Knowledge management in general assimilation of the idea composed of a range of strategies, management practices, etc wherein knowledge and information as one factor of management processes that are initiated in organizational context are meant to streamlined operational procedures in the most efficient and effective way.
The idea of knowledge management also takes into account the practical approaches of new age management tactics that are often aided with technological tools for efficient and effective management process. Hence, the importance and values of knowledge management tool we feel is very crucial for today organizations.
Experts have held the views that knowledge management is very crucial as far as contemporary organizational process goes. In fact organizational management is rather complex and complicated. Together with it, "scholars also have maintained that the management of knowledge and information in organizations posed many challenges as well as opportunities as the economy take a step ahead where technology, its advancement and the impact can directly be derived." (D. Asoh, 2010)
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In notion of this idea thus, the direct question arises as to what constitutes knowledge management? To make it simple, in the digitalized world that we live in today "e-commerce and business in the globalised technological world have redefined the way of doing business, the nature of management process also have translated towards management approaches that give importance to technological tool as a means for knowledge management and assets management." (D. Asoh, 2010)
In instance as such, this is also where we can derive the idea of the subject matter discussion. Hence, we feel that it would be prudent enough that the core discussion and research question is also emphasized, which is stated below.
What are the roles of Knowledge Management within the organizational context?
Hence, in context of the central question that arises; we feel that a thorough investigation should be carried out, in order to reach a conclusion that is relevant. It should also be clarified that the subject matter discussion of this work and the attempt made in that regard is to emphasize on the above mentioned questions and its contextualization in greater details so as to reach a conclusion in addressing the following interrelated question.
What are the roles of knowledge management in UAE-based firms?
How can a local firm operating within the tourism or energy industries synchronize with the global economy using KM tools?
Before we addressed the primary and secondary research questions, we feel defining the term of knowledge management in context of the concept would add more relevance, which is detailed through a literature review as follows.
Defining the Idea of Knowledge Management and its Role in Organizations
Scholars such as Brian Newman (1991) have maintained that "knowledge management has been a part of the organizational management process for a very long time. The idea of knowledge management also comprehends the fact in which it takes into account the collection of knowledge and its process which governs the utilization, creation and most importantly the distribution of knowledge" (KnowledgementManagementForum, 2002) in aiding organizational operational processes and its management in the most systematic and efficient manner.
Together with it, there are many emerging perspective that defines knowledge management and its process. Different school of thought also has emerged, with different views and counter views as and when it matter to knowledge management and its discussion at large. Take for example the views held by Ronald Maier (2004) wherein the author concerned emphasized the fact that "knowledge management is still a young field with multidisciplinary roots. Thus, in that context, it is not surprising that many definitions also erupt to the term than there are approaches to the school of thoughts that have been contributing to the field of its discussion." (Maier, 2004, p. 49)
From this interpretation, we feel the author conceptualization is correct and right to the point. That is why we see so many definitions that relates to knowledge management, each one with defined perspectives. Our observation of the management process in the contemporary world within the organization structure, we witness huge changes all around. As we have summarized earlier, the advancement of technology have aided management in great many ways. Together with it, the impact of technology in organizational management process also can be witnessed all around. In that essence, "knowledge management has in such a premise and change in approaches have provided for more visibility of organizational resources, skills and knowledge process, and also allowing for a more strategic management of core competencies in an organization" (Maier, 2004, p. 48) assert scholars and experts in management studies.
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Moreover, as we take an in-depth measure of the subject matter, one important point to note again is the notion "wherein it is held that the ability to manage knowledge in today's knowledge economy is becoming more and more crucial, in a sense that distribution of knowledge have been accorded to be one factor for competiveness" (Dalkir, 2005, p. 2) when it concerns organizations and their operations. To top it all, the practicality of "knowledge management initiative when it concerns organizational processes also primarily aims at fostering an organizational and ICT (Information and Communication technology) environment that is suited and complement knowledge work" (Maier, 2004, p. 49) in contemporary business environment.
Thus, when we assimilate to the notion that erupts from each of the scholastic impression and conceptualization of knowledge management as discussed, our understanding of the meaning and significance aspects of knowledge management and its process altogether further helps us in comprehending and interpreting the idea in greater details, and that which we can emphasize to the role attached to it in organizational context.
Practical Implication of Knowledge Management
What we can derive from our analysis and understanding of the subject matter term and its practical implication can be concluded to the fact that the role of knowledge management within the organizational context today is more imploded and crucial for the systematic and standardization of organizational process, especially when it matter to the management of knowledge and the flow of information that aids and assists managers and leaders to take effective decision and to streamlined operational procedures and day-to-day activities.
Thus, in practical approach of the term, knowledge management and the strategy in that regard can be differentiated between "human-oriented knowledge management and technology-oriented knowledge management, wherein the latter case implication and initiation of it is carried out with the help of technological tools, such as MIS (Management Information System) for example. However, in the former case individual knowledge and its life cycles are given more importance" (Maier, 2004, p. 50) to foster knowledge processes in organizational activities.
Implication of Knowledge Management Exemplification in UAE Firms
One example of knowledge management implication in UAE organization can be related to the media news highlights available with AmeInfo.com. According to the news report, "the conference announced by Datamatrix Group take into account , the discussion by expert panel who emphasize the need for UAE organizations, especially government aided organizations in UAE to harness the benefits of knowledge management and its strategies, as a measure for innovation and growth. The key to such a conference also highlights that knowledge is very crucial in today fast paced world." (AmeInfo, 2008)
Thus, we feel that UAE government organizations should take necessary measure to initiate knowledge management programs. Together with it the integration of knowledge management tool is also a call of the hour.
Synchronization of Knowledge Management Tool in ADNOC
We feel that ADNOC (Abu Dhabi National Oil Corporation) based in UAE is one company that can be selected to justify the subject matter discussion. ADNOC business activities are concentrated towards oil and energy production. Hence, the need for knowledge management tool such as MIS for example arises necessarily.
Hence, what we can argued is the fact that knowledge management tool and its application at ADNOC at best can be exemplified towards the integration of "COBIT (Control Objectives for Information & related Technology) framework. The implementation of COBIT we feel is undertaken as a measure to enhance distribution of petroleum product in UAE and internationally." (Isaca.org, 2010)
Thus, ADNOC choose COBIT for "implementation as a knowledge management tool in order to enhance its operations that leverage on the IT governance in the company. COBIT framework was implemented based on its proven methodology for enhanced operations, decision making, and improving the existing governance in the company through IT practices." (Isaca.org, 2010)
Contemporary management has reached a stage in which it is identified with organization that have certain pre-determined goals and objectives to be achieved. The strategic integration of technological tool in aiding management decisions, business operation and enterprise solutions is one factor of knowledge management tool and its requirement in today digitalized era.
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Thus, what we can conclude is that the synchronization of knowledge management tool as can be emphasized to ADNOC implementation of COBIT is one relevant example of UAE company in the energy sector that leverage itself to foster competitive advantage through the integration of Knowledge management tools, and the role it played in the company for an enhanced business processes.