Management Information Systems| 20/08/2010
Q1. Why do you think the knowledge management system at Infosys faced such seriousimplementation challenges? Defend your answer with examples from the case.Answer:
When we dole out monetary incentives to promote any scheme, it leads to unplannedand uncontrolled growth leading to management problems. This sometimes leads toinefficiency and dilution in quality ultimately resulting in loss of credibility.The knowledge management (KM) group of Infosys first thought that by promoting the KShopwith Knowledge Currency Units (KCU), which could be accumulated and exchanged formonetary rewards, would increase the knowledge sharing on the portal. But this led to overcontribution which resulted in employees experiencing information overload and consequently,higher search costs for reusable knowledge. Secondly, the explosive growth in the no. of contributions began to place a heavy burden on the limited number of volunteer reviewers.This lead to a lax in the quality control of the shared knowledge, which resulted in knowledgedegradation. Also when questionable articles began to be rated consistently higher, thecredibility of the rating system itself came into question. There was also a fear that one of thecore values of the organization involving
the company’s asking culture would deteriorate.
Q2. What steps did the KM group at Infosys take to improve participation in the KMsystem? Why were some of these initiatives counterproductive? The KM groupresponded with corrective initiatives. Do you think these will succeed? Why or why not?Answer:
To increase participation in the in the KM system, the KM group at Infosys introduced
“the knowledge currency unit (KCU)” incentive. According to the scheme, the employees who
contributed or reviewed contributions to KShop would be awarded KCUs which employeescould accumulate and exchange for monetary rewards and prizes. Also to motivate theemployees, their cumulative KCUs were displayed on a scoreboard on KShop which increasedtheir visibility and hence their standing in the organization. This served to becounterproductive as an extremely large number of employees started contributing materialdue to the monetary gain which got published irrespective of its quality thus leading to highersearch costs and deplorable quality.The most important of corrective actions was to distance the knowledge sharing from themonetary incentives to protect the spirit of community in the company by reducing the numberof KCUs awarded for reviewing contributions and increasing the minimum standard for cashingthe KCU points. They reevaluated the KCU score so that the contributions were reviewed not only by volunteer reviewers and colleagues, but also by the end users. They also began todemand tangible proofs for any high ratings to increase the accountability of the reviewers.These initiatives would work as this would lead to contributions and reviews by only seriousemployees who genuinely wanted to share knowledge.