Volume 5 Issue 3 / Jul 2007 pp257‑347
Keywords: architectures for knowledge management systems, business school, case based reasoning, communities of practice, customer relationship management, decision making, discovery query, expert, failure factors, frames, fuzzy logic, Heidegger, info-culture, info-structure, infrastructure, knowledge acquisition, knowledge adaptation, knowledge communication, knowledge dialogues, knowledge dissemination, knowledge generation, knowledge management practices, knowledge management systems, knowledge media, knowledge representation, knowledge transfer, knowledge utilization, knowledgebase, learning organization, ontology, organizational knowledge, popper, predicate logic, production rule, propositional logic, ranking semantic relations, relation robustness, relationship search, semantic associations search, semantic nets, semantic web, social capital, structuration theory, success factors of KM, validation
A Theory‑Based Approach to the Relationship between Social Capital and Communities of Practice pp257‑264
There is almost a consensus that tacit component of organisational knowledge is of critical strategic importance because, unlike explicit knowledge, it is both inimitable and appropriable. Because of its characteristics, organisational tacit knowledge is usually created and shared through highly interactive conversation and shared experience, i.e., through a socialisation process. At the firm's level, the effectiveness of the socialisation process depends on the firm's social capital. At group level, it has been argued that communities of practice form the basis of a firm's ability to create and share tacit knowledge. Therefore, investigating the relationship between social capital, communities of practice and individual human action is crucial in understanding the dynamic of cross level knowledge creation and utilisation and in understanding organisational learning process. In order to study this relationship Giddens' theory of structuration is used as it provides an integrating meta‑theory that recognises social reality as constituted by both subjective human actors and by objective institutional properties and attempts to articulate a process‑oriented approach that relates the realm of human action and institutional realm. Based on Giddens' theory a model of the interaction between human action and social capital of the firm is developed. According to this model such interaction is mediated through a firm's communities of practice, which are conceptualised as the means for realising the different types of modality between social capital and human action. Such conceptualisation of a firm's communities of practice as the means for realising the different types of modality between social capital and human action provides a fine‑grained approach to study the impact of their elements, i.e., shared repertoire, mutual engagement and joint enterprise, on the structural, relational and cognitive dimensions of a firm's social capital respectively. In addition, it explicates the duality of firm's communities of practice, namely: they are both the medium and the outcome of collective human action. This model also shows the need for further research in two areas. First is the study of the constraining roles of a firm's communities of practice in creating and sharing organisational tacit knowledge. Second is the study of social capital influencing organisational members in their relation to communities of practice.
The search tools and information retrieval systems on the contemporary Web use keywords, lexical analysis, popularity, and statistical methods to find and prioritise relevant data to a specific query. In recent years, Semantic web has introduced new approaches to specify Web data using machine‑interpretable structures. This has led to the establishment of new frameworks for search engines and information systems based on discovering complex and meaningful relationships between information resources. In this paper we discuss a semantic supported information search and retrieval system to answer users' information queries. The paper focuses on knowledge discovery aspects of the system and in particular analysis of semantic associations. The information resources are multimedia data, which could be retrieved from heterogeneous resources. The main goal is to provide a hypermedia presentation, which narratively conveys relevant information to the queried term. The structure describes the related entities to the queried topic and a ranking mechanism assigns weights to the entities. The assigned weights express the degree of relevancy of each related entity in the presentation structure.
Keywords: Semantic web, semantic associations' search, relation robustness, ranking semantic relations, relationship search, discovery query
Assessing Success Factors of Knowledge Management Initiatives of Academic Institutions â€” a Case of an Indian Business School pp273‑282
Effective knowledge management is considered to play an increasingly important role in creating competitive advantage. Knowledge is becoming a driving force for organisational change and wealth creation. As a result, organisations are at varying stages of planning and implementing knowledge‑based strategies in efforts to improve their competitiveness, productivity, organisational effectiveness and customer service. However, KM initiatives are both expensive and risky propositions. Financial resources put a ceiling on what can be expended on knowledge activities. There is a huge demand for skilled managers in the global economy, including India. This necessitates a re‑look at knowledge management initiatives in business schools, which can be considered to be knowledge intensive organisations. This paper is a result of an exploratory study that tries to explain the factors influencing the success of knowledge management initiatives in a business school to distinguish itself in the academic market place. A generalised model has been constructed highlighting possible antecedents and consequences of a business school in its quest for becoming a learning organisation. This model is then applied in a reputed business school in India as a test case.
This paper undertakes an ontological analysis of knowledge management systems from two perspectives: Popperian and Heideggerian. Earl's taxonomy of knowledge management schools is used as the proxy for the variety of systems that can be found in practice. The paper takes two contrasting ontological systems to identify generic strengths and weaknesses at the level of the School. The argument is made that many of the issues and difficulties frequently encountered in organisations are unlikely to have managerial or technological solutions as they are ontologically implied by the very systems themselves.
Knowledge Communication Problems between Experts and Decision Makers: an Overview and Classification pp291‑300
In this article we examine the difficulties of knowledge communication among experts and decision makers. We begin by outlining where and how the communication of expertise from specialists to managers is crucial. We then review theoretical constructs that highlight knowledge transfer problems among experts and decision makers. On the basis of this review and using the results from six focus groups and thirty interviews with engineers and managers, we categorise these transfer challenges into five major groups. We distinguish among expert‑ and manager‑caused problems, reciprocal problems, problems due to the interaction situation and problems caused by the organisational context. These categories can be used to guide research on the micro‑aspects of knowledge transfer. Managers can use these problem categories to identify and reduce knowledge transfer barriers in their interaction with specialists.
Keywords: Knowledge transfer, knowledge communication, expert, decision making, knowledge media, knowledge dialogues
The Application of Knowledge Management in Enhancing the Performance of Malaysian Universities pp301‑313
The government's aspirations of making Malaysia a leading international educational centre in the Asian Region has put a strong pressure on local universities to improve the quality of education they offer. One of the major steps that has been identified by the government to achieve this goal is to enhance the performance of local universities through the application and implementation of an excellent knowledge management (KM) system. An effective KM system requires every academician to practice appropriate management of knowledge in his or her teaching and learning activities, which includes, generating, acquiring, storing and disseminating knowledge effectively to users of knowledge, especially students. A study by the Centre for Academic Development (CADe) of Universiti Putra Malaysia in 2005 found that the level of knowledge management practices in Malaysian universities was merely moderate; and to meet the national aspirations, KM practices need to be developed further from various aspects of structure, facilities and culture among the academic players. The objective of this study is to evaluate the level of practice among the academicians and to determine factors contributing to the effectiveness of knowledge management practices at individual, faculty and university level. Eight local universities, both public and private participated in the study. Factor Analysis was used to determine factors affecting the practices of knowledge management while Multiple Regression Analysis was used to analyse and determine the importance of various variables that will add value, thus improve the performance of Malaysian universities. The results indicate that info‑structure support; infrastructure capacity; info‑culture; and knowledge acquisition, generation, storage and dissemination; are important factors in shaping the KM initiatives. Info‑ structure is found to be the most significant variable. This is consistent with other studies, which confirm that people and cultural issues are the most difficult problems to resolve, but tend to produce the greatest benefits.
Keywords: Organisational knowledge, knowledge management practices, infrastructure, info-structure, info-culture
The major bottlenecks in expert system development lie within the processes of eliciting and representing knowledge. Knowledge representation schemes combine data structures, and interpretative procedures that enable the extraction of the knowledge embedded in the data structures. A broad spectrum of knowledge types need to be represented, but available representation techniques are not optimum systems since they vary in level of expressiveness and power. Knowledge demands more than the conventional representation structures used for databases and information. This is because information is derived from processing, refining and analysing raw data. The extra refinement, analysis and addition of heuristics to information converts it to knowledge. This paper discusses the major issues in the quest for an efficient knowledge representation technique and assesses the performance and level of usefulness of some of the most successful approaches in knowledge representation.
Keywords: knowledge representation, knowledgebase, production rule, semantic nets, frames, propositional logic, predicate logic, fuzzy logic
Knowledge Management in Call Centres pp324‑333
Call centres, or their contemporary successors contact centres, are the preferred and prevalent way for many companies to communicate with their customers, but perhaps the greatest challenge of running a call centre, is to ensure that customers are provided with the right information in a timely fashion. Knowledge management has a number of practical tools and strategies to meet this challenge but to leverage the potential of these tools organisations must understand how to implement knowledge management especially in their call centre department. This research paper focuses on five main roles of knowledge management namely; knowledge acquisition, utilisation, adaptation, dissemination and generation, while knowledge management is achieved by identifying and managing these roles efficiently in an organisation. The primary data comprises interviews with managers of the call centre department of two largest car makers in Iran. Using case study approach, this research tries to describe and illustrate how participating companies are managing their organisational knowledge in their call centres, which items are supported under their supervision and which items have not been covered.
Keywords: Knowledge management, customer relationship management, knowledge acquisition, knowledge adaptation, knowledge dissemination, knowledge generation, knowledge utilisation
This article describes a knowledge management (KM) approach conceived from countermeasures targeted at addressing failure factors suggested in the literature. In order to counteract failure factors, the approach combines the technology of knowledge‑based KM systems, with the flexibility and understanding of knowledge facilitators, and the processes of the target community. In the KM system, the approach uses knowledge engineering concepts to represent knowledge artifacts and to enforce managerial responsibilities. By imposing a strict representation format, the approach guides and helps users. It does so by determining what knowledge to contribute, by enabling knowledge collection, and by representing knowledge. The purpose of knowledge facilitators is to complement the limitations of the computer‑ based component by verifying the quality of submitted artifacts and by motivating members to adopt the system. The design and operation of this approach is guided by identifying the processes of the target community and the level of specificity where they are useful. The importance of this contribution is that it offers guidelines to design a KM approach that relies on conclusions from published literature. In addition, it also proposes a means to validate knowledge sharing. A conclusion of this work is that it may be easier to address failure factors of KM approaches when all members of the target community have the same technical goals, are motivated by a common interest, are organized on a flat hierarchy, and are receptive to innovation. In addition, the use of a representation of the community's processes helps standardize capture, guide contributors, and associate existing with new artifacts. This association of artifacts can be used to validate knowledge sharing.
Keywords: Architectures for knowledge management systems, case-based reasoning, community of science, knowledge management systems, knowledge repository, validation