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Knowledge management & organizations

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  • 1. 1Role Of Organisational Culture in Knowledge Management
  • 2. 2Table of ContentsABSTRACT......................................................................................................................................................... 3INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................................................ 4BENEFITS OF KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT ..................................................................................................... 5KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT: IN ORGANIZATIONS ........................................................................................ 6KM ENHANCES ORGANISATION EFFECTIVENESS:-........................................................................................... 6Competing Values Framework (CVF) and Knowledge Management- ............................................................. 7Organizational Culture ...................................................................................................................................11Knowledge Management at Company............................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.Intranet-Based KM Projects .............................................................................. Error! Bookmark not defined.The Possible Impacts of Culture on KM ............................................................ Error! Bookmark not defined.CONCLUSION..................................................................................................................................................15
  • 3. 3ABSTRACTIn this ever changing world,which is predominantly driven by globalization or integration ofeconomies,knowledge based structure of an economy is the need of the hour. The massivedevelopment of ICT – Information,Communication &Technology has changed the perceptionof the majority;both public & private players.In order to gain a competitive edge over other companies around the globe are very mucheager to tap the assets they are working with,though it be land,machinery,material,moneyand men.Organizations are en-cashing on their human resources by capturingtheir knowhow and applying the same in a COLLECTIVE & SYSTEMATIC manner in order to achieve thegoals effectively and efficiently.KM has been the core of strategy formulation though it be planning,consulting,andimplementing(OECD 2001) and research papers suggests that public and private enterprisesare now more inclined towards using KM in strategy formulation .A major component ofsuccessful KM practice is raising its awareness not only to managers,but to frontlineemployees as well.The concept of KM should be advocatedand benefits should beelaborated.What new about KM is act of being conscious about the existence of the KMprocess (Savary 1999).There are certain organizations which use KM practices without prior knowledge andawareness will not reap benefits to the full extent.Therefore it is vital for an organization tounderstand the concept of KM when starting a KM initiative in order to succeed.
  • 4. 4 Wisdom Knowledge Information Data Levels from Data being converted into WisdomINTRODUCTIONKnowledge Management as the word suggests means managing knowledge, but in realconnotationThe meaning is boundary less.Knowledge cannot quantified it brings along with itself somenotional value. Many authors explain Knowledge Management as and how they deem fit,few of the noted definitions are as follows-“Knowledge Management is the discipline of enabling individuals,teams & organizations tocollectively and systematically create,share and apply knowledge to achieve organizationalgoals.”-Ron Young,CEO Knowledge Associates International
  • 5. 5“Every time we do something again,we should do it better than the last time, by using theknowledge so attained at the first go.”-Sir John Steely Browne,Harvard Business Review, 1997“Knowledge Management is all about acquiring, analysing, storing, manipulating &exploitingthe information for the benefits of the organization.”-GlaxoSmithKlineAnd from the discussed definitions we can infer K M is about people & learning objectives K M is about processes,methods,techniques K M is about managing knowledge assets K M works pervasivelyThe catch words are capturing,storing,sharing and applying knowledge in a MORECOLLECTIVLEY & MORE SYSTEMATIC manner.BENEFITS OF KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT“Knowledge is the only jewel which cannot decay.”-Mahatma GandhiProducts and Services are becoming complex, customers’ demands are on a rise,andbudgets are in constraint.These mentioned challenges brings out positives of KnowledgeManagement- 1. Satisfied and Loyal customers 2. Higher efficiency 3. Higher effectiveness
  • 6. 6 4. Pool of expertiseKNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT: IN ORGANIZATIONSKnowledge in organizations is classified into two distinct categories 1. EXPLICIT KNOWLEDGE 2. TACIT KNOWLEDGEExplicit knowledge is that knowledge which can be captured and written down indocuments and databases.Explicit knowledge is a knowledge that can be captured and canbe easily communicated and shared(Nonaka 1991)Tacit knowledge is that knowledge which people have in their minds.It is less concrete thanexplicit knowledge.It is difficult to access as it is difficult to comprehend orapprehend.(Drucker 1993)KM ENHANCES ORGANISATION EFFECTIVENESS:-Knowledge management is at the heart of any organizational performance and enables theorganizations to realize the value of human capital. It is a mix of values, experiences,information, individual’s insight and understanding. It is not just what is present in the writtenor documented form within the organization but also in the practices, routines, and processesas well as in the workforce of the organization. The employees are the biggest repository ofknowledge in any organization and it is, only with their help, possible to achieve efficientand effective knowledge management.It has been identified as one of the most important activities in any business enterprise ororganization especially in the wake of globalization where the environment is so dynamicthat only effective sharing of knowledge will help an organization survive.Knowledge management is a process which is systematic and integrative in nature whichinvolves coordinating various activities of individuals and groups which they undertake inpursuit of organizational goals, these activities mainly involve acquiring, creating, storing,sharing, applying and deploying knowledge.Some authors argue that rising valuation of knowledge management in an organization isnot only due to organization being perceived as an economy of more than just good andservices,it is a global knowledge economy, but also because the deal with the activitieswhich lead to knowledge creation. Knowledge management seems inherentlyuncontrollable or stifled by heavy handed direction as it includes people as the major
  • 7. 7element in the process as knowledge cannot be created without people thus making therelationship between people and knowledge as the core of all the studies which wereundertaken with regard to the subject.Many scholars believe that if the culture of the organization is supportive and conducive, itwill lead to the success of knowledge management and its various objectives like evaluatingrisk, high productivity, reducing the time required for various activities and processes,increased learning, faster decision making etc. The culture of an organization not onlyaffects the big enterprises but also the small and medium sized ones. As the complexity ofthe working environment of these organizations is increasing day by day, they rely more onknowledge that they have as their assets and as a source to develop more. As can be seenfrom the discussion above, it can be clearly inferred that organizational culture becomes amediator between personal knowledge and organizational knowledge and knowledgemanagement help in their better management to prove to be helpful and beneficial foreffective functioning of the organizations.Competing Values Framework (CVF) and KnowledgeManagement-The competing values framework as the name suggest is the framework of contrastingvalues.For e.g. – An Organization needs to be Flexible but also focused. The organization shouldfocus on growth and there should be good external support but also a tight internalmanagement control and communication.
  • 8. 8This framework helps organizations to assess their internal culture.The four quadrants of the matrix represent each of the “competing values” in anorganization.Four Quadrants-Based on- 1. Internal Process Model: Hierarchy, emphasis on measurement, documentation and information management. These processes bring stability and control. Hierarchies seem to work best when time is not an important factor and when the task to be done is understood well. 2. Open Systems Model: An organic system, emphasis on adaptability, readiness, growth, resource acquisition and external support. These processes bring creativity and innovation. In this People are not controlled but inspired. 3. Rational Goal Model: Profit, emphasis on rational action. It presumes that goal setting and planning results into productivity and efficiency. Tasks are clarified; objectives are set and then action is taken. 4. Human Relations Model: Cohesion and morale with emphasis on human resource and training. People are seen not as isolated individuals, but as cooperating members of a common social system with a common stake in what happens.
  • 9. 9CLAN loyalty, communication and human developmentMARKET goal achievement, customer-focus and profitabilityHIERARCHY consistency, policies and processADHOCRACY innovation, agility and visionRIGHT Quadrant looking externally at customers and the outside environmentLEFT Quadrant focusing primarily inside the organizationTOP Quadrant more distributed leadership in which employees are more empowered to make decisionsBOTTOM Quadrant represents a more hierarchical culture where control rests with the managementThe findings of this research are highly related to knowledge management in an organization.
  • 10. 10 Knowledge management on the whole aspect and detail aspect is moderately related to Organizational effectiveness. Organizational culture on whole aspect and competency aspect is moderately related to Organizational effectiveness and on marketing aspects is highly related to organizational Effectiveness.According to multiple regression analysis, Organizational effectiveness is influenced by-Organizational culture - Participation aspect, Development aspect, Command aspect, Marketing aspectKnowledge management - Acquisition aspect and Transfer aspectThe desire of Thailands manufacturing enterprises to improve organization culture onKnowledge management which impacts on organization effectiveness suits well with theseFindings.The two approaches of Knowledge management- Process ApproachCodify organizational knowledge through formalized processes, controls and technologies.Organizations implement explicit policies to govern how knowledge is to be collected, stored, anddisseminated throughout the organizationInvolves the use of information technologies, such as data warehousing, intranets, decision supporttools, knowledge repositories and groupware to enhance the speed and quality of knowledgecreation and distribution in organizationsCriticism - Fails to capture the tacit knowledge embedded in firms and it forces individuals into thinking infixed patterns. Practice Approach
  • 11. 11 Presumes that a big amount of organizational knowledge is tacit in nature and that formal processes, controls and technologies are not suitable for transmitting this type of understanding So, Rather than building formal systems to manage knowledge, the focus is to build social environments or communities to facilitate the sharing of tacit understandingThese communities are informal social groups that meet regularly to share insights, ideas, and bestpractices.From this discussion, some key questions emerge.  How does culture affect organizations approaches (e.g., process or practice) to knowledge management?  As organizations pursue these initiatives, how do cultural influences affect the KM activities of knowledge generation, codification, and transfer?To answer these questions it is necessary to study and understand organization culture.Organizational CultureSchein in 1985 defined Organizational Culture as ---- certain assumptions held byindividuals in a group that defines the way in which group acts and responds to its internaland external environment. Ravasi and Schultz state that Organizational Culture is a set ofshared mental assumptions that guide interpretation and action in organizations by definingappropriate behaviour for various situations. At the same time although a company mayhave "own unique culture", in larger organizations, there is a diverse and sometimesconflicting cultures that co-exist due to different characteristics of the management team.The Organization Culture basically is a combination of beliefs and core values that abidetacit preferences about what the organization should work towards and aim to attain, likewhat all they must do and how they should do it. Tacit values and beliefs of OrganizationalCulture includes the organization values, visions, norms that consist of rules, workinglanguage, systems, expectations, myths and stories, symbols, organizational structures,control systems, power structure, beliefs and habits. These practices and norms define howthe people in the organization should communicate and act by providing the socialcontext.Considering this in frame of reference of Knowledge Management, OrganizationalCulture basically defines that social context which defines that who has to control whatknowledge, and also who must share it, and as well as who can garner it.
  • 12. 12Figure below explains this conceptual linkage between OrganizationalCulture andKnowledge Management behaviour. Tacit (Unobservable) Underlying Cultural Beliefs & ValuesThe Social Context: Cultural Norms & Practices Regarding Knowledge Management Practices Explicit (Observable) Knowledge Management BehavioursThe figure above depicts, the social context consisting of norms and practices is the mediumfor transmission of underlying values and beliefs into specific knowledge managementbehaviours.The process approaches vs. practice approaches to KM Process Approach Practice ApproachTypes of Knowledge Explicit Knowledge :- Tacit Knowledge :-Supported Codified in rules, tools and Unarticulated Knowledge not processes. easily captured or codified.Means of Transmission Formal controls, procedures, Informal social groups that and standard operating engage in storytelling and procedures with heavy improvisation. emphasis on information technologies to support knowledge creation, codification, and transfer of knowledge.Benefits Provides structure to Provides an harness generated environment to ideas and knowledge generate and transfer Achieves scale in high value tacit knowledge reuse. knowledge.
  • 13. 13 Provides spark for fresh ideas and responsiveness to changing environmentDisadvantages Fails to tap into tacit Can result in knowledge. inefficiency. May limit innovation Abundance of ideas and forces with no structure to participants into implement them. patterns of thinking.Role of Information Heavy investment in IT to Moderate investment in IT toTechnology connect people with reusable Facilitate conversation and codified knowledge to tacit transfer. knowledge.Case Description and AnalysesKnowledge Management at CompanyKnowledge Management at organization Alpha started as a top to bottom idea pursuedby senior management in a way of helping the organization to become moremodernized. At alpha, a group of eight or nine people at headquarters was given theresponsibility to drive knowledge management and start knowledge sharing. Because oflarger issues like the economic downturn that rocked US based businesses at the start ofthe century, the top-level initiative tumbled into the backdrop, and also the dedicatedgroup was made inactive. Thus Knowledge Management at the organizational level didnot receive any funding and also no action was taken. However, at the business unitlevel, successful Knowledge Management initiatives have been built around an intranetor around Lotus Notes team rooms.Intranet-Based KM ProjectsAnother initiative in the marketing area of corporate headquarters is Marketing InformationCentre or simply MIC. It assists the global marketing community of many thousandindividuals around the globe. MIC is an intranet based information centre along with manyother things consisting links to agencies, compensations, human resource information, andcontracts. Marketing Information Centre is opportunity oriented rather than problem oriented.The members of MIC do not use it only for posting a problem inquiry and wait for responsesfrom others but instead keep a look for ideas generated in other parts of the organisation andthink about implementing them in day to day work.
  • 14. 14Marketing Information Centre (MIC) is designed in such way which enables it to be acatalyst for collaboration and to actuate it as a universal world-wide marketing community.As the chief marketing officer in the company no longer allows the budgeting of brightmanuals or brochures, MIC is widely acknowledged as the fundamental means of obtainingsuch information. In fact, as attempts were made to include best practices in MIC, theinitiative encountered contention.CM Connection (CMC) is one another Knowledge Management initiative within the NorthAmerican marketing unit. As compared to MIC which was an intranet based informationcentre, this here is a web based marketing archive which is used to broadcast information sothat traders or wholesalers who all are the main cause for store level execution can use themost recent information on how to merchandise the new promotions. The major impact ofCM Connection, as compared to MIS, has been the decrease of the quantity of printedcatalogues. The main challenge with CM Connection is about convincing the contentproviders to own the information in the sense of both providing it and also keeping it up todate. One more issue with CM Connection is that it is being seen by many as distractionfrom their relationships with their clients. Even though MIC may help in reducing theamountof time spent in traveling, but this is not necessarily welcome in a sales andmarketing oriented relationship company because you are losing away important relationshippoints.The Human Resources unit with the Corporate Functions unit also has an intranet-based Knowledge Management, referred to as My Career. It is designed for managers andemployees of the company to help retrieve information about what tools, classes, andcoaching are available for development. One of the goals of My Career has been to merge allof the training information at one place.Many such similar intranet-based Knowledge Management have been developed throughoutentire Alpha, such that the portal project was started to alleviate the problem that too muchinformation was present in too many places, different IDs and passwords for each database,and having to remember what is in the database to get the information. However, despitesome initial receptiveness to the idea, IT budgets were frozen and the project never gotunderway.The Possible Impacts of Culture on KMThe statements and observations of our research point to two largely shared perspectives:(1) The culture emphasizes the individual, and(2) The culture is in a state of transition.The case we discussed about the work within Alpha seems to be a tension between a culturethat demands individuality and the communal aspects of Knowledge Management. Ourresearch talks about a culture that is one of "individual survival" where individuals fear beingjudged for their ideas, where there is individual isolation, and where individuals try to go
  • 15. 15unnoticed. Alpha has many KM initiatives that were developed largely as bottom-upinitiatives. The KM tools seem well designed and housed with valuable information.CONCLUSIONKM is a discipline is still in early stage,which is evidenced form the literature published,there are still many issues which are not addressed so as to have an indepth knowledge ofthe concept and the subject.However enterprises are realising the very importance of KMand starting to practice it.Enterprises have to take proactive measures rather than relative measures to reap thebenefits of KM as a whole.
  • 16. 16BibliographyAsoh, D. B. (2002). KM: Challenges and Opportunities for Government in the New Economy.Bhatt, G. (2001). KM in organisations: Examining the Interaction between Technologies, Techniques, and People.Boyne, G. (2002). Public and Private Management: What’s the Difference?Council, C. (2001). Managing Knowledge @ Work, An Overview of Knowledge Management.Davenport, T. a. (1998). Working knowledge: How Organisations Manage What They Know.Drucker, P. F. (1993). Post Capitalist Society, HarperBusiness,.GAO. (2001). Major Management Challenges and Programm Risks: A Governmentwide Perspective.Hansen, M. T. (1999). What’s Your Strategy for Managing Knowledge.Holsapple, C. a. (1999). Description and Analysis of Existing Knowledge Management Frameworks.Jussilaninen, M. (2001). Knowledge Management at the Finnish Government.Lane, J. E. (2000). The Public Sector Concepts, Models and approaches, Third Edition, Sage Publications.McAdam, R. a. (2000). A Comparison of Public and Private Sector Perceptions and Use of Knowledge Management.Navy, U. D. (2001). Metrics Guide for KM Initiatives.Nonaka. (1991). The Knowledge-Creating Company”, Harvard Business Review.OECD. (2001). Knowledge Management: Learning-by-Comparing Experiences from Private Firms and Public Organisations.OECD. (2003). Conclusions from the Results of the Survey of Knowledge Management Practices for Ministries/Departments/Agencies of Central Government in OECD Member Countries.Pandya, X. C. (n.d.). Issues of Knowledge Management in the Public Sector.Sarvary, M. (1991). Knowledge Management and Competition in the Consulting Industry.