key part of the process to provide simple feedback loops ensuring people’s concerns are listened to and addressed.



Q. How important is senior-management buy-in in encouraging the adoption of new working practices?

A. The importance of strong leadership and the cascade process should never be underestimated. If the programme has support from the highest level then employees are far more likely to take it as a credible management initiative driven from the top. If the management team do not present a unified front then the programme has little hope of succeeding. Sponsors should give visible support as often as possible in terms of face-to-face team meetings, editorials, quotes and feedback.

When working with GSK on the introduction of a global project management improvement programme (Apex), sponsorship was key to success. It was visibly supported at the highest level and the programme director made it a priority to consistently rally advocates by keeping all senior management informed and involved at every step of the process. This was done on a face-to-face communication level supported by appropriate communications tools. This process ensured they were motivated and enthused in terms of cascading information through to their teams. I have rarely seen a better example of the impact senior-management buy in can make. Not only was the programme director fully committed to making it happen but the director was also given the resource and budget to do it properly.



Q. How important is the process of obtaining feedback from those the KM programme will affect?

A. In our experience, talking to the people who will be affected by the programme is essential. Before starting work on any KM programme, employees’ opinions should be gauged to gain a better insight into their needs and expectations and they should be encouraged to contribute ideas. In this way they feel involved from the outset and they will have an awareness and anticipation of the programme well before the launch. Once issues are understood, benefit-led messages can be introduced to address them.

Feeding back the feedback is just as important. It is critical to understand any ongoing issues so that any shortfall or drift can be addressed. We have experienced situations where research with employees has been carried out but they have had no follow- up communication so why should they bother next time round?



Q. How important is it that KM is integrated with existing work practices and not made a separate function in its own right?

KM should never be a separate function but the management team should be mindful of the existing processes used by the company. What are the lessons learnt? Are these practices useful to our way of working? And, importantly, are they the future of the organisation?

A. Many existing KM or project-management programmes are introduced on a project-by-project basis, not in the context of a wider, properly developed ‘vision’. The KM vision should strive towards a good practice and self-development programme that is linked to the organisation’s long-term corporate objectives. In which case they must be assessed and abandoned if not required. The best of the best should be taken from existing programmes and incorporated into the new working practices.

The KM programme of the United Health Group, a private health-insurance company in the US, combined five good-practice methodologies together in the same system. Taking the best from the best and pulling it together to make one common good-practice toolbox that would be introduced as a mandatory way of working for internal employees and also external consultants.



Q. What are the most common pitfalls relating to change management that organisations need to avoid when attempting to implement KM?

A. One of the most common pitfalls is to hand over the project to IT. KM should be viewed as a key asset because it is a lot more than technology. Stop viewing it as a process tool and begin to think of it as a culture change, which should be driven and supported from the top until it becomes second nature.

An IT system is an enabling tool that facilitates support. The purpose of KM, however, is to encourage faster and smarter working, built on the sharing of good-practice information and knowledge that will benefit the individual, and ultimately the company. Individuals need to recognise how it benefits them before they will support it. It is worth bearing in mind that the most powerful persuasion tool is self-interest.



Q. What are the likely consequences for organisations that continue to neglect the change-management aspects of knowledge management?

A. In large organisations, in particular those who are less asset focused, KM is fundamental to growth and profitability. If companies do not recognise the importance of change management in this area but continue to introduce systems on a project-by-project basis with no consideration to the wider company strategy, then effort will continue to be duplicated and the opportunity to capture intellectual capital will be lost.



Q. Are there any other issues that you feel deserve closer attention?

A. Having a well-conceived programme is one challenge; making people aware of it and want to use it is yet another.

Engaging the internal audience through customer-focused communications can contribute enormously in this process. In the outside world people will only buy something they think is worth buying, the same principles apply to our internal customer.

In my experience, employees successfully adopt this type of programme when it is well branded and promoted. The Apex initiative for GlaxoSmithKline is one such example. Apex (Advancing Project Expertise) is a well-planned system but to help its success we applied the rules of branding. The programme has a name, an identity; a visual appeal and targeted communications that were key to helping achieve heightened awareness and outstanding success.

A strong brand can encourage employees, it can provide a framework, common link, direction and cohesion, and a shared sense of purpose and unified attitude. It is a very powerful tool in the persuasion process.


Reference:
[1] Andrea Thomson, http://www.articlesbase.com/organizational-articles/critical-communication-issues-in-knowledge-management-implementation-1682123.html

Friday, November 19, 2010

Knowledge Management and Learning Organisation

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Moving Beyond “Knowledge for Knowledge’s sake”

Quick ± in 25 words or less, define knowledge management. Can't do it? You're not alone.

    There are an assortment of disciplines that have influenced the field of Knowledge Management (KM) thinking and praxis – the most prominent are philosophy, in defining knowledge; cognitive science (in understanding knowledge workers); social science (in understanding motivation, people, interactions, culture and environment); management science (in optimising operations and integrating them within the enterprise); information science (in building knowledge-related capabilities); knowledge engineering (in eliciting and codifying knowledge); artificial intelligence (in automating routine and knowledge-intensive work) and economics (in determining priorities). As a result, there are enormous working definitions of KM and emergent philosophies circulating in the literature and around corporations of the world.

            One cannot get a clear understanding and definition of what KM is without studying the various concepts of knowledge and information (including data), as well as the tacit, implicit, and explicit knowledge dimensions. Much of the still existing confusion that surrounds the topic of KM is based on the varied scholars’ interpretations and suggestions distinguishing the terms information and knowledge as well as the terms tacit, implicit, and explicit.

 What is knowledge?

             Some authors appear to try to avoid the epistemological debate on the definition of knowledge by comparing data, information, and knowledge. However, von Krogh et al. (2000) or Kakabadse et al.’s (2003) understanding of knowledge as ‘justified true belief” goes back to Michael Polanyi’s original work (we know more than we can express) (Polanyi 1958), an epistemological position which is acknowledged to have grown out of Plato’s discourses (Meno, Phaedo and Theaetetus). This definition has been particularly adopted by Western philosophy (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995), which provides a comprehensive taxonomy of knowledge models, Plato’s concept was also debated from Aristotle, one of his students, throughout continental rationalism, as well as from German philosophy (Kant 1965; Marx 1976; Hegel 1977); British empiricism (Locke 1987) to twentieth-century philosophers (Dewey 1929; Sartre 1956; Habermas 1972; Tsoukas 1996; cited in Kakabdse et al. 2003, p. 77).

            The above discourse implies that knowledge itself is a very multifaceted concept with many different variations and definitions. Based on the fact that the nature of knowledge is widely acknowledged on differing epistemological stands taken from the individual contributors, but led ultimately to the following definition of ‘knowledge’:

            “Knowledge is a fluid mix of framed experience, values, contextual information, and expert insight that provides a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information. It originates and is applied in the minds of knowers. In organisations it often becomes embedded, not only in documents or repositories but also in organisational routines, processes, practices and norms.” (Davenport and Prusak 2000, p. 5).

Knowledge: Tacit/Implicit/Explicit

            ‘Tacit’ knowledge is not expressible and can in no way be made directly explicit or in other words codified into rules and formulations (e.g. the way a project manager behaviourally interacts or communicates during a conflict-solving process). In other words it has to do with an individual’s aptitude for doing things or even cognitively thinking about things.

            ‘Implicit’ knowledge is expressible and by applying appropriate knowledge management practices it has the chance to be made explicit. Thus, implicit knowledge is then transferred into explicit knowledge in a direct way. This process of transferring can be observed through the propagation, application, the amalgamation or the interpretation of explicit knowledge. Interestingly, from time to time, the terms ‘tacit’ and ‘implicit’ are used interchangeably..

            ‘Explicit’ knowledge is expressed implicit knowledge. There is enough evidence from the literature as well as from practice, suggesting that the two terms ‘explicit knowledge’ and ‘information’ have exactly the same meaning. In other words, explicit knowledge should be regarded as implicit knowledge, which when expressed becomes information. However, whereas the management of knowledge is mostly understood as the management of the processes, which can support the conversion of employees’ individual knowledge into overall organisational implicit knowledge, the management of explicit knowledge is understood as the management of knowledge-objects typically held as information in the organisation’s information base or systems in form of data records or documents.

The history of KM

            Knowledge management (KM) is currently receiving significant attention, from both academics and practitioners, and is being addressed by broad range of academic literature and popular press. The study of human knowledge has been central subject matter of philosophy and epistemology since the ancient Greeks and western philosophers. Eastern philosophers, Tzu and Confucius in China and their contemporaries in India, have an equally long and well-documented tradition of emphasising knowledge and comprehension for the conduct of spiritual and secular life. The first attempts at KM, such as capture, storage and retrieval, began with the Cuneiform language in about 3000 BC.

            A number of management theorists have contributed to the evolution of KM, among them such notables as Peter Drucker, Paul Strassmann, and Peter Senge in the United States. Drucker and Strassmann have stressed the growing importance of information and explicit knowledge as organisational resources, and Senge has focused on the "learning organisation," a cultural dimension of managing knowledge. Chris Argyris, Christoper Bartlett, and Dorothy Leonard-Barton of Harvard Business School have all examined diverse aspects of managing knowledge. In fact, Leonard-Barton’s well-known case study of Chaparral Steel, a company which has had an effective KM strategy in place since the mid-1970s, inspired the research documented in her Wellsprings of Knowledge.

            The 1980s also saw the development of systems for managing knowledge that relied on work done in artificial intelligence and expert systems, giving us such concepts as "knowledge acquisition," "knowledge engineering," "knowledge-base systems, and computer-based ontologies. Knowledge management-related articles began appearing in journals like Sloan Management Review, Organisational Science, Harvard Business Review, and others, and the first books on organisational learning and knowledge management were published (for example, Senge’s The Fifth Discipline and Sakaiya’s The Knowledge Value Revolution).

            By 1990, a number of management consulting firms had begun in-house knowledge management programs, and several well known U.S., European, and Japanese firms had instituted focused knowledge management programs. Perhaps the most widely read work to date is Ikujiro Nonaka’s and Hirotaka Takeuchi’s The Knowledge-Creating Company: How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation (1995).

            By the mid-1990s, knowledge management initiatives were flourishing, thanks in part to the Internet. Knowledge management, which appears to offer a highly desirable alternative to failed TQM and business process re-engineering initiatives, has become big business for such major international consulting firms as Ernst & Young, Arthur Andersen, and Booz-Allen & Hamilton.

What is KM?

            Murray E. Jennex (2005) tells us that during a conversation he had with a fellow engineer, he made the comment that it was too bad we could not get back to the moon. Murrray, of course, agreed and expressed the desire that the government would allocate funds for it. His friend then surprised him by saying it was not money that was the issue but that what really prevents the US from getting back to the moon is that they do not remember how to build Saturn V rockets, Apollo capsules, and Lunar Modules. It seems after the end of the Apollo programme; management ordered all the plans put on microfiche and all but a few of the paper copies destroyed. This was done, however, when there was talk of going back to the moon and engineers went to retrieve the plans, the usable paper copies could be found, and everyone who knew how to build the rockets, capsules, and modules were either dead or retired. Additionally, when the younger engineers began to reverse engineer these components, they were stymied because they did not understand the technology from that time; technology had advanced so much that the engineers had not been taught some of the fundamental issues faced by engineers of that time. In other words, they had forgotten the knowledge from the experience of solving the problems that prevented moon flights.

            The above does in fact show that the space program is an example of failed KM. They attempted to store relevant knowledge but when it came time to retrieve it, it could not be retrieved and applied to the current decision- making activity due to media volatility and a lack of capturing the relevant context that makes the critical knowledge usable.

 Why do we need KM?   

            Why do we need knowledge management? We need KM because we need a proper process to help organisations identify, capture, store, and retrieve critical knowledge. We need KM processes to help organisations deal with changing storage strategies. We need KM to help us deal with the transience of knowledge workers. We need KM processes to help organisations manage a glut of knowledge. Ultimately, we need KM to help organisations make sense of what they know, to know what they know, and to effectively use what they know. The whole point of knowledge management (KM) is to make sure that the knowledge present in an organisation is applied productively for the benefit of that organisation.

            An organisation’s emergency preparedness activities might involve collaborative efforts between various entities. A vital activity is responding to an actual crisis situation that hits one or more of the member organisations/entities. For some organisations, responding to a crisis situation in done within a consortium environment. Managing knowledge across the various entities involved in such efforts is critical. This includes having the right set of information that is timely, relevant, and is governed by an effective communication process given such organisational structures, and the need to manage knowledge in these environments through effective Knowledge Management Systems (KMS).

            KM efforts typically focus on organisational objectives such as improved performance, competitive advantage, innovation, the sharing of lessons learned, and continuous improvement of the organisation. KM efforts may overlap with Organisational Learning and may be distinguished from that by a greater focus on the management of knowledge as a strategic asset and a focus on encouraging the sharing of knowledge. KM efforts can help individuals and groups to share valuable organisational insights, to reduce redundant work, to avoid reinventing the wheel per se, to reduce training time for new employees, to retain intellectual capital as employees turnover in an organisation, and to adapt to changing environments and markets.

 Implications of Global cultural diversity on KM

            Global cultural diversity has profound implications for the effective design and implementation of knowledge management (KM) projects. Thus, the view on global cultural diversity recognises the existence of different organisational contexts and great care must be taken when making assumptions about patterns of organisational performance and innovations (Avgerou, 2002). For example, the wide gap in the availability and use of ICT across the world, and the influences ICT exerts on globalisation, raise questions about the feasibility and desirability of efforts to implement the development of ICT through the transfer of best practices from Western industrialised countries to developing countries, and whether organisations can utilise such ICT in accordance with the socio-cultural requirements of the contexts (Avgerou, 2002).

            Reliable research concludes that diversity and local context does matter, and that the global techniques employed in western industrialised countries should not be implemented mechanically in developing countries without consideration for the local context. Further, gender considerations have been shown to be of great importance in the successful adoption of ICT.

The Arab region Knowledge Evolution

            Recently, there have been a couple of noticeable groundbreaking models pursued by Dubai and Qatar to transubstantiate the region’s population into a ‘‘knowledge society.’’ Both of these initiatives deemed human development a central goal and targeted narrowing the knowledge gap between the Arab region and the rest of the world. At the latest Middle East World Economic Forum, held in Jordan in May 2007, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, launched an endowment of ten billion US dollars for an avant garde foundation called the ‘‘Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation’’ to promote knowledge in the region.

            The second major initiative occurred in Qatar, where the government gathered leading world university representatives into a center for knowledge-creation called ‘‘Education City,’’ which is headquarters for the ‘‘Qatar Foundation.’’ The main objective is to form the most powerful educational and research hub in the Middle East.

             One of these efforts may lead to Beit Elhikma II or may produce distinguished geniuses such as Averroes (ibn-Rushd) (1126-1198), who created the first domestic and exotic knowledge hybridisation model that is not only admired, but also accepted, by Western societies. Averroes published his commentaries on Aristotle based on the epistemic fundament that ‘‘knowledge is the conformity of the object and the intellect.’’ The comeback of the Arab mind in a systematic ‘‘brain gain’’ program is needed as happened in India.

            To align the intellectual capacities with new business requirements, the region must work on different fronts to invest in expatriates, to leverage its strategies to reverse the ‘‘brain drain’’ and to fill the knowledge gap at both intra- and inter-regional levels. To keep the momentum of the ‘‘Knowledge Society” paradigm, the sustainability of the paradigm needs uninterrupted diffusion and infusion of innovations and continuously relevant knowledge, which may need restructuring at the organisational level.

            The chimera of ‘‘epistemic sovereignty’’ is an outmoded self-centeredness that is not acceptable in the current globalised marketplace. More pointedly, epistemological pluralism is required for success in the realm of the ‘‘knowledge society’’. A ‘‘co-opetitive’’ relationship is considered crucial to build the ‘‘knowledge society’’. The Arab world can revert from the status of ‘‘knowledge entropy’’ to the former ‘‘golden age’’ of Islam – if the principles of modern knowledge are effectively leveraged and crossbred with traditions to result in a lucrative ‘‘knowmadism’’.

Knowledge transfer and social capital: the case of Corporate Egypt

            Most of the knowledge related initiatives in Egypt have been at the country and community levels with limited emphasis at the organisational level. According to the World Development report for Africa, Egypt needs to work fast in order to increase its knowledge base, to invest in educating the people about knowledge management, and to take advantage of the new technologies for acquiring and disseminating knowledge. The report emphasises the importance of (1) instituting policies that enable them to narrow the knowledge gaps that separate poor countries from rich countries; (2) promoting collaborations among the organisations—governments, multilateral institutions, nongovernmental organisations, and the private sector—in order to work together; and (3) nurturing a knowledge sharing culture.

            A study performed on 41 public/private organisations in Egypt using Hofstede’s (1980) cultural dimensions highlights the need for a change in network relationships and efforts to build the relational dimension of social capital. While the structural and cognitive dimensions are already in place, the insubstantiality of the relational dimension and the focus on individual achievement are curtailing members from sharing their expertise. It is apparent that the lack of trust in getting credit for the information they share makes it hard for them to volunteer their expertise unless instructed to do so and unless they feel the risk of not obeying commands.

            It was concluded that the initiative has to start at the top in order for knowledge workers to have confidence in the system and to be able to cross the cultural gap between a knowledge-hoarding and a knowledge-sharing environment. The initiative must define several processes in order to enable the cultural transition. The study showed that the development of social capital as an infrastructure for knowledge transfer is a critical facilitator of knowledge transfer within organisations. Combining members’ knowledge resources can lead to collaborative knowledge creation that has the potential to limit the economic and knowledge gaps that exist within Egyptian organisations.



Knowledge sharing / lessons learned / storytelling



            U.S. Army has installed knowledge sharing as a standard part of its work in both training and real duty in the form of its well known after-action reviews. No effort is considered complete until it has been reviewed and its lessons obtained, including the lessons learned from failures.

            During the U.S. military efforts in Bosnia, lessons learned were distributed on a frequent basis. Because such observations as, “avoid snow-covered roads with no vehicle tracks, as they are probably mined” were credited with saving lives, members of other cooperating armies frequently requested a copy of the latest “lessons learned.”

            Openness builds confidence and sharing stories openly builds confidence in employees and in the organisation as a whole. This openness also leads to the development of trust that can support innovation. This is done by individuals using stories to build confidence in themselves, the direction of their team or the future of the company. In these cases the moral of the story could be “We did it before and we can do it again”, or “Look how bright the future can be.”

            Companies can further develop the organisation and its employees if people are given the opportunity to reflect on both the positive and negative realities of their workplace. Learning from each others past mistakes or successes through stories can build awareness, skill and confidence. The “glory days” tales or “war stories” you hear informally or formally throughout a company present learning opportunities without having to actually go through the experience. This is what NASA did to convey the culture of excitement around advancing space exploration to a young generation.

            Texas Instruments is a company that is extremely serious about encouraging re-use of ideas and design by its engineers. To encourage this process Texas Instruments periodically holds a contest within the company to collect the best story based on “We didn’t build it here but we used it anyway.” Teams within Texas Instruments scramble to come up with the best story on design re-use. They then share the story with others at an awards dinner. The stories and the activities of the company serve to foster their knowledge-sharing culture. In a well known example, Texas Instruments has achieved $1.5 billion in additional wafer fabrication capacity as a result of their knowledge-sharing program.

 Knowledge work and knowledge workers

            Early literature on knowledge work tended to take a Taylorist view, separating ‘thinking’ and ‘doing’ and comparing it with the fundamentally different but more familiar, type of manual work or blue collar work (Drucker, 1999; Schultze, 2000). Task performance within knowledge work cannot be compared with the sequential prescribed performance of manual work, by claiming that knowledge work is the exact opposite. Contemporary concept of knowledge work integrates doing and thinking and involves an uninterrupted cycle of re-use and creation of knowledge, which can be compared to a process of learning by doing. It involves a large amount of tacit knowledge (Schultze, 2000).

             A knowledge worker in today's workforce is an individual that is valued for their ability to interpret information within a specific subject area. They will often advance the overall understanding of that subject through focused analysis, design and/or development. They use research skills to define problems and to identify alternatives. The term was first coined by Peter Drucker (1959), as one who works primarily with information or one who develops and uses knowledge in the workplace. Toffler (1990) observed that typical knowledge workers (especially R&D scientists and engineers) in the age of knowledge economy must have some system at their disposal to create, process and enhance their own knowledge. In some cases they would also need to manage the knowledge of their co-workers. Knowledge workers engage in ‘’peer-to-peer’’ knowledge sharing across organisational and company boundaries, forming networks of expertise.

 Knowledge Management (KM) Strategy

            Two philosophies for managing knowledge have evolved over the past decade. Firstly, the codification or explicit-oriented approach, which aligns strategy with information management efforts, such as embedding knowledge in documents, which can be stored and reused. Secondly, the personalisation strategy or tacit-oriented KM style emphasises the human and hence more complex part of tacit or implicit knowledge. Attempts to externalise and transfer this type of knowledge are based on communication strategies, both faceto- face and technology supported, by facilitating informal networks.

            Traditionally, organisations tend to focus on the tangible part of knowledge, introducing information and communication systems to capture and document knowledge, even though these efforts might never have been explicitly termed a ‘KM strategy’ or aligned with organisational strategy. In recent years, however, KM researchers have realised that human KM is the challenge, which has revived the notion of social networks.

            Some other knowledge management strategies for companies include:

    * rewards (as a means of motivating for knowledge sharing)
    * storytelling (as a means of transferring tacit knowledge)
    * after action reviews
    * knowledge mapping (a map of knowledge repositories within a company accessible by all)
    * communities of practice
    * best practice transfer
    * collaborative technologies (groupware, etc)
    * knowledge repositories (databases, etc)
    * measuring and reporting intellectual capital (a way of making explicit knowledge for companies)
    * social software (wikis, social bookmarking, blogs, etc)



 KM (CoPs) Strategy: A success story

            Communities of practice (CoPs) are designated networks of people who share information and knowledge. Community members exchange ideas, collaborate, and learn from one another in both face-to-face and virtual environments. For example:

            Caterpillar, Inc. is the world's No. 1 producer of earthmoving machinery and a leading supplier of agricultural equipment. The organisation's strategic driver for communities was just-in-time learning. In the past, Caterpillar employees attended in-class training on topics they might or might not find relevant to their daily jobs. By constrast, CoPs provide a platform through which employees can obtain timely answers to current issues or problems. Communities at Caterpillar are very narrowly focused in order to maintain a direct relationship between community activities and daily work. Communities are a way for Caterpillar employees to connect with the organisation's global partners, customers, or teams in a virtual environment. Caterpillar currently has approximately 3,500 CoPs with about 40,000 unique participants. Approximately 7,000 Caterpillar dealers also participate in the organisation's CoPs.

Knowledge management as "doing the right thing" (effectiveness) instead of "doing things right" (efficiency).

            The relatively stable and unchanging environment of the past allowed the luxury of predicting, pre-defining and pre-determining the future based on past data. Businesses could once define their business models, business practices and business value propositions - thereafter, the key challenge remained that of optimisation for increased efficiencies: of 'doing things right'.

            However, changing customer trends, competitive products and services and changing societal and governmental pressures make the existing business models, business practices and business value propositions obsolete. Most of us are aware of the bloodbath in the desktop computer industry that eliminated many companies competing for business worldwide. However, some companies realised that the only performance outcomes that matter are the ones the customers really care about. They have been savoir-faire in tailoring and growing their customer value propositions around what the customers really needed rather than what they wanted to sell to customers. Dell has been an agile player that has been able to refine and play the game of 'doing the right thing' again and again, first in desktops and later in web hosting, printers, PDAs and storage. In the longer run, companies that can figure out the 'next right thing' and prepare well in advance to ride the next wave will be more effective in the longer run. However, it goes without saying that 'doing the thing right' also matters once you have figured out what the next cash cow will be.

            One central measure of organisational effectiveness is the creation and continuance of a measurable competitive advantage. Many broad initiatives such as efficiency, core competency advancement, actualisation of customer-centric products and services, and limitation of the fixed costs of doing business can help to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage within the marketplace. Thus, the effective management of knowledge understandably has the capacity to deeply impact the way a firm does business from the minor details of daily operations to the broadest strategic decision-making processes.

Organisational Learning/Learning Organisation

            Argyris (1977) defines organisational learning (OL) as the process of "detection and correction of errors." In his view organisations learn through individuals acting as agents for them: "The individuals' learning activities, in turn, are facilitated or inhibited by an ecological system of factors that may be called an organisational learning system".

            Huber (1991) considers four constructs as integrally linked to OL: knowledge acquisition, information distribution, information interpretation, and organisational memory. He clarifies that learning need not be conscious or intentional. Further, learning does not always increase the learner's effectiveness, or even potential effectiveness. Moreover, learning need not result in observable changes in behaviour.

            Moreover, by taking the view of the organisation as a learning system, Senge contributed meaningful new insights. In his highly cited publication ‘The Fifth Discipline’ (1990) he argues that the organisations that will truly excel in the future will be the ones that discover how to tap people's commitment and capacity to learn at all levels within an organisation. Senge believes that the ‘five component technologies’ are converging to create learning organisations: Personal Master - Shared Vision - Team Learning - Mental Models - Systems Thinking

            In his work ‘Disciplines of Organisational Learning: Contributions and Critiques’, Easterby-Smith (1997) argues against most scholars’ attempts to create a single framework for understanding and explaining the management of OL. By reviewing the most meaningful literature in the field he identified the following six disciplinary perspectives: psychology and organisational development, sociology, management science, strategy, production management, as well as cultural anthropology.

            Ang & Joseph (1996) contrast Organisational Learning and Learning Organisation in terms of process versus structure. They define OL as the ability of an organisation to gain insight and understanding from experience through experimentation, observation, analysis, and a willingness to examine both successes and failures. However, the managers' role in the Learning Organisation, Senge (1990) argues, is that of a designer, teacher, and steward who can build shared vision and challenge prevailing mental models. He/she is responsible for building organisations where people are continually expanding their capabilities to shape their future -- that is, leaders are responsible for learning.

Implementation of KM: The Xerox Case

            Xerox was set out to be as educated as possible about knowledge management (KM). The organisation has spent considerable financial resources and time to codify the collective knowledge through its research, consortium work, and sponsorship of research.

            During a study on its representative’s behaviour, Xerox noticed that most of the causes of breakdowns in the machines they sold couldn’t be found in any of the firm’s record of cases.
However representatives, thanks to their own knowledge and the knowledge they shared among each other during lunch breaks, were able to solve those problems.

            The solution, called Eureka project, was the creation of: An electronic database, in which they stored best practices, ideas and solutions; an intranet for representatives to make knowledge accessible to the whole company and facilitate the information sharing.

            The validity of the KM Eureka project’s implementation is strictly linked to the economic resources that it succeeds in recovering and saving up. In that perspective, the project Eureka made the Xerox Corporation save about the 5-10% on the job developed from the representatives and about $10 million on the cost of pieces or replaced machines.

Poor Knowledge Management can kill

            On September 30, 1999, a nuclear criticality accident occurred at a uranium processing plant operated by JCO Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as JCO) in Tokai village, Ibaraki Prefecture. A solution of enriched uranium in an amount several times more than the specified mass limit had been poured directly into a precipitation tank bypassing a dissolution tank and buffer column intended to avoid criticality. This action was in contravention of the legally approved criticality control measures. Three JCO plant workers were exposed to high levels of radiation in the accident. This has resulted in the death of two of the workers making this an unprecedented nuclear accident in Japan which has developed nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

            Except for what are sometimes called ‘Act of God’, any problems arising at a nuclear plant originate in some way in human error. However, unless there is a sufficient set of vulnerability causal factors and one or more triggering causal factors, neither an instance of human error nor a consequential event occurs. Based on the systemic analysis of the criticality accident, it was proved that its root cause was inappropriate knowledge management - combination of (1) inadequate risk awareness by the top management and (2) “kaizen” (production improvement) drives.

Conclusion

            Today’s more balanced view of KM is therefore a combination of managing explicit information resources as well as managing the working environment and people so that tacit knowledge is more readily developed, shared and exploited. KM is well beyond the “fad” stage – from previous surveys that showed two thirds of senior managers regarded KM as a fad, today it is recognised as fundamental and a contributor of value. It does add value to an organisation’s bottom line, and though difficult to prove directly, new measuring instruments have helped stakeholders identify the sources of value more clearly.

            KM becomes more pervasive, a knowledge ‘lens’ and KM perspective are being applied to wide range of management and business processes. Total quality management, customer relationship management and risk management are examples of where such approaches have given stakeholders new insights and methods improves through the fusion of existing methods with good KM practice.

            KM was very much a practitioner led discipline and only belatedly has the academic community caught up. However, there are now several business schools with active programmes of research. We are constantly learning more about KM in different contexts. KM is also considered a side-show until it is fully integrated into the strategic planning and decision processes of an organisation, which means the explicit recognition of knowledge, and KM in the corporate strategy and a clear articulation of its contribution to the business bottom line (including non-financial objectives).

            Both the literature on organisational learning and knowledge management has been growing over the past years. While OL primarily aims to identify the underlying processes of learning by clarifying critical issues like the content, agents and levels of learning, KM takes a proactive role of explicitly providing guidelines for active intervention into the organisation’s knowledge base. Both perspectives have their merits. OL provides a theoretical framework for analysing changes in the organisational knowledge base. This framework can be used to hypothesise and explain cognitive and behavioural changes within organisations over time. KM serves as a manager’s framework for improving the OL’s potential. By guiding managerial intervention into the organisation’s knowledge base, KM serves as a management tool of one of the most critical resources of organisational success.




Reference:
http://www.articlesbase.com/management-articles/knowledge-management-learning-organisation-six-of-one-and-a-half-dozen-of-the-other-1059069.html

Saturday, November 6, 2010

What are Knowledge Management Benefits To Service Industry

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Knowledge Management Benefits To Service IndustryIn twenty-first century, the industry competes heavily. Entrepreneurs try to use technology to develop their business
. However, using technology generates high costs. So companies need to find a new way to survive by using the existing resources to gain maximum benefit. Knowledge management is one of interesting alternatives as it can deliver competitive advantage such as greater competencies and synergy, more balanced decisions and less errors, more creativity and innovation, broader collaboration and knowledge sharing, and easier links to expertise and deeper understanding.Knowledge management has been used in most product-based companies and it has also extended to use in service sector.

However, there are not many studies looking closely to explain the situation in the service industry while service sector is continuously growing.Thus, it is necessary to understand the situation and how the service sector develops knowledge management strategy. Knowledge management can play an important role to make companies compete productively.Service industry is the one sector of industry involves the provision of services to other businesses as well as to final consumers. Activities are mainly concerned with providing services rather than tangible objects for the benefit of the end users and/or other industries. It includes insurance banking and finance, provision of gas and electricity and water, health care, transport, communications, entertainment, retailing and wholesaling, and central and local government."Knowledge is a fluid mix of framed experience, values, contextual information,and expert insight that provides a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information. It originates and is applied in the minds of knowers. In organizations, it often becomes embedded not only in documents or repositories but also in organizational routines, processes, practices, and norms."Knowledge helps producing information from data or more valuable information from less valuable information. Thus, knowledge is basically similar to information and data, although it is the richest and deepest of the three, and is consequently also the most valuable.When a company creates knowledge, it has to concern about interactive teamworking process.

This process involves different backgrounds, cutting across organizational boundaries, and combing skills, artifacts, knowledge and experiences in new ways. There is an assumption that when people work together, they can produce more creative results than they work individual. It is hard to establish effective teamwork because people come from different backgrounds and have different knowledge bases.Teamworking is a key factor to create knowledge with mutual understanding of deep tacit knowledge based on shared experiences together for a long time. Tacit knowledge is knowledge that is in people's heads and it is hard to explain or communicate with other people. For explicit knowledge, it is knowledge that can be expressed in text form or by speaking. Explicit knowledge is easy to explain and communicate.While advance computer and technology have helped people to link with each other,people also concern about geography affecting them in the new knowledge economy.The emergence of virtual space does not decrease significance of physical space . Even though people have the fast pace of technology to communicate and the ability to transfer data across distances, they still want to contact with others in person by gathering together for events, hand shaking and hugging .

Time is another factor that needs to be considered because virtual communities or online societies make people work with their colleagues anytime and anywhere. For example, an employee can work at four o'clock in the morning with other employees from other continents.Another aspect of time is obsolete knowledge. Although sharing knowledge over time is seen as important, people should not overestimate past knowledge. Knowledge from the past cannot always serve as a basis for the work of today; things can change quickly and radically in innovating industries.Nowadays the creation and application of new knowledge is essential to the survival of Intangible products - ideas, processes, and information - are growing in the share of global trade from the traditional, tangible goods of the manufacturing economy.The application of new knowledge is increasingly important in the society. The increasing in turnover of staff. People do not take a job for life any more. When they leave an organization their knowledge is gone with them.Large global or even small geographically dispersed organizations do not Fast changing in technology, business and society can cause the obsolete knowledge. As things change so quickly, in some companies, their knowledge base declines. As much of 50 per cent of what the staff knew five years ago is probably obsolete .To create a Knowledge Sharing Culture, it is about making knowledge sharing the norm. Sharing knowledge is not just sharing information. The purpose of knowledge sharing is to help a whole organization to reach its business goals. It is not sharing for only the benefit of one department.Sharing knowledge is as significant as learning to make knowledge productive. It is hard to change a culture.

The company which wants to create a knowledge sharing culture needs to encourage it staffs to work together more effectively, to collaborate and to share - lastly to make organizational knowledge more productive. However, Direct and indirect rewards must be put in place to encourage knowledge sharing.Knowledge workers might be financially or admirably rewarded for contributing to knowledge work. However, it might not be true in all cases because it is not possible to make people share their knowledge by only rewarding them. Some employees are motivated by more than just money such as more experiences and knowledge they can gain by themselves during doing knowledge work. Hence it needs to ensure that appropriate rewards are in place.Behavior of knowledge sharing can be encouraged when the employees realize that knowledge-sharing is valuable for them. Sharing knowledge helps employee do their jobs more effectively. Moreover, it helps them keep their jobs; helps them in their personal development and career progression; rewards them for getting things done,understand what they know in the whole picture. Expertise learnt and applied in one part of the organization is not leveraged in another continuous innovation process will sustain the competitive advantage in most companies.


Reference:
[1] Renita Dubey http://www.articlesbase.com/management-articles/knowledge-management-and-its-benefits-to-service-industry-2051629.html

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Knowledge Management Practices – The Role of Organizational Culture

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Knowledge Management Practices – The Role of Organizational CultureKnowledge is compounding of two words know and ledge. The meaning of first word ‘Know'  is to be aware of how to do or perform something, be aware of the truth of something; have a belief or faith in something; regard as true beyond any doubt, be familiar or acquainted with a person or an object, perceive as familiar and second word ‘Ledge' to enhance or ridge mountain. It is tedious to give exact definition or meaning to knowledge. But as per Oxford dictionary, Knowledge is defined as expertise, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject; what is known in a particular field or in total; facts and information; or awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation. The classical definition, described but not ultimately endorsed by Plato, specifies that a statement must meet three criteria in order to be considered knowledge: it must be justified, true, and believed.  Management means to attain the object with utilization of resources by the economical way. It is also a technique to set co-ordination in different resources to get maximum output.

Knowledge has two basic definitions of interest. The first pertains to a defined body of information. Depending on the definition, the body of information might consist of facts, opinions, ideas, theories, principles, and models (or other frameworks). Clearly, other categories are possible, too. Subject matter (e.g., chemistry, mathematics, etc.) is just one possibility.

Seeing the definition, knowledge has various kinds of resources to gain it. Management responsibility is to get the knowledge from these resources in economical with effective manner.         Knowledge management (KM) comprises a range of strategies and practices used in an organization to identify, create, represent, distribute, and enable adoption of insights and experiences. Such insights and experiences comprise knowledge, either embodied in individuals or embedded in organizational processes or practice. Many large companies and non-profit organizations have resources dedicated to internal KM efforts, often as a part of their 'business strategy', 'information technology', or 'human resourcemanagement' departments. Several consulting companies also exist that provide strategy and advice regarding KM to these organizations. Knowledge Management efforts typically focus on organizational objectives such as improved performance, competitive advantage, innovation, the sharing of lessons learned, integration and continuous improvement of the organization. KM efforts overlap with organizational learning, and may be distinguished from that by a greater focus on the management of knowledge as a strategic asset and a focus on encouraging the sharing of knowledge. KM efforts can help individuals and groups to share valuable organizational insights, to reduce redundant work, to avoid reinventing the wheel per se, to reduce training time for new employees, to retain intellectual capital as employee's turnover in an organization, and to adapt to changing environments and markets. "Knowledge Management: Where Did It Come From and Where Will It Go?" Knowledge Management is about applying the collective knowledge of the entire workforce to achieve specific organizational goals. It is about facilitating the process by which knowledge is created, shared and utilized.



Knowledge starts from analysis and ends with feedback and review. The development of knowledge has ten phases. The phase explains that the knowledge can never universal and constant over the time. It should revive and works start from phase one to phase ten. It process is perpetual and never end.  As per definition and philosophical way knowledge has intention or object. So it can starts from creation and ends with revive.



Source of Knowledge

Knowledge has various sources to expand it. Generally it is part of learning.  There are two way of knowledge tacit and explicit knowledge. Explicit knowledge is knowledge that has been or can be articulated, codified, and stored in certain media. It can be readily transmitted to others. The information contained in encyclopedias (including Wikipedia) are good examples of explicit knowledge. Tacit knowledge (as opposed to formal or explicit knowledge) is knowledge that is difficult to transfer to another person by means of writing it down or verbalizing it.

OCTAPACE Culture for Knowledge Management



O

Openness

C

Collaboration

T

Trust & Trustworthiness

A

Authenticity

P

Pro-action

A

Autonomy

C

Confrontation

E

Experimentation

CULTURE



Openness: It is found where people feel free to express their ideas, opinions and feelings to each other irrespective of their level, designation etc. The organisation not only encourages them for such expressions but also take them seriously for exploring their talents and implementing them after deciding about their suitability.



Collaboration: Where people are eager to help each other. There is spirit of sacrifice team spirit and familial feeling among people and personal power, ambition and departmental loyalties do not come in the way as hurdles.



Trust and Trustworthiness: Where employees, dyads, team, groups and departments believe or trust each other and act on the basis of oral message and instructions without waiting for instructions and explanations in black and white.



Authenticity: It means speaking the truth fearlessly and making full efforts for keeping up promises made/words given. It is higher than trust and trustworthiness.



Pro-action: People are action oriented, willing to take initiatives and initiate new actives and newer and improved ways of doing things for cost effectiveness, innovation, culturing etc.

Autonomy: People are given some freedom for exercising some discretion in their jobs and, for that sake; they are empowered to do so. It is very essential for bringing out excellence in performance and, as such, very indispensable in case of knowledgeable organizations like IT & HRD.



Confrontation: It means facing issues and problems squarely or boldly by people without hiding or avoiding them for fear of hurting each other.



Experimentation: It means risk taking, trying out new ways of doing things, taking new decisions, discovering new potentials etc.



Query and Response

After the discussion with students, teachers and parents of different institute the result has come that are presented through diagram. Three major technical and management institute of Gorakhpur (150 students, 45 teachers) and local guardian are source of discussion.

Query1: Do you rely that computer is the best resource of knowledge?

Yes 84% No 16%

Query2: Can computer create knowledge?

Yes  23% No 73%

Query3: Computer can communicate full duplex mode in knowledge sharing.



Yes 11% No 89%

Query4: Which is the best knowledge Management source?

Yes 11% No 89%

Query5: KM's analysis and finding method.

MRP /SIP  17% Suggestion 16% Feedback 25% Curriculum 16% Exam Paper 26%

Suggestion

    * Which is required for OCTAPACE culture, computer or e-learning can not fulfill.
    * Human is the best resource of knowledge Management and it fit in OCTAPACE culture.
    * Mining of knowledge is good but basket analysis of knowledge can possible through human being.
    * There is not important, you have much information but there is required modify and update the information.
    * "Imagination is an art but we can not imagine". Knowledge is based on imagination. Computer has no imagination but human being has imagination attribute in itself.
    * Knowledge Management can do some following practices:
          o Free discussion with two way communication
          o Hortative environment for learning
          o Multiple channels for knowledge transfer
          o A standard, flexible knowledge structure.

Reference:
[1]Amit Pratap Singh,  http://www.articlesbase.com/human-resources-articles/knowledge-management-practices-the-role-of-organizational-culture-3247139.html