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Knowledge Management. This paper discusses how knowledge management is used within the authors organisation and the many benefits that are achievable with effective knowledge management as well as the barriers that exist.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

MASTERS IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT DATE: 18/01/2012 WORD COUNT: 4,454 TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION 3 LITERATURE REVIEW 3 APPLICATION 5 CONCLUSION 12 REFERENCES 20 INTRODUCTION Engineering is predominantly considered a knowledge-based industry, within the author's organisation control & management of technical knowledge is critical to the success of the organisation. As a manufacturing company many aspects of the organisation depends on technical documentation which must be controlled and easily accessed. Lack of knowledge management within the author's organisation could have detrimental effects on the business. This paper discusses how knowledge management is used within the author's organisation and the many benefits that are achievable with effective knowledge management as well as the barriers that exist. The paper discusses types of knowledge and the complications that can occur when trying to capture and retain knowledge. There are differing views on types of knowledge; Nonaka & Takeuchi (1995) propose explicit knowledge is a higher form of knowledge over tacit knowledge. Ashton (1998) and Earl (2001) also have a preference to codified knowledge and propose organisations can benefit more from explicit knowledge. Sayer (2002) poses several misconceptions to KM including a contradictory response to Nonaka & Takeuchi (1995) suggesting the rhetoric, that explicit knowledge is a higher form of knowledge is a common misconception. According to Ruggles (1998) knowledge management is applicable to innovation which is important to many successful organisations (Ruggles et al, 1997, p.7). The paper will discuss the importance of innovation to organisations but also the complications that exist with respect to knowledge management. Ruggles (1998) argues there is a reluctance to reuse knowledge suggesting that this reluctance to use old knowledge can spark new innovation. Colison and Parcell (2004) argue it is faster and more efficient to reuse knowledge, suggesting that reused knowledge can prompt learning. Hwang, (2003) remarks unlearning is often as difficult as learning. Robertson (2002) posits further complications suggesting a resistance to learn from shared knowledge. ...read more.

Middle

APPLICATION Employed as the Technical manager of a manufacturing company the author is regularly required to manage barriers that exists within the organisation in an attempt to take a structured coherent approach to knowledge management. The author is responsible for new product development, engineering and maintenance areas which are often supported by a cornerstone of knowledge. The company uses a Project management system which includes document management in order to capture explicit knowledge. Collison and Parcells model below (fig.3) holds some relevance to this process. Business Objectives As noted by Davenport et al. (1998) there are several enabling factors to knowledge management such as culture and structure which should be aligned to the company's strategy. Sub-cultures exist within the author's organization and these are not necessarily aligned to the business objectives. There may be several reasons for this. As noted by Agryris, (1999) theory in action does not always align with the companies espoused values. Sub-cultures within the organization possess shared views, values and beliefs and these individuals tend to group making the dividing cultures identifiable. This often leads to 'internal politics' and 'game playing' between sub-cultures which Senge (1990) remarks organizations should work to eliminate. The business objectives also need to be clear to everyone in the organization to ensure a unitary response. This can often fail at middle management leading to a large group of employees that have very little indication of what they are working towards. Without clearly defined business objectives employees either become demotivated or set their own objectives which may differ from that set by the 'organization'. The company's mission statement should outline the objectives of the business and the companies espoused values which should be shared by the entire organization. The companies MD groups all members of the organization together annually and reviews the last year's objectives and what the companies objectives will be for the near future as well as what environmental and market changes should be considered. ...read more.

Conclusion

On the back of market research a plan is formulated to show the size of the market and the potential portion that the company is looking to capture in a measure of revenue. Business objectives are defined in order to capture the potential new market. A typical objective would be to develop a new product and sell this into a new market. The resulting incremental revenue can then be measured and compared to the original objective. Collison and Parcells model shows the process of Business objective to Business results as linear. In order to know that one equates to or has any effect on the other a measure need to extrapolate. Collison and Parcell do not make provision for this in their model. CONCLUSION Organizations are faced with many challenges that must be effectively managed in order to successfully implement and sustain Knowledge management. The importance of knowledge within organizations key and retaining this knowledge within the organization presents various complications. Demanding market conditions call for new and innovative ideas which are sometimes reliant on the knowledge contained within organizations. Keeping this knowledge refreshed and current is difficult but if all enabling factors within the organization can be aligned the benefits of knowledge management can be achieved. Collison & Parcell (2004) take a practical approach to KM but their model has several shortcomings as discussed earlier in this document. Collison & Parcells model ignores many of the barriers to KM identified by Argyris (1999), Pauline & Mason (2003), Riege (2005) and Sayer (1992). Following consideration of the author's organisations approach to knowledge management applying Collison & Parcell's model the author has identified the importance of clearly defining the organizations strategy. It may be possible that a partial cause for sub-cultures within the organization is the individual interpretation of the company's strategy. This needs to be clear to all within the organization in order to effectively differentiate groups with differing views and beliefs to that of the organization and those that are not clear on the views and beliefs of the organization. ...read more.

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