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102 APPENDIX K Annotated Literature Survey on Knowledge Management Practices The sources in this appendix are organized around the main organize the production of things. The most important area for knowledge management (KM) topics. For the most part, they developing new concepts, methods, and practices will be in the management of society's knowledge resources. . . . Predictions? concentrate on specific practices organizations can develop to Not at all. Those are solely the reasonable implications of a manage institutional memory long-term. Sources were selected future that has already happened (Drucker 1997). for their practical nature, their currency, and inclusion of case studies. The focus is not on theoretical works that justify or Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi (1995) in The provide the underlying philosophical framework for institu- Knowledge-Creating Company: How Japanese Companies tional memory practices' rather the focus is on a variety of con- Create the Dynamics of Innovation, described myriad exam- temporary high-quality sources that, collectively, provide a ples from Japanese firms to support their view that "knowl- window into a wide range of KM understandings and prac- edge creation has been the most important source of their tices. To some extent, sources were chosen because they are [Japanese firms] international competitiveness" (1995, p viii). reasonably accessible to ordinary practitioners in state trans- They articulated the idea that KM is an organizational respon- portation agencies (STAs) regardless of the sophistication of sibility. Knowledge itself, for them, is an organizational asset the information services in their individual agency or avail- and therefore to be managed not just by specific individual ability of the services of academic or research libraries or doc- employees or selected managers, but also by the entire orga- ument repositories. A wide variety of types of sources were nization at all levels. In the introduction to their book, they included. Among the selected choices listed here and else- assert that where in this report are standards, guidance documents, a few scholarly works, business journals, outstanding websites, and . . . in the dominant Western philosophy, the individual is the selected writings from the trade and popular press. In short, principal agent who possesses and processes knowledge. In this a fairly large number of references have been provided that study, however, we shall show that the individual interacts with focus on the practical, and although no specific practices are the organization through knowledge. Knowledge creation takes place at three levels: the individual, the group, and the organiza- recommended, it is hoped that these summaries and the many tional levels (1995, p. ix). pragmatic ideas found in them will stimulate thinking in STAs. They wrote within the context of Japanese manufacturing KNOWLEDGE AS AN ASSET companies, but their book not only lays out a succinct ratio- nal for KM, but also details numerous specific practices and In 1969, Peter F. Drucker in the book The Age of Disconti- applications, especially using information technology (IT), nuity: Guidelines to Our Changing Society laid out the over- but in a way that incorporates and enables better human inter- all management concept of the value of knowledge and actions and content management. knowledge workers. Thanks to him, the overall management concept--that of the value of knowledge and of knowledge workers--has been around for some time. Near the end of the KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT AS A BUSINESS PROCESSES book, after a complex, insightful discussion detailing what he saw as profound changes occurring in the nature of work and In Thinking for a Living (2005), Thomas H. Davenport, who the global economy, he gave his view of the future: began writing on the topic of KM at least as early as 1993, focuses not so much on knowledge as an asset, but on the To make knowledge work productive will be the great manage- knowledge worker and the knowledge work process. He ment task of this century, just as to make manual work produc- tive was the great management task of the last century. The gap warns not to simply impose KM on top of existing business between knowledge work that is managed for productivity and processes. He cautions that few knowledge workers have the knowledge work that is left unmanaged is probably a great deal spare time to record lessons learned or to share their exper- wider than was the tremendous difference between manual work before and after the introduction of scientific management (1969, tise with co-workers. Although he is, in his words, a "big p. 290). supporter" of the idea of KM, he believes that knowledge behaviors must be "baked into" the job (2005, pp. 6263). This focus on the management of knowledge work was Davenport discusses knowledge workers, their antipathy to reinforced by Drucker himself in 1997, nearly 30 years later, formalized processes, love of autonomy, and tendency to when he wrote in the Harvard Business Review: value their knowledge and not to share it easily. He describes interventions, measures, and experiments managers can use Management will increasingly extend beyond business enter- to make knowledge work more productive; knowledge work prises, where it originated some 125 years ago as an attempt to processes; organizational technology for workers; how to
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103 develop individual workers' networks and learning; how to there is widespread awareness of the economic value of creat- set up the physical environment for best performance; and ing and mobilizing intellectual capital, most companies do not generally how to manage knowledge workers. realize the potential. Thinking of a sophisticated IT infrastruc- ture as the be all and end all of KM is mistaken. Effective KM de Holan, Phillips, and Lawrence (2004) describe how depends on the social ecology of the organization as well. IT "failure to capture" is a form of organizational forgetting. To does play a central role because it is the only mechanism to avoid loss, information must be captured from individuals connect effectively large numbers of geographically dispersed and made institutional, a process that involves a range of people; however, success relies on how people use the knowl- activities to routinize, codify, and store knowledge. First is edge. Effective KM must create and acquire new knowledge the process of making knowledge explicit, which they term and share and mobilize it throughout the organization. "articulation." Then it must be communicated, which the authors called knowledge institutionalization. They offered They discussed knowledge pathologies; for example, the following advice: "knowledge as power," which may result in a limited trans- fer of knowledge because the owner wishes to control it. · Avoid heroes because resident experts whose knowl- They reported that Nucor's success at knowledge creation edge is not managed properly make the organization sprang from superior human capital, high-powered incen- vulnerable and stifle institutional learning. tives, and a high degree of empowerment. · Structure the work to replicate knowledge among individuals. As KM business processes, Nucor: · Some individuals prefer not to share their knowledge-- they prefer to try to remain indispensable. Management · Instituted continuous, on-the-job multifunctional training; must correct that, perhaps by instituting a bonus system · Acquired knowledge because every employee is driven that rewards sharing. to search for better ways to make steel and steel-related · Link the old to the new. Organizational knowledge is products in teams that included operational, engineer- interconnected in complex ways; new knowledge has to ing, and management staff; fit in to the existing structure. · Retained knowledge by reducing the work week rather than the work force during difficult times; The authors also discussed how to "forget"; learning is a · Made performance data visible within the company; double-edged sword because we can learn bad habits that are · Encouraged sharing best practices; actually counterproductive. It is easy to learn, but hard to · Implemented incentives that ensured that one individ- learn the right things. Make concerted efforts to break rou- ual's superior performance would have minimal impact tines and practices based on unquestioned assumptions. on his or her bonus; Restructure organizations to dismantle interconnections that · Exploited IT to develop rich transmission channels to make change difficult. The organization must have an adap- tive ability to recognize change and discontinuity and incor- transfer both codified and unstructured knowledge; and porate it continuously. · Had a policy of keeping plant size at between 250 and 500 individuals to build social community and open Gordon and Grant (2005) argued that the literature has communication. insufficiently addressed the issue of power in KM. The prac- tice of KM can be enriched by research that recognizes how The authors also contended that investing in codifying the struggle for power within an organization may influence and making tacit knowledge explicit can have high payoffs. the KM system and the KM system will, in turn, influence the All knowledge transfer occurs through a limited set of power struggle. The authors performed very wide-ranging exchange mechanisms: exchange of documents, conversa- searches on KM in the ABI/Inform database and analyzed tion and coaching, and transfer of people and teams. The the resulting articles. Of the more than 4,000 articles found, mechanisms must be tailored to the knowledge type being only 138 contained the keyword "power." Of those, most dis- transferred (pp. 7180). cussed "knowledge as power," and only four treated the rela- tionship between KM and power as problematic. With the Hammer et al. (2004) argued that it is incorrect to focus knowledge-as-power approach, possession of knowledge on individual knowledge workers' productivity. Rather, implies possession of power. The authors contend that the Hammer asserted in this three-part article that the goal is to power-as-strategy approach has been ignored by KM litera- get more out of the organization by improving the perfor- ture and therefore does not reflect the potential problematic mance of the end-to-end business processes. The task is to relationship between power and KM systems. They call for eliminate non-value-adding work. It cannot be done by fiat KM research that explores a more in-depth approach to and technology is not much help. Such work needs to be power in organizations (pp. 19). designed out of the process. Knowledge workers may be negative at the notion of process, seeing it as an intrusion Gupta and Govindarajan (2000) documented the expe- on their creativity and individuality. However, that is a mis- rience of Nucor Steel with KM. They wrote that although understanding of process, which is not about the routinization
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104 and bureaucratization of work but "about positioning all Many authors recommend that an organization embark- individual activities in the larger context in which they are ing on a KM program begin with a knowledge audit. A paper performed" (p. 16). by Liebowitz et al. (2002) is a good resource for this process. It focuses on how an organization can determine what knowl- Leonard-Barton likened modern workers to cave dwellers. edge is needed, what is available and missing, who needs the The cave walls are computers, but people still like story- knowledge, and how it will be applied. Although not quite a telling and learning in communities. However, we do not recipe book, it is a succinct, easily readable guide. The paper have the time and technology cannot create shortcuts to the includes a useful case study of a knowledge audit in a behav- most valuable kinds of knowledge. She recommended that ior health care organization called ReVisions Behavioral managers look for what she called "deep smarts" and pro- Health Systems. It ends with KM recommendations for Re- tect "shallow smarts"--their promising but inexperienced Visions, based on the results of the audit (pp. 116). workers. People with deep smarts draw on a huge store of tacit knowledge. Computers help, but coaches (experts) are Scott Thurm (2006) wrote amusingly but seriously about needed to help relative novices through guided experiences. the knowledge of a package-delivery courier. He asked the They help their protégés build experiences through guided courier whether it was more efficient to start at the top of practice, observation, problem solving, and experimentation a very tall building and work down or begin at the bottom (pp. 1617). and work up. The courier had a definitive answer, based on experience--"it depends . . ." Thurm then wondered how Davenport, in the same article, described what we know long it would take the next courier, assuming the current one about knowledge workers. Scientists and engineers need to leaves, to figure out the best approach. work very near each other to be able to exchange ideas. Soft- ware engineers need process and practice combined. He also In a more serious vein, Thurm wrote that businesses have described what we do not know, but asserts that without too dozens of solutions for managing knowledge, but most much additional effort, companies can resolve the issues. He involve technology, and he argued that such a focus obscures also recommended experimental design as a tool to measure the crucial human issues in learning and teaching. People productivity, performance, or satisfaction of knowledge need to have opportunities to trade the vital tricks of their workers (pp. 1718). trade. However, informal learning is limited in scope. Thurm referred to Dorothy Leonard-Barton's recommendation to Halladay and Burk (1998) presented a knowledge "prob- use a guided experience by which employees with extensive lem" for the reader to solve with FHWA. They reviewed the knowledge pass it on with the help of a coach. He cited resources available including training, technical assistance, Raytheon's missile systems unit in Arizona as an example of technical committees, and tapping into the academic com- this technique. Thurm discussed how companies struggle to munity. They went on to discuss what was in 1998 a rela- create the critical mass in a database of knowledge such as tively recent approach: KM. They described KM approaches, might be found in repair databases for technicians. In some such as taking advantage of electronic communication and cases, companies "seed" these databases until finally critical knowledge sharing repositories. The knowledge cycle is mass is achieved where more people use the system, which find/create, organize, share, and use/reuse, with the central leads more people to contribute. He reported that Xerox's theme being communication. Successful operation of KM repair database now contains approximately 70,000 sugges- requires balance between top management sponsorship and tions and saves the company millions of dollars per year. proactive participation of individuals. They detailed the role According to Thurm, executives surveyed by Bain & Co in of "Knowledge Manager." KM involves more than databases 2005 increased their use of KM systems last year, in spite of and networks. The key is to create a culture that is collabo- their misgivings about their effectiveness. rative and open to innovation and knowledge sharing within and beyond FHWA. They described how communities of HUMAN RESOURCE AND ORGANIZATIONAL practice (COPs) can foster that culture (pp. 3236). DEVELOPMENT IN KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT Timo Kucza (2001) did the KM community a major Dorothy Leonard-Barton (1995) articulated in Wellsprings of favor when he wrote his Knowledge Management Process Knowledge how cultural climate affects an organization's Model. Kucza, of the Technical Research Centre of Finland, ability to take full advantage of knowledge as an asset. She took the approach used in software process improvement moved us beyond the IT and document management para- projects. His goal was to create a KM process model that digms common at the time to include the human resource would allow a common understanding of KM and a possi- dimension to knowledge-based organizations, and to clarify ble framework for analyzing KM (p. 13). Making liberal that, in her view, all managers and level of managers, as use of charts, graphs, tables, flowcharts, etc., he modeled opposed to mostly IT managers, have responsibility for KM. the entire process in a highly structured manner familiar to Using scores of examples in the United States and interna- computer scientists, software engineers, etc. It is a model of tional technology companies, she showed how a cultural cli- straight thinking. mate open to KM approaches can directly improve decision
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105 making and, therefore, the chance for success. To fully ings. Although these information technologies contribute sig- express her vision of KM, Leonard-Barton, reached for a nificantly to the management of corporate knowledge, Cleve- metaphor. land argued that KM is fundamentally not an IT issue and operating as if it were totally misses the point. He explained A wellspring, the source of a stream, sustains life within and that IT projects often fail to meet expectations because the beyond the riverbanks or, by becoming damned up or polluted, connection between the IT project and the expected business denies its existence. The most useful wellsprings are constant, reliable, and their waters pure. As flows of water from such well- outcomes is not clearly articulated. The process is much more springs feed the biological systems around them, so in the same complex than the delivery of an IT system. IT systems are way, flows of appropriate knowledge into and within companies enablers. No IT can succeed without addressing the orga- enable them to develop competitively advantageous capabilities. nizational change issues. He recommended hiring good peo- Managers at all levels of the organization are the keepers of the ple, creating an environment where intuition, exploration, wellsprings of knowledge. To them falls the responsibility for guesswork, and creativity can be exercised, and connecting selecting the correct knowledge sources, for understanding how people with one another, with customers, partners, and the knowledge is accessed and channeled, and for redirecting flows world (p. 28). or fighting contamination (Leonard-Barton 1995, p. xiii). A. Cohen (2006) highlighted the role of the librarian in David Gilmour (2003) asserted that KM technology is not organizing research collections, without which the organiza- working. In his view, most organized corporate information tion cannot be successful. Optimization of content influ- sharing is based on publishing, which he saw as a failed par- ences organizational growth. Organizations must integrate adigm. Even the most organized effort collects only a fraction the library into its KM strategy, because in physical or digi- of what people know, plus the process is time-consuming and tal form it is the organization's main research repository. Tra- expensive, and retrospective, in that it captures what was use- ditionally, library collections were designed to support knowl- ful in the past. He recommended a shift from the publishing edge sharing. The librarian's core competency is really at the model to a brokering model based on collaboration manage- heart of the matter--information can only flow freely when ment. The challenge with the brokering model is to connect it is controlled and organized. Librarians manage the content people who should be connected. Software can be used to sift for COPs to maximize COP effectiveness. Digital libraries through e-mail, network folders, and other sources to identify created by COPs need maintenance and vetting. Physical common information threads, which can then alert people libraries are spaces for meeting meet face-to-face and are a about their shared interests. Parties can connect or confiden- digital hub. tially decline. His experience showed that brokering works best when people can share information they want when they El-Diraby and Kashif (2005) discussed the "semantic want, and the more privacy privileges are extended, the more web" as an extension of the current web in which informa- people will choose to share (pp. 1617). tion is accessed based on meaning, not hypertext. Ontology is one of the main components of the semantic web. Ontol- TRANS-DISCIPLINARY NATURE ogy is a mechanism to categorize and classify domain knowl- OF KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT edge items or information into interrelated concepts. The architecture they detailed classifies highway concepts into According to Chang-Albitres and Krugler (2005), KM processes, projects, products, actors, resources, and techni- emerged in the mid-1970s, beginning with the implementa- cal topics. The architecture was built as an extension to the tion of database management software, moving into data e-COGNOS ontology and is the first ontology aimed at cov- handling in the mid-1980s, and in the 1990s developing ering the whole highway construction domain. It was devel- enterprise-wide database systems and document management oped to allow for future expansion and customization of systems. It emerged as a business process in the late 1990s. terms and relationships. This paper is valuable for illuminat- They list the disciplines having the most profound effect on ing the need for categorizing and classification--typical the development of KM concepts as organizational science domains of the librarian and the engineer, both of whom have and human resource management, computer science and man- much to learn from each other in this area of KM! agement information systems, management science, psychol- ogy, and sociology (pp. 34). Note that the report also contains Kenan Jarboe (2001) stressed the importance of a suitable KM website and software reviews. IT infrastructure as a production as well as a consumption tool. He discussed the importance of "local knowledge," A.B. Cleveland (1999), somewhat earlier, broadened our sometimes known as "indigenous knowledge" (p. 7), and understanding of KM as being more than an IT issue. He pointed out that this tacit knowledge is usually transmitted acknowledged that we live in an information economy and orally, experiential rather than theoretical, learned through that companies are investing increasingly greater levels of repetition, and constantly changes. It has the advantage of resources to maximize the benefits of KM. He cited a broad speed. However, it is also generally location-specific, which array of software companies and consulting firms offering limits its value. Capturing it is an important economic activ- technology-based products and services under the KM list- ity. One way to do that is by geographically clustering people
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106 (p. 8). He described the World Bank's indigenous knowledge the nature of the work the IT team must accomplish to support program by means of an Internet-based database. Jarboe con- KM processes. tended that the social network, which included ad hoc inter- actions, was responsible for Silicon Valley's success early CHARACTERISTICS OF SUCCESSFUL on, as compared with Boston's Route 128 geographical area, KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS which did not have the same social network (p. 9). Cross and Baird (2000) reported on their project on organiza- According to Jarboe, KM is often described using two tional memory. They examined learning from 22 projects in tracks: the "IT Track" and the "People Track." Although the professional services, financial services, and manufacturing IT Track is relatively new and evolving rapidly, the People organizations. These case studies were mostly from Fortune Track is much older, more fragmented, and slower to incor- 250 organizations. They learned that organizations remember porate into the KM management process. He discussed four lessons from the past in various ways: broad objectives in a KM project: · In the minds of employees and the relationships employ- · Creation of knowledge repositories, ees tap into, · Improved knowledge access, · In repositories such as computer databases and file · Enhanced knowledge environment, and cabinets, and · Management of knowledge as an asset (p. 11). · As embedded in work processes or product and service offerings that have evolved over time. Success, Jarboe maintained, is a combination of IT tools and organizational techniques. IT tools include data captur- They contended that managers can improve performance ing, document scanning and retrieval programs, expert sys- by deliberately developing organizational memory and using tems, data mining tools, and collaborative work software. the growing stores to guide organizational activities and deci- However, Jarboe warned that IT tools should not take prece- sion making (p. 70). The first step for managers is to deter- dence over activities, including as face-to-face approaches, mine which experiences are worthy of learning from and conferences, workshops, meetings, reports, or papers. He then determine ways to maximize their inherent learning welcomed "e-government" initiatives, but also cautioned potential. Finally, the knowledge must be embedded into the against simply imposing best practices from one location to organization. another. Organizational changes may be needed, as con- trasted with IT approaches (p. 20). They discussed examples of how the U.S. Army and com- panies such as Chrysler, Ford, and Analog Devices go from F. Mihai and J. Robertson (2003) described how Main individual experience to organizational knowledge. One exam- Roads Western Australia replaced an old information system ple is the use of after-action reviews; they detailed how they with a new Integrated Road Information System (IRIS). Prob- are executed. The authors discussed how personal relation- ably the most interesting and useful aspect of this paper is their ships can be turned into organizational know-how. They description of specific KM principles and the practices related described the process by which British Petroleum uses peer to those principles that were actually applied in the develop- reviews to tap into the knowledge of group members. They ment of IRIS. The practices ranged from the development of a described how COPs are used by the exploration division of software solution to managing a large amount of documenta- Shell Oil (pp. 6972). tion, handling a diversity of users, and overcoming the human reluctance to change old work patterns. They clearly showed Cross and Baird also asserted that organizations that suc- the multidisciplinary skills required for this project. cessfully leverage IT to support organizational memory must: Wallentine et al. (2000), Department of Computing and · Have the technology, policies, and procedures to ensure Information Sciences at Kansas State University, presented that reusable materials are screened by panels of experts recommendations for technologies with the potential for and are entered rapidly into distributed databases so the development and management of Kansas Department of others can benefit; Transportation's (DOT) information systems. As one might · Seek to leverage the knowledge contained in databases expect, the recommendations fall in the area of the IT aspect using technology that enables dialogue; of KM, including recommendations for object models, · Provide structured learning processes so newly acquired languages, and tools; network technologies; Visual Basic knowledge can be integrated into daily activities; and scripts for workflow processing in a network-based environ- · Embed the knowledge constantly into databases, work ment; and a data warehouse structure to support research. processes, support systems, products, and services. Because this report is approximately six years old as of this writing, it is not that useful from a technical standpoint in the They used examples from a variety of consulting firms current web technology environment. However, it is highly and also described how the U.S. Army uses an information useful for nontechnologists trying to get an understanding of exchange to promote collaboration and learning. At Chrysler,
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107 product development teams capture lessons learned and trans- Many projects had multiple characteristics. Success indi- late them into suggested modifications to the product devel- cators included: opment process. Xerox created a distributed database to cap- ture knowledge about how to fix and service copiers, with · Growth in the project resources rewards and potential for assignment to the coveted "Tiger · Growth in volume of content Team." Organizations must do more than just accrue and · Likelihood project would survive without support of par- store knowledge (pp. 7277). ticular individuals · Some evidence of financial gain. Davenport and Glaser (2002) found that the key to KM suc- cess is to implant specialized knowledge into the jobs of highly Projects were more likely to succeed when they used both skilled workers, and the best way to do that is to embed it into technology and organization. Some important factors for this the technology that knowledge workers need to do their job. dual approach were: That way KM is no longer a separate activity requiring addi- tional time and motivation. They compare this embedding · Pervasive desktop and communications technology; process with just-in-time delivery systems that revolutionized · Establishing a set of roles and organizational groups inventory management. They admit that embedding knowl- whose members have the skills to serve as resources for edge into everyday work processes is time-consuming and individual projects; expensive. They described a case study of a physicians' · Finding the right balance for knowledge structure; order entry system at Partners HealthCare in Boston. Partners' · The repository has to have structure, including categories approach built on other key work processes as well, including and key terms; an on-line referral and medical records system. All these sys- · Identifying someone to control decisions about knowl- tems draw on a single database of clinical information and use edge structure; and a common logic engine. The process is difficult because infor- · Allowing for continual evolution of knowledge structure. mation in the database cannot be untested or obsolete. There- fore, these solutions should be used only for the most critical Some other important management aspects were: processes. To justify such a system, a measure-oriented culture must be present. IT professionals must know the business as · Establishing a "knowledge friendly" culture; well as technology. The authors briefly describe similar proj- · Avoiding "hero" mentalities or the strong need to be seen ects at HewlettPackard, Dell, Xerox, and GM's Vehicle as very creative; Engineering Centers (pp. 107111). · Using language common to the company culture; · In some cases excluding the term "data" to ensure Davenport et al. (1998) studied 31 KM projects in 24 com- that raw, undistilled information did not get into the panies. In these case studies they identified eight factors that repository; characterize a successful project. To summarize (p. 1): · Framing the project in business terms understandable to employees; · The project involves money saved or earned. · Instituting incentives and motivational aids that were · The project uses a broad infrastructure of both technol- not trivial and were long-term and tied into the overall ogy and organization. evaluation and compensation system; and · The project has a balanced structure that while flexible · Senior managers had to send the message that the KM and and evolutionary, makes knowledge easy to access. organizational learning are critical to organization, pro- · People are positive about creating, using, and sharing vide funding and other resources, and had to clarify what knowledge. types of knowledge were most important (pp. 4454). · The purpose of the project is clear in language common to the company's culture. Michael Zack (2003) found that the knowledge-based · The project contains motivators. organization pays attention to the application of existing · The project may use multiple channels to transfer knowl- knowledge and the creation of new knowledge. He used two edge, such as the Internet, communication systems, and companies as case studies. Holcim Limited, a cement, aggre- face-to-face communication. gates, and gravel company headquartered in Zurich, Switzer- · Senior managers support the project. land, is highly decentralized, but it reorganized its company to develop, identify, transfer, and apply strategic knowledge The authors identified four broad types of objectives for among all its entities worldwide. Although its main product these KM projects: has remained unchanged for approximately 100 years, it is clearly operating as a knowledge-based organization. · Create knowledge repositories · Improve knowledge access In contrast, Zack documented an unnamed company as hav- · Enhance knowledge environment ing not leveraged the information and expertise residing within · Manage knowledge as an asset (pp. 12). the company as a whole. Although its product, economic
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108 forecasts, is a "knowledge" product, it did not have the pro- SPECIFIC KNOWLEDGE cesses in place to make it a knowledge-based organization. MANAGEMENT PRACTICES Zack maintained that the knowledge-based organization is Bob Boiko (2002) focused on content management. In his a collection of people and supporting resources that create and view, content management is important because it makes apply knowledge by means of continued interaction. Such an e-business real and workable, it is an antidote to today's infor- organization seeks knowledge where it exists. Organizations mation frenzy, and it can create and manage pieces of infor- that are truly knowledge-based stop worrying about "who mation and tag them with all the information one needs to fig- works for whom and focus instead on who needs to work with ure out what they are worth (p. xxxiv). Part philosophy, part whom" (p. 69). Knowledge communities at Holcim tran- handbook, he answers for us: scended formal boundaries. The company also made invest- · What is content? ments to learn from customers. In contrast, the unnamed · What is content management? company did a good job of extracting information from out- · How does one actually create a content management side the organization; however, it could not surmount the system? boundaries raised among the many mini-companies it had · What is the metadata framework (logical design) that is created (pp. 6869). needed to tie all the content together? · How does one actually build a content management Zack described a case study of Polaroid. Although it had system? a strong culture of sharing knowledge, that knowledge was focused entirely on analog products. The KM activities were This excellent source balances the emphasis of many not aligned with the company's strategy, and eventually the authors on the human or organizational aspects of KM. In this company declared bankruptcy. Organizations have to close glimpse into his thinking, he described his own organization, the knowledge gaps, both externally and internally. Holcim the Institute for Advanced Metatation, as a system of institutes; engaged the entire organization in determining more effi- schemas; taxonomies; and methods to acquire, remember, and cient, sustainable, and environmentally friendly processes; the deliver facts and stories on demand. Job titles include hierar- unnamed company never made the link between knowledge chists, indicists, and associationists (pp. 922923). Boiko's and strategy (p. 69). The knowledge-based organization holds book is useful for practical day-to-day applications as well as a knowledge-oriented image of itself. It takes knowledge into for stimulating the imagination. account in every aspect of operations, including how it is organized, what it does, where it locates, whom it hires, how M. Burk (1999) explained the concept of KM to the trans- it relates to customers, and its image. Zack also documented portation community, using the experience at FHWA. He in the same reference a brief case study of Buckman Labs argued that the transportation community has always put great as a company with a knowledge perspective. value on sharing of knowledge, including an emphasis on the continuous gathering and sharing of information through Zack compiled key actions managers need to take to turn informal, person-to-person contacts, conferences, and the like. their organizations into knowledge-based organizations KM, he asserted, offers the opportunity to improve the effec- (pp. 6971): tiveness and efficiency of this sharing process. · Define the organization's mission and purpose in terms He described the "knowledge cycle": find/create, orga- of knowledge. nize, share, use/reuse. He described the tasks of knowledge · Define the organization's industry and position within managers: it in terms of knowledge. · Formulate strategy with knowledge in mind. · Indexing and cataloguing new information as it comes in. · Implement knowledge-management processes and struc- · Serving as information brokers by assisting people to tures that directly support the company's strategic knowl- obtain the information they need, and edge requirements. · Advocating for knowledge-sharing practices. · Transform the company into a strategic learning organization. Burk wrote that much knowledge can be made available · Segment the company's customers and markets not only through the Internet; however, KM is more than databases and on the basis of products and services but also according networks. He described COPs, which are professional net- to how much can be learned from them. works that identify issues, share approaches, and make results · Treat the cost of learning as an investment, not an available to others. The "output" of the COP--the research expense. papers, technical briefings, product evaluations, identification · Rethink the business model. of experts, good practices, and so forth--is made available by · Take human resource management seriously. means of the knowledge repository. An important task of the · Reinforce the organization's mission through coordi- COP is to identify knowledge gaps and create new knowledge nated internal and external communication. as needed to fill it.
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109 He directed the reader to the FHWA website on rumble networks connecting individuals with relevant experience to strips as an example. Burk asserted that an organization does their peers who need it. Individual users frequently abandon not need a wholesale transformation of its culture to imple- such networks; to be sustaining, knowledge networks must be ment KM. Some individuals are proprietary about knowl- "sticky." They define stickiness as "the users desire to continue edge; some managers fear loss of control; some staff mem- using a knowledge network system" (p. 68). Networks must bers resent, at least initially, the perceived extra effort. Burk enhance the interplay of people, relationships, and systems recommended examining rewards and recognition programs. with careful attention paid to intersections of IT and human He reiterates that implementation of a KM program is not a psychology. They traced three key drivers of stickiness: one-time project, but an evolving process. · Individual relationship capital, Burk (2003) described COPs as networks of people that · Individual user reputation, and identify issues, share approaches, and make results available · Personalization. to others. COPs can exist solely within an organizational unit or can cross divisional and geographical boundaries. They can Additionally, individuals with a long history of using the even span several different companies or organizations. How- network tend to continue using it; however, the intensity ever, they all have a core group of participants who provide increases only marginally over time. They described peer-to- intellectual and social leadership. peer networks using the "café" metaphor, as opposed to repos- itories, for which they used the "library" metaphor. There is Burk described how COPs differ from work teams: teams a need for both, but their research focused on the former. are formed by management and report to a boss, have a Increasing stickiness requires that the network be designed defined membership, and specific deliverables. COPs can be so that users can perceive the costs of not using the system voluntary, usually have longer life spans than teams, have (pp. 6871). no specific deliverables imposed, and are largely responsi- ble to themselves. John Carroll (2004) wrote that attention or, as he put it, "heedfulness" is the first ingredient in making a KM system Burk reported that FHWA is facilitating COPs. He main- capable. He asserted that: tained that their value will increase as a relatively large per- centage of FHWA's technical and operational staff near · Reporting systems are an institutionalization of heed- retirement. He warned against fulness. · Storytelling is an important way to capture knowledge. · Too much official scrutiny, · Knowledge-developing COPs with specific boundary- · Unsuitable IT systems, spanning or bridging practices are useful for capturing · Unsupportive reward structures, knowledge. · Lack of legitimacy, and · Incident investigations and root cause analyses not only · Inadequate budgets. include techniques for looking beyond the immediate, but also for conversations with shared purposes. He discussed an example where a group of quality coordi- · Mixing people of differing occupational and educational nators had been meeting formally a few times a year to discuss backgrounds and cognitive styles can lead to informa- best practices and share information. However, they realized tional diversity. they needed to meet more frequently; therefore, they started a virtual COP. A COP does need maintenance, and it may be dif- He discussed the stock versus the flow models of KM and ficult to integrate new people. Burk pointed out that technical emphasized that both models are needed (pp. 129130). support is needed including: "Stock" refers to codified repositories of explicit infor- · Web-enabled software for online discussion, mation and know-how including: · Document sharing and storage, · Community member information, · Databases, · Group e-mail lists, · Procedural manuals, · E-mail notification of new information, and · Drawings, and · Online meeting spaces. · Planning documents. He asserted that even with a positive corporate culture and The stock model works especially well for routine opera- good technology in place, it still really is the COP itself that tions and problems. The key issue for the stock model is where determines its own success. the knowledge resides. Bush and Tiwana (2005) discussed collaborative knowl- However, most problems are local and contextual; there- edge networks, which they described as peer-to-peer digital fore, additional knowledge is needed and that's where tacit
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110 knowledge comes in, which he called the "flow" model. That their COP and from the support of the Knowledge Manage- model relies on such practices as: ment Office. Values included: · Liaisons, · Ongoing improved communication; · Job rotations, · Improved processes and/or integration of people and · Temporary exchanges, ideas; · Informal contacts, · Lessons learned, best practices, and effective process · Broad personal networks, and model for use elsewhere in the Virginia DOT; · Strong connections between individuals and groups. · Effective meeting facilitation; · Effective communication support; Coffey et al. (2004) described a case study of how concept · Collection of useful information; maps were used in a knowledge-retention study at a nuclear · Analysis of information; power plant. The technique was used with a nuclear physicist · Integration that respected differences among group over a 2.5 day site visit. A final wrap-up visit incorporated tan- members; gibles from the work into training materials, policies, and pro- · Neutral perspective; cedures, etc. Concept mapping has proven to be an effective · Access to decision makers; and means of capturing an expert's key concepts of a knowledge · Better understanding of how to increase collaboration. domain. The experts for the study were selected by plant man- agement based on a survey of employees who held critical Madanmohan Rao (2004) wrote a wonderfully rich intro- positions and would shortly be eligible for retirement. The duction to the book Knowledge Management Tools and Tech- actual techniques used to implement the interview sessions are niques: Practitioners and Experts Evaluate KM Solutions described in detail. A detailed knowledge model of critical titled "Overview: the Social Life of KM Tools." In it, he knowledge and activity maps was created to capture the basic asserted that the concepts and practices of KM are approach- activities and relationships associated with a job. The author ing mainstream adoption, and that the focus must now be on encourages the reader to consult this paper for its step-by-step practical applications of tools and technologies, which are guide to how to achieve concept mapping with a single expert. essentially people-centric. IT appears to be a supportive enabler in his scheme, but is not in itself a tool or technique. DiCesare and Demers (2000) reported on reengineering the bridge inspection process, eliminating all non-value Rao's tool categories clearly show his understanding of the added steps, and enabling the new process with a knowledge trans-disciplinary nature of KM and how KM as a business management-based inspection solution that integrates an management process flows across all levels and work units of enterprise document management system (EDMS) and an an organization. We encourage the reader to consult the wealth electronic forms system. They described the two distinct infor- of useful ideas in this book, which contains 32 chapters writ- mation worlds: structured and unstructured. The challenge is ten by numerous authors providing case studies of the use to envision a physical KM infrastructure that bridges these two of KM tools within real organizations, with examples from worlds. They described how the EDMS, built on a relational business, non-profit, and government. database model with built-in workflow, enables team members to coordinate and control the document life-cycle process, William M. Snyder and Xavier de Souza Briggs (2003) from creating to archiving. Documents are stored as objects. provide an excellent overview of COPs. The authors doc- Version control is assured. ument federal experience with COPs, explain how federal agencies can cultivate COPs, and describe how COPs are The resulting KM system required a culture change and implemented. They highlight the FHWA Rumble Strips Ini- shift in work methods to be successfully integrated. This KM tiative in a case study and provide reflections on other case implementation can be achieved by adopting the methodology studies. This very useful guide is especially applicable to of process reengineering, including a rethinking of jobs, orga- government agencies. nization, structure, management systems, values, and beliefs. Russell C. Walters and Lifeng Li (2003) described the Maureen Hammer (2005) reported on the Virginia DOT development of an electronic reference library (ERL) that pro- Knowledge Management Office's effort to establish COPs. By vides a virtual library for construction design and management the end of June 2005 there were 10 such communities, with of state highway projects in Iowa. The ERL is a very large four more under development. Hammer provided myriad use- document which uses hyperlinks as navigation tool (p. 132). ful details about how specifically these COPs operate. No two communities developed similarly, but they all provided shar- L. Yu (2005) reported in his synopsis of How to Support ing of lessons learned. She noted that each COP has an exec- Knowledge Creation in New Product Development: An Inves- utive sponsor to ensure that participation is supported and that tigation of Knowledge Management Methods (2004) that the Virginia DOT will get a return on its investment. One of researchers Anja Schulze and Martin Hoegl found that man- the COPs was surveyed on what value they had gained from agers are familiar with a range of KM techniques and rate
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111 some higher than others. The 10 highest ranked for sharing remain tacit. Certain knowledge might not be articulated knowledge were: because to do so might be politically incorrect or not cultur- ally legitimate. If knowledge is made explicit, it can be rou- · Informal events, tinely integrated and applied. Some knowledge may be · Experience workshops where team members review inherently inarticulable; a balance must be maintained. Man- completed projects, agers should not accept tacitness blindly. Process knowledge · Communities of practice, is more valuable at the explicable level; when imagination · Project briefings before beginning new projects, and flexibility are important; perhaps the tacit form is better · Expert interviews, (pp. 4647). · Best practice cases, · Knowledge brokering by a third party connecting knowl- edge seekers to resources, MEASURING KNOWLEDGE · Reports documenting positive and negative experiences MANAGEMENT EFFECTIVENESS on projects, J. Liebowitz (2005) asserted that part of the possible failure of · Databases, and KM initiatives, or management's skepticism towards KM, is · Professional research services. the result of the inability to develop metrics to measure KM According to Yu, the researchers assert that the effective- success. Because KM deals with intangible assets, metrics ness of any KM effort must balance how often users draw on may be more difficult to obtain than from other assets. How- the particular activity as measured against how much the ever, for-profit and not-for-profit organizations are developing method actually contributed to knowledge sharing or creating such metrics. Liebowitz's article contains a highly useful chart (p. 5). (Note: unfortunately the author was unable to locate the detailing KM performance measures developed by the U.S. original working paper by Schulze and Hoegl, but decided to Navy. He detailed key factors as to why organizations embark include the synopsis anyway.) on KM initiatives under the general categories of adaptabil- ity and agility, creativity, institutional memory building, orga- Michael Zack (1999) asserted that explicit knowledge is nization internal effectiveness, and organizational external becoming more important in organizations. He suggested that effectiveness. He concluded that fuzzy logic is a reasonable organizations face a fundamental challenge in determining approach to explore for determining KM effectiveness mea- which knowledge should be made explicit and which should sures (pp. 3639).