Skip to main content
main-content

Über dieses Buch

Information and knowledge have fundamentally transformed the way businesses and social institutions work. Knowledge management promises concepts and instruments that help organizations to create an environment supportive of knowledge creation, sharing and application. Information and communication technologies (ICT) are often regarded as the enabler for knowledge management initiatives. The book presents an almost encyclopedic treatise of the facets, concepts and theories that have influenced knowledge management and the state of practice concerning strategy, organization, systems and economics. The second edition updates the material to cover the most recent developments in ICT-supported knowledge management. The book particularly provides a more in-depth coverage of its theoretical foundation including a new account of knowledge work, discusses the potentials and challenges of process-oriented knowledge management, adds a new chapter on modelling that plays an important role in knowledge management initiatives and contrasts architectures for centralized and distributed or peer-to-peer knowledge management systems.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Introduction

1. Motivation

Abstract
The transformation of organizations into knowledge-intensive and knowledge-aware organizations takes place at an ever-increasing pace. Knowledge as the key resource, not labor, raw material or capital, changes production functions in organizations significantly. Knowledge represents the key concept to explain the increasing velocity of the transformation of social life in general and the way businesses and social institutions work in particular (Drucker 1994). Estimates at leading research organizations suggest that up to 60% of the gross national product in the United States is based on information as opposed to physical goods and services (Delphi 1997, 10). This is not surprising as it is estimated that the knowledge-intensive construction and development process of new products and services potentially determines 80 to 90% of the resulting production costs (Scherrer 1999, 131).
Ronald Maier

2. Goals

Abstract
The leading research question of this book therefore is: To what extent can information and communication tools and systems support holistic knowledge management initiatives aimed at improving an organizatiosn’s way of handling knowledge?
Ronald Maier

3. Procedure, Methods and Overview

Abstract
Due to its interdisciplinary nature, knowledge management is a field that is still far from being consolidated13. The substantial complexity and dynamics of the field have turned theory-based investigations into knowledge management as well as knowledge management systems into challenging enterprises. Recently, both, researchers, with varying backgrounds as described above, and practitioners, especially in knowledge-intensive businesses such as professional services firms, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, chemical, computer and telecommunications companies, have shown considerable interest in the field of KM. Consequently, it seemed appropriate to answer the research questions of this book on the basis of a combined theoretical and empirical investigation of KMS.
Ronald Maier

Concepts and Theories

Frontmatter

4. Foundation of Knowledge Management Systems

Abstract
Recently, knowledge management has received a lot of attention in scholarly as well as in practitioner-oriented literature and in professional services firms as well as in business organizations of all industrial sectors. Due to the large demand for concepts and theories to support a systematic intervention into the way an organization handles knowledge, the field has attracted researchers from different disciplines and has absorbed a wide array of research questions and approaches to solve these questions. This chapter is devoted to give an overview of the roots of knowledge management, the historical development of the literature and practice in some of its predecessors, especially organizational learning and organizational memory approaches.
Ronald Maier

5. Strategy

Abstract
Considering knowledge as the key resource in an organization has substantial strategic implications. It seems evident that an organization’s strategic choices have to consider the way it handles its knowledge assets.
Ronald Maier

6. Organization

Abstract
As shown earlier, a KM strategy describing the strategic intent of a KM initiative has to be implemented with the help of organizational instruments. This section is devoted to the organizational design of a KM initiative. Figure B-17 proposes a model of the tasks and flows in knowledge management. The model builds on the concepts and theories depicted in section 4.1.1 — “From organizational learning to knowledge management” on page 20. In particular concepts and approaches from the following research fields were integrated within the model:
Ronald Maier

7. Contents and Systems

Abstract
Knowledge management systems were defined in section 4.3 — “Knowledge management systems” on page 79. In the following, first the technological roots of KMS are reviewed (section 7.1). Then, the contents of KMS are analyzed along with their structure and the types of media used (section 7.2). The definition of KMS is detailed with the help of a review of KMS architectures that have been proposed in the literature or have been implemented as standard KMS platforms. Based on this analysis, an amalgamated architecture for a centralized KMS is presented. The architecture is discussed in detail with the help of a structured list of KMS functions that will be used in the empirical study (section 7.3). As an alternative to this ideal architecture for a centralized KMS, an architecture for a distributed or peer-to-peer KMS is presented (section 7.4). Finally, a classification of KMS will be suggested on the basis of a brief, but comprehensive review of the literature (section 7.5).
Ronald Maier

8. Economics

Abstract
The determination of costs and especially the assessment of benefits of KM and KMS is still in its infancy. Many authors have contributed to the description and explanation of the substantial differences between standard economic theory and information economics. Examples are negligible marginal costs or network effects (e.g., Gersbach 1991, Hirshleifer/Riley 1992, Lehner et al. 1995, 179). Our understanding of the economics of knowledge or competence is even more “primitive” than our understanding of information economics (Teece 1998a, 291).
Ronald Maier

9. Summary and Critical Reflection

Abstract
Part B was dedicated to the investigation of the state of theory of KMS supported KM initiatives. The analysis of concepts, theories and approaches to KM revealed two major classes, namely human-oriented and technology-oriented KM approaches. This distinction could be observed in every chapter of part B. Table B-25 summarizes the distinctions made. The second and third columns of Table B-25 contain examples illustrating human-oriented and technology-oriented KM according to the approach, the perspective taken and the definition of knowledge515 the KM strategy and goals516 the roles, tasks, KM instruments, the focus of modeling and the organizational culture517, the architecture, contents, type and functions of KMS518 and finally evaluation objects, aspects, categories and procedures519.
Ronald Maier

State of Practice

Frontmatter

10. Related Empirical Studies

Abstract
This section presents an overview of a number of empirical studies on KM and/or KMS. The studies were selected on the basis of their
  • focus: Studies on knowledge management were selected that included information and communication technology supporting this concept or studies focusing on KM tools and systems;
  • availability: There are several studies of professional services firms which were too expensive to be bought by the author’s Department, e.g., IT Research 2000.
Ronald Maier

11. Research Design

Abstract
The main goals of the empirical study were two-fold:
  • the investigation of the state of practice of the use of KMS in large German organizations,
  • the investigation of concepts, scenarios and strategies for the management of KMS in organizations.
Ronald Maier

12. Strategy and Environment

Abstract
This chapter will first analyze several variables describing the organizational and business environment in which the KM initiatives are embedded (section 12.1). Then, the state of strategic considerations within KM will be studied with respect to KM goals that the initiatives target, as well as estimations to what extent these goals are actually achieved and to what extent these goals are documented and systematically evaluated (section 12.2).
Ronald Maier

13. Organization

Abstract
This chapter will first investigate important aspects of the structural and process organization of the KM initiative (section 13.1). The second section of this chapter will deal with important dimensions of organizational culture, willingness to share knowledge and turnover in employees (section 13.2).
Ronald Maier

14. Contents and Systems

Abstract
This chapter will focus ICT instruments supporting a KM initiative77. Section 14.1 will study to what extent organizations applied Groupware and Intranet platforms as well as KMS. Then section 14.2 will focus on the contents of the KMS, their type, size, media used and their structure. Finally, section 14.3 will investigate the state of practice of KMS in detail with respect to KMS functions implemented and the frequency with which they were used in the organizations.
Ronald Maier

15. Economics

Abstract
To determine the economics of a KM initiative is a challenging task. In the following, some results will be presented that shed some light on the expenses and estimated benefits of KM initiatives. In general, the situation in German companies by the time of the study can be described as follows128:
Most organizations do not track benefits in the sense that objective measures are in place which are regularly reviewed. At best, the organizations collect “success stories” or “quick wins” that describe specific benefits of a KM initiative gained in a particular business case. The situation is no different from previous attempts to measure the costs and benefits of the application of information and communication technology which result in organizational redesign, such as data warehousing, workflow management, Groupware or Intranet technology just to name a few.
Ronald Maier

16. Summary and Critical Reflection

Abstract
This chapter summarizes the results of part C. First, Table C-55 gives an overview of the results for all the hypotheses tested. Then the most important findings will be distilled as theses about the state of practice of KMS supported KM initiatives.
Ronald Maier

Conclusion and Outlook

Frontmatter

17. Scenarios

Abstract
Undoubtedly, knowledge management is currently a very lively and dynamic field drawing the attention of numerous research disciplines that all have their special perspective on KM. Moreover, vendors of software tools and systems happily extend their offerings to include more or less sophisticated KM functionality or simply re-badge their existing systems, e.g., business intelligence, data mining, Intranet, Groupware or content management systems, just to name a few, as knowledge management software. This situation provides for an overwhelming amount of approaches, concepts and theories in the literature, tools and systems on the market as well as Web sites focused on KM that a prospective KM user can draw from.
Ronald Maier

18. Outlook

Abstract
Knowledge management systems neither contain knowledge, nor do they manage it. This fact has provoked substantial and partially justified critic from proponents of the human-oriented KM fraction. Despite its pragmatic foundation as an integrated set of information and communication technologies supporting knowledge management and the many unresolved questions, the term KMS seems to provide a powerful metaphor that is able to draw the attention of researchers from multiple disciplines and practitioners with diverse backgrounds alike.
Ronald Maier

Backmatter

Weitere Informationen