Knowledge Management Research_ Mutaz Ayed
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Knowledge Management and Business
Mutaz Tayseer Ayed
Knowledge becomes one of the main key resources in organizations and firms because of its
economic benefits in addition to the traditional keys, financial capital, labour, and land.
Leading companies in the world now invest huge amount of money on technology and
research of knowledge management in order to elicit knowledge and know-how from
experienced practitioner minds, because of the tremendous pressure in competition in modern
Companies now a day are hiring minds more than hands. The importance of knowledge is
indicated in different fields and aspects; it solved many firms problems and saved finance
and time. On the other hand, firms who did not respond to the need of the knowledge
management lost a competitive advantage in the global market.
(Becerra-Fernandez, et al., 2004) In 1969, the most significant achievement in mankind
history arose when Neil Armstrong became the first human walking on the moon. This
historical event was a bittersweet symphony for NASAs chief Sylvia Fries, sweet for the
celebration of people, but, it was bitter because of the knowledge that evaporated in the first
lunar adventure. Apollo 11 had 4KB (RAM), 74KB of auxiliary memory, and no disk drive.
Furthermore, Carruthers mentioned: In aerospace industry the profits of knowledge can be
identify in the learning curve, which illustrate the ability of aircraft manufacturer like Boeing
and Airbus to manufacture the same aircraft that cost 5 Billion with approximately 200
Million and reduce the time needed to manufacture a plane and its parts. This could not be
done without managing and collecting the knowledge, know-how, and expertise skills in 5
years of manufacturing, reporting, searching, and correcting.
Figure 1: Learning curve in Aerospace industry
(Barnes, 2002)Technology changes, education, customer power, and high demand, changed
the business and economy standards, increasing the pressure on firms to cope with market
demands and changes. Many strategies had been developed trying to react with pressure and
be flexible such as, business process re-engineering (Hammer and Champy, 1983), total
quality management (Edward Deming, 1986), downsizing (Trimmer, 1993)etc.
However, all these theories had a transient and limited effect, which push to rethink about
ideas that achieve competitive advantage. Barnes continued, the focus shifted to a source-
based view, it means to look at the organization resources as a key of competitive advantage.
This view found uniqueness between the capability and resources of the organization.
Moreover, knowledge and information found as a competitive differentiator as the knowledge
of expertise and know-how knowledge to become a valuable to be managed, captured,
shared, and created. Consequently, the field of knowledge management was born and then
(Barnes, 2002) Used Nonaka (1994) and Huber (1991) knowledge definition as a justified
personal vision comes as a result of experience and skills that increases an individuals
capacity to take effective action and decision that supports the organization.
Different scientists and writers tried to define knowledge clearly, but the argument still
existing for these days. The common thing between all views is that knowledge created from
after being data, then information which is meaningful, understandable and useful.
Figure 2: Data, information and knowledge structure
Tacit and explicit knowledge
One of the terms in knowledge management is to know the distinction between the two types
of knowledge, tacit and explicit. (Hawryszkiewycs, 2010, p. 73) Explicit knowledge is the
one able to be codified, structured and unstructured, which make it easier to understand and
managed. Knowledge of last years sales is an example on explicit structured knowledge that
can be understood. Stories about workers experience with customers by a creative and
experience background is an unstructured knowledge.
On the other hand, tacit is the knowledge which individuals have in their minds as a result of
experience, data and creativity in solving problems, a combination of facts and cognitive
process used by people which is not easy to be codified or stored. (Hawryszkiewycs, 2010, p.
Is knowledge manageable?
Obviously, as it is hard to be absorbed from individual minds, knowledge itself is not
manageable. The process needed to encourage people to share, develop, and increase the
intellectual capital in a firm or organization is the manageable.
Approximately 42% of knowledge resides inside individuals brains, therefore; a
management system should be implemented in the firm to route map connects all firms
members to understand their responsibilities, relevance with the firm and to access the
available and needed knowledge to share, increase and develop firms intellect capacity.
Knowledge management (KM), Knowledge management systems (KMS)
Knowledge management is one of the most important today in research and industry.
Although it is playing a main role in business, it is difficult to define it because of many
seasons, such as, the difficulty to define the knowledge itself, how to absorb knowledge, how
hard to point to something and say it is a knowledge.
(Hislop, 2013, p. 49) In order to define and understand Knowledge management, both
terms should be clearly understood and defined. As mentioned before, many scientists
defined and argued about knowledge, the ability to manage.
However, Alvesson and Karreman (2001) suggestion about knowledge management literature
weakness is to define management by its unproblematic and self-evident. To understand
knowledge management clearly, talking about management is important as much as
knowledge. Therefore, the term management used as a noun, refers to a group of people who
have responsibility for managing people and other organizational resources. Used as an
adjective, management refers to the process by which people and organizational resources are
controlled and coordinated with the intention of achieving particular objectives. (Hislop,
2013, p. 50)
(Davenport, 1994, p. 124) defined knowledge management (KM) as the process of sharing,
capturing, developing, and effectively store and use organisational knowledge using different
approaches to make the best use of knowledge support achieving organisational goals and
(Caokes, 2003) Knowledge management is the name given to the set of systematic actions
that an organization can take to obtain the greatest value from the knowledge available to it.
(McInerney, 2002, p. 1009) Knowledge management is an effort to increase useful
knowledge within the organization. Ways to do this include encouraging communication,
offering opportunities to learn, and promoting the sharing of appropriate knowledge.
Arguably, Davenport can be considered as the most general definition because it described
the different processes of the knowledge, create and absorb knowledge, under management
term and the necessity of being beneficial for the organization, which is the business or
Caokes definition spots the light on the importance of the sequence, the need of a system, and
how much is the value obtained from KM without specify exactly what are the systematic
actions unlike the other definition. On the other hand, McInerney has been specific even more
than Davenport by mention ways to share, create, and develop knowledge, by encouraging,
communicate, learn, promote.
Consequently, KM is the process of managing the systematic plan which main target is to
share, create, develop valuable knowledge by communicating, socializing, and encourage
learning; to achieve organizations objectives and competitive advantage.
(Singh, 2013, p. 212) Companies whom are relying and compete on expertise knowledge
(e.g., professional services companies and management consulting firms) started to
implement information systems to expedite the integration, storing, and codification the
knowledge of the organization, as Singh quoted from Alavi, 1997; Bartlett, 1996; Sensiper,
1997 , this system referred to knowledge management system KMS.
The difference KMS and information management system IMS
Basically, IMS is the tool of managing information by collect, store, and categorize
information to support management in firms to do the job, in addition to analyse and
summarise reports. It gives indications about service quality, customer satisfaction, and
employee efficiency. (Benson & Standing, 2008, p. 79).
They added; IMS can be divided or work in five categories: management reporting system,
decision support system, expert system, executive information system, and groupware.
It can be conclude, the main difference between KMS and IMS is the flow of knowledge in
KMS and information in IMS. In KMS knowledge should be created from experience and
know-how in individuals mind and the need to redirect it by socializing and sharing to create
another valuable knowledge, on the other hand, IMS