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Cathay Pacific is an international airline based in Hong Kong. It was founded in 1946 and was the first Asian airline who offering civil aviation services. It provides scheduled cargo and passenger services to more than 160 destinations across the world. Cathay Pacific is a founding member of the Oneworld Alliance which is one of the world’s three largest global airline alliances with over 700 destinations strong network.
Cathay Pacific’s objectives focus on safety, outstanding products and services, produce superior financial returns. However, to achieve objectives completely and be successful sustainably, depends on how quickly and flexibly respond to changes in customer demand, challenges of competitors, an uncertain business environment also their own growth demand, Cathay Pacific faces more and more severe challenges. Knowledge Management is considered as a vital source of competitive advantage as well as ideal way to enhance operational effectiveness.
Approach and Methods Used In Developing the KM Strategy
Knowledge as a strategic resource, and Knowledge Management (KM) is defined as the process of creating, capturing and using knowledge to enhance organizational performance. Both tacit and explicit knowledge should be concerned during the process of exploitation and development of the knowledge. ()
From perspective of Knowledge Management, current knowledge management position, knowledge distribution, knowledge flow path, knowledge flow efficiency and analysis; Support knowledge flow dynamic culture, organization, technology and other factors of system analysis, system analysis the China southern knowledge management of the status quo and existing problems.
This report will use Zack’s and Earl’s approach in analyzing and developing KM strategy for Cathay Pacific. The gaps will be identified in several ways which include internal vs external knowledge ,
and Earl (2001) focused on knowledge capability that is examined based on knowledge infrastructure and knowledge process capability.
Embracing the idea generally points to furthering the organization’s objectives, with the need of systems for the creation and maintenance of knowledge repositories, and to cultivate and facilitate the sharing of knowledge and organizational learning.
its management becomes equally important as well especially for companies that operate in a global scale. *zack
Customer-focus knowledge strategy
According to the objectives of Cathay Pacific, creating customers and maintaining relationship with customers are extremely important for developing business. To retain and raise their customer, Cathay Pacific needs to collect and analyze customer data efficiently in order to deliver the best customer experience.
Current use of Knowledge Management
IT is very critical, KM cannot do anything without the support of IT. Technology could be simple could be complicated but everybody needs to access to technology where knowledge can be found, knowledge can be shared, conversation can be held, new knowledge can be stored and transferred.
Cathay Pacific is the same as other airlines depend on IT for its operation, such as computer reservation system, yield management system, business process management and enterprise resource planning system. Those systems are important at generating and integrating information into decision making process, knowledge building and daily operation process. They are playing a pivotal role in the enterprise development. Cathay’s JDA Cargo Revenue Optimizer has helped them to improve capability forecasting and analysis, reduce administration costs, boost data management and increase daily operation efficiency.
Other technologies like SharePoint, knowledge collaboration, content management, ect also employ in the organization. Moreover, Cathay Pacific was the first airline in the world provide in flight email, and the first to auction air ticket online.()
People play an important role in Knowledge Management, as knowledge is developed and control by people. which correspond to the movements from tacit and explicit knowledge to tacit and explicit knowledge on the individual and organizational level (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995).
Cathay Pacific invested lots of money on e-business. They also purchased Enterprise Knowledge Platform as the airline’s learning management system. This e-learning portal benefits the employees and enable them learn from their own and others experiences. And they have created a 3D virtual tour that staff can refresh their memory by watching the tour about the restricted and non restricted areas of the airport.
However, employee distribution is an issue in Cathay Pacific. There is a phenomenon that a large number of employees in general positions, but the key position is in short supply of employee. Cooperative communication mechanism is not integrity. Most employees only care to deal with what they facing in their position, only a few employees would care about the communication exchange between various positions, departments and other airlines in the industry.
A process is about build into working practices that allow company’s staff to deal with knowledge creation, sharing and use of knowledge for the benefit of a company. Processes are implicit in all the people and technology variables considered.
For example while they do a knowledge budget in Cathay Pacific, the work would be started with the knowledge which needed; to do knowledge tracking then go through knowledge reporting so that new knowledge is captured and shared and reused. Cathay Pacific also needs to collect data from their subsidiaries and some outports. Their approach is to request data owners to confirm the accuracy of their data either through documentary evidence or past operational performance. However, the material errors would be caused during the processes. They recognize that they still need much improvement on this process, to make sure their data collection and transfer process is precise. ()
Recommendations for the Future Use of Knowledge Management
In order to avoid repeating past mistakes and prevent redundant effort, greater emphasis needs to be placed on KM. A good KM strategy is not only about helping staff share knowledge, a systematic strategy will be needed and is strictly aligned with the organization’s strategies and objectives.
Knowledge management will be the collection of wisdom to enhance the enterprise’s abilities of adaptation and innovation. Knowledge management should at least include several aspects: to establish knowledge base; promote the employee’s knowledge communication; Establish the respect knowledge of internal environment; knowledge should be considered as essential assets to the management.
Cathay Pacific should focus on an important area of the new stuff that most of people like, It tends to be around end user computing and mobile, both for customer and staff. People want to do stuff for themselves, they want to do it when they want to do it, and they want to be interacted on their own devices in their own time. For the staff, to be able to give them the tools at the place they wanted, not back in the office or in the structure that company determined. So a lot more control by both customers and by staff about what information they get, how they use it, how they can access it and the way they should do it. It’s a big growth area aviation.
At present, Cathay Pacific use online learning tools for staff self learning, it enable them to control their own performance development. But formal communication mechanism is still not established. Multi-channel communication is to enhance the staff is an important way to solve the problem and achieve mutual inspiration. On the other hand, it also can promote the enterprise image.
Moreover, Cathay Pacific spent a lot effort on retaining existing knowledge, but not enough on unlearning and developing new knowledge and practices. One of the core reasons for knowledge management is to create a platform for innovation.
Nonaka, I. and Takeuchi, H. (1995) The knowledge-creating company: how Japanese companies creates the dynamics of innovation, Oxford University Press, New York
Ganesh D. Bhatt, (2001) “Knowledge management in organizations: examining the interaction between technologies, techniques, and people”, Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 5 Iss: 1, pp.68 – 75
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