Knowledge management ……..

Activating knowledge

Introduction The combined effects of intensified competition, increased market dynamics, globalisation and ICT developments have caused an increase in data and information flow over the last decade or so that is unmatched in history. New information and knowledge are constantly being generated at all levels in the organisation. The flow of information generated elsewhere is likely to be even larger, it is completely unstructured and, in the current situation where people at all levels in the organisation interface with “the outside world”, it may reach the organisations from any direction. Operating in a highly competitive and dynamic market place requires an organisation to respond much more promptly and quickly than ever before. As described in the section on innovation, companies will only maintain a competitive edge if they innovate their products, processes and organisation at a speed that is higher than that of the competition. The strategic choice to compete on the subject of innovation puts a number of performance requirements on an organisation. In their empirical studies on innovation, Bolwijn (1990 and 1998) describes the organisational competencies of efficiency, quality and flexibility as prerequisites for successful innovators. Requirements for continuous innovation and for increasing an organisation’s innovativeness are ability to generate ideas for improvements, the availability of knowledge (know-how) and speed. In other words : companies need to know more and have to be able to make maximum use of that knowledge in innovation initiatives. They start to realise how important it is to "know what they know and know what they don’t know", what the corporate knowledge assets are, how to create/acquire new knowledge, etc. The aim of knowledge management : continuous improvement, innovation …… for creating competitive advantage. Knowledge management involves looking at knowledge from a meta-level. It deals with knowledge about knowledge regarding everything that is happening in the organisation, i.e. all activities that “make the organisation tick”, now and in future. It involves knowledge about directing, running and working in the organisation on a day-to day basis as well as knowledge about innovation activities for creating competitive advantage. What is knowledge management General Knowing how to handle and structure the information-flood, managing knowledge and innovation has become a critical business aspect for almost all organisations. It should be managed accordingly by means of a knowledge management system. As compared to other management systems concerning for instance safety, quality or finance, knowledge management itself is a bit of an odd-ball. It may be described as a new way of defining what management is all about. The term knowledge management implies that the people involved in the activities relating to the management of knowledge have knowledge about the entire company with everything that is happening in it. They are capable of looking at organisational knowledge from a meta-level. I.e. the management system for knowledge will incorporate, or rather govern, those for all other critical business aspects. The “business-8” for knowledge management as outlined below describes the processes and activities involved in “doing” knowledge management at two levels : a strategic planning level and practical application thereof.

Knowledge management is the organisation looking at itself : it’s business and it’s doing business in all it’s organisational aspects. buy. strategy. These elements of the knowledge management processes will be further elaborated upon in the activity section below. and using the information and expertise within an organisation. identify. American Productivity & Quality Center. The organisation should seriously think about in what way it will locate. shares. distributes. use and analyse information and knowledge and how to identify knowledge gaps and needs at all levels of the organisation. systems. and knowledge infrastructure. organising. technologies and organisations that a business owns or needs to own and which enable its business processes to generate profits. Firstly. Knowledge Praxis. 1998 : Knowledge management involves the identification and analysis of available and required knowledge assets and knowledge asset related processes. It also covers knowledge and information regarding the processes by which the organisation creates new knowledge. culture. products. . work practices. Knowledge management: various definition A number of people and institutions have attempted to describe or define knowledge management. performance. protects and uses it in innovation initiatives. and the subsequent planning and control of actions to develop both the assets and the processes to fulfil organisational objectives. 1999 : The broad challenge in knowledge management is learning how to design an organisation’s goal. treating the knowledge component of business activities as an explicit concern of business reflected in strategy. AIAI. innovativeness. organise. plans the future and works on creating this future. assets. transferring. V/d Kroonenberg : Knowledge management is getting the right information and knowledge in the right quantity at the right time at the right place. transfer. At the operational level it covers knowledge and information regarding all tactical and operational processes and systems. develop. a summary of which is presented below : Chun. 1998 : Knowledge management is the broad process of locating. 1998: Knowledge management is defined as a business activity with two primary aspects.At the strategic level it involves looking at knowledge on how to organise and direct the company by means of mission. This means that knowledge management should be an integral part of the way an organisation acts on a day-to-day basis. and information structure so that the organisation can use what it knows to innovate and adapt. reward systems. policy. Knowledge assets are the knowledge regarding markets. vision and strategy and reviewing the organisation’s context.

Knowledge is a personal capability consisting of information. Bellinger (1998) ideas are summarized in the following figure: Adapted from Bellinger. And secondly. it is prudent to understand the meaning of these words. It may be easily distributed within the organisation. 1997). it may be regarded as an asset. 1998 Information is a collection of data with a relation. concepts and mental models of a person in a certain setting and transformed though reasoning and reflection into new or adapted beliefs. When studying or attempting to manage knowledge it is prudent not to want to describe or view all tacit knowledge in explicit form since it will change according to the person providing this knowledge and the circumstances. information and knowledge. making a direct connection between an organisation’s intellectual assets (both explicit [recorded] and tacit [personal know-how] ) and positive business results. knowledge takes information a step further. it may be shared by means of discussion. This knowledge forms the basis for judging actions. It is lost with people leaving the organisation. order or pattern between the different pieces of data. etc. competency. and the creative and innovative capacity of human beings. competencies.  Explicit knowledge is knowledge that is formally described by means of words. . experience. Next. 1997 : Knowledge management embodies organisational processes that seek synergistic combination of data and information processing capacity of information technologies. Information management creates knowledge-intensive work processes. perform their tasks and construct their perception of reality. One of the original aim was to create machines with the adaptive capacities of organisms. Knowledge assets represent economic value and as such may be sold or traded. products and markets. it should be noted that knowledge management is not the same as information management. competencies. information is knowledge when one is able to realise and understand patterns. copying or on the job training. figures. proposals for innovation. they also may have to be protected (see the section on protecting knowledge. It should be noted that this type of tacit knowledge will remain in the organisation when people are leaving. information is data given meaning and significance in a certain context. just a body information does not represent knowledge. An organisation’s culture may be described as it’s members cumulated tacit knowledge on the subject of cooperation and behavior and the shared belief about it’s business. experience and attitude that enables him/her to execute certain tasks. Weggemans (1998) : Knowledge management is about increasing the return/output and pleasure of the production factor knowledge. communication and control. a structure. Knowledge management is more directed towards the competence of organisations and makes it possible to interpret data and add value (Kenniscentrum CIBIT. Although it is difficult to describe tacit knowledge in formal language or to translate it into rules and recipes. etc. attitude and feeling in a certain setting at any moment in time. It may be more effective to understand the social and behavioral processes that transform the information into knowledge. tables or other systems of symbols. cybernetics is an interdisciplinary science combining elements of information. implications and the significance of the information/knowledge. Having formalised the knowledge in writing and/or model. Knowledge may thus be defined as a personal capacity/capability that is the result of that persons information. Information becomes knowledge when it is interpreted in the beliefs. In other words.and practice at all levels of the organisation. Malhotra. Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) have proposed to divide organisational knowledge into tacit and explicit knowledge :  Tacit knowledge is the personal knowledge that people use to function in their organisation. Y. below). customer approach. Having found that information is not the same as knowledge. Knowledge creation and organisational learning Cybernetics : learning and learning to learn Introduced by Wiener in the 1940’s. M. Information and knowledge In order to be able to review (relations between) data. concepts and mental models. I.e.

In their model for knowledge . In a relative stable environment it is quite likely that changes in operating norms are seldom required . The plan should also include situations that are to be avoided. Systems thinking is the integrating factor for the other four disciplines required for organisational learning. how he/she sees the organisation and the resulting inter-personal interaction and collaborative learning. definition of goals and objectives and systems of accountability that prevent people from thinking for themselves. In the third phase.One of the core concepts used to describe the ability of a system to regulate itself (steermanship) involves processes of information exchange based on negative feedback. This has led to a number of principles and functional requirements for systems of communication. Baets (1998) describes three phases in the process of organisational learning. Systems approach Morgan’s guidelines for stimulating learning in organisations closely relate to the systems thinking. This knowledge is shared and transformed into collective knowledge in the second phase. e. The cybernetics approach to planning is to focus on defining and reviewing constraints and boundary conditions (and thereby creating degrees of freedom in which the company may evolve) rather than to define a master plan with clear-cut targets. Companies in such stable conditions often excel in single loop learning. Learning is done within the existing norms. Under these conditions it is difficult to achieve step-type changes. other individuals adapt their own knowledge level..g. Systems based on the principle of negative feedback detect errors of movement or action beyond predefined limits and correct automatically.). one of which is further detailed in a separate section. The first one involves knowledge creation at an individual level. the other four being personal mastership. Rather than defining thé learning organisation. by means of failure or deviation reports. their systems (e. Senge : The learning organisation is the place where people continuously discover how they create reality. Senge’s “Fifth Discipline” (…. the disciplines will result in combined behavior (culture) that will foster learning. Morgan (1986) describes that despite the fact that companies have institutionalised systems for double loop learning. Morgan proposes a number of guidelines for stimulating a learning-oriented approach to organisation and management. Learning processes. A number of people have published on activities and processes that people engage in for organisational knowledge creation. the use of mental models.g. an open and no-blame culture. a number of fundamental organisational principles often obstruct the (second loop) learning processes. encouraging the analysis and review of complex problems from different perspectives and avoiding the use of pre-imposed structures of action. innovation and progress. creating a common vision and team learning. Obstructions related to bureaucracy are structures. the one for financial management) often even support the existing norms and company direction. Since all models incorporate the same features. The guidelines all relate to accepting complexity.e. constant change and uncertainty. not seeing the “total picture” or the reality of certain situations and taking risks. how he/she thinks. i. Senge stresses the character of these disciplines : they are “personal” disciplines and closely relate to what a person wants. In his image of “organisation as brains”. (single loop) learning and learning to learn (double loop learning) as represented in the following figure : Putting the concepts of single and double loop learning in an organisational context leads to a number of observations. only two are described here.

technology councils or technology discussion groups.  Tap into all sources of knowledge on the subject matter. they should fit with the strategic aims and the activities of this organisation. Defing the organisation of the community and the way that it will operate. It starts with an individual explicitising his/her own tacit knowledge. however quite often some sort of informal network already exists on a specific topic. These intra-organisational knowledge communities are either created “top down” or simply have evolved bottom up from individual expert needs to review issues with peers. create and manage knowledge relevant to the community and spread it amongst it’s members. Success factors A number of experts (a. especially those with branches all over the world have formally established experts groups within the company. established within an organisational context. on the subject of new product development. people now see the potential value of inter-organisational knowledge communities. however. Building knowledge communities sometimes involves starting from scratch. Most larger corporations. Having established such organisational need. who is working on the topic or on technologies and/or competencies relating to the topic. peer groups. in creating trust. The latter is responsible for the knowledge quality and keeping the community alive by connecting members. Defining all stakeholders in the community that are likely to be interested and committed to actively contribute : which are sources of knowledge. This will include issues s. are often reluctant to share their knowledge within a community unless they can see that they will benefit from being an active member of this community. Jacobs. joint thinking and knowledge creation. Building knowledge communities The need for creating a knowledge community may be very divers. This means that content management is critical. The common purpose is to obtain. individual knowledge is then transformed to collective knowledge (organisational learning).conversion. In the next step of organisational knowledge creation. creating a knowledge community on a specific topic will involve :    Defining it’s mission. For the organisation of the community it is often decided to appoint a functional expert or focal point as the domain guardian or network coordinator.o. nurturing a general willingness to share knowledge and a developing a “feeling of membership”. 1997. General Being faced with a global competitive arena and having recognised that a wealth of valuable information and knowledge is continuously being generated outside the organisation.  One of the key issues for an individual’s willingness to actively participate in a knowledge community is summarised by the question “what’s in it for me ?” : Individuals. Knowledge administrators or librarians may be appointed to organise and distribute new information and knowledge. e. The coordinator may have to be assisted by subdomain experts for maintaining the quality of the information and knowledge and review of the quality of new input and focus the same in line with the community strategy. e. A . Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) refer to the same base elements as Baets. but especially on issues relating to behavior and culture. The quality and quantity of co-operation may range from a number of experts sited in different units of a company that “know” each other to official strategic alliances between a number of organisations. Please refer to the section on knowledge creation for more detail Knowledge communities A knowledge community may be described as a group of people united by a shared interest in a particular knowledge domain. especially subject matter experts. this conversion of tacit into explicit knowledge should also take place at an organisational level. 1996: and Weggemans.g. it is a collaborative task for experts and facilitators to ensure that state of the art knowledge and information is available to the community. Shell. joint improvement initiatives and maintaining the desired quality of the information and knowledge. 1997) have described success factors for creating knowledge communities. or “plan” for knowledge management. EFQM. commitment of the parties involved in contributing to the community is crucial to the success of the community. Experience has shown that existing (informal) networks often require broadening of the scope of the area of interest. These groups are referred to as knowledge / expert clusters. focussing on important issues. agreeing on which means and/or forums will be used to share knowledge. vision and strategy. They describe the process of knowledge creation as making tacit knowledge explicit. 1999.a.g. don’t start a new “program” of. a summary of which is :  Management commitment in general. It is prudent to build on these existing networks : if at all possible. either inside or outside the company. however they refine the second phase of sharing and collectivising knowledge.

the latter may be professors and/or expert from business organisations. Task support : learning and decision support From his studies on requirements for education and learning in the next century. In an (ideal) virtual team consisting of true experts in their field there is no hierarchy.  The availability and usability of company knowledge. this approach to training and support will be continued. teams using electronic means for meeting. etc. they have to be willing and enthusiastic to share knowledge. they have to be (individually) motivated to reach the project and team objectives. the access to data and information is the same for everyone. Tt should be noted that the introduction of ICT tools for knowledge management and activating activities will only be successful if they are part of an overall strategic socio-technical plan. fluctuation and creative chaos.e. but from cultural (socio) issues. the focus for education and training will shift to personal and professional goals of the student. It’s not about IT. i. autonomy. for at least part of their co-operation activities. method or methodology employed should be supportive for the user of the tool as well as for the organisation that he/she is in. They may now be used in tools supporting :  The knowledge management and activating processes as represented in the knowledge-8.       number of companies have “forced” the willingness to share knowledge by including related activities in yearly reviews and reward systems. de Vries (1999) concluded that contemporary education systems which are centered around subjects of knowledge and existing curricula (and often around particular preferences of a professor) will not suffice any more. it’s about technology and people. especially the internet-related ones. people will be encouraged to actively participate in particular knowledge communities. Throughout their lives. New knowledge is typically created in teams consisting of other students and mentors. in the person’s professional life. etc. Personally knowing the members of the community will help building commitment. Within an organisational setting. These enabling conditions constitute an excellent playground for virtual teams. The only success factor that will be dependent on the people participating in the team is that of intention (as with any other team) : people have to be willing to work as a virtual team. communicating. have reached a level of maturity where they may be effectively and efficiently applied as a tool to support all activities relating to knowledge. redundancy and requisite variety have been described by Nonaka and Takuechi as the enabling conditions in the process of knowledge creation. Instead of the current orientation towards graduation. It will be centered around the creation. Students will receive help and guidance while working their way through a particular problem setting or task. especially when trying to develop tacit to explicit knowledge. independent of any bureaucracy. Electronic means offer instant access to any information or persons required.  Individualised decision support and (distance) learning tools that will enable on-the-job support as-and-when required. The role of ICT Introduction The rapidly growing body of information and communication technologies. Knowledge creation and team support Intention. refer to the section on organisational issues. Starting of as . Any tool. don’t start a new “program” of. Intranets should enable top-down installation and bottom-up emergence of communities or sub-communities. transfer and management of knowledge that is focussed on a particular situation. Within a virtual team it is possible to operate completely autonomous. problem setting and/or training need. create human forums along information systems and integrate knowledge sharing and documenting efforts into the normal way of working Communication comes first. Experiences have shown that especially in plans for increasing the knowledge creating and innovation capacity of organisations problems will arise not from the ICT (technical) side. exchanging knowledge. For further reference on this subject. achievement second. Emphasis should be on knowledge that is important to both personnel and the organisation. As such it provides a practical solution to the concepts of “learning on the job” and “ life long learning”. or “plan” for knowledge management. This learning mode involving situated task support and knowledge creation in teams is also the prime mode of learning in organisatinal settings. Since undoubtedly people already share knowledge some way or another it is prudent to build on these existing networks : if at all possible. it offers effective and efficient possibilities for sharing and distribution of knowledge.

 Integration : the user has a consistent and uniform view on the knowledge base and it’s structure. adapted to their individual needs and preferences. Examples of services are: situated support consisting of existing company knowledge. On-line knowledge communities A knowledge community may be referred to as an online community if it uses an ICT infrastructure to unite the group of people and to enable them to share their interests. and the instrumentality. The quality and character of this support has to be based on the level of experience of the individual and the context that he/she is in at the time of requesting the support.  Enable members of a knowledge creating team to progress through the phases of knowledge creation : Exchange of tacit knowledge.  Allow access to all sources of knowledge on a specific topic. Design principles for an online knowledge center have been described by Brereton (1988) and (1999) :  The center has to be defined and organised such that all members share the same mission and the same approach to the acquisition. A very simple example is an electronic idea/brainstorm-box. masters or apprentices.e. i. the shared interests. or for support of the role of team attendant.  Knowledge dissemination and sharing services. Design guidelines for the aplication of ICT in task support and knowledge management and activating activities A number of design guidelines for ICT support in task support and knowledge management and activating activities may be distilled from the issues presented above. spreading the knowledge). from Nonaka and Takeuchi’s description of a knowledge creating company and from De Vries (1999). experiences from previous years. The user decides about where. ideally they all obtain their knowledge from the same source.  Knowledge creation services may help people in their (asynchronous) learning and innovation initiatives. review of concepts. enable effective and efficient storing of learning points and align systems for managing the organisation’s business processes. i. on-line education for novices and on line task and decision support for experts (note that this will require state-of-the-art domain knowledge content).students or novices receiving help and guidance from professional experts.  A structured and systematic approach knowledge management in organisational contexts requires a process orientation. third party information. ICT in the knowledge value creation chain Following are options for ICT support in the knowledge value creation chain as presented in the Business – 8 for knowledge management:  Including a KM module/workspace offering knowledge services covering the aspects of the Business – 8. they themselves will gradually develop into experts and may act as mentors and/or focal points for others. etc. competitor profiling. combination and internalisation. and how tasks are performed. Finally. read and start appreciating the issues at hand and possible implications for their position. a novice or an expert. For knowledge creation.  Deliver knowledge services on a competitive base. This may be regarding the level of experience of the team members.  Communication facilities about KM offers everyone in the company to contribute to the knowledge management efforts. People may contribute.g. all in need of knowledge support .  Be supportive for individual as well as for the organisation :  Individual task support should be provided context specific and dependant on the individual’s level of experience. Shared interests relate to the knowledge domain that unite the members. developing concepts. externalisation.  Allow easy access & full communication possibilities  Enable top-down installation and bottom-up emergence of communities or sub-communities. The software should : In general:  Professionalise the user in terms of his/her individual competencies and organisation objectives and offer a professional appearance for external visitors. . collaboration tools. management and sharing of knowledge. allow task and activity based support.  Enable the 4 forms of knowledge conversion : Socialisation.e. it should enable different roles / functions within the team and support the same. De Vries (1999) describes three key elements of an online knowledge community : the members. where people may input ideas and contribute to issues raised by others. e. the infrastructure refers to the ICT-application that forms a meeting place for the members : an online knowledge center. experts.  Individuals should be supported in their tasks and interests. when. Members may be organisations. This will “automatically” impose a customer (quality) focus. constructing a prototype (working system) and level change of knowledge (a/o. organisational learning and innovation:  Support work in projects.

on the organisational side it should provide support the processes of knowledge management. people are not afraid to make mistakes and they share knowledge rather than keeping it to themselves. In the typical learning and innovative organisation. it is prudent to . vision and strategy : management commitment With reference to the top-part of the Business – 8 for Knowledge Management. Information is readily available for all employees. or the people involved in knowledge management processes. it places knowledge workers in a central role in the organisation. it will also provide the charge for the people to direct their efforts and behaviour in their daily work and knowledge activating efforts. vision. they recognise the complexity of problems and opportunities and knoe how to review these from different perspectives. functional barriers are (nearly) non-existent. The company desires to be an industry leader in at least one technical area. complexity is recognised and accepted. External sources of knowledge are constantly being monitored. Working together in teams. taking actions to obtain or develop knowledge that is deemed necessary. In the current highly dynamic operating environment.g. Nearly all employees interface with “the outside world” and fast amounts of information find their way into the organisation. Knowledge sharing and documenting efforts should be integrated into the normal way of working. There is a no blame and non-threatening working environment. Everybody has an open attitude towards the organisation’s stakeholders and the environment. people seek solutions that work and fit requirements. at low cost and ahead of the competition). Arguably. how their work (e. Increasing an organisation’s innovativeness requires an integrated. main input for effective and efficient knowledge management and knowledge activating efforts is a clear definition of the company’s mission. taking risks) will affect others and how new information and knowledge may benefit others. rather than an ongoing effort to search for the absolute best solution. People see “the total picture” around them. Within the “typical” knowledge intensive and innovative organisation. Lessons from the studies on cybernetics and innovation as described in the previous sections indicate that instead of a defining people’s tasks in great detail. People have an open mind.  The technical knowledge infrastructure stream will involve planning and implementation of information and communication systems have to be designed such that they support both individual and their organisation. people will have to be willing to learn continuously. This will have to be translated into the organisation’s culture. growth and change are institutionalised : change has become the “way-of-life”. Organisational issues General As described above. socio-technical (project –type) approach incorporating two main streams of attention. Positive as well as negative experiences are carefully followed up with the objective to learn. vision and strategy. strategy and performance requirements. they have the competency (creativity ?) to know how to combine new information and knowledge with existing knowledge in order to create new knowledge (learning) and to promptly use the same in innovation initiatives. determining who needs to know what. the concept of knowledge management assumes managers. probably for the rest of their life. where and when in the organisation. on the subjects relating to their daily tasks as well as on the subjects relating to knowledge creation and innovation initiatives (project work). these final steps of knowledge creation and innovation are the most important ones of all : this is where value is created. It is of crucial importance to know what to know. to be able to deal with knowledge at the meta-level. Decisions are made in teams. redundancy and requisite variety. one for organisational (socio) change and one for covering all knowledge infrastructure (technical) aspects :  The socio-stream starts with the strategic choice for innovation and a clear reflection thereof in the organisation’s mission. management practices. valuable ideas are obtained early in their development life (i. People will require task. reward systems etc. They work with a sense of urgency. fluctuation and creative chaos. People think for themselves and know how to interface with the outside world. knowledge creation and innovation (working in a team environment).e. Satisfy the enabling conditions for knowledge creation : intention. manage and spread this information in the most effective and efficient manner. Defining mission.e. Human forums have to be created on subjects relating to competency and technology that are critical to the organisation. The final step is leveraging the same and creating value by sharing and distributing that knowledge and using it in innovation initiatives. decision and learning support that is incorporated in their normal way of working ……. new knowledge and information are constantly being generated. i. There is a clear need to capture. This will not only determine the overall organisational performance requirements. knowing what the corporate knowledge assets are. are willing to share their knowledge and everybody’s input is equally valued. structure. They should provide task and decision support to people. definition of critical business aspects and related management systems. autonomy. It also pinpoints the crucial importance of people.

define constraints and boundary conditions. knowledge creating. critical business aspects. the success of a knowledge intensive. opportunities which may otherwise have been lost. In this context it is prudent to refer to Weick. who described organisations to consist of a group of workers that are loosely tied together. Weggemans (1997) elaborates on the difficulties of managing/controlling professionals (ref : Minzberg’s professional bureaucracy) : in the ideal knowledge organisation there is a balance between the freedom and autonomy of the professionals and the organisation’s goals and type of control. Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) propose what they call the hypertext organisation.  The have an open attitude towards others from within the company and towards third parties. Everybody knows and appreciates the importance of sharing knowledge and working in teams in the knowledge creation and innovation process. Management commitment will have to be quantified by freeing people up from their daily routine to initiate and participate in innovation initiatives. Culture Having defined and communicated the mission. The traditional role of middle management is eliminated and functional barriers have been removed.. communication with others in the organisation and will ultimately lead to more knowledge creation. build on existing networks within and outside the organization. According to Tissen (1998) these type organisations have in the past often developed into a bowl of small empires that could not be managed any more.  Risk taking. will have to be changed. each dictated by a different context. they describe the hypertext organisation . people are not afraid to make mistakes and they share knowledge rather than keeping it to themselves. Weggemans : The successful knowledge intensive organisation is characterised by a strong collective vision and a structure that allows the professional to improvise like a jazz player.  There is a mutual understanding about what is important : people know how to behave in terms of core competencies. culture and (maybe most importantly) the individual ideas of the knowledge workers who will continue to develop their power in the knowledge society. also a form of matrix organisation. innovative company should be a flat. Based on a clear organisation charge. It is to be expected that at the end of the day there will be a multitude of different structures..  People co-operate in teams : they a willing and capable of working in a flat organisation with limited bureaucracy. De Geus : The only relevant learning in an organisation is learning by those who have the power to act. it may not be so straightforward for other types : Moss-kanter (1998) found that the most successful innovators have a decentralised matrix structure (see structure and organisation). Ideally there is a no blame and non-threatening working environment. mistakes should be learned from. process oriented network organisation. vision and strategy to the people in the organisation. everybody can make their own decisions while important decisions are made in multi-disciplinary teams. They operation fully depends on the situation faced in different circumstances. exact structures in which typical knowledge workers will organise themselves are not known yet. strategy. This will leave the people the freedom to act individually and grab valuable opportunities “on the way”. innovative company as painted above may be true for a number of relatively small hi-tech companies or typical one-off-project organisations. He argues that this problem may be solved with the application of new ICT tools. It leaves people with room to define their own job and knowledge goals and is reported to stimulate creativity. and probably the types of controls.  They feel involved and are responsible for their own tasks : they make their own decisions and understand how their task fits in "the bigger picture". Issues relating to culture are summarised as :  People work with a sense of urgency and speed. When initiating new “knowledge programs”. Strategic cooperation within a number of knowledge communities may be required. Both Nonaka and Takuechi (1995) and Moss-Kanter (1995) describe a stimulating effect on people’s creativity and knowledge creation by giving the people job descriptions that are rather loose and consist of multiple tasks.  Continuous improvement and change is "the way of living". etc. Systems. learning and innovative company will largely be determined by the people themselves. The ideal picture for a knowledge creating. performance indicators …. Personal initiative is highly valued. it’s culture promotes personal initiative and the people are proud of their organisation and team efforts. Structure It is often said that the knowledge creating. Functional competencies and excellence are maintained by the institutionalisation of focal points and knowledge and technology peer groups (knowledge communities). Combining the advantages of the bureaucratic and the technocratic organisation.

Nonaka and Takuechi (1995) describe the stimulating effect of an abundance in information : people are more or less forced to make a creative. This situation will. but rather to stimulate the co-operation and creative processes. processes or organisational structures. In contrast : on the workfloor the knowledge is predominantly of the tacit type. In order to assure consistency. choice from this information.g. Within a virtual team. They have an open mind and willing to share their knowledge and working with a sense of urgency. however at any moment in time they can only be part of either the business system or be a member of a project team. the bearers of an organisation’s culture and often the first person to start the socialisation process of new employees. result in miscommunication between management and workfloor and opportunities for innovation are missed. to a large extent. pressure groups. and therefor knowledge creating. These issues are all reviewed in separate section in this chapter. by measuring the amount of re-use of that knowledge by other professionals or the actual application in new products. The competency profile will then serve as the basis for assigning individuals to knowledge creation and innovation teams.g. A person will always be part of the knowledge base. New knowledge is thus constantly being created and added to the knowledge base. Due to their involvement in activities at management level as well as on the operational level. e. In this linking of management and workfloor. innovation and learning. the amount of valuable ideas generated. It may also include a number of specific competencies relating to certain customers. etc. etc. the knowledge domain contents. ideally support both the individual and the organisation. the project team (for new initiatives) and the knowledge base. a primary orientation towards the organisation’s production processes is advisable. They should have mastered competencies related to quality thinking and flexibility. Such system may include: the willingness to share information and knowledge. Systems A complete system for knowledge management needs to address the organisation’s production processes. Teams: The team environment. the linking pin for knowledge creation. a group of people working together using ICT as the main means of communication. the quality of the close-out report of a project. partners. Nonaka and Takuechi (1995) also refer to the function of middle management in (larger) organisations. Conventional HRM systems may have to be expanded to include a number of competency and performance dimensions relevant for their specific context and requirements. These competency dimensions may be translated into individual competency profiles. all company information and knowledge should be readily available for all employees. They are. Information and Communication : Within a knowledge creating and innovative company. In some cases it is possible to link the system to the usefulness and value of ideas and knowledge generated. teams established with the prime task of knowledge creation or innovation should comprise of people with all technical expertise required to carry out the tasks at hand and know what it is to efficiently and effectively contribute in a team environment. middle management get to know both the tacit and explicit knowledge required for product and process innovation. the quality of cooperation in teams. The attendant’s task would not be to control and manage. Ideally. inevitably. By successively participating in the business system (involving operational and systems knowledge) and the project team (where conceptual knowledge is being used).o. the willingness and number of initiative for co-operation. Everybody knows about the latest developments. relate to actual operational tasks and induce a quality orientation. it may include knowledge and experience on the subject of technical.g.to consist of 3 “layers” : the business system (the organisation’s day-to-day business activities). with fixed systems and reporting procedures for a. is the main playground for knowledge creation. the technical support systems and it’s culture. They are often the ones that “organise” quality assurance and the services processes. for instance in various project teams. even while working in longer term planning horizons. a group of people working together with the aim to develop their cumulative knowledge. Functional hierarchy is absent : the input of all team members is treated similarly. e. The knowledge management system should. Nonaka and Takeuchi describe an important task for middle management : “middle-up-down-management”. top management will only receive explicit knowledge. It may be prudent to introduce a merit and reward system for inducing positive knowledge activating behavior. every team member has to play their own part. thereby motivating personnel to keep on developing their competency profile. They argue that due to the way that these companies are organised. where people make their own decisions and interface freely with the outside world. Moss-Kanter (1995) states that presenting employees with a free and random . the knowledge alliances). it’s knowledge processes. especially since they often have informal networks all over the organisation that may play a crucial role in knowledge spreading and distribution. there is no team leader in the conventional sense. They will play an important role in progressing through the knowledge creation cycle. commercial and interpersonal issues. e. innovation proposals. In this case it may be prudent to involve a team “companion” or team “attendant” with the sole task of guarding the success factor of intention. he/she will progress though the knowledge creating cycle. progress in other teams.

flow of information will stimulate them to look for information in new places or from different perspectives and to combine information in different subjects. The way and means of transferring information and knowledge are dependant on the type of organisation and the task at hand. This systems approach to knowledge management allows prioritisation and subsequent detailed planning of specific knowledge improvement initiatives to be executed at the operational level. geographic spread. innovativeness.a. In the strategic cycle it is prudent to adopt a systems perspective (Note : Senge’s fifth discipline) and a process approach for ensuring a consistent and systematic review of performance and identification of improvement initiatives while in the actual improvement cycle a project approach will be used. Elements of knowledge management are described by means of the business-8 ® for knowledge management which combines management and operational aspects related to working with organization knowledge: The processes and activities involved are split in two levels: a strategic planning level and an operational improvement cycle.  Task specific variables s. the strategic orientation. complexity and innovativeness. systems. the amount and character of stakeholders etc. At the strategic level it involves looking at knowledge on how to organise and direct the company by means of mission. Variables involved are :  Organisation specific variables s.a size. assets. performance. and . the working methods. vision and strategy and reviewing the organisation’s context. “Doing” knowledge management.

A knowledge development plan will form the starting point for activities in the operational knowledge improvement cycle including knowledge creation. university contracts. leveraging to the rest of the organization. a SWOT analysis or other tools as outlined in the section on strategy or business planning. 5. equipment or processes. the people that will be involved in the operati0nal cycle have been (somehow) involved in preparing the knowledge development plan. one could argue that the strategic planning efforts carried out in an organization are the same as KM efforts at a strategic level. all leading up to successful innovation programs. hiring individual specialist or team of specialists. This will not only determine the overall organisational performance requirements. 4. .a. Rubinstein (1989) has presented a number of external technology acquisition methods : licencing.knowledge infrastructure. grants and consortia. vision and strategy.a. Increasing pressure on suppliers to innovate. Knowledge management starts with the conventional approaches to doing business: defining mission. Determine the way that the knowledge is to be obtained. The knowledge development plan should include activities. Determining organisational performance criteria and competency requirements The organisation’s strategy will largely determine the organizational performance criteria. Buying technologies embedded in products. contracts for R&D to other companies and research institutes. persuading customers to share innovation. Strategic review With reference to introductory section. limited R&D partnerships. training. material. and what should we know. bilateral cooperative technology arrangements. Main input for effective and efficient knowledge management and knowledge activating efforts is a clear definition of the company’s mission. systems and products. Determine improvement plan including knowledge development strategy and plan Prioritise the knowledge development options based on the gap-anlysis and prioritisation tools s. knowledge distribution. minority interests in firms with R&D programs. it will also provide the charge for the people to direct their efforts and behavior in their daily work and knowledge activating efforts.  Independence : All team members should be allowed to function independently. Knowledge creation Nonaka and Takuechi (1997) describe the creative team process in the following phases: Phase Exchange of personal knowledge Creation of concepts Review and checking of concepts Preparation of an archetype (=prototype or working model) Niveau wisseling of knowledge Main endeavour Socialisation Externalisation Externalisation Combination Combination and internalisation 1 2 3 4 5 They have identified organizational enabling conditions for successful knwoeldge creation teams:  Intention/autonomy : all team members should be allowed to build their own view of the knowledge that has to be created and the end-product (if any). communication and culture. vision and strategy. These criteria. joint ventures. Please refer to the section on change for more information. definition of critical business aspects and related management systems. recourses and investments for creating/aquiring the knowledge to be developed and all socio-technical changes required in the organization s. technical adjustements in processes. The question of “Which business are we in. supplemented with the results of the “Process step – critical business aspect matrix” may be used to determine detailed performance criteria and competency requirements for parts of the organisation and individuals. Review organizational performance regarding these criteria and competencies Prepare a knowledge gap-analysis. Ideally. and which business should we be in may be translated into: What do we know. 2. acquiring small hi-technology companies. Points 1 to 6 are further detailed as: 1. 3. The plan for creating or acquiring knowledge (the innovation plan) may include establishing co-operation with others and the establishment of knowledge communities.

………………………… To be included: Protecting knowledge ……………. (… tegengaan door competitie beding). sharing and distribution Distributing/sharing knowledge in the organisation with the aim to leverage the knowledge of the entire organisation to a higher level. Fluctuation and creative chaos : Team members should feel free to release their creativity. there are as many ways of distributing knowledge as there are kinds of knowledge. Perhaps the most dangerous ones are the middle managers since they have access to a wide variety of detailed information Knowledge should not be limited to just one person in a company. Planning and executing innovation initiatives The final step is the one where value is being created.  Redundancy : All relevant information should be available to all team members. In many cases it will be a combination of different means and forums that will lead to the best result. . As further explained in the section on knowledge communication. there should be no obstructions of any sort that may kill creativity. and are reluctant to share it completely. Knowledge spreading. 6. often strategic. This is the problem of not even making the knowledge available. This is where the new knowledge is applied in innovation initiatives. A reason for this is that often people think their individual knowledge is a valuable resource. One of the cheapest ways of obtaining valuable. To be completed ……… Knowledge assets. knowledge is to “buy” top talent from a competitor or a research institute. as fast as possible. 7.  Variety of information : Team members should be allowed to access whatever source of information that they require.