Purpose of the organization
Xerox Corporation is a private sector organization. The main goal of the private sector organizations like Xerox is to keep their stakeholders happy by making profits and also by maintain the position constantly ahead of other competing companies in the global market. The goal is to grab the opportunities and make profits from them. The funding for private sectors is usually done by their stakeholders, these funding is required to improve the efficiency and the growth of an organization. However, one of the important aspects of the companies like Xerox is to attain a balance on both short term and long term profits. For private sectors, chief executive officers (CEO) would be in charge for building visions to the company. The CEO would be an experienced person in all fields and would a key person for the success of the company.
The main purpose of Xerox Corporation is to become an important part of the world's leading technologies and services in business process and document management. Their main aim is to offer their customers the freedom to focus on what matters the most: their real business. They do their best to strengthen and improve their leadership in document and technology and services. Like all other enterprises, they thrive to succeed through satisfied customers, deliver quality and excellence in their products and services, make sure get premium returns on assets and use technology to improve market leadership. They operate their organisation in ways through which economies grow, stakeholders benefit and customers satisfied. They believe that these three factors which are also known as triple bottom line are best thing for business success.
The knowledge environment in which the organisation exists - external context
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It is a known fact that companies will develop many new changes when it is let out to external and new environment. This external environment has introduced new factors like globalisation and technological changes which brought threats as well as good prospects in the global market.
Companies like Xerox has gained a lot of opportunities though globalisation as it brought a lot of access throughout the world however it also causes damage and threats as globalisation would introduce other companies to their home market which would create a rivalry and competition. This globalisation will introduce options and choices to customers, like customer would have an option to check various prices on the same type of products and services provided by different organisations. Customer can go through the reviews of the services and products on net or magazines before selecting it. And it wouldn't matter if the supplier is in other part of the world, as he could be contacted by a telephone to check with the prices.
Therefore globalisation is both threat and an opportunity too. It is a threat because it will bring many companies to the market which means clients are exposed to various services and products. So there is a good possibility that customer may not be loyal to one brand only or to one service only. So due to globalisation we cannot trust the loyalty of a customer. Since clients have wide range of choices, companies will struggle to be more inventive and creative to compete with the competitor's services and prices.
So due to this threats and pressure from the global market, the company would face another external factor, stakeholder's pressure. There will be constant involvement of stakeholders with their demands to improve profits in order to raise the bar of their marker shares. Moreover technology and government is has also become a major factors too. Because as the company is expected to meet their client and stakeholder's demands it has to go through technological change in order to compete with the other organisations. Xerox Corporation has seen the growing need of knowledge management in 1995 and implemented it to increase its customer service and financial performance.
The organisational structure including the internal knowledge culture
According to Fink (2004 p.141) knowledge culture 'is the most important value for the implementation of knowledge management because one important aspect of knowledge management is having culture that fosters collaboration and sharing'. Knowledge culture was implemented by Dan Holtshouse, director of corporate strategy, who had a hunch that knowledge management would be an extension of their document management. The company has developed tools like Eureka and Docushare which helped in sharing their intellectual capital. Eureka is used to allow Xerox's services to develop and reuse intellectual capital among its reps all over the world. Usually these reps make one million service calls every month and sometimes they might come across the problems among their clients that had not seen in the documentation. To find a resolution for such issues would take time and even if they do solve there was no option of sharing it. So this new knowledge base is developed where the reps can share their resolution to the new problems which will help other employees to solve their customers' problems quickly. Docushare, which is somewhat similar to Eureka, has a knowledge base which shares the documents among the scientists working on the same project. This culture in internal organisation has developed a communication which can be linked to all over the company which develops directness, integrity and a culture of sharing. Knowledge culture will bring work staff together by sharing knowledge.
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In order to create and develop knowledge culture, organisational structure is very important. It describes how the powers and responsibilities are dispersed in an organisation and also how knowledge should distributed so that the employees could easily adapt it.
Knowledge worker is someone who works with his heads than his hands in order to produce an effective result. Usually they resolve a problematic issue or situation with their own personal knowledge. To reshape their present knowledge, knowledge workers work on new information, by proper research, they will learn new skills and use them to solve problematic situations, develop new ideas or services and products. They usually work with their brains power rather than physical power and they use various techniques to resolve issues and select the simple and easiest method for the employees and they also have the right to choose which method to be implemented an issue.
As we discussed before the service technicians in Xerox usually make 1 million calls per month to maintain their products. In these call, employees sometimes face problems that they had not seen before. So these issues are resolved by the knowledge workers. These problems could create a lengthy downtime for clients due to this Xerox could lose money and clients. So knowledge workers use their heads to resolve such problems, they will make sure that such problems are not repeated again.
Knowledge worker may have various forms of organisational knowledge
Know what: Knowledge gained from various sources, systems and business process that found in an organization
Know who: Knowledge of the identity of various groups, organization units and people who act as knowledge source
Knowledge how: The application of knowledge runs complex tasks like researching, developing and testing
Know why: The capability to analyse and find an appropriate solution
Know where: The ability to find and analyse correct resources for the problems
Knowledge leaders are very important for an organization as they are the basic foundation for knowledge management in an organization. These leaders set goals, support their staff and provide vision to change theoretical knowledge into practical i.e. in reality. The roles and tasks of the knowledge leader will be decided by the company's condition. An effective leadership can have a huge impact in easy learning among employees and knowledge management activities in companies. It is assumed that a good leadership would help contributing towards the success of the organization.
Knowledge leaders are required throughout the organization and it is not something that can be seen only in one person. A company needs many people who can offer various types of leadership which could help in the performance of the organization. For that reason a knowledge leader should have basic attributes like
Strategic visionary: The goals of knowledge management should be explained by the knowledge leaders so the staff could recognize their roles in attaining those goals.
Motivator: Knowledge leaders should encourage others in contributing their skills to achieve the goals and also encourage others to take leadership roles.
Communicator: Should be a good communicator by developing formal and informal links across the organization. Should implement channels of communication like individual written formats, web site updates and meetings
Coach, mentor and model: Knowledge leader can gather resources that can help the people to achieve knowledge. So by acting as coach and mentor, people can achieve skills form knowledge leader.
Technology has always played a major role in an organization. It will bring a huge difference in the company in performance wise and also in growth. In Xerox Corporation, we can see that the director of corporate strategy has seen knowledge management system as tool to improve the performance of the organization and also to provide a good customer satisfaction. The implementation of the new system has become a strong pillar of the organization.
Knowledge management system (KMS) is 'a practice adding actionable elements to the information; by capturing the tacit knowledge and converting it to explicit knowledge; by flittering, storing and dissemination explicit knowledge and by creating testing new knowledge.' In this aspect, tacit knowledge consists of viewpoints, perceptions and beliefs etc. On the other hand, explicit knowledge consists of rules, objects or equations and therefore it can be communicated to others. KMS provides storage and can be retrieved and also analysis of explicit knowledge. The main aim of KMS is to provide users with easy to access computer assisted platforms that helps them to share knowledge.
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In Xerox, the Eureka and Docushare fall under the category of KMS. These technologies are user for sharing knowledge. Service reps work hard to find a solution for a problem and then they would share this resolution in a portal where other user can retrieve it as all the systems are connected through a network. So all updates in KMS will be updated in real time where employees would have regular updates to build up their skills. Since the Xerox Corporation has built up a portal which is integrated as a cartelized system as it will be linked up with the organization intranet. So this type of technology would come under content and business management. This system is a significant part of KMS were users can add and retrieve knowledge form the knowledge management portal.