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

Knowledge Networking: A Strategy to Improve Workplace Health & Safety Knowledge Transfer  pp37-44

Mario Roy, Robert Parent, Lise Desmarais

© Nov 2003 Volume 1 Issue 2, Editor: Fergal McGrath, pp1 - 226

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Abstract

This article proposes a Knowledge Networking approach to the development of Workplace Health & Safety Knowledge in order to overcome the limits and obstacles associated with the more traditional linear model of Knowledge Transfer in organisations. The province of Québec has developed a Network approach to managing workplace health and safety that is highly regarded by health & safety practitioners and researchers throughout Canada. Its research arm, the Robert Sauvé Research Institute on Workplace Health & Safety (IRSST) also uses a Knowledge Network approach to guide its research agenda. The success of those network initiatives has led the Eastern Canada Research Consortium on Workplace Health & Safety to create a Knowledge Transfer Research Laboratory (KTLab) to support research on the transfer of WHS best practices develop in Québec and elsewhere to Atlantic Canada using a networking approach.

 

Keywords: Knowledge Transfer, Knowledge Networks, Virtual Team, Workplace Health and Safety, Information Technology

 

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Journal Article

At the Crossroads of Knowledge Management and Social Software  pp1-10

Gabriela Avram

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

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Abstract

The growing phenomenon of Social Software seems to provide an opportunity to complement the top‑down approach based on central knowledge repositories with tools that are simpler, smarter and more flexible. This article in‑ cludes a brief description of the main categories of Social Software — weblogs, wikis and social networking sites — fol‑ lowed by an analysis of their utilisation in relation to the five core Knowledge Management activities of the Knowledge Management taxonomy proposed by Despres & Chauvel in 1999. Examples that illustrate the support Social Software could provide for knowledge management are presented. Finally, some of the problems that hinder the usage of Social Software tools, together with some of the latest developments and trends in the field are mentioned.

 

Keywords: Social Software, weblog, wiki, social networks, knowledge acquisition, knowledge sharing

 

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Journal Article

Sharing Knowledge in the Organisation: a Retrospective Analysis and an Empirical Study  pp229-242

Haris Papoutsakis

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

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Abstract

Knowledge has long ago been recognised as an important asset for sustaining competitive advantage. Recently, the use of information technologies for knowledge‑sharing within an organisation is identified as an important tool for managing organisational knowledge in order to improve business performance. This paper starts with a retrospective analysis of the basic theories that during the course of the 20 century, gave birth to the Knowledge‑based Theory of the Firm. Then it focuses on Knowledge Sharing within the organisation, and the Knowledge Sharing Networks that facilitate this complicated task. Through an empirical study, it evaluates the role and the level of contribution of Information Technology functions and infrastructure among knowledge‑sharing groups, for their relationship and the organisation's performance. Finally, building upon both the theoretical analysis and the empirical results, the paper concludes with guidelines that help management to overcome existing barriers and at the same time, make Knowledge Sharing Networks the backbone of their knowledge‑sharing infrastructure.

 

Keywords: organisational knowledge, knowledge sharing networks, information technology, organisational performance

 

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Journal Article

A Model of Antecedents of Knowledge Sharing  pp419-426

Radwan Alyan Kharabsheh

© Jan 2008 Volume 5 Issue 4, Editor: Charles Despres, pp347 - 550

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Abstract

In the new era of the knowledge economy, knowledge‑based work has replaced regular, sequential work with its characteristics of flexibility, complexity, and high uncertainty (Shieh‑Chieh that knowledge is one of the most competitive resources for the dynamic global business environment (Sharif 2005). Within this context, an organisation's ability to effectively implement knowledge‑based activities becomes increasingly vital for the development and sustenance of competitive advantage (De Carolis, 2003; Grant, 1996). Fundamentally, knowledge‑based activities include the creation and integration of knowledge, the accumulation and utilisation of knowledge, and the learning and sharing of knowledge and together, these comprise knowledge management (Shieh‑Chieh management (Szulanski, 1996; Gupta and Govindarajan, 2000). Egan (2003) argued that the effective flow of knowledge is only sustainable through people. Geraint (1998) contended that too much faith has been invested in technology at the expense of people issues. Despite the fact that factors affecting the behaviour of knowledge sharing have been quite heavily investigated (Wasko and Faraj, 2000; Ardichvili al. dimensions have been conducted (Fu and Lee, 2005). This paper looks at how organisations can become more sophisticated at supporting knowledge sharing, by identifying antecedents of knowledge sharing. The basic premise of this paper is that effective knowledge sharing has three interrelated links. The first link relates to knowledge values held by organisational members, i.e. learning orientation which describes three organisational values routinely associated with the predisposition of the firm to learn: commitment to learning, open‑mindedness, and shared vision. The second link relates to market orientation which typically focuses on three components: customer focus, competitor focus and inter‑functional coordination. The final link relates to the organisations' absorptive capacity which is defined as 'the ability to recognise the value of new external information, assimilate it, and apply it to commercial ends'. The paper also argues that the successful sharing of knowledge requires enablers in the form of information technology infrastructure, a reward system that reinforces and encourages knowledge sharing activities and a positive social interaction that creates trust among organisational members. The paper represents work in progress. The final version of the proposed model will be tested in technology parks in Australia and Malaysia.

 

Keywords: Knowledge sharing, learning orientation, market orientation, networks, reward, technology

 

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Journal Article

Exploration of Knowledge Sharing Challenges in Value Networks: a Case Study in the Finnish Grocery Industry  pp505-514

Hanna Timonen, Jari Ylitalo

© Jan 2008 Volume 5 Issue 4, Editor: Charles Despres, pp347 - 550

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Abstract

Business activities are increasingly organized through networks. This article considers the value network of the Finnish grocery industry, a network where the web of relationships between two or more companies creates tangible and intangible value through the complex and dynamic exchanges. In value networks the relationships between the participants of the network tend to be more complex than the traditional make‑buy‑relationships, as companies create value together through different types of relationships such as deep buyer‑supplier‑relationships or strategic partnerships. This variance in the nature and level of collaborative relationships poses new challenges to knowledge sharing. Complementing previous research on the challenges to knowledge sharing in other network settings, this article explores the knowledge sharing challenges specific to value networks based on a qualitative case study about the value network of the Finnish grocery industry. The data consists of 32 thematic interviews of top and upper management representatives from 16 companies in the value network. The results show that the current collaborative relationships in the Finnish grocery industry are functional and working, but mostly just traditional "arms‑length" buyer‑supplier‑relationships. However, the challenges to knowledge sharing seem to be somewhat different to those present in other network settings. The challenges to knowledge sharing in value networks do not seem to concern so much the opportunities for knowledge sharing, but the motivational and cultural factors affecting what knowledge is shared and how much knowledge is shared. Based on these results, the knowledge sharing challenges of the value network can be crystallized under three points. First, the focus of knowledge sharing has been on information, and the organizational arrangements do not encourage the sharing of valuable know‑how. Second, the organizational cultures and top management directives do not encourage external knowledge sharing, and therefore knowledge is not shared. And third, the experiences of past abuses of trust and the retail groups renewed focus on price bargaining undermine the trust between the companies, thus inhibiting knowledge sharing.

 

Keywords: knowledge sharing, knowledge sharing challenges, value networks, collaboration, case studies

 

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Journal Article

Mapping Social Networks among Crystallographers in South Africa  pp83-92

Gretchen Smith

© Oct 2008 Volume 6 Issue 2, ICICKM 2007, Editor: Rembrandt Klopper, pp1 - 116

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Abstract

The author adopts the premise that technological innovation, a critical factor in the long‑term economic growth of any country, can only function successfully within a social environment that provides relevant knowledge and information inputs into the innovative process. This is dependent on the efficient transfer and communication of knowledge and information which in turn relates to the amount and quality of interaction among scientists and technologists. These factors prompted a research project that used social network analysis techniques to investigate knowledge exchange and to map the knowledge network structure and communication practices of a group of scientists engaged with crystallographic research. This paper is based on this research project. The findings provide clear evidence of a strong social network structure among crystallographers in South Africa. A core nucleus of prominent, well connected and interrelated crystallographers constituted the central network of scientists that provided the main impetus to keep the network active. This eminent group of crystallographers were not only approached far more frequently for information and advice than any of their colleagues, but they also frequently initiated interpersonal and formal information communication acts. It was clear that this core group had achieved a standard of excellence in their work, were highly productive; very visible in their professional community and they generally played a pivotal role in the social network. They generally maintained a high professional profile in the crystallography community and within the general field of science, published profusely, and generally emerged as the archetypal sociometric stars in their field. It is thus clear that high productivity, professional involvement, innovation capacity and network connectivity are intricately interwoven. The crystallographers' work environment and concomitant work structure clearly affected network interaction. Working in a group structure stimulated network interaction, professional activity and productivity. A further benefit was that the leaders of these groups generally assumed gatekeeper roles that facilitated networking and ensured the importation and interpretation of new information and knowledge. It was clear that social networks operate more effectively in areas, such as Gauteng, where a sufficient number of scientists were amassed.

 

Keywords: knowledge transfer information communication social networks crystallographers scientists

 

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Journal Article

Knowledge Management Practices and Challenges in International Networked NGOs: The Case of One World International  pp93-102

J Gretchen Smith, Patricia Mweene Lumba

© Oct 2008 Volume 6 Issue 2, ICICKM 2007, Editor: Rembrandt Klopper, pp1 - 116

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Abstract

This paper is based on the outcomes of a study that explored the knowledge management practices and challenges in an international NGO network. The investigation constituted comparative case studies of two centres (one in Zambia and the other in the Netherlands) belonging to a single international network. An empirically grounded framework of knowledge management practices based on the taxonomy proposed by Holsapple and Joshi was utilised as the reference framework for the study. The framework provided guidelines to characterize factors that influence organizational knowledge management; knowledge manipulation activities (processes) and organizational knowledge resources. The results of the empirical study confirm that a variety of factors affect knowledge management behaviours in an organization. These factors include managerial and internal controls such as management styles and incentives for knowledge creation and sharing; resource influences; and environmental influences relating to an organization's culture and the needs of partner organizations. The study highlights important variation in diversity, gaps and perceptions in managing knowledge between centres in the network that are based in Europe and Africa. This is despite significant communality in knowledge management processes and infrastructures. The results further show that institutionalization of knowledge management practices within a network seem to enable or constrain knowledge management at centre and network level. Recommendations are proposed to improve knowledge management practices at local and international level and include enhanced technical and advisory services at international level; capacity building; creating greater awareness of knowledge management; decentralization of knowledge management processes; implementation of a knowledge management strategy at network level and improving relationships between centres. The authors conclude that networked NGO's and specifically OWI could operate more efficiently and incrementally enhance service provision by leveraging their knowledge resources more effectively. It is in this light that knowledge management practices should be examined in NGOs and particularly networks with their complex structures and attendant reoccurring and unavoidable problems.

 

Keywords: non governmental organisations, NGOs, networks, development, knowledge management, Zambia, Netherlands

 

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Journal Article

Social Networking and the Transfer of Knowledge  pp165-178

Graeme Smith

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

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Abstract

For the purpose of this paper, supply chain management is the process of planning, implementing, and controlling the operations as efficiently as possible within the sales and marketing environment. The supply chain spans the tracking of all transactions from the identification of prospective customers; through quote to order conversion; fulfilment; and on to post sales support. As an intense human activity customer supply chains are wholly dependent on knowledge and require social network activity to transfer that knowledge to the point of need in order to reduce process variation. This paper builds upon work undertaken previously by the author, which developed an organisational model of the social interactions affecting knowledge transfer within organisations (Smith et al 2003). This paper also discusses the problems of knowledge location, the ability to share (as well as willingness); the prevention of knowledge attrition through a programme of knowledge definition (codification); knowledge retention; and knowledge transfer across the customer interface. The argument is made that whilst much information is being shared, the knowledge that makes such information useful must also be transferred or new desired outcomes will not emerge. In order to share such knowledge, lessons were learned from three major studies that were carried out in 2004, 2006 and 2007; to determine the extent of failure to transfer knowledge within the sales and marketing supply chain at Ordnance Survey. As a result of these studies, a programme of work was put in place to identify knowledge silos, acting as centres of excellence in the supply chain putting in place a project to preserve and transfer knowledge from these silos, to facilitate learning and reduce knowledge attrition. This paper focuses on empirical evidence from these studies and the impact that this knowledge management project has had on the efficacy of the supply chain to deliver the desired outcomes.

 

Keywords: knowledge management knowledge transfer social networks supply chain business process management

 

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