Towards Framework for Knowledge Management Implementation

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To remain competent in the increasingly competitive global markets, enterprises must focus on a strategy to better manage the knowledge that is becoming their greatest asset.

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  1. Knowledge and Process Management Volume 12 Number 4 pp 259–277 (2005) Published online in Wiley InterScience ( DOI: 10.1002/kpm.234 & Research Article Towards Framework for Knowledge Management Implementation Ravi Shankar1* and Amol Gupta2 1 Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Hauz Khas, New Delhi, India 2 GE Software Systems, Block A, First Floor South Wing, Cyber Gateways, HITEC City, Madhapur, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India The implementation of knowledge management (KM) in an organization involves the integra- tion of knowledge from the domains of strategy, structure, processes, and technology. These domains are generally underpinned—when assimilating roadmaps for holistic KM implemen- tation—with standard KM models in the literature. The pioneering models manifesting the holistic ‘growth’ of knowledge in an organization are generally used to underpin the knowledge-based segregation of organizational structure. However, some authors take a criti- cal view of such theoretical models, and instead suggest the knowledge process-based models manifesting the ‘circulation’ of knowledge as being a more practical approach to KM imple- mentation. This paper takes the implementation-oriented approach further, and modifies and integrates the fundamental aspects of KM advocated in these models resulting in the crea- tion of an integrated KM model that renders a practical framework for the broad knowledge processes across the organization. The essence of the proposed integrated model are the knowledge activities permeating an organization, which are categorized in terms of the cyclic knowledge processes of creation, organization, dissemination, and use of knowledge. These processes traverse the segregated structure of an enterprise. It is suggested that a modified knowledge-based segregation of enterprise into individual and group, organization, customer interface, and global enterprise be developed based on the cyclic knowledge processes. Further, based on the proposed integrated model, an imple- mentation framework is outlined manifesting the cyclic circulation of knowledge across the organization. Such a framework can provide a link in the KM roadmaps between the abstract categorizations in KM models and the actual implementations using technologies, organiza- tions, and people. Copyright # 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. INTRODUCTION proactively capturing the dynamic customer demands and reorganizing its production pro- To remain competent in the increasingly competi- cesses and structure to meet these demands are tive global markets, enterprises must focus on a the primary attributes of a ‘learning organization.’ strategy to better manage the knowledge that is In addition, greater innovation in product develop- becoming their greatest asset. Effectively and ment and customer service entails an enhanced emphasis on the management of knowledge. Knowledge assets in an organization, in form of the expertise of employees, production architec- *Correspondence to: Dr. Ravi Shankar, Associate Professor, tures, and IT systems and corporate repositories Department of Management Studies, Viswakarma Building, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Hauz Khas, New Delhi are considered the focal point for management of 110 016, India. E-mail: knowledge. Copyright # 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
  2. RESEARCH ARTICLE Knowledge and Process Management The strategies for knowledge management This paper focuses on the use of fundamental KM (KM) implementation in real world and in the models from literature to underpin the organiza- research landscape are related to ‘personalization’ tional structure and processes for KM implementation. and ‘codification’ of knowledge (Hansen et al., We suggest that the aspects advocated in these funda- 1999). In the personalization strategy, knowledge mental models may not be absolutely appropriate for is closely tied to the person who created it KM implementation; rather, they may be molded to and disseminated through person-to-person a form more suitable during the implementation knowledge sharing networks. In a codification phase. For this, we identify from literature the funda- strategy, a knowledge object is developed by mental aspects of KM pertinent to the design of removing customer or project sensitive informa- knowledge processes and organizational structure tion and stored in repositories for later use. A (Section Introduction). These aspects are modified company deploys a combination of these strate- using a perspective oriented to sustaining knowledge gies focusing on one and using the other in a sup- creation when implementing KM in the organization port function. Addressing the strategy, Mentzas (Section KM Models in Literature). The modified et al. (2001) suggested that a holistic conceptual aspects are then integrated with the objective of pro- framework be created to provide a roadmap for posing an integrated KM model that will be useful in managers in ensuring integrity in KM implemen- knowledge-based segregation of organizational tation efforts. The roadmap suggests that success- structure and the design of knowledge activities ful KM implementation is a truly holistic venture and processes (Section Modified Perspective of that should leverage the knowledge assets and Fundamental KM Aspects). To provide a practical employee networks by integrating the four aspects linkage for the proposed model, the pragmatic of strategy, culture, processes, and KM system. The knowledge activities in an organization are then generic roadmap for KM implementation is categorized in accordance with the model (Section outlined in Figure 1. Integrated KM Model). Finally, an implementation Figure 1 shows, as part of the generic strategic framework is outlined using the proposed integrated plan for KM implementation, the knowledge assets model to suggest future research direction for KM at the core that need to be integrated with the implementation frameworks (Section Knowledge knowledge sharing networks/activities. The design Activities, Processes and Cycles). and categorization of the knowledge sharing activ- ities depends on the structure and processes of the organization. These activities are generally struc- KM MODELS IN LITERATURE tured at the level of individual, team, organization, and interorganization as suggested by the archety- Many KM models with different approaches and pical segregated organizational structure and the mindsets have been proposed in literature. McA- paradigm of ‘growth’ of knowledge in the organi- dam and McCreedy (1999) have identified three zation (Hedlund and Nonaka, 1993). Similarly, broad categories of KM models, namely knowledge the knowledge processes related to creation, orga- category models, intellectual capital models, and nization, dissemination of knowledge, etc. are gen- socially constructed models. erally accepted for managing the knowledge sharing in organization. Establishing culture and 1. Knowledge category models: These models advo- technological systems further enable the knowledge cate categorization of knowledge into discrete sharing activities. forms like codified and uncodified knowledge, Interorganization General strategic plan for Systems holistic KM implementation Organization Structure Strategy Group Assets Fundamental, theoretical manifestation based on Processes paradigm of “growth and expansion” of knowledge Individual Figure 1 General roadmap for holistic knowledge management (KM) implementation 260 R. Shankar and A. Gupta
  3. Knowledge and Process Management RESEARCH ARTICLE diffused and undiffused knowledge, tacit and research on implementation-oriented KM models. explicit knowledge (Nonaka and Takeuchi, These suggested guidelines are: 1995). Hedlund and Nonaka (1993) suggested a significant categorization of organizational (i) to incorporate the recursive and circulatory knowledge that parallels the theoretical flow of knowledge across knowledge pro- organizational levels of individual, group, orga- cesses, nization, and interorganization (customers, sup- (ii) to set up ‘use’ element for employee and pliers, competitors). The model considers that business and knowledge is shared through social interactions, (iii) to include both social and scientific aspects of which begin at the individual level and then KM implementation. ‘grow and expand’ within the organization to include groups and the whole organization These modeling aspects are reflected in Figure 2. and finally transcend organizational boundaries. The figure outlines the knowledge processes of That is, knowledge of individual becomes the creation, organization, dissemination, and use knowledge of group through knowledge sharing of knowledge. It also shows the recursive flows of among peers in the group. Group knowledge knowledge between processes and certain aspects then becomes organizational knowledge as the important for KM implementation. The recursive best practices in one group are institutionalized flows between processes represent the interactions; throughout the organization. This knowledge for example, the process of knowledge organiza- further grows to interorganization level as it is tion organizes the created knowledge, and doing shared with collaborators and used to service this recursively leads to improvement in the cre- the customers. ated knowledge. The dotted plain arrow shows 2. Intellectual capital models: These models treat the recursive flow of knowledge between creation knowledge as an asset and segregate the organi- and use process as suggested by McAdam and zational knowledge in correspondence to its intel- McCreedy (1999). We suggest a modification to it lectual assets. For example, intellectual capital can in next section; the dotted arrow is to be replaced be segregated into human, structural, and custo- by the modified arrow that is made bold to signify mer assets (Chase, 1997a; Roos and Roos, 1997). it as primary factor for sustaining knowledge crea- 3. Socially constructed models: These models discuss tion in the organization. KM focusing on the various knowledge pro- From these discussions, three fundamental cesses (Demerest, 1997). Demerest’s model aspects of KM emerge from the literature: segre- focuses on the knowledge processes in an orga- gated organizational domains, knowledge assets, nization such as the construction of knowledge, and knowledge processes. We propose a KM embodiment of constructed knowledge, disse- model based on these aspects. However, a modi- mination of the espoused knowledge, and fied perspective to these fundamental aspects is ultimately the use of knowledge for business suggested by augmenting the corresponding stan- advantages in regard to organizational outputs. dard KM models in the literature advocating The essence of these models is to identify these aspects. The modified perspective aims at the simple flow of knowledge within and molding the fundamental aspects to make them across knowledge processes. The knowledge more suitable for KM implementation. In keeping processes may simply be characterized as crea- with this approach, the discussions in the paper tion, organization, dissemination, and use of become three-pronged. First, we present a knowledge. modified perspective of the KM aspects corre- sponding to standard KM models in literature to Apart from outlining these three categories suit certain implementation and sustainability of KM models in literature, McAdam and McCree- criteria. Second, we integrate these implementa- dy (1999) criticize the knowledge category and tion suited KM aspects to synthesize a proposed intellectual capital models and suggest their inap- integrated KM model. Finally, we propose a propriateness with respect to KM implementation. framework for KM implementation underpinned In turn, they advocate the socially constructed by the integrated KM model and use it to models having a knowledge process-based suggest a research direction for the development approach to have greater suitability for KM imple- of KM systems; the coherence of framework to lit- mentation. McAdam and McCreedy (1999) also cri- erature is also discussed in terms of the accor- ticize the knowledge processes-based (socially dance of the framework to the guidelines for constructed) Demerest (1997) model and augment KM research as suggested by McAdam and the model to highlight certain guidelines for future McCreedy (1999). Framework for KM Implementation 261
  4. RESEARCH ARTICLE Knowledge and Process Management Scientific aspects Social aspects KNOWLEDGE CREATION USE KNOWLEDGE ORGANIZATION KNOWLEDGE DISSEMINATION Business benefits Employee ? Figure 2 Cycle of knowledge processes in a process-based KM model MODIFIED PERSPECTIVE OF by McAdam and McCreedy (1999) and Demerest FUNDAMENTAL KM ASPECTS (1997). Table 1 shows this modified perspective in comparison with the traditional perspective on The three fundamental aspects of KM and the cor- KM models. responding standard models considered are: segre- The model by McAdam and McCreedy (1999) gated organizational domains by Hedlund and advocates knowledge processes and recursive Nonaka (1993) model, knowledge assets by Chase flows between them; we augment the model to (1997a) model, and knowledge processes model emphasize a cycle of knowledge processes focusing Table 1 Two perspectives on KM aspects Traditional perspective on KM aspects Modified perspective on KM aspects Traditional KM models Constituents Modified Integrated Constituents KM aspects in literature KM aspects KM model Knowledge Socially Creation, Cycle of Socially Creation, processes constructed organization, knowledge constructed organization, models dissemination, processes models dissemination, use use Organizational Knowledge Individual, group, Segregation based Knowledge Individual knowledge category models organization, inter on cycles of category models and group, segregation based organization knowledge organization, on ‘‘growth and (customers, processes suppliers, expansion’’ aspect suppliers) customer of knowledge interface, global enterprise Knowledge assets Intellectual capital Human, Knowledge assets Intellectual capital Human, models structural, based on novel models structural, customer organizational customer, virtual segregation enterprise 262 R. Shankar and A. Gupta
  5. Knowledge and Process Management RESEARCH ARTICLE on sustaining knowledge creation. Incorporating new knowledge. This model highlights the impor- this cyclic approach in KM implementation sug- tance of a cycle among the knowledge processes to gests a modified knowledge-based organizational support sustaining of knowledge creation. segregation reflected in the Hedlund and Nonaka The cyclic approach to knowledge processes (1993) model. The resulting organizational segrega- effects an augmented segregation of knowledge- tion is followed to suggest corresponding segrega- based organizational domains in following subsec- tion of knowledge assets. These views are tion section. presented in the following subsections. Organizational structural segregation Cyclic knowledge processes The cyclic knowledge processes-based approach Nonaka (1991, 1994) emphasized the critical neces- tends to segregate a knowledge intensive organiza- sity of sustaining the creation of knowledge in orga- tion into different domains, categorized as follows: nizations. Employees are the primary sources of  individual and group, innovations in an organization; however, there  organization (suppliers, collaborators, competi- are several other significant activities that may gen- tors), erate fresh knowledge. Knowledge managers iden-  customer interface, and tify and set up diverse activities aiming to sustain  global enterprise. knowledge creation. For example, incentives may be set up to encourage the use of captured knowl- This proposed segregation differs from the funda- edge; expertise in new domains may be developed mental knowledge-based segregation of organiza- through recruitment; and valuable information tion suggested by Hedlund and Nonaka (1993) may be generated in repositories through techni- model: ques like data mining (O’Leary, 1998b).  individual, The activities relating to the use of existing  group, knowledge in the organization primarily support  organization, and the creation of new knowledge. Employees use  interorganization (customers, suppliers, compe- the learnings and experiences of their peers, from titors). related projects in past, in their current assign- ments. In the process, they generate fresh mindsets The first domain in the segregated organization and knowledge pertinent to current projects. refers to an individual implicitly within his/her Similarly, the mined customer-related data is ana- group’s domain. To illustrate, in the process of lyzed for fraud detection, predicting future creation of knowledge individuals work towards demands of customers, etc. Organization uses cur- creation of fresh knowledge using their creativity, rent and predicted future customer demands to or report exceptional experiences in day-to-day create flexibilities in their production architectures. work as part of the meetings organized by the On basis of these observations—use of knowledge group heads. The group to which individuals significantly leading to the creation of new belong organizes this knowledge created by the knowledge—we propose a slight augmentation in individuals in accordance to the standardized KM the knowledge processes-based approach sug- processes. Processes are also set up to facilitate the gested by McAdam and McCreedy (1999). sharing of knowledge among peers in the group; Processes relating to the organization, dissemina- and this spurs the process of creation of new tion, and use of knowledge bolster the knowledge knowledge if the individuals analyze and exploit creation process through recursive flows of knowl- the available knowledge shared by peers in their edge. However, the recursive flow of knowledge respective assignments. Therefore, to incorporate between the processes of knowledge use and crea- a cyclic approach of knowledge creation in a team tion is primarily responsible for generation of new the individual and his group need to be associated knowledge as compared to the recursive flow from together. processes of organization and dissemination. The Two arguments may arise with this implicit con- augmented model is shown in Figure 2. sideration of individuals in a group domain. First, Bold arrows in the figure represent the principal the explicit segregation level for individual in the direction of knowledge flow while the plain arrows Hedlund and Nonaka (1993) model, and second, represent recursive flows except that the recursive the notion that cyclic knowledge processes can be arrow from use-process to creation-process (dotted applied at individual level. Hedlund and Nonaka arrow) is replaced by bold to suggest that use of (1993) model puts individual and group knowl- knowledge primarily supports the creation of edge in separate categories in accordance with a Framework for KM Implementation 263
  6. RESEARCH ARTICLE Knowledge and Process Management theoretical view of ‘growth and expansion’ of Suguraman, 2003). Moreover, these applications knowledge from the individual to his/her group are increasingly influencing the structure of the when individuals share their knowledge with the organization (Tsui and Garner, 2000). IBM reengi- group peers. Contending the arguments, our neered its CRM process to integrate it with KM to approach associates individual together with the enable the integration of knowledge from the front- group from the implementation point of view of a end to the back-end (Massey et al., 2001). The inte- manager who designs the knowledge processes. grated model proposed in this paper will identify a The knowledge processes of creation, organization, cycle of knowledge processes at the customer inter- dissemination, and use in the context of individuals face. are too unstructured to be simulated by KM imple- Finally, a separate domain in the model is rea- mentation infrastructure; an implementation infra- lized to enable enhanced sharing of knowledge in structure can, at most, support the knowledge a globally distributed enterprise. This is imperative processes in individual domain. From the manage- in the increasingly networked world. The global rial perspective, setting up incentives may spur the enterprises have realized the importance of analyz- knowledge processes of creation, dissemination, ing the global market conditions to be able to fore- and use in an individual domain when the indivi- cast possible future changes in their local and dual may create innovations, indulge in knowledge global environments. sharing and use the knowledge feedback from Summarizing, a cyclic approach to knowledge peers. From the technological perspective, Persona- processes groups individual and groups at the lization and Groupware technology can only support same level from an implementation point of the knowledge processes in the individual domain view. It also groups the suppliers or collaborators by rendering relevant organization-wide knowl- along with the organization at the organization edge contextually to each employee in the organi- level. The importance of customer-related and zation. Therefore, combining the cyclic approach enterprise-wide knowledge suggests separate orga- with the implementation point of view suggests indi- nizational segregation for each of these domains. vidual to be just a part of a group. Considering the third fundamental aspect of KM, Considering the next segregated domain, the knowledge assets are central to any KM implemen- Hedlund and Nonaka (1993) model advocates sup- tation effort. Mentzas et al. (2001) suggest that, pliers and collaborators working together with cus- in essence, KM is working to better manage the tomers at the interorganization level. However, content, quality, value, and transferability of following the cyclic approach necessitates consider- knowledge assets. We follow, in this paper, a ing suppliers and collaborators at the organization knowledge asset categorization corresponding to level. Such a view advocates assembling organiza- the segregated domains of organization proposed tional knowledge together with the knowledge of above. collaborators and suppliers in satisfying the dynamic demands of customer (Sanchez, 2001b). Organizational knowledge assets This kind of integration is most visible in the internet-based digital markets where the product The organizational segregation proposed in the needed by a particular customer may be assembled previous section suggests the following component from various suppliers depending on the specifica- assets of organizational knowledge: tions selected by the customer. The integration is a. knowledge in the form of experiences, expertise also evident in the increasing integration of suppli- of individuals and groups; ers in the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) b. knowledge of organization that pervades its implementations of companies. Consultants devel- production architectures involving knowledge op KM solutions as a part of broader ERP (Skyrme, gathered from suppliers and collaborators; 1999; Shankar and Jaiswal, 1999). knowledge embedded in the IT systems and Considering the next organizational domain, a pertinent data warehouses and knowledge separate domain of organization may be perceived bases; explicitly for managing customer knowledge. This c. knowledge regarding customers; and, is, in fact, evident in the modern business environ- d. knowledge shared in a global enterprise. ments where organizations deploy IT applications like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) This categorization of organizational knowledge to develop a customer interface for managing the finds harmony with the categorization of intellec- customer knowledge. These applications simulate tual assets suggested by Chase (1997a): human the knowledge processes in context of customers assets (knowledge, experience), structural assets to manage the customer knowledge (Bose and (processes, information systems), and customer 264 R. Shankar and A. Gupta
  7. Knowledge and Process Management RESEARCH ARTICLE assets (customer relationships, brands). In addition (knowledge assets, cyclic knowledge processes to these assets, we have added the knowledge and organizational segregation proposed in pre- shared across the virtual enterprise—that is, vious section) appear best suited. To show this, technology-enabled knowledge sharing among these perspectives are analyzed using a pragmatic peer organizations across geographical bound- bottom-up approach to set them as the attributes of aries—as a knowledge asset. the integrated KM model (represented by the two Summarizing the modified perspective on fun- leftmost parts of Figure 6, discussed in later sec- damental KM aspects derived from the literature tion). from an implementation point of view: a cyclic The most fundamental aspect of any organiza- approach to knowledge processes, aiming to sus- tional business is the hands-on activities performed tain knowledge creation, effects practical segrega- for the business. The hands-on activities relating to tions of organization; be it be the knowledge KM are the pragmatic knowledge-focused activities based segregation into individual and group, orga- that infuse any knowledge-enabled organization. nization and suppliers, customer interface and glo- The essence of knowledge-focused activities is bal enterprise or the segregation of its knowledge essentially the knowledge content that originates assets into human, structural, customer, virtual in the various knowledge assets in the organiza- enterprise. This modified perspective is used to tion. So, it seems obvious that the activities and evolve an integrated KM model that aims to render knowledge assets should be the elementary focus an approach useful for the design of knowledge area for any KM implementation effort. Thus, the activities and processes for implementing KM focus in this paper is on these activities and the across the organization. processes in which they are embedded. Knowledge-focused activities permeate every department of a knowledge-enabled organization. INTEGRATED KM MODEL These activities may be categorized under one of the processes of creation, organization, dissemi- The integrated KM model is developed to cater to nation, and use of organizational knowledge. In the practical aspects that managers may consider addition, ideally, these activities should be designed while setting up the knowledge processes in an and arranged cyclically by process designers who organization. Some of these aspects relevant in aim to effectively support and sustain the process the context of this paper are stated. Generally, of knowledge creation. For example, managers knowledge-focused activities already exist in any should set up mechanisms and incentives to pro- knowledge-enabled organization. Knowledge pro- mote reuse of knowledge captured in groups. cesses may then be designed to clearly identify Thus, the proposed cyclic approach to knowledge these activities, enable them and organize them processes is appropriate in outlining one attribute for effective process integration. Apart from this, of the integrated KM model, that is, the categoriza- managers need to design processes according to tion of knowledge-focused activities in an organi- the theories of KM in order to capture and store zation. knowledge from various assets and disseminate it In the broader context of knowledge processes across various departments in the organization. that embed the activities, the design of same type Moreover, the design of similar activity or process of knowledge process may differ in different may vary from one department to another domains/departments of the organization. For depending on the functionality and context in example, in the individual and group domain the which the knowledge is required. In these cases, process of organizing knowledge is designed with the process should be customized according to aim of capturing day-to-day problematic issues the need(s) in the particular organizational domain. and pertinent improvisations to address these On this basis, two guidelines are outlined for any issues carried by team members, while same pro- implementation-oriented KM model: cesses (relating to the organizing of knowledge) at the company-wide level are designed with the aim (i) the model should categorize the activities that of capturing the learnings and experiences from constitute knowledge processes, and projects successfully completed by the company. (ii) the model should categorize the processes The difference in the design of the same processes according to the different domains of the for organizing knowledge in the domains of group organization. and whole company respectively is due to the dis- To further develop the integrated KM model fol- tinct characteristics of knowledge assets in these lowing these guidelines, the integration of the domains; that is, tacit knowledge-based improvisa- implementation-oriented perspectives on KM tions by team members at the group level, and Framework for KM Implementation 265
  8. RESEARCH ARTICLE Knowledge and Process Management experiences related to project at the company level. edge, production architectures, customer-related Thus, the practical segregation of organizational knowledge, and knowledge shared across the glo- domains and their assets (suggested in previous bal enterprise) at that level. The funnel shape of section) is appropriate as another attribute of the model notionally signifies the ‘growth’ of knowl- implementation-oriented KM model. edge as it traverses up the organizational hierarchy This discussion shows that the aspects of cyclic as suggested by Hedlund and Nonaka (1993). knowledge processes, knowledge assets, and orga- Going forward, the paper renders a more practi- nizational segregation need to be considered cal view to the integrated KM model. together in order to address to the two guidelines set up for implementation-oriented KM models. An approach that unifies these fundamental KNOWLEDGE ACTIVITIES, aspects is manifested in the integrated KM model PROCESSES, AND CYCLES as illustrated in Figure 3. Figure 3 delineates the integrated KM model as The knowledge-focused activities and processes segregated into four different levels (of individual are designed with the goal of effectively enabling and group, organization, customer interface, and the creation, organization, dissemination, and use global enterprise) with cyclic knowledge processes of knowledge in the organization. Deploying a pro- (of creation, organization, dissemination, and use cess across the whole organization, however, often of knowledge) occurring at each level and lever- requires assigning different orientations to the aging the relevant knowledge assets (tacit knowl- same process at different levels of the organization. Organization Dissemination and analysis Enterprise-wide strategic and technical knowledge Creation Use GLOBAL ENTERPRISE Organization Dissemination and analysis Customer-related knowledge Creation Use CUSTOMER INTERFACE Organization Dissemination and analysis Product and process architectures and Knowledge repositories Creation Use ORGANIZATION Organization Dissemination and analysis Tacit knowledge Creation Use INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP Figure 3 Integrated KM model 266 R. Shankar and A. Gupta
  9. Knowledge and Process Management RESEARCH ARTICLE For example, the process of knowledge creation in organization may update its employees with the context of a group has an altogether different customer-specific knowledge in order to ensure goal and orientation in design as compared to the appropriate customer-specific interaction and to creation process in the context of customers. The stimulate innovation. This may involve developing varying goals and orientations of knowledge pro- appropriate organizational taxonomy related to cesses across the whole organization can be related projects, products, technology, and customers, to the holistic Integrated KM model as illustrated in that is conveniently accessible through the organi- Table 2. zational portal. Thus, it is the right combination of Such holistic categorization of processes enables aspects relating to the scope of IT, developing an the corresponding categorization of the constitut- appropriate culture and incentives that should be ing knowledge-focused activities permeating the the focal point for management in developing an whole organization. It is important to state that activity or process for enabling creation of knowl- the activities are very broadly categorized, that is, edge in individual and group domain. rather than discussing how an activity may be In the organizational domain, the process of the designed, the crux of the discussion is: what activ- ‘creation’ of knowledge encompasses activities for ities may be a part of a knowledge process in the developing and improving organizational produc- organization. tion assets, that is the product and process architec- tures. The increasingly volatile market conditions faced by today’s organizations drives them to Creation of knowledge develop modularity in their production architec- In the domains of the individual and group, the tures. Modularity of architectures basically refers design of processes relating to the creation of to the ability to reassemble the components repre- knowledge are oriented to setting up activities sented in a particular architectures to bring out a that assist generation of fresh tacit knowledge. wide range of products in order to meet the diverse Knowledge-creating activities in the individual customer demands. It also provides the ability to and group domains are generally in the form of leverage the existing customer knowledge in proac- innovations by individuals and knowledge sharing tively capturing the market through customization among individuals in groups. Innovation by indivi- of products. duals is generally enhanced in development teams Designing modularity in production architec- by facilitating access to knowledge in related fields. tures includes activities for developing flexibility Innovation is a part of job for such teams. However, related to both the product and process architec- achieving knowledge creation by getting indivi- tures. An organization may deploy all existing duals in groups to share knowledge involves devel- knowledge to engineer product architectures flex- oping a culture of knowledge sharing. Aiming to ible enough to satisfy current and near-future achieve it, managers identify and set up activities demand of organizational products in market for knowledge sharing in groups and set up appro- (Sanchez, 1999). If the existing product architecture priate mechanisms and incentives. For example, is not compatible with these demands, it designs knowledge workers may be selected for each and uses its process architecture to acquire the team to organize weekly meetings to enable the know-whats, -whys, and -hows of collaborators in sharing of experiences, such as problems faced dur- order to be able to redesign the product architec- ing the work and the corresponding knowledge- ture. Generally, vendors have the capability to based improvization that was needed to address supply the resulting standardized modular compo- these problems (Brown and Duguid, 2000). The nents of the product architecture. Otherwise, the incentives and benchmarks that are intended to organization may set up development groups in promote knowledge sharing need to be strong order to develop these capabilities within the orga- enough to attract participation in knowledge- nization. sharing activities. Knowledge-sharing activities in To further enable their production architectures, and across groups may further be enabled techno- organization deploys IT enablers like ERP systems logically. For example, groupware enables the indi- to semi-automate the flow of information between vidual to easily set up virtual teams on a topic or core business processes. ERP solutions typically join existing organization-wide forums to get an capture both information and process knowledge answer to a query (Pohs et al., 2001). Moreover, in the form of encapsulated business rules. Codify- relevant organization-wide integrated knowledge ing these business rules enables the process of cap- may be proactively pushed in the context of turing business critical information. Another IT the individual or group domains by deploying enabler emerging in the Internet-age is what may Personalization technology. In particular, an be referred to as the ‘corporate ecosystem.’ Such Framework for KM Implementation 267
  10. Table 2 Knowledge processes orientations and goals in domains of organizational segregation 268 Organizational domains Knowledge processes Individual and group Organization Customer interface Global enterprise Creation of knowledge and Process Orientation: Creation of Process Orientation: Process Orientation: Capture of related goal tacit knowledge Improvement in modular customer behavior and Goal: Support creativity and product, process, and demands RESEARCH ARTICLE innovation, enabling customer- knowledge rchitectures and Goal: Leveraging the knowledge oriented innovations, enabling related IT systems captured in CRM system, knowledge sharing Goal: Maintaining the flexibility leveraging the flexibility of of architectures organizational architectures Organization of knowledge and Process Orientation: Capturing Process Orientation: Capture and Process Orientation: Integration Process Orientation: Sharing related goal tacit knowledge and facilitating standardization of organiza- of customer knowledge in knowledge across all dimen- its search and retrieval tion-wide tacit and explicit real-time customer interface sions of peer organizations in Goal: Enabling preservation of knowledge repositories, and with back-end the Global Enterprise tacit knowledge, and access to Goal: Preservation, standardi- repositories Goal: Developing an integrated knowledge zation, integration, and easy Goal: Categorizing the customer system and contextual accessibility of knowledge. Enabling customer- knowledge oriented tasks by individuals and groups Dissemination and analysis of Process Orientation: Dissemina- Process Orientation: Dissemina- Process Orientation: Dissemina- knowledge, and related goal tion of knowledge to peers and tion of explicit knowledge to tion of customer demands to groups individual and groups, analysis organizational and customer Goal: Enabling creativity of of customer knowledge interface processes; analysis of individuals, institutionalization captured in customer interface customer knowledge of best practices domain Goal: Real-time personalized Goal: Proactive push of knowl- service to customers, knowl- edge to employees, discover edge-based prediction of future knowledge deficiency related customer behavior and to linkages among business demands processes for improving their modularity Use of knowledge and Process Orientation: Analysis Process Orientation: Acquisition Process Orientation: Proactive related goal and reuse of the captured tacit of knowledge deficiency in strategies for capturing knowledge architectures customer knowledge Goal: Enhancing creation and Goal: Developing future Goal: Enhanced capture of quality of knowledge generation modular customer preferences, support architectures planning future generation modular architectures R. Shankar and A. Gupta Knowledge and Process Management
  11. Knowledge and Process Management RESEARCH ARTICLE systems are being designed to attain additional they are encouraged to document knowledge flexibilities for providing real-time service to custo- from their day-to-day transactions, project- or mers by integrating the three key performance dri- product-related experiences, and customer-related vers of people, process and technology with the learnings into tangible forms like documents. Man- collaborators through the use of IT (Chase, 1997b; agers design standard templates for knowledge Greenberg, 2001). objects such as documents for ease of knowledge In summary, the knowledge creation process in codification. However, groups need to be given the organizational domain involves activities the flexibility to suggest novel templates according related to the design of its product and process to their practical requirements. Such balance architectures and related IT systems through the between the process and practice is critical to the deployment of all its knowledge along with the success of KM implementation (Brown and knowledge of collaborators. The organization may Duguid, 2000). Subsequent to their creation, the also deliberately acquire new capabilities by setting knowledge objects need to be stored in organiza- up teams and activities to innovatively develop tional knowledge repositories in order to enable them. preservation of knowledge on a wider scale and The knowledge ‘creation’ process in the custo- for use over a period of time (Davenport et al., mer interface domain is oriented to capture the cus- 1998). tomer behavior and demands. Customer-related The activities for making search and retrieval of knowledge might be acquired in KM systems by tacit knowledge encompass the cultural and tech- setting up activities that leverage the knowledge nological aspects related to the approachability of captured in CRM applications, and by managing and knowledge sharing stance adopted by experts. the customer knowledge that is captured through Managers may identify experts from various various marketing strategies (Sanchez, 2001b). domains of organizational business practices to The KM system is integrated with CRM applica- set up practical one-to-one assistance to individuals tions to leverage the customer-related knowledge and groups in solving problems they face. These captured across various customer touch points experts should be available in person or may be (Bose and Suguraman, 2003; Gebert et al., 2003). contacted through the organizational portal. Man- The CRM applications capture information and agers need to enable easy access to and subsequent knowledge from a variety of internal and external approachability of the experts by designing easy- sources, for example transaction information from to-use channels over the organizational portal and operational databases and standard operating pro- by encouraging the experts to rapidly solve the cedures from official documents. For this, CRM issues raised by employees from any business prac- applications typically deploy agents to capture tice in the organization. Again, the facets of IT the information along the categories like customer (organizational portal), culture (approachability), transactions and profiles, and knowledge related to and incentives come into picture. These aspects organizational business processes and industry. are the integral requirement of any knowledge Exploring customer response to a wide range of search and retrieval process related to the indivi- product variations creates broader knowledge dual and group domains. about customer preferences. Deeper market learn- In the organization domain, the processes relat- ing is achieved by letting individual customers con- ing to the organization of knowledge refer to the figure the combination of modular components capture and standardization of organization- they prefer. In this manner, the firm rapidly dis- wide knowledge. It is important to note that the covers customer knowledge through real-time mar- creation of modular product and process architec- keting when a large range of products is brought to tures and related IT systems help an organization market in a short span of time. Such strategies to make its current technical and market informa- enable the organization to leverage the modularity tion and knowledge explicit (Sanchez, 1999; in organizational product and process architectures Al-Mashari, 2001) and are likely to be of significant in order to capture customer knowledge. strategic importance. Organizations develop modular product and process architectures by deploying their existing technical and market Organization of knowledge knowledge. In the creation of these architectures In the individual and group domains, the process and systems, organization can identify modular of knowledge organization may be oriented to cap- ‘knowledge architecture’ to detect knowledge evol- turing tacit knowledge and making the search for ving around the functional components of these and retrieval of knowledge easy. In order to cap- architectures or systems. The knowledge architec- ture tacit knowledge of individuals and groups, ture is treated as a knowledge asset that enables Framework for KM Implementation 269
  12. RESEARCH ARTICLE Knowledge and Process Management the organization to capture tacit knowledge in its made (and captured) at the individual and group product and process architectures in explicit form level of the organization. This may be made possi- and thus organize tacit knowledge for improve- ble either through social interaction with customer- ment of production architectures. facing teams, or by providing consistent on-line Technologically, the basic objective for organiz- access to customer preferences through the organi- ing the company-wide knowledge is to preserve, zational portal. This will ensure that any new pro- standardize, integrate, and render easy access to duct development is consistent with the latest contextual knowledge through an easy-to-use KM demands of customers. portal. For this, firms set up and integrate various Customer knowledge may be categorized into knowledge repositories related to the individual, knowledge repositories. Various types of knowl- group, and organization domains. The knowledge, edge repositories in the customer interface domain experiences, and learnings, best practices docu- may be related to customer transactions, customer pro- mented by individuals and groups from all files, policies and procedures, and domain knowledge. domains of the organization may be stored for The customer transactions repository contains par- potential reuse over time. Organization-wide for- ticulars about all the transactions related to custo- ums can be designed to enable discussion on mers. The customer profile repository contains the diverse topics in order to allow for the identifica- background of each customer along with customer tion and sharing of relevant knowledge. Knowl- history and preferences. The policies and proce- edge maps may be set up in order to provide dure repository contains information regarding pointers to people and knowledge repositories standard procedures and policies that have to be allowing for the identification of relevant knowl- followed in handling a particular situation invol- edge that can be reused (Apostolou and Mentzas, ving customers. The domain knowledge repository 1999). Further, knowledge relating to business pro- contains information about the industry in general, cesses that has now been made explicit (knowledge and the latest developments and trends within that architecture) can be standardized and stored in industry that decision makers have to be aware of, knowledge repositories to enable its access and such as changes in governmental regulations, exploitation over time and scale (Szykman et al., benchmarks, etc. These are likely to have an impact 2000). on customer preferences and subsequent demand The KM perspective advocates following: the (Bose and Suguraman, 2003). approaches that generate knowledge from the transactional data and information collected across; Dissemination and analysis of knowledge the applications for traditional business processes such as PDM (Product Data Management), SCM In the individual and group domains, the process (Supply Chain Management), ERP and CRM of dissemination of knowledge encompasses activ- (Fahey et al., 2001; Skok and Legge 2002). In parti- ities that aim to enhance the creativity of indivi- cular, an ERP system enables the organization to duals and groups by institutionalizing the leverage its knowledge as it typically captures knowledge of individuals and groups for peers in both information and process knowledge. KM the group or other groups. Knowledge-sharing activities then may be oriented towards end user activities across groups may involve the best prac- reports and business intelligence tools. ERP sys- tice sessions that may be held to enable the sharing tems have all the data warehouses to facilitate the of knowledge applicable in different practices of integration of the information from organizational the organization. Individuals may also analyze databases to support managerial decision making the relevant organization-wide knowledge pushed (Kimball and Ross, 2002). to them in their context from the organizational In the customer interface domain, the process of portal. Technology, however, can only facilitate organizing customer knowledge may be oriented the sharing of knowledge; it is the employees towards integrating the real-time front-end who have to analyze and apply it. Therefore, incen- repositories and, in addition, integrating these tives again play a significant role in spurring the repositories with organizational repositories perti- sharing of knowledge. nent to product development. The basic aims are, Contextually pushing the organization-wide respectively, to set up knowledge repositories to knowledge to individuals and groups is one of store different categories of customer-related the major activities addressed by the process of dis- knowledge and to enable tasks to be more precisely semination of knowledge in the organizational customized to each customer. Customer-focused domain. The organization deploys personalization tasks may be enabled by updating knowledge technology to filter the knowledge captured in the regarding customer demands which have been organizational repositories and match it to the 270 R. Shankar and A. Gupta
  13. Knowledge and Process Management RESEARCH ARTICLE knowledge needs of the employees in the context of agents may be deployed such as, a predictive model- tasks at hand. Employee profiles are the critical ing agent that integrates business logic into the enablers for filtering the knowledge from the tools and conducts meta-analysis; and a marketing repositories. automation agent that permits the marketing people The process of analysis of explicit knowledge to really see trends from individual customers and in the organization domain should aim at improv- develop better marketing campaigns (Bose and ing the modularity of product and process architec- Suguraman, 2003). tures. In case the customer demands a product that cannot be produced by the company (this informa- Use of knowledge and associated cycles tion being captured and disseminated to the orga- nizational domain from the customer interface Various kinds of cycles are discussed in literature domain), experts need to analyze the existing level involving individuals and groups. For example, of modularity in the product and process architec- Sanchez (2001a) suggests five learning cycles that tures to discover areas of knowledge deficiency. are necessary in order to develop a learning, com- The process of knowledge organization (in the petent organization. The cycle of knowledge pro- organizational domain) can enable this analysis as cesses exists for an individual, for a group, for the it captures and standardizes the knowledge individual to group interactions, for the group- deployed in the design of production architectures to-group interactions, and for the organization as and IT systems in the data warehouse and other a whole. knowledge repositories. The cycle of knowledge processes for individuals In the customer interface domain, the process of and groups starts with the creation of tacit knowl- dissemination of customer knowledge is oriented edge when individuals and groups work develop- to forward customer demands to product and ing customer-oriented innovations supported by process architectures in the organizational contextual push of knowledge from the organiza- domain, and to the front end processes in the cus- tion. The created knowledge is captured in docu- tomer interface domain. Dissemination of custo- ments for preservation and use over time. mer demands to the business processes enables Dissemination of knowledge occurs when indivi- the experts to analyze their compatibilities in the duals and groups share their knowledge and learn- product and process architectures to discover ings with peers. Individuals may analyze and use deficiencies in the knowledge architecture. The the knowledge/feedback of peers to further knowledge regarding customer behavior is disse- enhance their creativity and enable the creation of minated to customer interfacing teams in order to fresh ideas. This completes the cycle of knowledge enable activities related to searching and retriev- processes at the individual and group level, with ing relevant knowledge to be utilized in different use of knowledge leading both to the creation of scenarios. The basic aim is to provide real-time new knowledge and enhancing the quality of exist- personalized service to customers. It may also ing knowledge. involve developing the interface to the knowledge To identify the cycle of knowledge processes at repositories. Various agents can be deployed, like the organization level, the knowledge process of a repository management agent for browsing speci- creation at organization level is suggested as the fic knowledge elements relevant to a particular creation of modular production architectures problem at hand; a situation analysis agent to and IT systems, and the acquisition of related enable mechanisms for the user to undertake knowledge. Knowledge architecture is identified real-time problem solving and decision making and organization-wide knowledge is captured activities. and organized in repositories. The customer The process of analyzing customer-related demands captured in customer interface reposi- knowledge aims to predict the future behavior tories and integrated into organizational reposi- and demands of customers. Customer-related tories are analyzed according to the product and knowledge captured and integrated in a data ware- process architectures to create the required pro- house and the customer-interface repositories is duct. However, if the product and process analyzed by use of techniques like on-line- architectures do not have the capability of satisfy- analytical-processing and data/web-usage mining ing the newly recognized customer demands, that can support: (i) decision-making, by mining these need to be redesigned (through use of the customer transactions for summarizing the cus- collaborators’ knowledge, through innovation, or tomer behavior, and (ii) prediction of future custo- through the recruitment of new individuals to mer preferences, by combining the current and fill the knowledge deficiency in the knowledge historical customer preferences. To illustrate, architecture). Such actions potentially lead to the Framework for KM Implementation 271
  14. RESEARCH ARTICLE Knowledge and Process Management creation of new product, process, and knowledge holistic KM implementation. Such integration in architectures. and across domains can be as achieved by adopting To identify the cycle of knowledge processes an implementation framework based on the inte- at the customer interface, the customer-related grated KM model. knowledge ‘‘created’’ by the deployment of strate- gies aimed at increasing the breadth and/or depth of the product line or the speed with which custo- PROPOSED FRAMEWORK FOR KM mer needs are satisfied, or captured by the CRM IMPLEMENTATION systems, is encoded in the customer knowledge repositories. Customer-specific knowledge is then The framework outlines components correspond- disseminated to customer facing teams by deploy- ing to the knowledge processes (creation, organiza- ing agents over the organizational portal. These tion, dissemination, and use) and organizational teams use the customer-specific knowledge in ser- structure (individual and group, organization, cus- vicing the customer and provide feedback for the tomer-interface and virtual enterprise) proposed by enhanced capture of customer preferences thus the integrated KM model (Figure 4). completing the cycle of knowledge processes at The framework also shows notionally (as dis- customer interface. Similarly, the future demands cussed in the previous section and Table 2) the of customer that are predicted through the analysis flow of knowledge between processes in each of captured customer knowledge are used to drive domain of the organization in the form of recursive the deployment of strategies aimed at increasing flows and the cyclic creation of knowledge. In addi- the breadth and/or depth of the product line tion, the framework shows arrows between or the speed with which customer needs are satis- domains to emphasize the flow of knowledge fied for enhancing customer knowledge. across these domains leading the ‘growth’ of knowledge and the provision of feedback of knowl- edge. These flows may be unstructured, semi- Enterprise structured, and structured. It is possible that the globally distributed peers in an enterprise might be integrated electronically (i) Unstructured knowledge flow represents the thus creating a ‘virtual enterprise’ (Miller et al., ‘‘application-learning’’ on the part of indivi- 1993). The knowledge processes for the enterprise duals and groups in the organization and enable knowledge sharing across the domains of for organization as a whole. Individuals and individuals and groups, organization, and custo- groups apply knowledge directed towards mer interface levels. Knowledge processes across customer-oriented product and process inno- the virtual enterprise are enabled through links vations, and learn from the associated experi- strengthened by webs of communication technolo- ences. The organization then applies these gies. Unlike conventional teams, a ‘virtual team’ product and process architectures and learns supports working across geographical distances, by leveraging customer knowledge captured with people who have perhaps never met with through a customer interface. The newly dis- each other. Thus, they may not be fully acquainted covered customer knowledge, along with the with the organizations’ culture and mechanisms existing organizational knowledge, is made for knowledge sharing (Lipnack and Stamps, available to individuals and groups to act as 1997; Jarvenpaa and Shaw, 1998). the basis of further innovations thus complet- Summarizing the section, in the context of the inte- ing the ‘organizational learning cycle.’ The grated KM model, the knowledge-focused activities bold arrows in Figure 4 highlight such an permeating an organization may be identified and organizational learning cycle. To capture categorized as different manifestations of knowledge and leverage the unstructured knowledge, processes. The activities are also cyclically integrated managers set up technologies for communica- in each domain of the organization (individual, tion between teams. Incentives are also set up group, organization, customer-interface, and virtual for individuals and teams to document their enterprise) with the aim of sustainining knowledge experiences so that it may be stored as semi- creation within these domains. Moreover, some structured knowledge in repositories for use activities/processes also transcend domains, the sim- over time and scale. plest examples being the proactive push of organiza- (ii) Semi-structured knowledge flow basically tional and customer knowledge to individuals represents the collection and storage of the and groups. The integration of such processes needs text and hypertext documents codifying the to be clearly identified in order to develop a truly unstructured knowledge and experiences of 272 R. Shankar and A. Gupta
  15. Knowledge and Process Management RESEARCH ARTICLE Proactive facilitation of organizational knowledge and customer demands to individuals and groups INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP ORGANIZATION CUSTOMER INTERFACE Modular product Employee process and CRM systems; creativity and knowledge Strategies to customer oriented architectures; capture market innovations Knowledge sharing knowledge with collaborators Access to Capture of Integration of U experts; U product, U captured s Documentation s process and s customer e of created tacit e expert’s e knowledge knowledg e knowledge Sharing of Integration of core Prediction of knowledge with business practices future market and peers with market demands customer trends Sharing Sharing Sharing Sharing of knowledge across the global enterprise Figure 4 Proposed KM implementation framework individuals and groups, and the learnings of domains is integrated to facilitate contextual access the organization as a whole into the organiza- for employees, customers, and collaborators tional repository. These flows are basically through an easy-to-use enterprise knowledge por- enabled through document and content man- tal. The outlined KM system finds harmony with agement solutions. the converting and connecting paradigm of KM sys- (iii) Structured knowledge flow represents the tems suggested by O’Leary (1998a). integration of customer-related and organiza- tional repositories to semi-automate the flow Research direction of information. These flows are basically enabled through IT systems like ERP and The proposed KM implementation framework is CRM. based on the knowledge activities and processes across the organizational segregated structure. Thus, as it aims to track and capture the unstruc- The presented outline of knowledge activities and tured, semi-structured, and structured knowledge processes in the framework renders a clear picture across the organization, and facilitate the dissemi- for designing activity or process-specific KM tech- nation of this knowledge to individuals and nologies. The manifestation of cycles in the frame- groups, a KM system can be based on the frame- work can be used for integrating the activity work (Figure 5). specific technology in order to bolster knowledge Figure 5 outlines the KM technologies, in and creation. Very broadly, this aspect is outlined as across the segregated domains that have been men- part of the generic roadmap for KM implementa- tioned in the previous section as enablers of the tion (Figure 6). knowledge-focused activities. In brief, the informa- To develop the activity-specific KM technology, tion and knowledge captured from various one needs to focus on the fundamental aspects of Framework for KM Implementation 273
  16. RESEARCH ARTICLE Knowledge and Process Management Figure 5 KM system based on implementation framework KM: knowledge assets, processes, and segregated across domains is also shown to evolve cyclic structure. Developing the technology to enable an flow of knowledge in learning organization. The activity necessitates the considerations of goal of knowledge-focused activities and the enabling the relevant process and the source and terminal KM technologies incorporate both the social and knowledge assets. In order to bolster cyclic knowl- scientific aspects of KM respectively. edge creation, the technology enabling each pro- cess needs to be cyclically structured. CONCLUSION Coherence with literature Knowledge-focused activities permeate any The KM framework in this paper is consistent knowledge-enabled organization, and implement- with the guidelines presented by McAdam and ing KM involves, among other aspects, setting up McCreedy (1999). The reiterate, the suggested processes and systems to enable these activities. guidelines are: Accordingly, this paper provides a categorization for knowledge activities and their associated pro- (i) to incorporate the recursive and circulatory cesses across the organization. In addition, we flow of knowledge across the knowledge pro- have developed an integrate KM framework. cesses, The design of knowledge processes across the (ii) to set up ‘use’ element for employee and busi- organization may have different orientations ness, and depending on the goals of managing knowledge (iii) to include both social and scientific aspects of in corresponding domains of the organization. KM implementation. Therefore, this paper categorized knowledge pro- The ‘use’ element for employees has been shown cesses of creation, organization, dissemination as an explicit component in the framework that and use, by using the fundamental aspects of enables proactive knowledge to employees. The organizational segregated structure and assets framework shows the recursive and circulatory advocated in some standard KM models in litera- flow of knowledge between knowledge processes ture. However, keeping a practical approach based on the knowledge process model by McA- and aiming to sustain knowledge creation, these dam and McCreedy (1999). The recursive flow aspects were modified and integrated in order 274 R. Shankar and A. Gupta
  17. Knowledge and Process Management RESEARCH ARTICLE Figure 6 Roadmap for KM implementation Framework for KM Implementation 275
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