The Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management aims to publish perspectives on topics relevant to the study, implementation and management of knowledge management
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Journal Article

Characterising the Knowledge Approach of a Firm: An Investigation of Knowledge Activities in Five Software SMEs  pp48-63

Ciara Heavin, Frederic Adam

© Jan 2012 Volume 10 Issue 1, ECKM 2011, Editor: Franz Lehner, pp1 - 109

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Abstract

An organisation’s ability to successfully compete in a changing market place is contingent on its ability to manage what it knows, in order to serve the objectives of the firm. While it has been argued that due to their size, knowledge management (KM) is not a concern for smaller organisations, in the current economic climate, it is expected that a more formalised approach to KM allows the company to seize opportunities as they arise, and deal with environmental uncertainty more effectively. In view of this, the objective of this study was to devise a classification of knowledge activities (KAs) which facilitates the exploration of a Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in terms of the type and extent to which knowledge is managed. Furthermore, analysis of KAs provided a greater understanding of the fit between the firm’s objectives and the KM approach pursued. In order to achieve this, five case studies were conducted. Based on the classification of KAs identified, a qualitative analysis approach was used to code each of the twenty eight interviews carried out. Both quantitative and qualitative content analysis methods were applied to facilitate data reduction and generate meaning from the significant volume of data collected. The output from this study includes a classification of KAs which provides rich insight into how SMEs are motivated to deal with knowledge as a means of achieving their organisational objectives. From a practitioner viewpoint, this study seeks to offer an improved understanding of a software SMEs’ approach to KM.

 

Keywords: Knowledge Management, KM, Knowledge Activity, KA, knowledge, Small to Medium Sized Software Enterprises, SMES, and software

 

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Journal Article

TREEOR Model: An Approach to the Valuation of Intellectual Capital  pp119-128

María Sarabia, José M. Sarabia

© Oct 2005 Volume 3 Issue 2, Editor: Charles Despres, pp65 - 138

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Abstract

Following the biological behaviour of a tree and its growth system, this paper proposes a model of valuation of the Intellectual Capital of an organization based on a variation of the classical Lotka‑Volterra equations system. The proposed model explains the growth of an organization as a consequence of its Intellectual Capital (increment of the surface of the roots), its Knowledge (the consumption of nutritious) and its Learning (fertility of the floor). And based on the proposed model, an example with real data is given.

 

Keywords: Intellectual Capital, Organizational Learning, Knowledge Management, Lotka-Volterra system

 

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Journal Article

Learning Knowledge Roles for Populating Lightweight Application Ontologies  pp75-82

Eni Mustafaraj, Martin Hoof, Bernd Freisleben

© Dec 2005 Volume 4 Issue 1, Editor: Charles Despres, pp1 - 90

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Abstract

We present a framework for semi‑automatically acquiring domain knowledge necessary for building light‑weight, application ontologies. The approach adopts active learning for semantic annotation of knowledge roles that have been derived from the CommonKADS methodology. We discuss the framework advantages by implementing a light‑ weight, application ontology for a knowledge management application in a technical domain.

 

Keywords: knowledge acquisition, CommonKADS, knowledge roles, lightweight ontologies, active learning, predictive maintenance

 

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Journal Article

Knowledge Management in a Virtual Community of Practice using Discourse Analysis  pp29-42

Khalid Hafeez, Fathalla Alghatas

© Mar 2007 Volume 5 Issue 1, ECKM 2006, Editor: Charles Despres, pp1 - 130

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Abstract

The topic of Community‑of‑Practice (CoP) has been discussed in the management literature in the earlier part of 1990's, and since attracted a lot of attention from academics and professionals around the globe. Communities of Practice (CoP) have become a strategic approach for fostering learning and transferring knowledge. However, there are a few studies, which explain what makes a community to engage in a discussion to share their knowledge and experience. This paper discusses the anatomy of a CoP, and examines a number of knowledge management tools such as story telling and discourse analysis to illustrate how knowledge is transferred and learning takes place in a virtual Community of Practice. Results are presented from a 'live' virtual community of practice, which is in the maturity period of its life cycle to discuss the role of domain experts and moderators how they facilitate to engage the community in dialogues and help generate the new knowledge. Also using Nonaka and Takeuchi's knowledge spiral model it is explained how learning takes place in this virtual community of practice.

 

Keywords: Community of practice, discourse analysis, knowledge management, story telling, Nonaka and Takeuchi's knowledge spiral model

 

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Journal Article

Knowledge Creation through University‑Industry Collaborative Research Projects  pp43-54

Julie Hermansand Annick Castiaux

© Mar 2007 Volume 5 Issue 1, ECKM 2006, Editor: Charles Despres, pp1 - 130

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Abstract

It is obvious from the study of literature that university‑industry (U‑I) relationships and their subsequent knowledge transfers are topics of high political, economical, managerial and academic interest. Indeed, technological knowledge is seen as a major source of long‑term economic growth and its transfer to the firm is critical since it acts as a significant innovation factor. In order to access this knowledge, a portfolio of sourcing strategies is available to the firm: knowledge creation through internal RandD departments, knowledge sharing with suppliers or market relationships, and also transfer from knowledge institutions such as public and private research centres. In this paper, we recognISe that University is a central source of knowledge but we question the general belief that knowledge is per se flowing between private and academic sphere through the conduct of University‑Industry relationships. As a result, this paper presents our literature analysis concerning this research topic and explores one particular mean of inter‑organisational knowledge transfer, namely the University‑Industry collaborative research project. We present findings from an exploratory study, which aims at examining knowledge flows and collaborative behaviours at stake in such research projects. This interview survey has been realised with respondents actively involved in Belgian university‑industry (U‑I) interactions and provides qualitative data analysed through the theoretical framework of organisational knowledge creation developed by Nonaka and Takeuchi. We found evidence supporting the existence of a knowledge spiral as a dynamic for the whole projects and identified some knowledge‑based limits to the reconciliation process between university's interests and company's needs.

 

Keywords: university-industry interactions, knowledge transfer, Nonaka

 

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Journal Article

Tacit Knowledge Revisited — We Can Still Learn from Polanyi  pp173-180

Kenneth A. Grant

© May 2007 Volume 5 Issue 2, ICICKM 2006, Editor: Dan Remenyi, pp131 - 254

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Abstract

The field of knowledge management is still relatively new, with all but a few of its related papers and books published during the last 15 years or so. However, one of the most cited sources is a much earlier work on the topic of tacit and explicit knowledge, by Michael Polanyi (1958 and 1966). An examination of some 60 papers from three major knowledge management journals demonstrates that Polanyi's work has frequently been misinterpreted by some authors and further suggests that, in some cases, the citing authors may not have read the cited work. Further, this has led to misinterpretation of Polanyi's work in ways that have affected wider issues in knowledge management. Polanyi's work is still relevant today and a closer examination of his theory that all knowledge has personal and tacit elements, such that knowledge cannot be made fully explicit, can be used to both support and refute a variety of widely held approaches to knowledge management. In particular, it raises issue about the continued efforts to make knowledge explicit through the use of information systems, without consideration of wider social issues, as well as refuting those who use the issue of tacit knowledge to dismiss the field of knowledge management as a misguided concept. It provides support for more recent work on next generation knowledge management.

 

Keywords: Polanyi, Nonaka, tacit, explicit, next generation KM

 

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Journal Article

Value, Kaizen and Knowledge Management: Developing a Knowledge Management Strategy for Southampton Solent University  pp135-144

S J Rees, H Protheroe

© Apr 2009 Volume 7 Issue 1, ECKM 2008, Editor: Roy Williams, pp1 - 198

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Abstract

The process of development of the strategic plan for Southampton Solent University offered a vehicle for the development of kaizen and knowledge management (KM) activities within the institution. The essential overlap between the methods offers clear benefits in the HE environment. In consideration of the aspects of KM and kaizen, various potential opportunities were identified as targets for improvement, and clarified by knowledge audit as to value and viability. The derived outcomes are listed along with some of the principal factors and perceived barriers in the practical implementation of the outcomes. Knowledge audit applied here focused on the identification of where value arises within the business. Resource constraints and the practicalities of a people‑centred system limit the permissible rate of innovation, so precise focus on the areas of business activity of most significance to the mission and client base is crucial. The fundamental question of whether such a strategy should be developed as a separate strand or embedded into existing strategies is discussed. In practice, Solent has chosen to embed, principally for reasons of maintenance of ownership and commitment. Confidence in the process has been built through prior success with trialled activities around retention, where an activity‑ based pedagogic framework was adopted to address issues with an access course. Other areas of early intervention include the development and reengineering of recruitment and admissions processes, and the development of activities and pedagogy based on the virtual learning environment as exemplars of the importance of cyclical feedback in continuous improvement. The inherent complexity of processes running across the university as an organisation offers opportunities for benefits from the through‑process approach implicit in kaizen. The business value of the institution is in the skills of its employees and its deployed intellectual property, and thus the importance of the enhancement of both tangible assets and intangible processes is critical to future success.

 

Keywords: knowledge management, kaizen, knowledge audit, knowledge strategy, knowledge management in higher education, strategy development

 

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Journal Article

Let's Learn Unlearning: How Top Managers Conceive and Implement Knowledge Active Forgetting  pp605-614

Mehdi Bagherzadeh Niri, Mohammad Hosein Rezazade Mehrizi

© Jan 2010 Volume 7 Issue 5, Editor: Kimiz Dalkir, pp535 - 662

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Abstract

Regarding the influential role of top managers in the process of unlearning, the main question in this paper is "how top managers understand and approach unlearning" in their managerial activities. Toward this aim, based on several case studies with top managers who have recently been involved in the process of knowledge based changes, we realized that top managers are more apt to focus on technical and concrete types of knowledge such as knowledge which resides in systems and procedures. Moreover, among all different possible approaches toward unlearning, they mainly make sense of this it as a process of "pushing by new knowledge", and "abandoning old knowledge" that both of them are radical approaches toward unlearning. The main lesson drawn in this study is that researchers who interact with managers in their inquiry about unlearning must be aware about the natural orientations of top managers and how this might affect the validity of their field inquiry. Above all, the insights gained in this study shows that field study about unlearning based on the opinions of managers is easy to start with, as managers can make sense about this process easily, but is difficult to focus on, because managers easily shift from unlearning old knowledge to learning new knowledge in their thoughts.

 

Keywords: Knowledge Management, KM, Knowledge Active Forgetting, KAF, creative destruction, unlearning

 

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