Knowledge management in Malaysia
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It is so difficult and though for the managers of the organizations to apply knowledge management in their departments, because this major is still new in so many aspects such as business environment and organizational culture or behavior and it has a long way to be completed. It is hard for the managers to believe that, it has so many benefits if they use knowledge management tools in their organizations.
Managers should bear in their mind that knowledge management is not an automatic practice, it must be initiated by people and have the support of the whole organization. Something like these myths need to be eliminated and the exact meaning of knowledge management must be clearly understood by managers and the rest of the organizations. This will help the managers to abundantly getting help from knowledge management and apply it in the organizations (Sobahle 2005).
The study on American Productivity and Quality Center's International Bench-marking shows that, about 11 organizations are working on the knowledge management area which are: Arthur Andersen; Chevron Corporation; Dow Chemical Company; Hughes Space & Communications; Kaiser Permanente; Price Waterhouse; Sequent Computer Systems; Skandia AFS; Texas Instruments; USAA; and National Security Agency, the following was recognized (Ishak, 2002):
Ø Share the understanding those techniques which can be used.
Ø Apply the techniques to new directions.
Further more, the other issues which can assure the success of knowledge management initiatives are something like, emphasizes on the issues such as employees' issues, top management leadership and commitment, organizational culture and technological infrastructure.
This chapter approaches the literature review on knowledge management. In this chapter the try is made to clarify some of the most important key factors of knowledge management and analyze their respective literature. The attempt is made to show the different aspects of knowledge management. It has a brief introduction on knowledge management which is used by Malaysian organizations then it will be explain about the knowledge management frame works and architectures. In this chapter the most two important factors in knowledge management which, technological approach and human approach, are considered. This chapter will finish by the knowledge management concern, issues and at last discuss about the benefit of knowledge management will be considered.
2.2 KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT IN MALAYSIA
Over past two decades Malaysia has been transitioning from relying on a production based- economy to a knowledge-based economy (Chang, 2005). The concept of knowledge management in Malaysia was born with the establishment of the “Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC)” in 1990's to accelerate this concept in Malaysia.
Actually, there are so many Malaysian companies which they are working on knowledge management and they realize and understand the importance of it in the professional life. In January 15, 2002, one of the prestigious magazines in Malaysia, Computerworld Malaysia organized the Knowledge Management Roundtable ‘A Vital Strategy or Expensive Toy'. The participants from various sectors in Malaysia shared their point of views and approaches implemented and exchanged ideas in practicing knowledge management (Chang, 2005).
As an example for the practical aspect, there are a number of organizations in Malaysia which are successful in knowledge management initiatives, such as: Malaysian Institute of Microelectronic Systems (MIMOS), MAMPU, Bank Negara Malaysia, Siemens, Nokia Malaysia and Telekom Malaysia, Tenaga Nasional Berhad and Petroleum Nasional Berhad (Petronas) are examples of organizations in Malaysia that have embarked on KM initiatives.
There are so many studies on knowledge management in Malaysia, and the structure of Malaysia papers in Malaysia seems to be incomprehensive, there are a few number of out standing articles to mention, which shows in table 2.1.
Table 2.1: Knowledge Management: Malaysian Studies
Nature of Work
Intellectual capital and business performance in Malaysian industries
Bontis, Chua & Richardson (2000) Journal of Intellectual Capital
Research Study (Conducted among Malaysian firms)
Knowledge management in healthcare: towards ‘knowledge-driven' decision- support services
Abidi, (2001) International Journal of Medical Informatics
Case Study (Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital located in Kota Baharu, Malaysia)
Managing human resources toward achieving knowledge management
Yahya & Goh, (2002) Journal of Knowledge Management
Research Study (Conducted among Malaysian firms)
Knowledge management in a public organization: a study on the relationship between organizational elements and the performance of knowledge transfer.
Syed Ikhsan & Rowland, (2004) Journal of Knowledge Management
Case Study (Ministry of Entrepreneur development of Malaysia)
Benchmarking knowledge management in a public organization in Malaysia
Syed Ikhsan & Rowland, (2004) Benchmarking: An International Journal
Case Study (Ministry of Entrepreneur development of Malaysia)
An empirical study of perceived importance and actual implementation of knowledge management process in the Malaysian telecommunication industry
Chong & Yeow, (2005) Proceedings of ICTM
Research Study (Study among Malaysian telecommunication Industry
KM critical success factors: A comparison of perceived importance versus implementation in Malaysian ICT companies.
Chong, (2006) The Learning Organization
Research Study (194 Malaysian ICT companies)
KM implementation in Malaysian telecommunication industry an empirical analysis.
Wei, Choy & Yeow, (2006) Industrial Management & Data Systems
Research Study (289 employees working in Telecommunication organizations in Malaysia)
KM implementation and its influence on performance: an empirical evidence from Malaysian multimedia super corridor companies
Chong, (2006) Journal of Information and Knowledge Management
Research Study (Study among Malaysian multimedia super corridor companies)
Exploring KM issues and KM performance outcomes: empirical evidence from Malaysian multimedia super corridor companies
Chong & Lin (2006) International Journal of Technology Management
Research Study (Study among Malaysian multimedia super corridor companies)
An exploratory study on knowledge management adoption in the Malaysian Industry.
Wong, (2008) International Journal of Business Information Systems
Research Study (exploratory KM survey conducted in the Malaysian industry)
2.3 KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT IMPLEMENTATION FRAMEWORKS
According to Von Krogh (1998), which he takes a business perspective stating that KMS help increase competitiveness, the purpose of implementing KMS in organizations are various. KMS leads to grater innovation and responsiveness, Hackbarth (1998). Davenport and Prusak (1998) provide three reasons why KMS are implemented in organizations which are as follows:
Ø To enhance visibility of knowledge in organizations through the use of maps, hypertexts, yellow pages, directories etc.
Ø To build a knowledge sharing culture i.e. create avenues for employees to share knowledge.
Ø To develop a knowledge infrastructure, not confined to technology solely, rather create an environment that permits collaborative work.
These three things which were proposed by Davenport and Prusak (1998) imply that KMS can support an organization in planning for and dealing with emergencies.
Many organizations are still wrestling with their knowledge management and failing to realize its full potential. This is due to their lack of the support of strong theoretical foundation to guide them in its implementation (Wong & Aspinwall, 2004). Unfortunately, many organizations do not have a clear knowledge management implementation plan in mind (Liebowitz, 1999). Therefore, in order for an organization to be victorious in its effort to manage knowledge, a guiding framework is essential. This is why in this part a review of diverse knowledge management implementation frameworks and models is presented. The framework consents to researchers as well as practitioners to measure the current state of knowledge management effectively and systematically. Thus, the knowledge management framework should provide not only a unified view of knowledge management phenomena but also help investigators study the field of knowledge management in an organized way. There have been few efforts to develop a framework of knowledge management. However, none of the frameworks can provide a complete and generalized frame for knowledge management by defining fundamental attributes of knowledge management and their interrelationships because knowledge management can be viewed differently on one's background and interests (Chong, 2005).
To know the exact value of knowledge management, an architecture of it, would provide the necessary understanding of different components like, knowledge management activities, knowledge management resources, knowledge management influences (Holsapple & Joshi, 1997). The improvement of a framework is to follow and track the progress and maturity of knowledge management of an enterprise, so, it would serve to support the industry-wide improvement of knowledge management programs. Further more, it would provide an acceptable frame of reference for the assessment of the adequacies of an organization by government, commercial customers and prime contractors (Chong, 2005).
The knowledge management frameworks can be classified under four categories (Table 2.2)
Which are namely, knowledge creation framework, knowledge cycle processes of knowledge management, cases on knowledge management initiatives in industry and high-level knowledge management frameworks.
Table 2.2: KM Frameworks and their examples in the literature
Knowledge Management Frameworks
Knowledge Creation Framework
Nonaka(1991, 1994), Nonaka & Takeuchi (1995)
Knowledge Cycle Processes of KM
Bose & Sugumaran (2003)
Cases on KM Initiatives in Industry
Apostolou & Mentzas (1998), Lai & chu (2002)
High-Level KM Frameworks
Holsapple & Joshi (2002), Jarrar (2002), Wiig (1997)
Nonaka and Takeuchi are tried to explain the progress and adaption between tacit and explicit knowledge. In fact, knowledge creation framework is not a knowledge management framework, the reason is, and it only deals with the creation of knowledge which is only a share of what constitutes knowledge management. Also, the knowledge cycle processes of knowledge management frameworks are providing a set of activities where the prominence is on the knowledge cycle processes or activities. They mainly address the phases of knowledge flow (from creation to application) in an organization without providing guidance on how to implement knowledge management. The framework on knowledge management initiatives in industry provide a reference to facilitate the structuring, analysis and evaluation of the knowledge management initiatives undertaken in various case companies. Lastly, High-Level knowledge management frameworks are the ones providing more detailed directions on the implementation of knowledge management. This type of framework seems to address not only the question of what is but also how to because it prescribes and suggest ways for organizations to engage in knowledge management activities (Wong & Aspinwall, 2004).
In their review of literature, Wong and Aspinwall, try to have an organized review of the various available frameworks for knowledge management implementation. The acceptable thing for the review was to classify the knowledge management implementation frameworks, find out the short comings of each and finally suggesting a through guide line for developing knowledge management implementation frameworks. They have classified the high level knowledge management frameworks as frameworks such as: 1) System approach, 2) Step approach, 3) hybrid approach.(Table 2.3, 2.4, 2.5 shows the comparisons between frameworks under each approach).
Table 2.3: Comparisons of system approach frameworks
Source: Wong & Aspinwall (2004)
Holsapple & Joshi (2002)
Gore & Gore (1999)
Wiig et al. (1997)
Set strategic priority Define and understand knowledge
Knowledge Types / resources
Knowledge embedded in participants, culture, infrastructure, artifacts, purpose and strategy
KM processes / activities
Acquire, select, internalize and use knowledge
Collect, present, distribute and measure knowledge
Mainly focuses on knowledge creation and externalization
Develop, distribute, combine and consolidate knowledge
KM influences / factors
Resource influences, managerial influences, environmental influences
External and internal developments
‘----', not indicated or not clearly indicated
Table 2.4: Comparisons of step approach frameworks
Source: Wong & Aspinwall (2004)
McCampbell et al. (1999)
Form powerful coalition
Communicate vision of KM
Establish teams for needs assessment
Analyze the needs of KM
Obtain management buy-in
Survey and map the knowledge landscape
Plan the knowledge strategy
Create and define knowledge-related
Portray benefit expectations for
Set knowledge management priorities
Determine key knowledge requirements
Identify and collect knowledge
Design a technological structure
Test the technology
Maintenance of the technology
Retest the technology
Training of knowledge workers
Roll out the use of KM practices
Make systems go live
Acquire key knowledge
Create integrated knowledge transfer
Transform, distribute and apply
Establish and update a KM infrastructure
Manage knowledge assets
Construct incentive programs
Coordinate KM activities and functions
Measure quality and productivity
Measure the performance of KM
Conduct a need assessment review
Monitor knowledge management
Knowledge type / resources
Can be inferred from the step: “ manage knowledge assets ”
KM processes / activities
Identify and collect knowledge
Acquire, transform, distribute and apply knowledge
KM influences / factors
Can be inferred from the steps: ‘construct
incentive programs' and ‘facilitate
‘----', not indicated or not clearly indicated
Table 2.5: Comparisons of hybrid approach frameworks
Source: Wong & Aspinwall (2004)
Rubenstein - Montano et al. (2001)
Knowledge types / resources
Tacit knowledge, Explicit knowledge
KM processes / activities
KM influences / factors
Culture, Strategy, learning
Strategy, Structure, System
By study on these knowledge frameworks creator an absolute knowledge management implementation framework may include the possible accesses on success of knowledge management. Further more, the obstacles and developers should bear in their mind that if they want to analyze managers in regard with, which elements are likely to disrupt the knowledge management implementation success and which elements may enable their effort towards knowledge management achievements. Finally, a knowledge management implementation frame work should “make a correspondence view among social and technological approach to knowledge management”. Consideration of the authors demonstrate that most of the time this correspondence is disturb in favor of one approach while the other approach is either totally neglected or received incomplete attention (Wong & Aspinwall, 2004).
Different types of knowledge resources are identified. The activities and processes which can help to manage them should be mentioned in the knowledge management implementation framework. As an example, there is some of knowledge management processes such as: acquiring, capturing, creating, organizing, storing, accessing, transferring, sharing, applying, distributing and using knowledge. The suggested clues by Wong and Aspinwall for developing a knowledge management implementation framework include five factors, which are as follows:
(1) Incorporate a clear structure to organize the tasks.
(2) Address the different knowledge resources or types.
(3) Include the knowledge management processes or activities that manipulate the knowledge.
(4) Point out the influences that can affect the performance of knowledge management.
(5) Provide a balanced view between a technological and a social perspective.
2.4 KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS CATEGORIZATION
2.4.1 Knowledge Management System Definition
Knowledge management system (KMS), are mostly IT based systems for managing knowledge in organizations and are used for supporting, creating, capturing and disseminating of information. The main concept of knowledge management system (KMS) is to make a facility for employees to have an access to the organization's information, sources, document base facts and their solutions.
As a matter of fact a knowledge management system (KMS) could be any of the following things:
Ø Social computing tools which can help to create a knowledge management system (KMS).
Ø Knowledge management system (KMS), assist in creating network maps in organizations which is used in communication among individuals and entities.
Ø Document based, any formatted that permits, control, manage.
Ø Use Artificial Intelligence (AI), for customized representation schema to demonstrate the problem domain.
Further more, the benefits of using knowledge management in organization can be categorized as:
1. Valuable organizational data and information sharing.
2. Reduce redundant work.
3. Decrease time for new incomers like new employees.
4. Retention of intellectual property.
Based on this definition Gupta and Sharma (2004) divide knowledge management system into seven major categories, which are as follows (tables 2.6):
Table 2.6: Example of KMS
Source: Gupta and Sharma (2004)
Expert Systems, artificial intelligence and knowledge based management system (KBMS)
Main purpose of these systems is to capture knowledge and perform analysis on existing knowledge base to assist in decision making. Often associated to rule based and pattern recognition systems.
Computer Supported Collaborative Work (Groupware)
Systems that permit sharing and collaborative work. Often described synonymously to Lotus Notes. However, one could suggest that asynchronous (e-mail, wikis e-log) and synchronous systems (videoconference, chat) are newer applications that can fall into this category (Bates and Poole, 2003). Groupware can also include Group Support Systems (GSS) that is intended to support groups make decision (Mandviwalla, 1994).
Document Management Systems
Systems that support the need for managing text and images to make information much more accessible. Similar to the idea of office management systems i.e. use of various word documentation and spreadsheet software.
Decision support systems (DSS)
Business applications that usually contain summaries of large amounts of data, filtered and synthesized particularly to support strategic decision-making. View records related to this term5.
The focus of DSS is on analysis of quantitative data and presentation tools for managers.
The focus is on systems that explain not just relationships between entities but the meaning based on how the entities are structured. Can be used to “represent domain knowledge explicitly and shared” (Gupta and Sharma, 2004).
Relational and Object oriented databases
Systems that permit management of both structured (relational) and much more complex data sets (OODBMS)
Systems that run computer based simulations for a variety of purposes.
2.4.2 Knowledge Management Architecture
Base on Gupta and Sharma (2004) findings, they suggest architecture for knowledge management which has seven levels and it is shown in table 2.7.
Table 2.7: Overview of Knowledge Management Architecture
Source: Form Gupta, Sharma & Hsu (2004)
Detailed, knowledge sharing relationships. Understanding the requirements of customers. Identifying new opportunities.
Becoming a better knowledge flows among suppliers, shareholders, employees, community, etc. Use this knowledge to inform key points strategies.
Business Environment Insights
Systematic environmental scanning including political, economic, technology, social and environmental trends. Competitor analysis. Market intelligence systems.
Knowledge sharing. Best practice databases. Directories of expertise. Online documents, procedures and discussion forums. Intranets.
Knowledge in Processes
Embedding knowledge into business processes and management. Decision-making.
Knowledge in Products and Services
Knowledge embedded in products. Surround products with knowledge, e.g., in user guides, and enhanced knowledge intensive services.
Knowledge in People
Knowledge-sharing fairs. Innovation workshops. Expert and learning networks. Communities of knowledge practice.
As it shows above there is a seven layer for knowledge management architecture and each level related to a particular aspect of knowledge management. So, in this regard there is a summarization for this table which summarize the important part of this layers and compact it in
just three layers, it is summarized in table 2.8 as follows:
Table 2.8: Knowledge Management Architecture
Source: Gupta, Sharma & Hsu (2004)
Data Sources layer
According to different data sources which are accessible within organizations, this layer has both internal and external data sources. As an example, data repository, email repository, databases.
Knowledge Management Layer
The processes of knowledge management layer include acquisition, refinement, storage, retrieval, distribution and presentation of required knowledge. An example would be a knowledge
base which assists decision making processes during an emergency situation.
Knowledge Presentation Layer
This layer represents the interface that forms the basis of interaction between users and the system. This can be called a knowledge portal that can guide decision making in dealing with an emergency situation. The knowledge portal can be designed to support communication, collaboration and information sharing requirement.
There is two more explanation in detailed view for knowledge management architecture and knowledge management process model. The most important part in knowledge management architecture and knowledge management process are capturing knowledge, create a new knowledge, share it and distribute it as it is shown in 2.1 and 2.2.
2.4.3 Performance of Information Technology (IT) in Knowledge Management System (KMS)
Information Technology (IT), plays an important role in acquire, store, disseminate and manage knowledge than ever before. Alavi and Leidner (2001), proposed an admired framework, which can be used to analyze and test the role of Information technology (IT) in design and fulfillment of any Knowledge Management System (KMS). The table (2.9) which is adapted from Alavi and Leidner (2001), shows the different perspectives of knowledge management initiatives and knowledge management system (KMS), design particularly.
Table 2.9: Knowledge Perspective and impact on KM and KMS
Source: Alavi and Leidner (2001, p.11)
Implication for KM
Impact on KMS & Role in IT
Knowledge vis-à-vis data and information
Data is consider as a fact, raw numbers, information is processed/ contextual data/ interpreted data knowledge is personalized information e.g this would entail once experience and exposure.
KM initiative should expose employees to relevant information and facilitate assimilation of information.
KMS may not necessarily be different from an existing information system. The differences are that any KMS should help employees assimilate the information. Role of IT is to ensure KMS design permits information assimilation.
Knowledge as a state of the mind
Knowledge is one's state of knowing and understanding.
KM initiative should provide an information base that enables individuals to recognize the existence of knowledge. This can enhance individual learning and understanding.
Accessibility to where knowledge resides rather than to knowledge itself- i.e. provide a means to an end. This would include web and wireless access to knowledge base.
Knowledge as an object
Knowledge that is stored and subject to manipulation.
KM initiative should permit development and management of knowledge base.
IT can support KMS to gather, store, and disseminate knowledge.
This would include the use collaborative tools e.g. wikis.
Knowledge as a process
Knowledge visualized as a process of applying expertise.
KM initiative should focus on effective flow of knowledge within the realms of knowledge creation, sharing and dissemination.
by providing links to various knowledge sources which includes internal and external sources. This would include use of web based systems, hyperlinks, markup languages and access to databases. The idea is to offer a wider breadth and depth of knowledge flows
Knowledge and accessibility to information
Knowledge is a condition of access to information.
KM initiative should provide ease of access to and retrieval of content in a given system.
IT can be used to enhance indexing, query and locating relevant information.
Knowledge as a capability
As a capability knowledge has the potential to influence action.
KM initiative should focus on developing core competencies and understanding the strategic intent of the initiative.
It can increase the intellectual capital through development of individual and organizational competencies.
Table 2.9 proposed that Information technology plays an important role in knowledge management initiatives in organizations. Alavi and Leidner (2001) defined a knowledge management system (KMS) as IT- based system develop to support and enhance the organizational processes of knowledge creation. They observe that not all knowledge management initiatives will implement an IT solution, but they support IT as an enabler of knowledge management (Raman, M. & Muthaiyah, S.). In addition, knowledge management system (KMS) can assist organizations in dealing with dynamic and complex situations such as emergencies (Gupta & Sharma, 2004).
2.4.4 Appropriate Theories to Knowledge Management Systems (KMS)
This part consists of two theories which can help to design and implement decisions of any knowledge management systems (KMS) to support knowledge management in organizations. Those mentioned theories are, Information Processing Theory (IPT), and, Contingency Theory.
184.108.40.206 Information Processing Theory (IPT)
George A. Miller (1956), has afforded two theoretical ideas which are the basic concepts of the information processing framework and cognitive psychology. The first approach is “chunking” and the capacity of short term memory. He insists that short term memory can get just 5-9 chunks of information (seven plus or minus two). A chunk could refer to digits, words, people's faces or any other meaningful units. The second idea which Miller was mentioned is people process information akin to a computerized system. They take input into the memory like the computer, then the human minds take the information, analyze it, store the content and locate it in the best situation of memory and then retrieve as and when needed based on the given situation.
In this context, Burnell (2004), state that:”As diversity of resources, processes or outputs increase inter process coordination requirements and system complexity increase. As uncertainty increases, information processing requirements increases become of management's inability to predict every situation.” Information processing theory is widely applied in the study of human learning and cognitive styles (Miller, 1960). As a matter of fact Information Processing Theory (IPT) has some principles which are often applied by instructors for the following reasons:
Ø Gain the student's attention
Ø Point out important and critical chunks of information, separating them from trivial ones.
Ø Provide opportunities for students in linking new to existing information.
Ø Presenting information in clear manner.
Ø Emphasize on meaning of information i.e. not memorizing them.
Actually, those mentioned principles for information processing theory can be applied to design of knowledge management system (KMS) to support emergency preparedness as well (Kostman, 2004). Particularly, in approaching emergency situations, knowledge management system can be elaborated to enable decision makers to:
Ø Retrieve information that is critical, quickly.
Ø Focus on the situation without being loss amidst voluminous information.
Ø Create and share a knowledge base by linking past experience to existing information base.
Ø Structure emergency related information clearly.
Ø Understand different meaning and interpretation of critical terminology used in dealing with an emergency.
220.127.116.11 Contingency Theory
Contingency theory was founded by Lawrence and Lorsch (1967), in the study of ten firms in plastic, food, containers, which are three different industrial environment in United States, that the degree of uncertainty the ‘theory of sub-task environment' of the firms was specifically related to the internal organization's arrangement. However creation of different sub units led to other issues, e.g. lack of coordination and conflict due to “dependence on common resources, communication obstacles, and ambiguity of goals as well as organizational differentiation” (Scott, p.270). Scott goes on to claim that “contingency theory is guided by the general orienting hypothesis that organizations whose internal features best match the demands of their environments will achieve the best adaptation” (Scott, p.89). Two characteristics can be used to define what an organization's environment entails based on contingency theory (Burnell et al., 2004): (I) complexity and heterogeneity of the entities in the environment and (II) their rate and predictability of change” (p. 205).*
* From: http://faculty.babson.edu/krollag/org_site/encyclop/contingency.html
However, Lawrence & Lorsch (1967) show through their study that creation of sub-units to deal with complex and dynamic environments can lead to coordination and knowledge sharing issues. Burnell et al. (2004) suggest that KMS can be designed to enhance coordination between different organizational resources in dealing with complex and dynamic environments. They suggest that a technical level of shared knowledge space can enhance communication coordination and knowledge sharing, in dealing with complex and turbulent environments. The authors provide several guidelines based on contingency theory that can be considered prior to designing KMS that will be used in dealing with complex and dynamic environments:
Ø Examine the information processing requirements of the organization in dealing with complex and dynamic environment.
Ø Understand the managerial view point of implementing KMS systems to deal with such environments.
Ø Time taken to process and disseminate information in critical movements.
Ø Facilitation of group collaboration i.e. the existence of a system that permits flexibility in sharing and disseminating knowledge.
Ø Understand how the KMS impacts the organizational control structure.
These principles can be used to guide the design and implementation of a web-enabled knowledge management system (KMS).
2.5 Knowledge Management Approaches
The challenge of knowledge management is categorized in to best view as two-fold. The first one is talk about management of explicit knowledge which is using techniques like information technology (IT), or information system (IS), while the second one is going to create an environment in which people can share and develop their knowledge. (Chong, 2005), and a common approaches for this concept is “communities of practice”, i.e information technology (IT), information system (IS), computer science and human resource. The disconnection between
the practices of people management and knowledge management may, in part, be explained by the different languages and discourses of these communities (IS, IT or HR), that advertise these practices. The problem is that there appear to have been very little cross-learning among these communities, or between the literatures with which they engage (Swan, 2002).
2.5.1 Information Technology Approach
It is clear that IT-based tools can facilitate the exploration of knowledge that is the pursuit and identification of new options, through knowledge creation and construction. Now a days most of business organizations believe that the power of using computers and information technology lead to successful implementation of knowledge management in organizations. In this regard, experts appeal that information technology (IT) can provide an edge in harvesting knowledge from the old data repositories, consisting of points of sales (POS), customer credit cards, promotional sales and seasonal discount data (Bhatt, 2001).
There are so many IT base concepts in structural capital which can categorized as databases, organizational charts, process manuals, strategies, routines and any other things whose value to the company is higher than its material value (Bontis, 2000). While new developments in information technology and the 40 realization that information technology could have a recursive relationship with business strategy made this sequential approach redundant, there is reason to believe that some of the tenets of information systems planning can be applied to developing a knowledge management blueprint for any business corporation (Foo, 2002).
Swan (2002), had some research about knowledge management literature which covered mainstream journal articles from a period of time (January 1993 to August 1998). The result of this research was supported by a broader examination of a wide range of additional sources (e.g. websites, news, book listings). The most important and interesting part of this research is that the articles focusing on the development of knowledge management have been concentrated within IT and computer science community, so that about 48 percent of articles written about knowledge management were found in computer science journals. This fact shows the role of Information technology (IT), information system (IS) and organizational accrual of intellectual capital.
Further more there is another two concepts in IT which are efficiency and effectiveness metrics, which are primary types of IT metrics in organizations. Efficiency IT metrics measure the performance of the IT system itself such as through-put, speed, and availability. Effectiveness IT metrics measure the impact IT has on business processes and activities including customer satisfaction, conversation rates, and sell-through increases. Efficiency focuses on the extent to which an organization is using its resources in an optimal way, while effectiveness focus on how well an organization is achieving its goals and objectives. The two - efficiency and effectiveness are definitely interrelated.
2.5.2 Human Approach
Reviewing the literature on knowledge management, it is revealed that the management of people and behavioral issues are rarely addressed in depth in articles on knowledge management. indeed the lack of concern with people in knowledge management literature is somehow similar to that of the earlier topics such as business process reengineering which is referred by Davenport (1995) as ‘the fad that forgot people' (Swan, 2002).
This approach claims that knowledge management cannot exist or would not be successful without human interaction. The human factor approach to existence of knowledge management stresses that human expertise and intelligence are needed in the process of interaction in order to create knowledge. In addition, the economic and producing power of a modern corporation lies in its intellectual and service capabilities instead of its hard assets. Thus, human approach is the core of the existence of knowledge management (Chong, 2005).
As noted by Swan et al. (2002) their analysis indicates an emerging gap in articles on knowledge management in terms of treatment of issues concerning people management. Despite observations that ‘the most dramatic improvements in knowledge management capability in the next ten years will be human and managerial' (Davenport, 1995), most articles continue to focus on developing and implementing knowledge management databases, tools and techniques. The dominant discourse of knowledge management to date (i.e. to capture, codify, and exploit the knowledge of employees by developing better tools and methods) is not fundamentally about managing and developing people. It is also demonstrably different to that of learning organization, which does emphasize on people; to harness the learning capability of the firm and individuals necessitates the management of complex issues, including values culture, people commitment and leadership.
2.6 ISSUES OF KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT
There are many concepts in knowledge management which may different from each other. These concepts have been identified as more outstanding. They include issues such as the things which are enumerated in table 2.10.
Table 2.10 knowledge management issues
Source: Alavi & Leidner, 2002; Zyngier, 2002
* Team working
* Information System Infrastructure
* Return Of Investment
These above mentioned factors which enumerated in table 2.10 are the most important and general elements which are exist in knowledge management concept. Further more, in proceeding subsections, on the knowledge management concepts, attempt is made to shed more light on these issues which may directly influence the outcome of knowledge management initiatives.
2.6.1 Employees' Issues
One of the most important issues for the employees in an organization is strategic human resource management which is requires a balance of emphasis which needs to integrate with the business strategy. With getting help from strategic human resource management, employees are seen to be energetic, capable of development, and worthy of trust and collaboration (Ishak, 2002). So, in this regard, the organizations principles should bear in their mind, that make a good strategy to the management of its employees. In addition, for make an honesty atmosphere in an organization, the principles should make an environment which is suitable for sharing knowledge, transferring knowledge and integrating knowledge among the individuals (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995).
As mentioned in table 2.10, there are a few factors which are involving in employees' issues such as: training, involvement, team working and empowerment which shall be discussed in the following section.
Training has a well deserved portion, in knowledge management concept and especially in employees' issues, because it concerned with preserving intellectual capital. Actually knowledge sharing and creativity would not be possible if there is no training. The individuals should have professional trainers in so many skills like writing, editing, and formatting in order to input items in the knowledge repository, as information has to be defined in its appropriate and standardized fashion. Further more, individuals should need to know in which aspects knowledge has a benefit for their particular position. In this regard, there should be a department in each organizations which is Human resource (HR), that offer to the employees for an updates, training and may reward those employees who share their knowledge. In addition, one of the most and popular training tools for knowledge management is a corporate university - educational organizations established and run by companies to provide total education to their workforce. Thus timely and appropriate training is one of the key factors for knowledge management implementation (Chong, 2005).
This concept shows that how all individuals or employees can assist and contribute effectively and efficiency to meet the objectives on an organization. It condign to the degree which individuals share their information, knowledge and power throughout the organization (McMahon & lawler, 1995). Also, as Kaufman (1992) considered, employee involvement is important for organizational success, and the reason of increasing involvement is that participation has been widely recognized as an integral part of knowledge management. Employee involvement plays an important role in successful knowledge management implementation because since the employees must share the nature of knowledge creation and sharing, many knowledge activities are unthinkable without employee involvement (Choi, 2000).
People have to be motivated to access and share information into knowledge. For increasing the efficiency and effectiveness, employees should share their knowledge and have collaboration with each other. There is another way, which by focusing on knowledge management application and business concepts can make a domain which all employees and knowledge workers whom they work on different aspects of knowledge can come and sit together for creating a new knowledge (Binney, 2001). Research on the knowledge management application and knowledge management implementation concepts shows one-way flow of knowledge does not guarantee the success of knowledge management in organization. Instead, employee involvement is the right way to gather knowledge from various levels of management and essential for an organization to survive. Since employees must share the nature of knowledge creation and sharing, many knowledge management activities are unthinkable without employee involvement (Chong, 2005).
18.104.22.168 Team Working
Team is consist, a group of two or more people which they have a common goal and idea , they have to respect to each other and be motivated to use the strengths of each member to achieve their objectives. Team work is the other way to increase the performance of knowledge management and have a perfect output in an organization. There is a theory predicts that with the use of structured task and responsibility sharing, comprehensive flows of knowledge among team members would be more meaningful and hence improve performance (Chong, 2005). Also, the degree of knowledge transfer in an organization has a direct effect with the members which they have to share their knowledge and have a peer-to-peer collaboration.
Teams are replacing individuals as the basic building blocks of organizations. Creating a team allows organizations to apply diverse knowledge skills and experiences towards its processes and problem solving. Organizations with team oriented employees who trust one another are more successful at sharing knowledge than those who are merely technologically superior. Thus, fostering a spirit of team work based on trust is an essential factor for the successful implementation of knowledge management in organizations (Chong, 2005).
Power sharing and participation examines the prospective of leader behavior, decision procedures, and the formal structure of the organization. The real advantages of knowledge management cannot be visualized without empowering employees. The effective creation of knowledge assets, knowledge sharing and distribution happens when people have a sense of ownership and this is ignited when there is empowerment. Knowledge comes from expertise, learning, experiences and through empowerment; the organization can accelerate its capability. When employees are empowered, they begin to think about how they work, making choices and accepting extra responsibilities to other portion of the business to solve organizational problem by learning new skills at the job. Empowered employees are given autonomy the freedom, independence and discretion over their work activities. Employee empowerment has also been regarded as a key factor of knowledge management success because true empowerment can give the employees a sense of ownership in the overall aim of the organizational knowledge management system.
Ulrich (1998) asserts that companies should ensure the development and growth of intellectual capital to bring about employee commitment and competence. The following elements for employee empowerment are needed to increase employee commitment and competence: (1) reducing in the demands on employees through the prioritization of their work; (2) increasing in resources by providing employees with control over their own work; (3) providing means to support teamwork; (4) sharing information on the long-term strategy of the firm; (5) assisting employees in coping with demands on their time; (6) providing new technologies; (7) training workers on how to use it; and (8) allowing employees to join in decision-making.
Most organizational knowledge comes from the expertise, learning and experience of their employees. Thus, it can be concluded that empowerment is recognized as one of the critical implementation factors to the success of knowledge management (Chong, 2005). However, empowerment does not necessarily lead to “better results”. Individual training and nature of tasks are main factors that have an impact on the results of the empowerment (Bhatt, 2002).
2.6.2 Management Issues
Traditionally, the term "management" refers to the activities and often the group of people involved in the four general functions: planning, organizing, leading and coordinating of resources. Note that the four functions recur throughout the organization and are highly integrated. Emerging trends in management include assertions that leading is different than managing, and that the nature of how the four functions are carried out must change to accommodate a "new paradigm" in management. This topic in the library helps the reader accomplish broad understanding of management (including traditional and emerging views), and the areas of knowledge and skills required to carry out the major functions of management.**
** From: http://managementhelp.org/mng_thry/mng_thry.htm
22.214.171.124 Leadership, Commitment, and Support
Leadership is a subject that has long excited interest among people. For successful knowledge management implementation, the visible leadership and commitment of top management must be sustained throughout a knowledge management effort (Chong, 2005). This is a primary paradigm change is needed in the philosophy of top management. Fundamentally, management must foster the commitment, capability and confidence their employees rather then trying to control employees.
Leadership is the act of communicating value standards to followers through actions. Whatever the communicated standards, followers will use these in their work. Any company or group becomes whatever those in authority cause employees to experience. For example, if bosses reflect and require high levels of knowledge, juniors will perform work commensurate with high knowledge expectations. If bosses treat juniors unfairly, juniors will adapt this standard in treating each other and customers unfairly. Thus, people in authority are suppliers of standards to followers because implied values are what followers search for in order to conform (Simonton, 1996).
Along with other C-level executives, Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO) has a specifically significant job in leadership of knowledge management projects. In fact, a CKO has the responsibility to guide employees and lead the implementation of knowledge management. For instance, Chuck Lucier, CKO for Booz-Allen & Hamilton and a member of the firm's leadership team, works closely with other top managers to set the overall strategic direction for the firm. He associates knowledge management priorities, builds leading edge knowledge management thinking, uses the best available knowledge on all clients' engagements across the globe and continually builds these skill competencies of the consulting staff (Guns & Valikangas, 1998).
2.6.3 Organizational Issues
One of the most important factors in knowledge management is organizational issues which plays an important role in this aspect. In this field organizations try to do each task in hierarchical manner, break each task into some sub-tasks and make it as simple as they can, and finally give each parts to the particular expert (employee), with some definition by specific rules and regulations (West, 1992).
There are some major barriers to successful creation of knowledge base organizations, such as: organizational cultures, lack of top management support, lack of ownership of the problem, lack of time and information and communications technology have been identified.
An organization's culture plays a large role in determining how successfully it will share information. Culture will influence the way people use information (Their information behavior) and will reflect the importance that company leaders attribute to the use of information in achieving success or avoiding failure. Four common information sharing cultures exists in organizations today: information functional, information sharing, information inquiry, and information discovery (Baltzan & Phillips, 2009)
Table 2.11 Organizational Information Culture
Adopted from: Business Driven Information Systems (Baltzan & Phillips, 2009)
Organizational Information Culture
Employees use information as a means of exercising influence or power over others.
Employees across departments trust each other to use information to improve performance.
Employees across departments search for information to better understand the future and align themselves with current trends and new directions.
Employees across departments are open to new insights about crisis and radical changes and seek ways to create competitive advantages.
Culture is a set of values, guiding beliefs, understandings and ways of thinking that is shared by members of an organization and taught to new members as correct. It represents the unwritten, feeling part of the organization. Culture is a powerful component of an organization's success, laying the tracks for strategy to roll out on. It is the foundation for profit, productivity and progress. While it can accelerate getting to the next level of performance, it can just as easily act as drag. Culture-Strategy Fit is a leading organizational culture consulting firm conducting groundbreaking culture diagnosis and change projects to help organizations leverage their culture to drive strategy and performance.
Organization culture provides order and structure for knowledge management activities (Chong, 2005). It is an important aspect for learn and creating knowledge. Technology used to build knowledge management system can be very easy and simple. Now a days there is so many projects in organizations fail because the principles of that organization do not support the persons who are involved in that mentioned projects and there is so many examples where well designed knowledge management tools and processes be unsuccessful because people believed they were already sharing well enough and the senior managers did not support them well.
An open culture with incentives built around integrating individual skills and experiences into organizational knowledge will be more successful (Gupta, 2000).
2.6.4 Technological Issues
The role of technology in assisting with capturing knowledge will increase in the future. IT executives and professionals now bring substantial business experience to their jobs. This suggests that chief information officers (CIO's) may play a bigger role in overall business strategies. In fact knowledge management is not all about technology, but with getting help from technology can cope with many problems which may occur during the organizational tasks.
126.96.36.199 Information System Infrastructure
Information system (IS) and management of knowledge are often discussed either as separate entities or alternatively as analogies. There are two successful factors in knowledge management projects which are working with information system components, the first one is, utilization of the network technology infrastructure such as internet, Lotus Notes and global communication systems for effective transfer of knowledge. The second one is establishment of a broad information system infrastructure based on desktop computing and communications (Davenport, 1998). Effective information system infrastructure includes databases or sophisticated email systems which those component are most significant in contributing to knowledge management application.
Information technology components are most significant in contributing to knowledge management application. The most important aspect in these applications is the way that people use them, However, in order to pursue effective knowledge management, information systems must be reliable, user-friendly, compatible with other platforms and accurate.
2.6.5 Financial Issues
One of the most traditional performance measures has been based on financial performance data such as return on investment (ROI). However, financial performance measurement alone can be inaccurate in terms of usability in that it tends to measure only financial terms. Since the value of an organization in the k-economy has to be based on intellectual capital, traditional financial measures (e.g. price/earnings ratios, revenues and market share) cannot measure intellectual capital adequately. Nevertheless, when it comes to measuring returns on investment in knowledge management, two conventional approaches are in common use by many researchers: sales/turnover (excluding extra-ordinary income) and earning before interests and taxes (EBIT) (Bixler, 2000; Choi, 2000; Meenu Singh, 2000).
The organizations that are applying the concept of knowledge management in the correct manner, where a manager manages and distributes knowledge throughout the organization, are ‘reaping the rewards'. These organizations are experiencing a return on their investments. Other organizations are simply not making an additional return based on their managing of their knowledge (Sobahle, 2005).
With regards to time of investment in knowledge management by organizations, it was found that most of the organizations are interested in committing their organizational resources for knowledge management. Most of the organizations were also found to have at least started evaluating the importance of knowledge management or are currently planning for knowledge management projects or applications. Time of investment in knowledge management has been proven to have significant influence over the successful implementation of knowledge management in organizations (Choi, 2000).
2.7 KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT EFFECTIVE AND SUCCESS FACTORS
The KMS is the system an organization builds to implement KM by supporting the capture, storage, search, retrieval, and application of knowledge. This includes the management support, processes, and IT applications and components necessary to support these activities. Knowing the critical success factors is useful as it provides researchers and practitioners with the basic requirements for implementing a successful KM initiative and building a successful KMS. In fact, two concepts of success can be identified. The first considers KM or KMS a success if knowledge use through the initiative or system improves the organization's ability to compete. The second considers KM or KMS a success if the KM processes implemented through the KMS are implemented effectively. Both success concepts imply that the KMS has to be used. Therefore, KM and KMS success factors are those factors that encourage or help users to use the KMS to effectively perform KM functions.
A successful KMS should perform the functions of knowledge creation, storage/retrieval, transfer, and application well. However, other factors can influence KMS success. There are so many experts were pioneer in this concept such as: Alavi & Leidner, 1999; Cross & Baird, 2000; Davenport, et al. 1998; Ginsberg & Kambil, 1999; Holsapple & Joshi, 2000; Jennex and Olfman, 2000; Koskinen, 2001; Malhotra & Galletta, 2003; Mandviwalla, et al. 1998; Sage & Rouse, 1999; Yu, et al. 2004). They find out some common elements for proof of this issues which knowledge management initiatives have some relation or differences with each other. The following Table (2.11) shows the knowledge management success factors which those above mentioned authors considered them.
Table 2.12: Knowledge Management Success Factors
Source: Jennex & Olfman, 2004
Integrated Technical Infrastructure including networks, databases/repositories, computers, software, KMS experts
Alavi and Leidner (1999), Barna (2002), Cross and Baird (2000), Davenport, et al. (1998), Ginsberg and Kambil (1999), Jennex and Olfman (2000), Mandviwalla, et al. (1998), Sage and Rouse (1999), Yu, et al. (2004)
A Knowledge Strategy that identifies users, user experience level needs, sources, processes, storage strategy, knowledge and links to knowledge for the KMS.
Barna (2002), Ginsberg and Kambil (1999), Holsapple and Joshi (2000), Jennex, Olfman, and Addo (2003), Koskinen (2001), Mandviwalla, et al. (1998), Sage and Rouse (1999), Yu, et al. (2004)
A common enterprise wide knowledge structure that is clearly articulated and easily understood
Barna (2002), Cross and Baird (2000), Davenport, et al. (1998), Ginsberg and Kambil (1999), Jennex and Olfman (2000), Mandviwalla, et al. (1998), Sage and Rouse (1999)
Motivation and Commitment of users including incentives and training
Alavi and Leidner (1999), Barna (2002), Cross and Baird (2000), Davenport, et al. (1998), Ginsberg and Kambil (1999), Jennex and Olfman (2000), Malhotra and Galletta (2003), Yu, et al. (2004)
An organizational culture that supports learning and the sharing and use of knowledge
Alavi and Leidner (1999), Barna (2002), Davenport, et al. (1998), Jennex and Olfman (2000), Sage and Rouse (1999), Yu, et al. (2004)
Senior Management support including allocation of resources, leadership, and providing training
Barna (2002), Davenport, et al. (1998), Holsapple and Joshi (2000), Jennex and Olfman (2000), Yu, et al. (2004)
Measures are established to assess the impacts of the KMS and the use of knowledge as well as verifying that the right knowledge is being captured
Alavi and Leidner (1999), Davenport, et al. (1998), Jennex and Olfman (2000), Sage and Rouse (1999)
There is a clear goal and purpose for the KMS
Ackerman (1994), Barna (2002), Davenport, et al. (1998), Cross and Baird (2000)
Barna (2002), Cross and Baird (2000), Sage and Rouse (1999), Yu, et al. (2004)
The search, retrieval, and visualization functions of the KMS support easy knowledge use
Alavi and Leidner (1999), Ginsberg and Kambil (1999), Mandviwalla, et al. (1998)
Work processes are designed that incorporate knowledge capture and use
Barna (2002), Cross and Baird (2000), Jennex and Olfman (2000)
Security/protection of knowledge
Jennex and Olfman (2000), Sage and Rouse (1999)
2.8 BENEFITS OF EFFECTIVE KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT
Many successful organizations are recognizing the benefits of implementing knowledge management. Knowledge management has been proven beneficial and has been adopted by eighty percent of the biggest companies in the world (KMPG consulting, 2000). An effective knowledge management system would provide critical information and knowledge to “knowledge workers” effectively and efficiently to reduce cost and time while improving the quality of performance (Chong, 2005).
The Knowledge management benefits can be categorized into three which include: (I) Knowledge benefit (II) Intermediate benefit (III) Organizational benefit. In 2.3 there is a tree, which is explain about the outputs of three separate situations and highlights some commonly found benefits.
1. Knowledge Benefits -
these are those derived from more effective and efficient processing of information and knowledge, as an example by omitting duplication of effort or saving valuable time. For example, a survey carried out by the ABC knowledge centre showed that information management professionals at a knowledge centre could find relevant and appropriate information 8 times faster than non professionals.
2. Intermediate Benefits -
these are how the knowledge benefits could be translated into benefits that can be expressed in terms of efficiency or effectiveness. A common example is that best practices databases helps to eliminate less efficient operations through transferring knowledge from the best practitioners.
3. Organizational Benefits -
this class of benefits are those that impact some of the organization's key goals, such as productivity and customer service.
In fact, if organizations want to be success in their routine tasks they have to be close to their products and customers. There could be a competitive advantage in managing the knowledge so, if there is a good plan and strategy in each organization, they can gain benefit. On the other hand effective managing knowledge helps the organizations “win” by increasing profitability, enhancing product cycle and making the organization more agile (Stewart, 1997).
Knowledge management companies benefit by being able to retain and store valuable knowledge. In the long run, the stored knowledge can give these companies an edge over their competitors. Everywhere one goes, one can find knowledge. The difference lies in the method of manipulating and utilizing it. Developing results and desirable knowledge worker behaviors are the goals of the knowledge management system and knowledge management enterprise framework (Bixler, 2000). The investigation conducted by this author (Bixler, 2000) from 118 middle and executive level managers from both large and small technical enterprises in the US shows that the following table 2.12 shows the benefits expected to be achieved if they invest into a knowledge management system:
2.9 CHAPTER SUMMERY
In this chapter there are so many important aspects of knowledge management were considered which are categorize in the following table 2.13.