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Knowledge Management in Practice: An Exploratory Case Study by Shan L. Pan & Harry Scarbrough Presented by: Jonathan Cullum Kelly Powell & LaPortia James.

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Presentation on theme: "Knowledge Management in Practice: An Exploratory Case Study by Shan L. Pan & Harry Scarbrough Presented by: Jonathan Cullum Kelly Powell & LaPortia James."— Presentation transcript:

1 Knowledge Management in Practice: An Exploratory Case Study by Shan L. Pan & Harry Scarbrough Presented by: Jonathan Cullum Kelly Powell & LaPortia James

2 Case Study of Buckman Laboratories Introduction: Researchers have outlined the theoretical case for knowledge management. Claim: with product life-cycles shortening and technologies becoming more imitable, organizational knowledge emerges as a competitive advantage by virtues of its tacitness, difficult in being copied, and immobility.

3 Problem: Difficult to relate to business Partly due to the very qualities of tacitness which lend this importance is an elusive item for practitioners. Absence of a framework for managing knowledge is becoming a more critical problem for managers

4 An attempt to shed some light 2 Specific objectives: Develops an analysis of knowledge management from an integrated socio-technical perspective. Study uses case study of Buckman Laboratories to examine the dynamics of successful knowledge management practices, and to consider the extent to which these practices can be used by other companies.

5 Towards a Socio-technical Perspective on Knowledge Management In proposing the socio-technical perspective there are some considerations. 1- number of studies recognizes holistic view (more than sum of parts) between social and technical factors. 2- refocuses attention on the work process itself 3- compatibility between social and technical subsystems is the key to meeting the needs of customers 4- provides a suitably synthetic analytical space to consider all factors in a even-handed way.

6 Socio-technical perspective (aka STS) defined Describes a method of viewing organizations emphasizing the interrelated functioning of the social and technological subsystems of the organization and the relation of the organization as a whole to the environment in which it operates.

7 Analyzing Knowledge Management Socio-technical thinking originated from the “systems perspective” on organization. More recently analyses stress the interplay between technology and the organization.

8 Relevancy Need to distinguish between different types of knowledge- tacit and explicit Explicit knowledge is systematic and hard data. Tacit knowledge- resides in the heads of those working

9 Structuring of Knowledge Management Systems Three major layers or interaction: Infrastructure: hardware/software enabling contact Infostructure: formal rules governing exchange of network Infoculture: stock of background knowledge

10 Method of Research Qualitative approach Single Case Study Semi-structured Interviews On-site Observations (6 Weeks) Secondary Data

11 Case Study: Buckman Laboratories Organizational Background Manufacturer of specialist chemicals for aqueous industrial systems $300 million company (Sept 1999) International – 102 countries 1000 specialty chemicals

12 K’NETIX® Customer knowledge Competitive intelligence Process knowledge Product knowledge

13 Corporate Knowledge Factual corporate knowledge Technological know-how Market know-how Behavioral corporate knowledge Social interaction of individuals and organizations Proprietary knowledge Codified

14 KM Development Historical (1945-1991) International expansion Problem-solving Knowledge vision Transformative (1992-1998) Knowledge sharing Organizational learning

15 Analysis of Infrastructure Knowledge Architecture Elements: humans, organizational entities, documents, books, other knowledge repositories, and operating entities Process: Knowledge Management Transfer Department K’Netix®: connecting knowledge suppliers and users worldwide Organizational Knowledge Repository (Memory) K’Netix®: electronic forums, bulletin boards, virtual conference rooms, libraries, and e-mail

16 Analysis of Infostructure Knowledge sharing process

17 Analysis of Infostructure Global Access Region-focus Forums TechForum (US) EuroForum (Europe) LatinoForum (Latin America) AAAForum (Asia, Australia, & Africa)

18 Analysis of Infoculture Culture promotes knowledge sharing Knowledgeable experts at all levels of the corporation can interact, share new ideas, and problem solve

19 Remember!!!! For a knowledge management project to be successful, an organization MUST have a knowledge-enterprising culture.

20 Infoculture cont…. A knowledge-enterprising culture is difficult to build from scratch, but at Buckman management was proactive in the effort There was a 90% cultural change

21 Re-Learning Buckman used a process of re-learning to achieve a knowledge enterprising culture Employees who share knowledge are the most influential and others would seek their advisement

22 Trust… A top executive in the company explained that trust is a huge part of knowledge sharing. Stop hoarding knowledge and start sharing it within the company (369).

23 According to this executive, “The most valuable employee is one who becomes a source of knowledge and actively shares that knowledge with other people.”

24 Infroculture final thoughts Everyone is encouraged to become knowledge entrepreneurs Encourages employees to take risks, innovate, and quit asking for instructions Knowledge Entrepreneurship is rewarded Innovations and inquiry are promoted

25 Top Management in Knowledge Entrepreneurship MUST have a shared vision Management must coordinate this vision This provides focus and energy Gives meaning to everyone (individual role) Provides a picture of the company’s future

26 Implementing Vision A combination of perceptions and employees’ attitudes are necessary in conjunction with leadership. The study showed that Buckman top management acted as role models for learning and knowledge sharing “Facilitating changes in the area of knowledge management requires proactive entrepreneurial support from the top.”

27 About Bob… Pioneering figure in knowledge management Trained in chemical engineering and business Joined his father’s company Fascinated by organizational dynamics and the challenges computers could present

28 Trust Bob Buckman accredits trust as being a main ingredient to successful knowledge sharing “You cannot empower someone that you do not trust and who does not trust you” (370). Use rewards and sanctions to overcome resistance

29 Communities of Practice at Buckman Evolved informally by those using virtual systems to solve problems Small sub-groups of people, built around participation Sharing knowledge outside the community is difficult to enforce Managers have a hard time understanding and building a system around this process

30 Buckman’s Strategy Part One- Efficiently deliver a solution to increase customer satisfaction and confidence in a supplier. Part Two- Employees’ should be empowered with knowledge in order to satisfy customer needs better than the competitor

31 If you work at Buckman…. Learn as much as possible Contribute Knowledge to the system Participate in distributing knowledge to customers In the long run, customers receive the benefit

32 Knowledge Management Strategy For success, a clear and conscious strategy is necessary Since the 1980’s Buckman has consciously decided to compete in terms of knowledge

33 Today’s Challenge New arrangements and roles of the company, not technology, challenge knowledge management

34 Conclusion Knowledge management involves more than technology Must have a culture with new roles and constructs Changes the structure of the organization, including communication patterns Integrate knowledge with business objectives

35 Locations North America Europe/Middle East Latin America Africa Pacific Rim

36 Products Pulp, Paper, Tissue Repulping and deinking Products targeted to the middle market water treatment segment Breakthrough chemistries for the leather industry

37 K’Netix A single communications network which incorporates all of Buckman’s knowledge and experience, and allows employees to focus all capabilities on customer’s challenges (

38 Thanks For Listening!! Any Questions?

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