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Saturday, 22 September 2012

Emerald | Journal of Knowledge Management

    Abstract Purpose - In this article, we introduce and discuss the Personal Knowledge Network (PKN) model as an alternative model to KM and PKM that is better adapted to the demands of the new knowledge environments. The PKN model views knowledge as a personal network and represents a knowledge ecological approach to KM.Design/methodology/approach - Knowledge Management (KM) and Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) have attracted attention over the past two decades and are meanwhile considered as important means to increase organizational and individual performance. In this article, we review previous models of KM and PKM and explore their failure to address the problem of knowledge worker performance and to cope with the constant change and critical challenges of the new knowledge era. We further highlight the crucial need for new KM models that have the potential to overcome the shortcomings of previous models. In light of these shortcomings, we introduce and discuss the Personal Knowledge Network (PKN) model as an alternative model to KM and PKM that is better adapted to the demands of the new knowledge environments.Findings - Unlike traditional KM/PKM models which view knowledge as a thing or process, the PKN model views knowledge as a personal network and represents a knowledge ecological approach to KM.Originality/value - The focus on personal knowledge and the links to networks and knowledge ecologies in an innovative slant for consideration within KM.
    Abstract Purpose - The main purpose of this study is to craft and test a framework for the link between knowledge management (KM) and performance in organizations, with a view of providing a deeper understanding of the different KM output levels or stages that this link goes through, as well as highlighting the organizational context of each level in that link. Design/methodology/approach - A survey method has been used to elicit opinions from 167 mid and top level managers from the top 81 Bahraini businesses. Findings - The study results produced a fishbone model. Its spine positioned ‘knowledge management activities’ as the first output level, leading to ‘innovation’ as the second, which in turn impacts the organization’s level of ‘agility’, and finally links to ‘performance’ as the head of that skeletal model. Research limitations/implications - The results highlighted the different organizational enablers for these stages, which have been diagramed as the ribs of the fish skeleton-like model. Originality/value - The framework may become a standard model, i.e. may work as a reference for academics and practitioners to help evaluate which KM level needs to be emphasized, at what time, and then what critical factors managers should work on, in order to maximize the organization’s outcome from each stage of the model.
    Abstract Purpose - To examine processes used to control the management of knowledge resources in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and to compare the findings with the underlying assumptions and prescriptions of intellectual capital guidelines designed for SMEs.Design/methodology/approach - An in-depth case study of a successful Australian SME is conducted to identify the means used for to control strategizing and the management of knowledge resources. Findings - The study finds that strategization and the management of knowledge resources were grounded on informal, intensive dialogue based processes, structured by an overriding management philosophy, governed strategization and the management of knowledge resources. These governance processes were affected by a combination of formal and informal controls and serendipitous outcomes.Research limitations/implications - The paper examines only one organization and the study can be extended to other SMEs to develop more detailed specific policy recommendations. Practical implications - Intellectual capital management guidelines developed for SMEs may have little benefit due to assumptions of resource availability and the fundamental importance of formalization of strategy and control, tTherefore ignoring possible scarcity of resources and the benefits of flexibility and responsiveness afforded by informal controls in SMEs. Our research shows that knowledge harvesting is affected through the way knowledge is used rather than what is developed.Originality/value - The paper empirically examines the management of knowledge resources in an Australian SME and outlines the way formal and informal controls were interwoven in organizational practices to manage knowledge harvesting. It provides a critique of intellectual capital guidelines forin SMEs, highlighting a potential mis-match between practice and key assumptions underlying the guidelines.
    Abstract Purpose - This paper aims to clarify the relationship between explicit and tacit knowledge in specific organizational environments. We explore processes and strategies currently being deployed as best practices in the military to see what we can learn from them and to improve the use of knowledge assets in large-scale organizations in high-velocity and/or turbulent environments. Design/methodology/approach - The paper explores the uses of tacit and explicit knowledge in high velocity/turbulent environments--using examples from the public sector and the private sector. We offer a model for knowledge management in high velocity/turbulent environments (HVTE) and several propositions for further exploration. Findings - The paper provides insights into how and why tacit knowledge is more important to decision making and strategic positioning in high velocity/turbulent environments. High velocity/turbulent environments are defined in the paper and researchable propositions are offered for further consideration.Research limitations/implications - The complexity of knowledge management is enormous. While we considered several major modifying variables, including trust and efficient knowledge distribution systems in our propositions and models, this may not be reflective of all the continually unfolding components of knowledge management. Similarly, the complexities involved with effective training to prepare people in the military or business to deal most effectively with complex situations in high velocity/turbulent environments may require further development and adaptation. The crux of the argument herein, that in HVTEs the dynamics of the unfolding relationships and situations demand an equally dynamic, responsive and innovative knowledge management capability. Practical implications - What we have learned from the military is presented and can serve as lessons for businesses to improve their agility in high velocity/turbulent environments. One reviewer of this paper noted that "he worked in a high velocity/turbulent environment" and that based on this analysis he would not have spent "..time investing in explicit knowledge in this environment." However this requires businesses to (a) recognize what environment they are currently in (stable, high velocity, turbulent); (b) to recognize when the environment is changing; and (c) to adapt knowledge management systems and communication systems that are appropriate for their current environment. Businesses can apply this knowledge in considering the types of environments they operate in and which methods of knowledge transfer would serve them best to remain competitive.Originality/value - This paper addresses what we believe is missing in knowledge management research to date—how and when tacit knowledge is more critical to organizational success than the use of explicit knowledge. The analysis also provides an environmental framework (high velocity/turbulent environments) that distinguishes the use of tacit and explicit knowledge.
    Abstract Purpose - This paper aims at further developing and empirically examining the concept of knowledge-sharing hostility. It analyzes reasons for hoarding knowledge, reasons for rejecting external knowledge, and attitudes towards mistakes, as well as the influence of these factors on actual knowledge-sharing behavior. The paper examines how two specific knowledge-governance mechanisms – commitment-based and transaction-based mechanisms – affect knowledge sharing.Design/methodology/approach - The authors test the hypotheses on a sample of 1,639 respondents in 15 organizations in Denmark.Findings - The authors find that the use of transaction-based mechanisms promotes knowledge-sharing hostility by strengthening individuals’ reasons for hoarding and rejecting knowledge, and by negatively affecting individuals’ attitudes towards sharing knowledge about mistakes. In contrast, the use of commitment-based mechanisms diminishes knowledge-sharing hostility among individuals. Originality/value - The contribution of the paper is two-fold. First, it responds to the clear need to examine individual characteristics related to withholding knowledge in organizations. Second, by delineating specific organizational governance mechanisms that are critical for dealing with knowledge-sharing hostility, this research responds to the call for research aimed at explaining and detailing problems that lie in the intersection of organization and knowledge processes.
    Abstract Purpose - To examine the influence of perceived cost of sharing knowledge and affective trust in colleagues on the relationship between affective commitment and knowledge-sharing.Design/methodology/approach - Survey to 496 employees from 15 organizations across 10 industries. Findings - Affective trust in colleagues moderates the relationship between affective commitment and knowledge sharing and the relationship between cost of knowledge sharing and knowledge sharing. Research limitations/implications - Future researchers should operationalize the perceived cost of knowledge sharing construct to include other potential group barriers; for instance, politics and organizational barriers, for instance, management commitment and lack of trust. Practical implications - The findings of this study suggest that employees who value social relationships and social resources tend to view knowledge as a collectively owned commodity. As such, their knowledge sharing behavior reflects the model of reciprocal social exchanges.Originality/value - This research bridges the gap between the literature on knowledge sharing, perceived cost of knowledge sharing, affective organizational commitment and trust in a single model.
    Abstract Purpose - This paper proposes the factors that increase or lessen an individual’s tendencies to acquire knowledge from others and uncovers the difference between an expert and a novice in the knowledge domain.Design/methodology/approach - This study adopted survey method and examined hypotheses by applying Structural Equation Model Method. The unit of analysis was an individual.Findings - The research illustrates that Individual Knowledge Acquisition is influenced by the recipient’s perceived value of knowledge content and knowledge source. The influence differs between those who are experts and those who are novices in the acquired knowledge domain. Research limitations/implications - The data were collected from organizations that were willing to participate in the study and not randomly selected, the possibility that the samples were atypical of a more general population exists. This study advances theoretical development by highlighting Individual Knowledge Acquisition which fills the gap between two main knowledge management processes i.e. knowledge transfer and knowledge application. Practical implications - Management interest in enhancing knowledge exchange should pay attention to value signals both from knowledge content and knowledge source that influence acquiring knowledge by recipients.Originality/value - By revealing the value factors associated with Individual Knowledge Acquisition and providing empirical evidence, the study contributes to richer understanding of what should be perceived by potential knowledge recipients in order to enhance their acquiring knowledge from others.
    Abstract Purpose - Purpose – The objective of this paper is to develop baseline data on knowledge management (KM) initiatives of business organizations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). UAE is a rapidly growing economy in the Arabian Gulf region and it is timely to assess KM initiatives of UAE companies and the barriers and challenges they face in KM adoption and implementation. Design/methodology/approach - Design/methodology/approach – A survey research design was used to collect data on KM practices of a sample of companies based in the emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Findings - Findings – Importance of KM practices is gradually being recognized in UAE and several organizations have initiated a number of KM-related programs. Most KM initiatives are focused on explicit knowledge, and companies are investing significant resources in building their ICT infrastructure. The study documents the importance of a companywide KM strategy, top management commitment, proactive HRM policies, and a supportive cultural environment as the critical success factors to advance KM practice and theory in UAE. Research limitations/implications - Research limitations – The study employed a non-probability sample which limits its ability to generalize findings to the larger population of UAE business organizations. Practical implications - Practical implications – The study offers much-needed baseline data on KM initiatives of UAE companies, the benefits they associate with KM and barriers they must overcome to implement KM practices. These baseline data are expected to encourage further research on KM in UAE and other Gulf countries.Originality/value - Originality/value – The study represents a first systematic and comprehensive attempt at reporting baseline data on KM adoption in UAE.
    Abstract Purpose - This study investigates whether KM contributes to the development of strategic orientation and to enhance innovativeness, and whether these three factors contribute to improve business performance. Design/methodology/approach - A sample of 241 Brazilian companies was surveyed, using Web-based questionnaires with 54 questions, using ten-point scales to measure the degree of agreement on each item of each construct. Structural equation modeling techniques were applied for model assessment and analysis of the relationships among constructs. Exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, and path analysis using the technique of Structural Equation Modeling were applied to the data. Findings - Effective KM contributes positively to strategic orientation. Although there is no significant direct effect of KM on innovativeness, the relationship is significant when mediated by strategic orientation. Similarly, effective KM has no direct effect on business performance, but this relationship becomes statistically significant when mediated by strategic orientation and innovativeness. Research limitations/implications - The findings indicate KM permeates all relationships among the constructs, corroborating the argument that knowledge is an essential organizational resource that leverages all value-creating activities. The results indicate that both KM and innovativeness produce significant impacts on performance when they are aligned with a strategic orientation that enables the organization to anticipate and respond to changing market conditions.Originality/value - There is a substantial body of research on several types of relationships involving KM, strategic orientation, innovativeness and performance. This study offers an original contribution by analyzing all of those constructs simultaneously, using established scales so that comparative studies are possible.
    Abstract Purpose - Drawing on the concept of fit, this present research try to propose a KM fit model within which KM strategy, IT strategy, and HRM strategy are coalignment and empirically test this fit model with empirical data.Design/methodology/approach - Data for hypotheses testing are collected from top-ranked companies in Taiwan; yielding 161 valid samples. Performance implications of fit are examined using multiple perspectives with covariation and matching approaches.Findings - The findings showed that the holistic perspective of fit as covariation supported the fit relationships on business performance. In addition, with the reductionistic perspective of fit as matching, the findings also showed their bivariate relationships have significant impacts on business performance. Research limitations/implications - A successful KM project must take various attributes into account, to ensure a positive outcome. In such a context, organization, process, human resources, and IT are thought to be the key elements and enablers for best KM practices. Thus, cogitating and integrating various factors related to the KM area are considered by researchers to be most important tasks. However, fit mechanism is a dynamic process. The authors suggest that future research should adopt a longitudinal view to deal with the dynamic changes that may occur in fit operations.Practical implications - Originality/value - There has been little attempt to explore KM issues by using multiple perspectives to examine the performance implications of fit on business performance. Thus, the authors posit that performance measuring in growth and profitability are affected by fit among these three KM-related strategies.
    Abstract Purpose - Within the expansive body of literature on knowledge management, very little research is found that examines the use of teams as a sub-process for knowledge management. This article addresses this limitation by providing a theoretical framework that examines the similarities between the benefits of incorporating teams into the workplace and incorporating knowledge management principles. Recognizing that knowledge management has several critical dimensions, the framework that ties workplace teams to each of these knowledge management dimensions is built. Knowledge management and teams in the workplace are viewed at the individual, team and organizational level of analysis. Design/methodology/approach - This is a conceptual paper. This paper reviews current literature on teams and matches the functions of teams to those of knowledge management critical dimensions as outlined by Argote et al. (2003): knowledge management context and knowledge management outcomes.Findings - This paper identifies the deficit in current literature by placing teams as a sub-process for knowledge management. Additionally, this paper identifies the benefits teams can have on an organization within the knowledge management process.Originality/value - This research contributes to the field by offering a framework that can serve to further the research on utilizing teams as a sub-process to knowledge management. Teams are identified as a sub-process to the knowledge management process within an organizational framework.
    Abstract Purpose - This paper reports on research investigating storytelling as a means of eliciting tacit knowledge from retiring subject matter experts (SMEs) within a large South African organization. Design/methodology/approach - Sixty-four stories were collected over a 12 month period covering a varied range of technical disciplines and were analysed using grounded theory principles combined with expert reviews.Findings - Despite the diverse nature of the stories they were able to be coded and categorised into 21 knowledge management constructs which, were further refined by expert review down to 14 final constructs. Research limitations/implications - The main limitation of this study is the generalizability of the findings, which may be limited by the fact the study was conducted in one large South African organisation.Practical implications - A common language is a key prerequisite for sharing knowledge. Every discipline within an organisation has its own language by which it communicates with insiders; this is particularly true of the ICT field. Through the common language of KM, tacit knowledge from SMEs can be elicited and classified for future access by people of all levels within the organisation.Originality/value - To the author’s knowledge this is the first attempt at classifying organizational stories using a knowledge management (KM) frame. The work presented in this paper is a step towards a KM taxonomy of organisational stories.
    Abstract Purpose - To essentially highlight the relationship between individual tacit knowledge and bounded awareness in managerial decision-making.Design/methodology/approach - A review pertinent literature on bounded awareness, individual tacit knowledge and decision-making as well as that on the NASA Challenger disaster of 1986. We then build logical arguments towards three distinct propositions.Findings - The distinct three propositions are: (a) managers’ dependence upon their existing tacit knowledge interacts with the bounds on their awareness in a cycle of positive reinforcement, (b) different decision makers in the organization can experience differing bounds on their awareness towards the same piece of information and (c) the tension between experiences of success and failure influences the development of bounded awareness in individuals.Research limitations/implications - This study reflects on only a single case of decision-making failure in its analyses. A variegated sample of different failures in multiple contexts might lead to finer insights.Practical implications - These realizations bring to fore a paradoxical property of dependence on tacit knowledge that it can be beneficial but can sometimes be harmful. This has implications for the field of knowledge management, wherein tacit knowledge is often a central construct.Originality/value - To the best of our knowledge, the relationship between bounded awareness and individual tacit knowledge has not been explicitly discussed before. Our propositions can open useful new avenues for future researchers on the antecedents of, and remedies for, bounds on managerial awareness during decision-making.
    Abstract Purpose - The aim of this paper is to empirically test the degree of influence of different knowledge sharing mechanisms (ICT-based, personal interaction-based, and embedded in management processes) on innovation capability (both on ideation and on innovation project management), as well as the influence of each first-level innovation capacity on company performance.Design/methodology/approach - A questionnaire has been designed and addressed to the CEOs of the companies making up the target population (Spanish and Colombian medium-high and high technology firms with more than 50 employees and R&D activities). Structural equation modelling (SEM) based on partial least squares (PLS) has then been applied to test the hypotheses drawn from the research.Findings - The results obtained show that knowledge sharing is a key issue in order to enhance innovation capability. With the exception of ICT-based knowledge sharing mechanisms (whose influence on the generation of new ideas is not statistically significant), all types of mechanism considered exert a significant impact both on ideation and on innovation project management (although their degree of relevance varies), and account for a great deal of variance in both constructs. Differences between countries arise when it comes to the influence of each first-level innovation capacity on company performance. Research limitations/implications - Traditional limitations of cross-sectional studies apply.Originality/value - The main contribution of this paper is to provide empirical evidence about the impact of knowledge sharing on innovation. Moreover, it reveals what the most effective knowledge sharing mechanisms are for this purpose and provides companies with a basic framework in order to shape their knowledge management strategies in this domain.
    Abstract Purpose - The aim of this paper is to shed light on how subsidiary willingness to transfer knowledge is influenced by formal control mechanisms from headquarters, and how this affects knowledge transfer performance. Design/methodology/approach - The study highlights and tests the influence of two formal control mechanisms: formal demand to transfer knowledge from headquarters, and performance evaluation system related to knowledge transfer. This is tested by subjecting a dataset of 149 knowledge transfer processes, to a two-stage least square regression analysis. Findings - The robust results indicate that formal evaluation systems related to subsidiary knowledge transfer increases subsidiary willingness to transfer, and subsequently knowledge transfer performance, whereas formal demand by headquarters to share knowledge show a negative but not significant impact.Practical implications - The results highlight the strategic importance of eliminating motivational barriers in order to enhance knowledge transfer performance. By using outbound knowledge as a criterion when evaluating the subsidiary, managers can increase transfer performance by fostering subsidiary willingness to perform knowledge transfer. Originality/value - The findings indicate that KM in terms of subsidiary transfer willingness and transfer performance can be fostered and enhanced by the introduction of formal evaluation systems related to knowledge sharing. The results also contribute by revealing that formal control mechanisms differ in their degree of influence in terms of fostering subsidiary transfer willingness and transfer performance.
    Abstract Purpose - The aim of this paper is to review research on knowledge management in small and medium-sized enterprises to identify gaps in the current body of knowledge which justify future research directions. Design/methodology/approach - The study consists of a systematic review of 36 refereed empirical articles on knowledge management and small and medium-sized enterprises. Findings - The areas of knowledge management implementation, knowledge management perception, and knowledge transfer are relatively well researched topics; whereas those of knowledge identification, knowledge storage / retention and knowledge utilisation are poorly understood. Given the prevalence of small and medium-sized enterprises there is a strong need for more research on this important topic. The future research directions proposed by the authors may help to develop a greater understanding of knowledge management in small and medium-sized enterprises. Research limitations/implications - By only using the ProQuest database this study may not have allowed a complete coverage of all empirical articles in the field of knowledge management in small and medium-sized enterprises. Yet, it is believed that the findings provide a valuable understanding of the current situation in this research field. The study proposes a number of future research directions which may stimulate more intensive research in this important field. Originality/value - To the best of the authors´ knowledge, no systematic literature review on this topic has previously been published in academic journals.
    Abstract Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explore the development of a Knowledge Management Strategy at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and how this was used to improve the activities of the payments system processes of the Bank.Design/methodology/approach - Literature research and a case study were used.Findings - The need to align KM Strategy with Business Strategy was identified as critical to the success of KM. It was discovered that focusing KM on the payments system process areas helped create value and drive business results. A combined approach of codification and personalization was adopted for the KM program of CBN. The strategy adopted involved using a two-pronged approach of Communities of Practice and a functional portal to drive knowledge management. The paper identified that this strategy is adding value to the organization and increasing knowledge flows across a dispersed and distributed work environment. Originality/value - Knowledge management in large public sector organizations in Africa is not common. Equally, KM in regulatory financial institutions like Central Banks in Africa is not very common. This paper highlights the challenges of implementing a KM program in a distributed, dispersed and networked public sector organization with thirty six branches serving a population of 160 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa.
    Abstract Purpose - This study extends the view of "fit as holistic configurations" to explore how to use KM (knowledge management) processes and KMS (knowledge management system) capabilities appropriately according to the tasks characteristics subunits perform in aerospace manufacturer. In this regard, four theoretical ideal profiles of KM processes (socialization, externalization, combination, and internalization) and KMS capabilities (codification capability and network capability) for organizational subunits are developed based on their task characteristics ( 1).focused, process-oriented tasks, 2). focused, content-oriented tasks, 3). broad, process-oriented tasks, and 4). focused, content-oriented tasks).Design/methodology/approach - Our empirical study was conducted at a knowledge intensive and engineering-oriented aerospace company. Twelve functional subunits performing a variety of tasks were selected as our samples. This study employed qualitative and quantitative methods to understand the subunits’ task attributes. We collected data from 12 subunits, and a total of 212 valid questionnaires were analyzed. PLS-Graph was used to assess the relationships of the research model.Findings - The empirical support for the argument that the fit among KM processes, KMS capabilities and task characteristics can improve KM performance. Results reveal that fit significantly affect knowledge satisfaction, knowledge quality and creativity for subunits performing focused, process-oriented and broad, process-oriented tasks. Research limitations/implications - The findings reflect the fact that individuals within organizational subunits should use the four KM processes of appropriate levels to generate new knowledge to accomplish their tasks.Originality/value - This study used a multidimensional and multi-item approach to test the effect of factors on KM performance, and is the first study to identify ideal profiles of KM process and KMS capability for different organizational subunits.

Emerald | Journal of Knowledge Management

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