Creating The Discipline of Knowledge Management

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As shown in Figure , KM can be considered to have had a long latency period of some 50 years, during which a number of key concepts were developed Nonaka and Nishinguchi, This preceded a rapidly growing wave of strong interest in both discourse and diffusion in the late s, followed by a period of reflective criticism and arguments for a reinvention of the field.

Finally evidence is presented of a division in KM discourse between researchers and practitioners and of continued concerns about its relevance and usefulness. During a significant period of latency, from about to the beginning of the s, a number of key concepts emerged that would later play a significant part in the development of thinking around KM.

Some refer explicitly to knowledge, others do so more indirectly. The key concepts are illustrated in Figure A review of the links between the prior discussion on the evolution of thinking about knowledge and the early beginnings of what became to be considered as Knowledge Management identifies the importance of the work of Michael Polanyi. Grant and Grant, In many ways, Polanyi can be seen as a bridge between prior more philosophical works on. Polanyi speaks much more of "knowing" rather than of "knowledge" and roots much of his argument on the role of language in communicating knowledge.

While suggesting that language is a vital tool we can use to share knowledge, he also emphasizes that we can often know how to do things without either knowing or being able to articulate to others why what we do works.

Introduction to knowledge management

This is the foundation of the concept of "tacit" knowledge, which he develops further in his book The Tacit Dimension. Serenko and Bontis found, in a survey of all citations in three major KM journals from first publication to the end of that Polanyi's two major books in the field Polanyi, and are collectively the second most cited source in KM. Polanyi presents a dual view, addressing tacit knowledge and the role of language in knowledge transfer and in shared understanding.

In a knowledge community, an inter-related formal language is developed, including a transformation from tacit to explicit knowledge, at least for those experts who can agree on and interpret that shared language See Uschold, This link between tacit knowledge and "knowing how" was also addressed by Gilbert Ryle, in his work on ordinary language Ryle, Generally recognized as the originator of Information Theory, his work on information transmission Shannon, focuses on the successful transmission of a correctly understandable message, despite the impact of noise or entropy.

Since then, the terms "data" and "information" have been used in many forms -- they are often used interchangeably but they cannot be considered synonyms and sometimes their uses are contradictory. This model, though it has received widespread recognition and use, has also been criticized as being too simplistic and, as will be discussed later in this chapter, its misuse may have contributed to the failure of many KM projects.

Cybernetic concepts emerged in the mid's from the work of Wiener, von Bertalanffy, Ashby and von Foerster and others , gaining more practitioner interest as the power of computers grew. One strong proponent of cybernetics, Stafford Beer, argued for biological. Alan Turing first formalized the idea of the thinking machine Turing, This idea was the focus of the Artificial Intelligence AI community and a subset of that field, described as Expert Systems, was the target of much effort in the s and 80s.

Successful expert systems tend to work in narrow domains. An expert system contains two primary components a knowledge base and an inference engine and the discipline was sometimes described as Knowledge Engineering. This is one of the first explicit occurrences of knowledge as a modern management concept. Despite continued interest in the technical and academic communities, artificial intelligence and expert systems have not achieved significant breakthroughs at the strategic level in many organisations. These opinion leaders had a significant influence on the early evolution and growth of the field of KM.

An initial review of the prominent literature in the field from to identified a number of common themes. As shown in Figure , the themes are: 1. The management and exploitation of "intellectual capital". Social views of knowledge, including organizational learning and communities of practice. Knowledge work and knowledge models, frameworks and processes. The widespread use of IT to capture, codify and share knowledge. The need to manage knowledge activities at both the strategic and operational levels. Each of these five KM themes is supported by identifiable and often quite discrete user and research communities.

Thus, they provide a useful structure for understanding the evolution of thoughts on KM during this first generation. The first two are argued by many of their proponents to be discrete fields, complementary to KM, whose emergence somewhat preceded that of KM.

As with many KM terms, a variety of definitions exist, however many authors concur that it includes human capital,. Hubert St. Karl-Erik Sveiby's early work in Sweden, for example, Sveiby and Risling, a is seen by many as the beginning of the Knowledge Management movement and an example of a hero-manager guru. This inspired a number of Swedish initiatives, amongst which Lief Edvinsson's work at Skandia is prominent.

Wider popularization of the concept likely started with Thomas Stewart's writings in Fortune magazine Stewart, , Stewart, Knowledge has become the primary ingredient of what we make, do, buy, and sell. As a result, managing it, finding and growing intellectual capital, storing it, selling it, sharing it has become the most important economic task of individuals, businesses, and nations.

World Bank on the power of storytelling Denning, , provided early and pioneering contributions that were frequently reported. In Scandinavia, there has been both early and ongoing discussion about explicit reporting on intellectual assets, including both Edvinsson's work at Skandia and the more recent evolution of a methodology for the disclosure of intellectual capital under the three dimensions of human, structural and relational capital.

Claessen, In this perspective, knowledge is usually seen as a thing or object, an asset of the organization and something that contributes to its overall value. This is argued to be the primary cause of the stock valuations of corporations that are higher than their book value. Proponents of this view frequently discuss carrying out knowledge audits or inventories. While such knowledge can include patents, trade secrets and other unique capabilities, there is recognition that value is created through the interaction of all three classes of intangible assets.

During this period, researchers in the accounting field such as Lev and Mouritsen have also questioned the adequacy or traditional accounting practices that undervalue the impact of intangible assets and contributed to the discussion and how to measure and report intellectual assets.

Two journals devoted to the field have been established, the Journal of Intellectual Capital est. The Intellectual Capital view can be closely linked to other work that examines the economic view of knowledge. For example, Spender suggests that, in addition to the traditional factors of production --land, labour and capital -- knowledge is also a critical factor and that the use of different types of knowledge assets can produce different returns or levels of economic rent Spender, a.

This theme was popularized by Senge in his book The Fifth Discipline Senge, and evolved from the world of general systems theory. Bontis et al. In their paper, Bontis et al. Some take an organisation focus others look at individual behaviour. Key to many of the views of communities of practice is that they are often informal and cross-organisational boundaries. The word further suggests that communities of practice are not constrained by typical geographic, business unit or functional boundaries, but rather by common tasks, contexts, and work interests.

Much of this work in organizational learning addresses a key challenge -- attempting to define knowledge in a business or organizational context. Thus, while the organizational learning field takes as a given that "knowledge" is learned by both individuals and organizations, it provides quite varied views on what exactly that knowledge might be. This discussion frequently focuses around two linked concepts -- organizational memory and communities.

This information is stored as a consequence of implementing decisions to which they refer, by individual recollections, and through shared interpretations. A core concept here is shared meaning, an ability to know and understand what the other person knows or assumes within the community. This assumption is critical for effective communications between members of the community. One is related to the special situation of the knowledge worker and of knowledge-intensive organizations.

Another relates to Knowledge Management models, both conceptual and structural, and a third has evolved around knowledge processes. Each of these is discussed in more detail below. As mentioned earlier, the most common theme in the multiple definitions identified for KM is that of knowledge processes. Maier and Remus , p suggest that a process orientation is necessary for successful KM strategy. The early s saw the beginnings of the examination of the knowledge worker as a specific topic of interest. Peter Drucker is often credited with making the distinction of knowledgeintensive work.

His key argument is that a knowledge worker is a unique individual and not the replaceable unit of production, envisaged for labour in the industrial economy. Further, if knowledge workers exist, then so do knowledge-based or at least knowledge-intensive organizations Drucker, , Drucker, Others, such as Richard Nolan, of the IT think-tank consulting firm of Nolan Norton, linked this to a move to transform business operations and identified a growing competence gap that should be of concern to organizations wishing to retain a competitive position Nolan, For some firms, knowledge is the most critical factor, with Lowendahl suggesting three broad classifications of firms: capital-intensive; labour-intensive; and knowledgeintensive.

Published at a time that Japanese companies were widely considered to have superior business models to those of North American companies, this paper suggested a fundamental difference between the Japanese approach to knowledge creation and the Western management approach that considered the organization as a machine for "information processing. The work has been presented in several versions during the s. Nonaka, , Nonaka and Takeuchi, , Nonaka et al. The importance of Nonaka's series of papers on the Knowledge Creating Company, with its fundamental assumption that tacit technology can be transferred and can also be converted to explicit knowledge set in a corporate context, is evidenced by its dominance as, by far, the most referenced concept in the KM field Serenko and Bontis, , Grant, It has been the focus of many practitioner projects implementing elements of the model, particularly the externalization stage.

Von Hippel describes "sticky information" as information that is difficult to transfer von Hippel, This concept of corporate or organizational knowledge suggested by Nonaka is also discussed by Spender. Spender distinguished between organizational and individual knowledge, often linked through implicit knowledge — knowledge known to many or all in the organization that could be but does not need to be expressed explicitly Spender, a. Spender and others also talk about corporate or organizational memory, which is argued to exist in culture, processes and structures, as well as computer databases and other files.

A number of other knowledge models have been proposed. McAdam and McCreedy and Kakabadse et al. Some argue that, rather than simply considering models of knowledge or processes for knowledge creation and sharing, there is a knowledge-based theory of the firm. Certainly building on Nonaka's work, the core argument is that the firm exists as a collective system for knowledge creation and application.

The early s saw a widespread interest in business process reengineering — peaking around the publication of Reengineering the Corporation Hammer and Champy, —. A number of authors, notably Davenport et al. The Journal of Knowledge and Process Management est.

Beers et al. We also include management processes such as strategy and planning. In addition, by the mids, the evolution of the personal computer and personal computer applications such as word processing, spreadsheets and personal databases had reached a reasonably mature state.

Telecommunications and private network applications were pervasive in many organizations, through the use of communications applications such as email, voice mail and newer "groupware" tools such as LotusNotes were being offered to the market. The mids also saw the beginnings of the Internet explosion, with its rapid growth in both Internet sites and users, especially in North America.

This provided a growing body of users, both individual and corporate, with access to information sites, communication tools such as email, and an increasing number of group and community tools. Significant claims have been made for the contribution of IT to successful KM. Frappaolo and Capshaw suggest that KM systems can intermediate connect people , externalize provide explicit knowledge to users , internalize extract and filter external knowledge and provide cognition connect knowledge to process, to help decision making.

Commonly used applications were those that created and maintained repositories of information, from simple expert directories to detailed insights on specific issues, and those that improve communications between knowledge workers, such as email, discussion boards and blogs. In addition the technologies that have been developed for "data mining" -- the exploration of existing databases for new knowledge and insight -- are also widely used and referred to as Knowledge Management systems Turban et al. Closely linked with this IT view was a continued interest in KM from the Library and Information Sciences field, with its interest in taxonomies and information filing and retrieval.

This goes beyond the approaches suggested in the Intellectual Capital view -- which includes some management elements. This school gained significant support in the s as an alternative or extension to the Market-Positioning school that dominated much of strategic planning in the previous decade Porter, with links that go back to the early work of Penrose on theories of growth in firms Penrose, In this view, strategic planning starts with an assessment of a firm's resources and capabilities and its capacity to help achieve competitive advantage, thus leading to a proposed strategy.

This strategic view also held that knowledge forms a basis for competitive advantage and a significant number of organizations have created a new senior executive management role -the Chief Knowledge Officer or CKO Earl and Scott, Zack demonstrated a link between a firm's strategy and its use of knowledge. He proposes the use of a Strategic Knowledge Map to examine an organization's competitive position through its use of core, advanced and innovative knowledge when compared to its competitors.

Part of this debate looked directly at whether the strategic focus should be on the reuse and exploitation of existing knowledge or the exploration and creation of new knowledge. Others have examined such links to assess whether discrete knowledge strategies can be discerned. Drew describes techniques, such as external scanning, knowledge. The preceding review of the early discourse on KM -- both academic and practitioner -demonstrates that the field of KM has seen significant evolution over the very short period it has been a focus of management attention.

When compared to other management fashions, levels of interest have been very high and very diverse. However, by the beginning of the 21st century, some criticisms of KM were emerging. This is consistent with Carson et al. Following the rapid growth stage, a number of authors have suggested that KM is indeed just another fad. For example, Wilson describes KM as, "in large part, a management fad, promulgated mainly by certain consultancy companies, and the probability is that it will fade away like previous fads.

They use it to identify similarities with prior fashions and to discuss some of the weaknesses in commonly applied approaches to examining management fashions, particularly in the context of innovation diffusion. They provide early empirical evidence that suggests that "Knowledge Management has weathered the five-year mark and perhaps is becoming an addition to the management practice. Binney criticizes this approach and argues for a KM spectrum which incorporates a number of perspectives, including the role of enabling technologies.

In contrast, Gartner Research Harris, , p3 suggests that while "strictly speaking, KM does not require the use of software", they "believe that KM technology is necessary to a good KM program. Another impact of this overfocus on IT was, at least in Western organizations, an emphasis on explicit knowledge and the building of repositories. While limited research has been done in examining the levels of success in IT-focused KM projects, two reviews of KM projects described in the literature found that the majority of such projects studied had either failed or produced inconclusive results Grant and Qureshi, , Lam and Chua, It is suggested that they are useful so long as they are critiqued to understand the underlying assumptions in the representation, rather than accepting them as objective representations of reality.

Within the academic discourse, many alternative models and classification systems have been proposed for KM, these are both descriptive and prescriptive, with a major focus evident in the literature and in practice on Nonaka's SECI cycle and the conversion of tacit to explicit knowledge these alternative modesl are, likely driven by the over-focus on IT discussed above. Several critics have pointed out that these models are, at minimum, oversimplifications. For example, Styhre suggested that "in the Knowledge Management literature, there is little patience with an organizational resource that cannot be reduced into a number of categories and skills" Styhre, and criticizes the codification or knowledge representation approach.

In many cases, there is also misinterpretation of frequently referenced key works. Some others go further, suggesting that knowledge and management are contradictory concepts e. Schultze and Stabell or Alvesson and Karreman , particularly the belief that, in order to manage tacit knowledge, it must be made explicit.

Marren questions the whole concept of KM, the existence of "corporate" knowledge and the focus on knowledge as an end in itself, without link to the action or business advantage. Wilson also questions the concept of KM in a wide-ranging review of reference sources and suggests that "in many cases, 'Knowledge Management' is being used simply as a synonym for information management" Wilson, Beneath this is an even more fundamental question: Is the knowledge that is being created, captured, shared or recorded actually useful and relevant knowledge?

Much has been written about the challenge of capturing useful knowledge. Concerns range from the quality of the knowledge being captured and presented, to the challenges in getting individuals within the organization to actually contribute to the knowledge base. In the limited number of detailed studies of KM projects identified, poor content is a frequently reported cause of failure see Grant, K. In addition, in the KM literature, there is relatively little focus on getting the right knowledge and making sure of the validity of that knowledge and its relevance for the situations in which it is being used.

Surprisingly, the practitioner literature is largely silent on this issue, and there is limited attention paid to it in the more theoretical work. In the field, there appears to be only limited debate on the nature of knowledge and on the need to validate the correctness and usefulness of the knowledge. The last point in the previous section illustrates a dichotomy that has presented itself frequently throughout this chapter. Many researchers and practitioners pay little attention to discussions about the actual knowledge being created, shared or transferred.

Limited effort is made to consider the contexts in which the knowledge has been created, is being used, or might be used, and by whom, and for what purpose. For those who take an intellectual capital focus, the key seems to be identifying and managing an asset often considered to be intangible. This is also true for the information technology community.

For those taking a more social view, the emphasis is much more on the creation and support of the community. Surprisingly, even many of those who examine the nature of knowledge work and knowledge models ignore the various philosophical views of knowledge developed by the scientific community over several hundred years, when describing their new views. Finally, those taking the strategic and operational management focus often tend to focus more on structural and process activities rather than the nature of the knowledge itself.

These objects can be inventoried and valued. This view tends to inspire major efforts to externalize or codify knowledge. Thompson and Walsham point out that this approach, exemplified by Nonaka in his SECI knowledge spiral, while being a natural management response when trying to deal with intangible things, ignores the importance of context in understanding the nature and usefulness of knowledge. This is discussed below. McElroy characterizes FGKM as having an underlying assumption that valuable knowledge exists within the organization and that, "The hallmark of first generation KM is.

He describes this as "supply-side" KM. He presents a Knowledge Life Cycle model. This model suggests two key activities, Knowledge Production and Knowledge Integration, which, within a Business Processing Environment, combine knowledge processes and knowledge sets. In essence, the cycle is initiated by problems in the business process. Given this model, he then argues that KM is the management of these processes.

The belief that knowledge processes are, at the core, social systems, leads to the claim that these processes are largely self-organizing, but within discernable patterns in a given organization. This leads to prescriptions for SGKM in practice. He proposes a KM strategy framework. Mids to early 21st century, focused on tacit-explicit knowledge conversion, triggered by the SECI model of Nonaka. The interplay of context and content and the level of abstraction are key to the notion of knowledge sharing. Snowden claims that the need to distinguish between content and context is key.

Shared context is needed for understanding. With dimensions of low to high abstraction and a need for learning vs. While he does not explicitly use the "Next Generation" term, Sveiby also addresses the need for a new or improved approach to KM. In an interview in , he describes the "American" interpretation of KM based on "the management of information, making it available in the whole organisation, generating, capturing and harvesting, making the knowledge in people's heads so that it can be stored and retrieved.

This has been a huge disappointment to the promises from the IT companies…" In contrast, he describes his own focus for a "people oriented track that is only right now beginning to emerge" Sveiby, b. Sveiby suggests that successful use of these resources is influenced by attitudes towards trust and collaboration.

He categorises these attitudes into four clusters: Employee, work group support, immediate supervisor, and organizational culture. He identifies nine ways in which knowledge flows between these three sets of intangible assets and suggests these can be combined to maximize overall value creation. Wiig sees the new generation, driven by a demand-pull of management and operating philosophies and practice developments with an IC focus, drawing on positive practical experiences with KM and a supply push of new science and technology developments.

He believes that enterprise effectiveness comes from the individual actions of its employees and the collective actions of its management. Effectiveness comes when most of the efforts of both groups correctly interpret and implement a feasible strategy. While the four views described in detail above represent some of the most fully developed views of NGKM, other authors make similar suggestions that a new approach to KM is emerging or is needed.

In arguing that we are now in a third era of innovation first standardization, then customization, now innovation they claim that "neither the organizational model necessary to facilitate continuous innovation, nor the business model necessary to turn its value adding-potential into profits has been fully articulated. The review of the work of Next Generation proponents provided above demonstrates that several of the early influential writers in the KM field are making a consistent argument — that a new or next generation of KM is needed and is emerging.

Each of these authors provides a critique of FGKM and uses this to develop a specific description of what the generation might be. However, no one has presented significant evidence to support any one view, nor have any been tested in the field by other researchers. While each author claims a degree of uniqueness for his new theory, all are consistent in claiming that this Next Generation is expected to resolve the real problems identified with First Generation KM.

This is a possible stage predicted by Management Fashion Theory. These can be integrated with the five KM Themes developed earlier in this. Chapter, as most can be closely linked to at least one of the five themes of KM presented earlier. From this, a final set of seven Themes were developed by adding two additional Themes by a separation of the models, work and processes Theme into three distinct Themes. These final Themes are presented in Table , along with an indication of the level of support from each of the key authors.

This is also key to Wiig's approach Wiig, In Theme 2, as McElroy said in FGKM, "the goal of KM has been to capture, codify and distribute organizational knowledge usually in centrally managed computer systems ," and that this has "provoked a discernable backlash" in the marketplace that has damaged the credibility of KM McElroy, Snowden describes the problem; "Most Knowledge Management in the post period has been to all intents and purposes content management" Snowden, a, p.

While recognising the overfocus, Wiig is more moderate and sees IT as a critical, but not key, element Wiig, The issue is "demand-side" not "supply-side" KM McElroy, It should be noted, however, that each of these author does, in fact, propose new models aiming to make up for the deficiencies of their predecessors. For Theme 4, McElroy's Knowledge Life Cycle provides a formal set of procedures to produce and integrate knowledge in the organization and he suggests that "accelerating the.

KLCs exist at multiple levels, including the corporate level, and represent a "management discipline" McElroy, This is also supported by Sveiby, although he is a little more focused on the effective use of existing knowledge Sveiby, , and Wiig, who suggests a hierarchy of processes from operational, to tactical, to strategic Wiig, Theme 5 is only supported by McElroy and Snowden. In Snowden's "third age", the knowledge environment can be complicated, complex and chaotic and an understanding of the relevant "knowledge space" is critical to success Snowden, a.

Theme 6 suggests that both organisational and personal knowledge exist under a variety of behavioural and social issues, all of which must be addressed for KM to be successful. As McElroy claims, drawing on Senge's earlier work "organizations not just individuals, actually learn" and that the tension "between what individuals know and knowledge held collectively by groups of individuals" is a stimulant for innovation and creativity McElroy, Snowden further says that "much knowledge is held collectively within communities and cannot be represented as the aggregation of individual knowledge" Snowden, While the four views described in detail in Exhibit X represent some of the most fully developed views of NGKM, other authors make similar suggestions that a new approach to KM is emerging or is needed.

Knowledge Management (KM) Definitions – John Girard, Ph.D.

In the. If the theme is directly mentioned by the author but not as a critical element of that author's theory it is described as moderate. These are presented as "Key Themes" for KM and could also be viewed as propositions to be tested to respond to specific research questions. This framework was developed over a two year period and presented for critical review, first as a working paper at an EDAMBA doctoral colloquium in , then as a peer-reviewed. Modifications to the framework and related concepts were made after each of these reviews.

These Themes are used to inform the fieldwork reported later in this thesis. Instead, many of the criticisms and concerns raised continue to be discussed and alternate solutions proposed for their resolution. This is emphatically not the situation within KM. This lack of consensus appears at several levels. As has been discussed earlier, the field of Knowledge Management has antecedents in organizational learning and the early work in intellectual capital and, while many authors with a KM focus take the view that the KM discipline encompasses these other fields, most authors writing more specifically in these fields tend to disagree, seeing KM as a separate discipline that has links with their own.

In some cases, authors argue for a closer relationship between their field and KM or even a possible merger. KM and OL should join forces and develop a unified discipline. KM needs OL and its expanding body of good research work. OL needs the practitioner base of KM and its abiding interest in problems and practice. Whether such an approach is feasible in other ways, such as appealing to practitioners and offering strong face value is another question. A recurring theme when definitions are being discussed is the lack of consensus even on core definitions.

Indeed, some authors argue that this is a good thing e. Table , below, shows examples of the concerns raised around key definitions in the field to demonstrate that this is a continuing refrain in the literature, right up to the present. This may be an appropriate argument for academic debate, but it does raise significant challenges for practitioners, who are looking for solutions and guidance on how to operationalise KM concepts.

Some examples of the concerns are shown in Table A recurring theme in the primary specialist journal, the Journal of Intellectual Capital, continues to be questioning of the role of the IC discipline. Dumay , p. They may be using the same word; however, this word can refer to totally different understandings of the concept of knowledge.

It is difficult to imagine how the efforts of organizational scientists, as earnest and informed as they may be, could have quickly settled such long-standing debates. Thus, despite advances in scholarly work, alternative thoughts exist as to what knowledge means. Knowledge Management Perhaps it is the vagueness of the definition of Knowledge Management that both allows it to flourish and dooms it to failure. Those in the know realize that Knowledge Management is different at every turn; it is continually changing and evolving.

Perhaps to date there has been no study that clearly defines boundaries and frameworks of KM. Since KM involves almost every field of business, i. This has exacerbated the poor understanding of KM practices in the broader business community. Consistent definitions of the building blocks of KM are lacking, and there is no real consensus on definitions that describe the activities that are required to transform information to knowledge, and then knowledge to innovation.

Interestingly, while researchers and practitioners unanimously agree on the significance of knowledge, especially with regard to the need of organizations to continuously develop new knowledge to compete in the rapidly changing environment, there is no agreement among them with respect to the concepts and definitions related to knowledge and Knowledge Management Intellectual Capital.

It often feels they are using the same terms but carry completely different meanings. The field is very much at the emergent stage, and the focus to date has been primarily mainstream managerialist In analyzing the literature, many theorists have stated that the IC issue is very scattered and fragmented because a plethora of concepts, methods and tools have been proposed over the last ten years. With reference to the IC concept, as said, it is not well understood and rarely defined clearly.

In large part progress in developing an OL theory has been impeded by lack of agreement on the ontological and epistemological basis for such a theory. The overlapping nature of Knowledge Management KM and organisational learning OL makes it difficult to differentiate between their concepts. Abeysekera, , p62 Huang et al. In an editorial, Eijkman , p. This question from a company representative has its roots in a practical problem experienced by many organizations that are seeking to understand and deploy Knowledge Management KM for their business. The popularity of KM however, should not be seen as a measure of its success.

At the same time, it has the ambition to be an academic discipline. The former requires relevance; the latter requires rigour. IC is at a crossroads — the espoused benefits of managing knowledge resources have often not been realised or recognised in practice A number of organisations have adopted IC management practices, lauded their benefits and then quietly withdrawn from them IC research has demonstrated considerable variation Abeysekera, ; Canibano et al. Zack et al. The KM Literature, in general, is much less self-critical.

As Jashapara , p. One area that stands out is a relative lack of work in the empirical as opposed to the theoretical identification of business justification to adopt KM practices. While early work such as Gold et al. This is of particular concern in what many consider to be an applied discipline that derived from industry rather than from academe. Although frequent mention is made of knowledge storage, these are seldom described as intellectual capital or assets. Lucas and Ogilvie see two distinct schools of thought for KM, one looking at KM as a resource management challenge, the other seeing it as a social one.

Indeed, almost a third of all papers in the Journal of Intellectual Capital are devoted to these issues. The DIKW model is also frequently referenced, with occasional efforts to refine its structure. It is sometimes presented as a five-element model of human capital, social capital, structural capital, organisational capital and client and network capital see, for example, Swart, , p. These authors continue to be amongst the most cited in the field, but the citations are generally to their earlier work in the s. Ma and Yu, , p. Chatzel , p. In a sense, IC has succeeded in making its case. This current era involves efforts not only to describe IC, but to use it as a framework to both understand value and manage it for strategic outcomes.

While a few authors have discussed the usefulness of using chaos theory and complex adaptive systems to help better understand KM, this has not been a significant theme in the literature. It is also noticeable that, in the years following their calls for a next generation of KM, several of the gurus have reinvented themselves again — or at least changed their focus.

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For example, Karl Wiig has argued for a societal perspective on knowledge for example, at the national or city level Wiig, Table summarises the approaches suggested, identifying the key elements for each approach. One topic that has received some interest recently is that of KM governance structures. Table summarises the papers addressing approaches to governance. Evolve KM strategies over time to reflect experiences Strategic stewardship of knowledge Executive sponsorship.

Improve practices through capturing learning from experience Recognise contributions Organizations need a practical, yet theoretically reliable, knowledge strategy model Link KM to business objectives and strategy. The approach to key and strategy should be contingent one linked to the firms specific situation and strategic objectives. KM processes key, IT important, little on tacit knowledge Field work suggests 4 models proactive, moderate, passive, inconsistent. Establish a KM Council to oversee the knowledge organization with business units having responsibility for implementation Structure includes: Distribution of authority, KM governance groups, reporting levels, form of KM units.

Need governance processes and relationship mechanisms Understand role of KM, align KM with business value propositions, establish policies, decision-making and delegated authority, risk management. KM can be argued to draw on a number of different disciplines, one of the contributing reasons for the lack of focus on definitional issues discussed in this section. While the KM community considers it to be a discrete discipline, it is not clear that this is well recognized outside of the community and a number of others have raised this as a concern.

Saito considers this further and suggests that KM is becoming an established discipline, however its scope may be narrowing, with more interest from the information systems and library science fields and less from strategy and organisation studies Saito, In this section, bibliometric discourse life cycle analysis is used to examine the literature on Knowledge Management. Two sets of analysis are presented, each of which examines the KM Themes developed earlier in this chapter. First, a bibliographic analysis is carried out using the online ProQuest Research Library Complete, which provides abstracts, indexing and full text for more than 1, titles from academic journals, popular magazines, business publications and newspapers, and allows a separation of sources.

Second, a content analysis study is carried out on the abstracts of all papers published in the five most highly rated KM-related journals since the inception of each to the end of , a total of some papers, using the Crawdad Text Analysis Software tool. A time period of 20 years, from to , was chosen for the analysis. Prior to , there were very few references to KM. The final data collection for this analysis was done during a one-week period in April For each year, the following counts were established: All:. The total number of references from any source this includes several other sources in addition to the three specific categories described below and plotted on the graph.

Scholarly: The total number of documents from scholarly journals as well as all dissertations. Industry: The total from magazines, trade publications and industry reports. Newspapers: The total number of general newspaper articles related to the field. Other Any other source. To ensure consistency of analysis, each search was done using an identical set of databases and the search was limited to citations and abstracts. The results for each set of searches were plotted on graphs showing levels of interest over time.

This work has also been presented more fully in Grant Figure shows the results of a search for the term "Knowledge Management" on the ProQuest online database in April , producing some 26, citations. Visual inspection of the graph presented suggests that a period of latency continued to about , followed by a rapid growth from to and then a decade of consistent interest at about 2, citations per year. Note: The plot shows a spike in the trade publications in These do not represent any significant increase in the discourse and consist largely of multiple listings of industry announcements.

A similar spike will be seen in some other graphs presented later in this Chapter. The graph plots suggest that popular interest, as demonstrated by newspaper articles, peaked in and has since declined. Discourse within industry sources initially exceeded that from academics. However, industry interest has plateaued since about , at about citations per year, while academic interest rose steadily until , after which it has also plateaued at almost 1, citations per year.

When comparing this with the cycles developed for other management fads and fashions such as quality circles and business process re-engineering this indicates a significantly longer period of popularity within the discourse analysis than has been evident for most of these other innovations. However, the field of Knowledge Management can be viewed from a number of different perspectives, each with its own terminology, as evidenced by the KM Themes developed earlier in this Chapter.

The next stage of the bibliometric analysis examines a number of. Examination of the individual categories indicates that, over the last decade, while there has been a steady increase in discourse within the academic community, peaking in about at some citations per year, industry discourse peaked earlier, by , then declined slightly to a steady state thereafter, at about citations per year.

Newspaper citations show a slightly more varied pattern, in the range, over the last 10 years. This is the only plot that shows a continued high level of interest in the term in newspapers. In the context of management fashion, the notion of intellectual capital or assets can be seen as an attractive concept for management. By allying KM with more traditional concepts related to financial statements and measurement, it provides a rational framework, using familiar words and concepts. Less clear, is the degree to which its proponents and practitioners see this as a formal systemic measurement tool to be rigourously applied as in financial accounting or as a more ambiguous framework to allow the recognition of a discussion about the organisation's knowledge or intangible asset base.

In addition, it encourages a view of knowledge as an object rather than something more personal. To the degree that it focuses attention on the identification and accounting for intellectual efforts, it may even prove to be a barrier to innovation and the creation of new knowledge. The plot for organizational learning shows a steady growth in interest from to about , after which it remains at a steady state of around references per year.

Of particular notice in both plots is the very high level of discourse in academic sources when compared to industry or press interest. This demonstrates a very limited level of interest,. Both the academic and industry discourse shows a sustained period of growth before flattening out in the mid-to-late s, with the academic citations reaching a somewhat higher level.

Overall, a period of latency until is followed by a rapid growth until , after which, interest seems to plateau at just over citations per year, with almost all of the growth and discourse taking place in academic journals. Industry discourse and press discourse show relatively little interest in KM models. Overall, a period of latency until is followed by a very rapid growth till , followed by a steady state at about citations per year. Academic discourse shows a sustained period of growth before flattening out in , while industry discourse flattens out at a lower level by To some degree, this interest in knowledge processes might be seen as a continuation of the focus on business processes initiated in the BPR fashion of the s, going beyond the cost reduction process work that characterized much of that activity.

A period of latency until is followed by a very rapid growth in two years, followed by a steady state at about citations per year ignoring the spike, as before. Fairly similar levels of interest exist in academic and business sources, although the academic discourse shows a longer period of growth before flattening out in , while industry citations demonstrate a plateau by This significant focus on IT within KM can be seen as a bringing together of several factors already discussed.

A period of latency is visible until about , followed by a rapid growth over about five years, peaking at about citations per year in , then settling at a level of about citations per year. The plots show a steady level of industry discourse from about but continued growth in academic discourse until about , reaching about double the rate of industry citations, at about per year. There is some evidence of a change in focus, with some anecdotal evidence suggesting that the CKO role is changing, or in some cases disappearing, and that many organizations are still not clear as to the most appropriate strategic approach for Knowledge Management.

CRA first categorizes texts in terms of a pattern of connections among words by parsing a text into its component noun phrases, converting the word sequences into networks of relationships among words or nodes , and analysing the network of word associations to determine the relative influence of each word. The abstracts from every issue of each of the five journals were combined in a single text document for each journal. All general and format specific elements were removed Journal title, date, and volume number, issue number, page number, etc. The abstract sets were analysed as follows: a.

For each journal individually b. For all journals combined c. By time periods up to , , Figure presents a visualization that shows the most influential nodes and their interconnections within the text of the five journals. In general, the words located toward the top of the map are the most influential. When the individual journals are analysed, some differences are apparent. However the differences between the journals can best be demonstrated through the examination of the influential words within each text and this is presented in Table According to the analysis tool, all of these words are considered to be significant, with those in italics being considered very significant.

Of the 31 words identified in the cross-journal analysis, between 17 and 27 appear in each of the individual journals. The largest difference is within the Journal of Intellectual Capital, where 14 words that ranked within the journal do not appear in the composite analysis. Closer examination shows that the majority of these relate to financial accounting and asset valuation activities the most significant being intangible, capital, asset, measurement, financial and disclosure.

The Learning Organisation has nine words that do not appear in the composite ranking the most significant being change, action, action, individual, work, employee and culture. Journal of Knowledge Management and Knowledge and Process Management, in contrast, do not contain significant references to intellectual capital or assets, financial measures in general, and terms such as culture, social, individual, work and relationship have very low or no significance. Knowledge Management, Research and Practice has 10 words that do not appear in the composite list. As might be expected, the most significant highest-ranking words in each journal have a close correspondence to the title of that journal.

This analysis provides some support to the suggestion that, while the fields of intellectual capital and organisational learning are related to KM, the academic work in each of these areas is a discrete body separate from that of KM, using its own vocabulary and concepts. Since, from a practitioner perspective, the field of KM is generally seen as a single area, this may have significant impact on the diffusion of the related concepts and their adoption. The results for and need to be considered carefully. As has been explained earlier, the significant spike in interest within industry sources visible in for every topic, except for organisational learning, is due a new addition of a specific set of industry journals and it did not indicate any increase in discourse.

For , although a slight decline is visible in some plots, bibliographic reviews might be expected to under-report the most recent year since many publications restrict online access to the most current volumes. A summary of the citations analysed by type is shown in Table , ranked by level of citation interest. When this analysis is considered, in conjunction with the critical assessment presented at the end of the growth phase and the claims by several of the original KM management fashion setters that a Next Generation of KM is needed, it is reasonable to conclude that there is a significant opportunity for further examination of the actual diffusion of the concepts in practice.

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This discourse analysis demonstrates a significant and consistent shift, with increasing levels of interest by academics not being matched by writers publishing in industry sources. In the early years of KM, nonacademics constituted one-third of all authors. This increasing divide reflects the debate between Mode 1 and Mode 2 research.

As Starkey and Madan , p. A number of alternative approaches for KM strategy have been proposed with quite varied suggestions. Researchers in other areas within the KM field were also raising questions about successes to date, and directions for the future. Examples include:. As these examples suggest, there is still a significant diversity of views as to appropriate approaches to Knowledge Management strategies. Additional fieldwork to investigate actual practice will be a significant contribution to the discipline of Knowledge Management.

Knowledge Management Strategy

This call has not seen significant response within academic literature. What is missing from many of the studies of management fashion, including two earlier studies that examined KM with data ending in and , respectively , is any in-depth diffusion analysis. Only five studies were located that examine diffusion in any management fashion, with four of these using often limited secondary data and just one carrying out any primary research on diffusion.

Thus, an appropriate focus for this research is the investigation of the actual diffusion of the various management innovations that have been proposed as KM, to determine whether KM continues to be a key issue in the field and which elements of the KM discourse are visible in the actual diffusion of KM strategies of organisations. Such an investigation requires access to organizations capable of demonstrating a richness of Knowledge Management needs. The patrimony goal has to do with the preservation of knowledge, their reuse, and their actualization; it is a static goal. The sustainable innovation goal is more dynamic. It is concerned with organizational learning that is creation and integration of knowledge at the organizational level. It leads to integrate the whole dimensions that should be involved in the management based on knowledge within organizations. In doing so, it induces a well-balanced technological, organizational, and socio-technical management based on knowledge strategy that mutualizes and structures the various themes discussed in this chapter.

In this section we will refer to our research that leads to distinguishing two main approaches underlying KM: i a technological approach that answers a demand of solutions based on the technologies of information, communication, and artificial intelligence and ii a managerial and sociological approach, which is people-focused and integrates knowledge as resources contributing to the implementation of the strategic vision of the organization. Snowden [ 28 ] consolidates our research when writing about developing practices of knowledge management pp.

He identifies two different approaches to KM: 1 an approach that arises from information management where knowledge is seen as a thing or entity that can be managed and distributed through advanced use of technology and 2 an approach that sees the problem from a sociological vision where knowledge is seen as human capability to act.

Taking into account our researches and observations, we can say that technological approach of KM is the most widespread. Considered from the point of view of the information system, knowledge is implicitly treated as an object independently of the person who creates and uses it. It is a positivist approach that can be considered according to the cognitivist perspective of knowledge within organizations. Typically, the positivist approach considers knowledge independently of its links to the action and context of its implementation. As a result, it neglects the role of tacit knowledge.

The same phenomenon is analyzed by [ 21 ] who states: The fact that we can possess knowledge that is unspoken is of course a common-place and so is the fact that we must know something yet unspoken before we can express it in words. It has been taken for granted in the philosophical analysis of language in earlier centuries, but modern positivism has tried to ignore it, on the ground that tacit knowledge was not accessible to objective observation p. In the technological approach, the KM refers to information systems and databases. Emphasis is placed on the quality of the IT system to create and preserve knowledge in order to create value.

Most often, the goal is oriented by the notion of knowledge management system KMS. That is, they are IT-based systems developed to support and enhance the organizational processes of knowledge creation, storage, retrieval, transfer, and application. Moreover, although authors are careful to propose a definition to distinguish between data, information, and knowledge concepts, when applications are addressed in terms of computer systems, these three concepts are rapidly declining in terms of data processing: knowledge being only a form of enriched data.

This leads to the characterization and organization of knowledge according to a hierarchical vision of objects. Thus, the authors who join this perspective are mainly interested in the content of the knowledge of the organization. They focus on building and managing knowledge stocks. The emergence of the managerial and sociological approach of knowledge management comes, according to [ 11 ], in three phases:. She explains in this work that the company undergoes a loss of capital when a capable employee, who is an employee whose services interfere in the process of production, leaves the firm.

By conferring on the knowledge an economic value, in the same way as any other material resource being a part of the capital, Edith Penrose opened the way to a new economic theory which has to place the knowledge in the center of the process of creation of the wealth. Second phase : a new vision of the company, through the notions of directory of knowledge and of organizational routines expressed by [ 31 ]. In their work An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change , the authors define the notion of skill as a capacity to coordinate a sequence of behavior to reach goals in a given context.

Besides, they define the notion of organizational routine as a predictable and regular behavioral plan. These routines are the siege of the knowledge of the organization, because beyond any formalization, the best way of storing the knowledge of the organization lies in the exercise of these. So, all the routines of an organization constitute its directory of knowledge [ 30 ]. Third phase : an organizational change taking care of the problem of capitalization of the knowledge of the company [ 1 , 31 , 32 ]. Concretely, the company has to learn to establish connections between her members.

This means connecting people whose cooperation will generate new and useful knowledge for themselves and for the company. These connections can take place as well at the individual level as at the level of a team or at the level of the whole organization. It touches on all the organizational and decision-making aspects of how she works. Thus, the diversity of situations, the complexity of problems, and the multiplicity of actors concerned by the KM should be studied.

We can say that managerial and sociological approach of the KM emphasizes the link between learning and action and the constraints of the social system which requires giving meaning to working hours. Consequently, each employee must have a sense of belonging to the company; he must be integrated into a network of people and have good relations with others; he must be respected and recognized; he must take pleasure in the accomplishment of his work.

The KM must provide the means to be autonomous and to develop its own potential. However, the document preserves a certain latitude in the application of these requirements, which allows each organization to comply with them in accordance with characteristics and needs. In the introduction of this standard, knowledge management is envisaged in the following way: Knowledge management is a discipline focused on the ways in which organizations create and use knowledge. Knowledge management has no recognized single definition and no international standard predates this management system standard.

There are many known barriers to successful knowledge management. Similarly, there are many confusions with other disciplines such as information management and many widespread misconceptions about how to achieve knowledge management [ 39 ], for example, the misconception that simple acquisition of technological means can be enough. From our point of view, this standard should be very useful for a management based on knowledge operation. At the end of this section devoted to KM, it appears that this discipline has followed developments strongly rooted in two contradictory and complementary paradigms: the positivist paradigm and the constructivist paradigm.

Although not always leading to expected results, the KM positivist paradigm remains the implicit paradigm most recognized by KM researchers and practitioners. From our point of view, this paradigm needs to be expanded to a more general point of view based on a constructivist paradigm. The socio-technical approach of organization is to consider the organization as a system consisting of a social system interacting with a technical system [ 40 ]. The following reflections are essentially based on the book Knowledge Management in the Sociotechnical World. Based on numerous writings, some dating back to , she says that the best incarnation of this paradigm is found in the work of Fred Emery and Eric Trist at the Tavistock Institute, London, and in the study of Trist and Bamford in which the researchers identified the need for a socio-technical approach to develop a social system appropriate for the establishment of a new technical system.

Thus, an information and knowledge system of an organization could be considered as a subset of the organization in which the technical system would be the digital information system DIS. This system interacts with the members of the organization considered both as users and as components of the system. This system is described in the following subsection. An information system IS , constituted by individuals who, in a given context, are processors of data to which they give a sense under the shape of information. This information, depending of the case, are transmitted, stored, processed, and diffused by them or by the DIS.

A knowledge system KS , consisting of the tacit knowledge embodied by the individuals and the explicit knowledge formalized and encoded on any form of media document, video, photo, digitized or not. Under certain conditions Section 2. In that case, knowledge is no more than information. Information systems and knowledge systems are based on digital information systems. The DIS is the artificial system artifacts designed from information, communication, and artificial intelligence technologies.

We insist on the importance to integrate the individual as a user and a component of the system. In their study on the design of knowledge management collaborative systems CKMS , Chua and Brennan [ 42 ] reinforce our point of view. Consequently, we stress the role of cultural factors every time social interactions and sharing of information and knowledge are essential to enable efficiency in an intercultural world. In this section, looking to the capitalization on knowledge problem within organizations, we position our vision of the management based on knowledge.

Several problems co-exist. These problems constitute a general problem focused on crucial knowledge. They are recurring problems with which the company was always confronted. We classified them into four categories and their interactions, which are represented in Figure 2 : Locate crucial knowledge, preserve crucial knowledge, enhance crucial knowledge, and actualize crucial knowledge.

Is vulnerable, that is, rare, specific and unique, inaccessible, poorly distributed, inimitable, and difficult to transmit. Can cause an unacceptable risk for the strategy and life durability of the firm, by weakening its core competencies, endangering the performances of its business units, and reducing its market share, in case of possible loss. Crucial knowledge supplies essential resources that are used by value-added processes activities of an organization.

Value-added processes are derived from the value chain described by Porter [ 25 ] who identifies nine value-added activities that he classifies into two main categories. In this way, value-added processes represent the organizational context for which knowledge is essential factors of performance. Each of these core processes contains sub-processes designed to solve all the problems involved. These sub-processes are integrated into the overall management based on knowledge processes implemented in the organization.

The following description of the core MBK processes is not necessarily cyclical in nature. Each category contains, in itself, a set of problems that can be addressed in a different order depending on the situation and context of each organization. The locating, core MBK process, deals with the location of crucial knowledge, that is, knowledge explicit or tacit essential for decision-making processes and for the progress of the value-added processes.

It is necessary to identify it, to locate it, to characterize it, to make cartographies of it, to estimate its economic value, and to classify it. The preserving, core MBK process, deals with the preservation of know-how and skills: when knowledge can be explicit, it is necessary to acquire it with the bearers of knowledge, to represent it, to formalize it, and to conserve it. When formalizing knowledge is not feasible, then interactions of people through social networks, communities of practice, or other types of networks implemented, and the transfer of master-apprentice-type knowledge should be encouraged.

The enhancing, core MBK process, deals with the added-value of know-how and skills: it is necessary to make them accessible according to certain rules of confidentiality and safety, to disseminate them, to share them, to use them more effectively, to combine them, and to create new knowledge. Here is the link with innovation processes. The actualizing, core MBK process, deals with the actualization of know-how and skills: it is necessary to appraise them, to update them, to standardize them, and to enrich them according to the returns of experiments, the creation of new knowledge, and the contribution of external knowledge.

Here is the link with business intelligence processes.

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When considering the capitalization on knowledge problem within organizations, we do raise the problem that concerns interactions between the core MBK processes mentioned above and the management process for knowledge creation and use. This problem is linked to our vision of the managerial and socio-technical approach of KM that, from our point of view, is adapted to the digital transformation of the organizations.

Indeed, this transformation leads to replace a determinist attitude strongly deep-rooted in our education, by a constructivist attitude that characterizes our approach of KM. Thereby, managers have to pass from a posture of authority and of control to a posture of incitation of support and accompaniment.

We have to: Develop a vision like the middle-up-down management suggested by [ 1 ] pp. Our vision of KM, defined in Section 2. It should result in a MBK that takes into account the individuals and which has to allow them to be autonomous and to achieve their potentialities. MBK rests on the general system theory first established by [ 46 ] who cares very much on the humanist approach. It is inspired by the work of [ 47 ] who focused on complexity.

In particular, MBK indicators must be established. Numerous publications and books relate to that subject. From our viewpoint, two main categories of indicators should be constructed in order to monitor a MBK initiative: 1 a category of indicators that focuses on the impacts of the initiative favoring enhancement of intellectual capital and 2 a category of indicators that insures monitoring and coordination of MBK activities, measuring the results, and insuring the relevance of the initiative.

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Furthermore, we can add a category of indicators focused on knowledge itself. For instance, indicators of knowledge complexity are presented in Table 3. Figure 3 shows this articulation. Firstly, we refer to the PDCA cycle of activities—plan, do, check, and act [ 49 ]. The PDCA cycle has inspired the ISO [ 50 ] quality standards in order to get a continuous process improvement of the quality management system. Thus, we point out the key contribution of Knowledge Management to Change 2 defined by [ 52 ].

We note that single-loop learning generates a cycle identical to the PDCA cycle. These two cycles, which are indispensable from the point of view of quality, are not favorable to innovation. A balance leads to quality without prejudice to innovation. In a world disrupted by the omnipresence of digital technologies, organizations have become complex socio-technical systems in perpetual mutation. Cooperation and mobility become an essential form of work which requires that decision-makers have specific individual and collective skills, adapted to the values and cultures of each geographical location.

Organizations become aware of the need for continuous personal and collective learning and of the contribution of each, especially of the crucial impact of their tacit knowledge. In this paper, we provided theoretical and practical reflections and outcomes from our industrial experience and our researches. Thus, we have transferred our managerial and socio-technical approach of knowledge management to our concept of management based on knowledge as a managerial function.

It consists in animating, organizing, coordinating, and monitor activities and processes to enhance the use and the creation of knowledge within an organization. That is done according to a well-balanced perspective of the knowledge within organization: a cognitivist perspective and a constructivist perspective. We identified two main approaches underlying KM: a technological approach and a managerial and sociological approach. We positioned our concept of the management based on knowledge with regard to the problem of capitalization on knowledge within organizations. Finally, we suggested MBK guiding principles and indicators on knowledge complexity.

In this paper, we state that knowledge is not manageable as if it was data or information. Effectively, these technologies might suggest that digital information systems provide access to the tacit knowledge crucial for decision-making and action. Moreover, we should consider that data are gathered and processed by algorithms, themselves, influenced by the interpretative frameworks and tacit knowledge of their designers.

That presents the risk of misunderstanding and can lead to irrelevant decisions and actions. From our point of view, researchers in the analytics and digital field should pay attention to the possible consequences of their work according to the domain and the context of their applications. To this end we could develop research on the rules insuring the relevance of information and enabling measuring the impact of algorithms with regard to their domains of applications.

To conclude, this chapter retraces and completes our road toward management based on knowledge. We hope that it would generate fruitful reflections to those who will be called to contribute to the digital transformation of the organizations: professionals, researchers, and students. Licensee IntechOpen.

This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3. Help us write another book on this subject and reach those readers. Login to your personal dashboard for more detailed statistics on your publications. Edited by Mark Wickham.