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

Effects of Knowledge Representation on Knowledge Acquisition and Problem Solving  pp153-158

Mohamed Khalifa, Kathy Ning Shen

© Apr 2006 Volume 4 Issue 2, ICICKM 2005, Editor: Charles Despres, pp91 - 216

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Abstract

The way knowledge is represented influences the effectiveness with which that knowledge can be shared and reconstructed. Of particular interest to this study is the hypertext knowledge representation. Based on the schema theory, we propose a model explaining the effect of the hypertext knowledge representation on the user's problem solving performance. The sophistication of the knowledge structure that the user can construct from the hypertext knowledge representation is proposed as an intervening variable mediating the effect of hypertext on the problem solving performance. According to our model, the hypertext representation of the "collective schemata" of a group of experts allows the user to acquire a more complex and better integrated knowledge structure that is more similar to the experts' than does a linear representation. The model further hypothesizes that the complexity, integration and degree of similarity of an individual's schemata to that of domain experts in turn improves significantly the individual's problem solving performance. Compared to the linear representation, the hypertext representation of expert knowledge is expected to improve the quality of problem solving in the organization through the facilitation of the acquisition of more sophisticated knowledge structures by the users. A field experiment was used to verify the hypotheses of our model. This research demonstrates the important role of hypertext knowledge representation in supporting knowledge construction and problem solving.

 

Keywords: Hypertext, knowledge representation, knowledge elicitation, knowledge construction, problem solving

 

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Journal Article

Collaborative Development of Knowledge Representations — a Novel Approach to Knowledge Elicitation and Transfer  pp55-62

Alexeis Garcia-Perez, Robert Ayres

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

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Abstract

Knowledge Management (KM) initiatives are driven by the need to preserve and share knowledge, in particular tacit knowledge that experts have built up in the course of doing their jobs. Such initiatives require key experts to be identified and their knowledge elicited. However, knowledge elicitation generally runs into a number of communication and motivational problems. These are well known in domains such as expert systems but it is only more recently that KM practitioners have become aware of them. Standard KM approaches separate the elicitation and, possibly, encoding of knowledge from its subsequent sharing. This paper outlines an approach where elicitation and transfer, and possibly also creation, are carried out in one process. This involves identifying key experts and stakeholders. These two groups then work together to develop a representation of the experts' domain knowledge. The role of the KM specialist thus becomes one of facilitation rather than elicitation. This approach has a number of advantages. It is more likely to engage the interest of experts and so avoid some of the motivational problems that are commonly encountered in knowledge elicitation. It does not rely on knowledge management specialists who do not share the experts' language, to capture and record their expertise. In particular the approach helps overcome the perceptual biases of domain experts. It is well known that perception is often selective and that judgements can be anchored on false premises. Experts are not immune from these biases but they are more likely to be eliminated as a result of the critical dialogue that occurs between experts and stakeholders using our approach. Our approach has been developed in the course of an action research project with a major engineering company. Staff who worked on a help desk had particular expertise which was of interest to other departments, such as design and production. The research data gathered was necessarily qualitative since the focus of concern was on the richness of transfer achieved. Early results suggest that communication or motivation problems encountered by conventional approaches are avoided and that a richer transfer of knowledge results. In particular it helps to identify and capture relevant tacit knowledge. The resulting representation may also form the starting point for a knowledge base which will be available to a wider community.

 

Keywords: knowledge elicitation, knowledge creation, knowledge sharing, knowledge transfer, action research

 

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Journal Article

Dynamic Knowledge Management Toolkit  pp261-266

Nader Nada, Mohamed Kholief, Mahmoud. Ghanem, W. Bakry

© Jun 2009 Volume 7 Issue 2, ICICKM 2008, Editor: Kevin O'Sullivan, pp199 - 296

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Abstract

An important aspect of knowledge management is the implementation of methods to share the unstructured knowledge of expert practitioners within an organization. The existence of unstructured and dynamic knowledge represents a challenge to experts due to the dynamic and non‑sequential nature of such knowledge. In order to make such knowledge sharable, it is necessary to have both an effective elicitation method and a useful representation toolkit. In this paper we describe a Dynamic Knowledge Toolkit (DKT) that is used in knowledge elicitation and representation based upon Knowledge maps. Knowledge Maps content is different from the more general information in typical reference material and that is organized quite differently than standard textbook knowledge or mainstream hypermedia learning systems. These knowledge models tend to be large and complex with interwoven themes and rich interconnections of the concepts based on the expert's highly articulated mental model of the domain. Knowledge Maps have been used in all facets of education, training and business. With the fundamental goal of fostering learning and knowledge sharing they have been shown to be an effective tool for displaying prior knowledge, summarizing, planning, scaffolding for understanding, consolidating experiences, improving affective conditions for critical thinking, decision making, supporting cooperation and collaboration, and organizing unstructured knowledge content. We describe the use of the toolkit in a case study on the capture and representation of local weather forecasting knowledge. We also show how Knowledge maps can be used to support activities such as the preservation of institutional memory, the "recovery" of expertise that might reside in less accessible forms such as archived documents, for performance support, and for other knowledge‑intensive pursuits such as weather forecasting or crisis management.

 

Keywords: knowledge elicitation, knowledge modeling, knowledge sharing, knowledge maps

 

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Journal Article

In Search of the Golden Mean: The Ambivalence of Knowledge Explication  pp340-352

Georg Hans Neuweg, Stefan Fothe

© Dec 2011 Volume 9 Issue 4, Editor: Geoff Turner, pp297 - 364

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Abstract

Knowledge Management (KM) tends to regard the explication of knowledge as thoroughly positive. In this paper, we argue that this attitude rests on misconceptions regarding the nature of implicit knowledge and knowledge explication. Rather than following undifferentiated imperatives to maximise the amount of explicit knowledge, practitioners of KM are better off considering the ambivalent effects of knowledge explication. For this purpose, we suggest applying the Tacit Knowing View (Neuweg, 2004) and C ontingency Theory to the problem of determining the right level of explication. The paper is divided into four parts. In the first part we trace KMs need for the explication and formalisation of knowledge. In the second part, we address theoretical misco nceptions. First, we apply Ryles finding that sloppy language use may lead to illegitimate assumptions toward explication. Secondly, we argue that, albeit superficial references to the work of Polanyi can be found throughout KM, actual epistemological po sitions rather seem to follow Popper. In the third part, we systematise limitations, problems, and side effects of explication. In the fourth part, we suggest the heuristic concept of explication optima as a framework for developing KM activities.

 

Keywords: tacit knowing, implicit knowledge, know-how, knowledge management, knowledge explication, knowledge elicitation, explication optimum, contingency theory, Michael Polanyi, Gilbert Ryle

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 4 Issue 2, ICICKM 2005 / Mar 2006  pp91‑216

Editor: Charles Despres

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Keywords: automotive industry, business models, collaborative process communal lexicon community of practice corporate strategy corpus linguistics digital economy, empirical knowledge ethnography, human capital hypertext, information communication technology insurance Industry Intellectual capital measurement, interorganisational collaboration inter-organisational relationships knowledge capitalization. knowledge construction, knowledge definition, knowledge economy, knowledge elicitation, knowledge management behaviour, knowledge management context, knowledge management environment, knowledge management practices, knowledge mapping, multivariate analysis protection of knowledge, relationship transformation special language terminology structural capital, tacit knowledge value networks virtual prototype

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 7 Issue 1, ECKM 2008 / Apr 2009  pp1‑198

Editor: Roy Williams

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Editorial

This special edition of the journal is a selection of the best papers from the recent European Conference on Knowledge Management, held at Southampton Solent University in 2008. Several of the papers addressed the shift to what is increasingly being called knowledge ecologies, within the more general field of digital ecologies (see IEEE 2009)

Vanessa Lawrence's keynote speech on Ordnance Survey: underpinning Great Britain with geographic information set the tone for the conference, and set the standard for key aspects of knowledge management and knowledge ecologies. The Ordnance Survey (OS) is an exemplary case study of how to create well mapped data and maximise its use in today's digital ecologies. This case study combines the best aspects of interoperability at the level of data with the best aspects of dynamic, complex and even open systems at the level of information and knowledge creation and exchange. Intelligently mapped data is at the heart of the OS topological information system, creating uniquely identified data objects which are the building blocks for the four layers of the Master Map: topography, address, integrated transport, and imagery.

More importantly from a knowledge management point of view, this integrated Master Map crosses seamlessly from data base management, to information systems, to traditional knowledge management and into knowledge ecologies. A range of commercial and community organisations can build on the Master Map, using elements from it, to create their own maps from their own perspectives, such as housing, health care, flood management, or policing. These different, user‑generated derivative maps create a knowledge ecology, which is a dynamic, flexible, and adaptable set of meta‑mappings (literally and figuratively) or what might be called 'map‑ups', which people can read, write and contribute to, link to, and mash‑up with their own data.

The intelligent data is itself dynamic and changing, and in a ""mobile, transient society and economy where location is a dynamic resource within business"" (Lawrence op. cit.), the data has to be accurate and constantly updated. The figures are impressive: 460M data fields, 1.8M changes per annum, 0.5M updates per annum, of which 99.9% are updated or added within 6 months of completion on the ground, and a potential resolution of 20mm for information on reticulation.

The Open Space initiative, for non‑commercial use only, provides a base and a framework for social mapping or map‑ups. In the first year it involved 900 developers and 156k visitors. The Explore programme allows people to create routes, tag points of interest, and share pictures, news and events.

Lawrence summed up the Ordnance Survey approach as the challenge to ""establish principles to make information sources accessible and connectable"", an elegantly simple framework for knowledge management in the service of knowledge ecologies.

Maracine et al describe knowledge ecosystems (KE) as a new kind of digital ecosystem which is an ""active and dynamic process, that … helps the building, growth, sharing and forgetting of knowledge"". They explore this in healthcare systems for home rehabilitation, which differ from other KEs because of the role and importance of the patient: in practice the entire ""life"" of the ecosystem gravitates around the patient and their personal rehabilitation chain.

Managing Intellectual Capital is now central to the EU strategy, so small and medium sized companies (SME's) must play their part in this. Mertins, Wang and Will's study analyses the different rankings of IC factors across 5 major economic sectors, and leads to some interesting conclusions, for instance that ""the traditional distinction between Industry and Services is improper for researching the strategic impact of IC. Rather companies should be classified by comparing the actual business models"".

Third sector organisations are also applying KM. In this case study, Reilly describes the way resource priorities, programme funding and dispersed Authority inhibit successful KM. There is widespread support for the discovery of knowledge, but it is subject to diverse interpretation, and consensus on how to apply it is difficult to achieve. Reilly proposes a relational knowledge domain to promote a more holistic approach in value driven organisations, to integrate and optimise KM. There seems to be similar issues in the corporate sector too, as Brännström and Giuliani have found, namely that one of the difficulties in IC reporting is that ""goodwill is substantially based not on particular components of IC, but on the synergies between them"". Another problem with IC reporting, and with FRS IFRS3 in particular is that some firms deliberately ""want to continue to use goodwill as a 'blackbox' to avoid disclosing some items to analytic scrutiny by outsiders"".

The link between descriptions and analyses of real business situations and personal experience can be used to build a real consensus. The Socratic Dialogue (Remenyi & Griffiths) involves much more than a simple verbal agreement. Participants try to clarify the meaning of what has just been said by testing it against their own experiences. In this way the limitations of individual experience which stand in the way of a clear understanding can be made conscious, and these limitations can hopefully be transcended.

Garcia‑Perez & Ayres's paper outlines an approach where elicitation and transfer, and possibly also creation, are carried out in one process. This involves identifying key experts and stakeholders, who then work together to develop a representation of the experts' domain knowledge. They conclude that ""communicational problems are minimised because the main interaction will take place between domain experts and their stakeholders. Also, discussion of their own experience with colleagues through a process of modelling their expertise significantly increases experts' motivation to share knowledge"".

Begley et al outline their 'new' theory of the firm, its relationship to networked society, and to other theories of the firm, within KM. They see the firm as a 'connected temporary coalition' perspective (based on Taylor, 1999; 2006), within an interactive model of the firm, containing diverse types of relationships, collections of both closely coupled and loosely coupled systems that configure, dissolve and reconfigure over time, forming a distinct capability in leveraging collective knowledge assets.

A new approach to systems development for KM is presented by Moteleb & Woodman, which is based in action research and Grounded Theory, using a number of business problems experienced by organizations. The KMSD approach is highly participatory, requiring full involvement of members of an organization, in three interacting aspects: envisioning knowledge work behaviour, design of knowledge management system (KMS), and identifying technology options. The KMS design integrates organizational, social and technological aspects of the system.

Landwitch et al have developed a more interactive and dynamic process for Information Retrieval in which the IR systems explicitly support the user's query requirements, but also their cognitive abilities, to realize a dynamic dialogue between the user and the system. This is aimed at satisfying both the information needs of the users, and the innovation‑process. Smith deals with the specifically human elements of what could also be called knowledge ecology, integrating cultural and process issues, and ""issues of organisational adaptation, survival and competence in and increasingly discontinuous environment. Rather than being a process problem, poor knowledge emergence from a new system is more likely to be a communication and learning problem where there is a failure to engage with the individuals who are within the system"".

Vedteramo & de Carolis advocate a community‑based approach to KM in the growing sector of project‑based organizations. Projects are typically temporary, and much learning may be lost when they disband, the storage of lessons learned is not effective, the databases are not widely used and the people are too engaged in their projects to share knowledge or help other people cope with similar problems. Vedteramo suggests the adoption of McDermott (1999)'s ""double knit organisation"", integrating project teams and communities of practice.

Webb uses open ended diaries and strategically resourced reflection on the diaries, and provides material on management and complexity theory for managers to use, to reflect on and make sense of their practice and learn from it. This provides ""multiple first person accounts and opened up new avenues of exploration and … [suggests that is could also be used for] the stimulation, initiation and development of knowledge transfer activities on particular themes.

Koolmees et al have developed and tested a new Knowledge Management Scan which assesses six basic KM abilities in an organisation , based on a survey of 15 statements per ability, and is based on work on value based KM, and different organisational learning types. The abilities are: to produce, anticipate, respond, learn, create and to last. The Scan produces an understanding of the organisation's overall learning ability, in terms of single, double and triple loop learning.

Harorimana's case studies describe how knowledge gatekeepers contribute to the benefits of the firm's internal capabilities, without being paid for their role. However, the informal nature of people's roles as gatekeepers makes their job difficult to recognize, and therefore requires some form or rewards.

Evans and Wensley's research on network structure and trust explores the extent to which network principles determine the level of trust in Communities of Practice. They provide a detailed analysis of the how trust is established and how it functions in CoP: in self‑directed teams, mutual trust takes the place of supervision, and this has a positive impact on knowledge sharing and on innovation.

Rees and Protheroe recommend the joint development of KM and kaizen practices (continuous improvement), embedded into the redevelopment of an existing strategy set, to facilitate the development of knowledge value, and show how this is implemented in the higher education sector.

Aidemark points out the ongoing confusion in the theoretical base of KM, and specifically highlights the complexity and paradoxes that arise between knowledge as information on the one hand, and as competence (or know‑how) on the other hand, and provides models which should improve our awareness of these problems, and help us in developing strategy.

And finally, Devane and Wison, in their paper on Non‑managed Knowledge, provide an interesting critique of traditional approaches to knowledge 'management' and knowledge transfer, and suggests that Coverdale's focus on the development of skills is a better foundation for a company's success. They argue that knowledge should not be seen as something extrinsic, and external that can be managed 'for' individuals, but rather as something intrinsic, in which case the best approach is to allow individuals to manage it themselves.

Conclusion

The papers in this special edition provide new ideas, new critiques, and new research on KM. Most of them in some way also address the very welcome shift from 'management' to 'ecologies', which adds more emphasis on personal roles and at the same time, more emphasis on networking, content and knowledge creation beyond the confines of the traditional Weberian institution. Lawrence's approach is an interesting exemplar of how this can be done, as it integrates well mapped data and basic information structures with flexible, customisable and personalisable knowledge creation and sharing. Perhaps this could be called 'connectable interoperability'?

 

Keywords: action research, agency, assessment, learning organisation, brokerage, case study, certification, closure, communities of practice, cultural memes, culture, digital ecosystem, dynamic knowledge, enterprise renewal, financial accounting, flows of knowledge, goodwill, grounded theory, groups design, healthcare knowledge ecosystem, home health rehabilitation, homophily, information retrieval, information visualisation, innovation intellectual capital, innovation-process, intellectual capital statement audit, interactive systems, kaizen, knowledge audit, knowledge communities, knowledge creation, knowledge elicitation, knowledge gatekeeper, knowledge management frameworks, knowledge management in higher education, knowledge management scan, knowledge management systems, knowledge management systems development, knowledge sharing, knowledge strategy, knowledge transfer, leading firms, network structure, nonprofit organizations, organisational form, organisational learning knowledge, organiz

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 7 Issue 2, ICICKM 2008 / Jun 2009  pp199‑296

Editor: Kevin O'Sullivan

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Keywords: competitive intelligence, conceptual umbrella metaphor, e-business performance, elicitation, enabling context, Ba, European firms, external knowledge, framework G-U-I-N, globalization, higher education, human networks, industry attractiveness, information age, information and communication technology, information communication, integration, intellectual capital, KM in agribusiness, knowledge capitalization, knowledge complexity, knowledge maps, knowledge modelling, knowledge sharing, knowledge transfer, leadership, mapping technique, merging, mind map, m-k toolkit, mobile knowledge, new technology-based firm (NTBF), ontology, research network, risk, social aspects, social network analysis, social software, strategic alliances, strategic information management, strategy formulation process, technologies, technology adoption, technology, Thailand, triple helix model, university-industry interaction, value network, virtual knowledge management, wicked problems

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 7 Issue 3 / Jun 2009  pp297‑397

Editor: Dan Remenyi

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Keywords: competitive intelligence, conceptual umbrella metaphor, e-business performance, elicitation, enabling context, Ba, European firms, external knowledge, framework G-U-I-N, globalization, higher education, human networks, industry attractiveness, information age, information and communication technology, information communication, integration, intellectual capital, KM in agribusiness, knowledge capitalization, knowledge complexity, knowledge maps, knowledge modelling, knowledge sharing, knowledge transfer, leadership, mapping technique, merging, mind map, m-k toolkit, mobile knowledge, new technology-based firm (NTBF), ontology, research network, risk, social aspects, social network analysis, social software, strategic alliances, strategic information management, strategy formulation process, technologies, technology adoption, technology, Thailand, triple helix model, university-industry interaction, value network, virtual knowledge management, wicked problems

 

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