Management Dissertation Discussion Essay on Barriers and Enables to Knowledge Sharing Knowledge Management in Atme

BARRIERS AND ENABLES TO KNOWLEDGE SHARING KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT IN ATME

Introduction

The decision to incorporate IT in performance management has not been an easy task for ATME, and the unmet goals are because of the barriers the organization faces in its attempt to improve the performance skills of its workers through knowledge sharing (Beijerse 1999). A focus on the enablers and barriers to knowledge management is therefore necessary for the purposes of policy making, particularly to ensure proper coordination of activities and improvement in the overall performance of individuals in the organization (Bender & Fish 2000). This therefore brings attention to four important study questions that can aid in identifying and controlling the barriers to knowledge sharing and management as stated below:

  • What barriers inhibit knowledge sharing behaviours and management?
  • What factors facilitate knowledge sharing and management?
  •  Can the barriers be eliminated to ensure improvement in the overall organizational performance?
  • What costs will the organization incur in its attempt to eliminate the barriers to knowledge sharing?

Issues in business management focus on the ability of workers to improve the overall productivity of the organization for the purposes of meeting the growing market demands. Without knowledge sharing and management, it is hard for an organization to realize the required level of competencies (Bhatt 2002). With a vision deeply rooted on the provision of enabling processes that will continually improve the operating performances across the enterprise, AspenTech Middle East (ATME) focuses on the use of market-leading information technology (Bryman & Bell 2003). Therefore, the questions above are important in determining the different ways organization’s managers can improve their managerial roles in relation to knowledge sharing.

Theoretical Framework

Knowledge sharing and management is an important concept for organizations that aim at improving their production (Carrillo, Robinson, Al-Ghassani & Anumba 2004). With improvement in organizational performances, it becomes possible to control a huge share of the market and a company that has higher competitive advantage enjoys outcomes from an extended market (Chase 1997). This section of the research is intended to explore the deferring opinions of scholars, theorists, and policy makers, in relation to the barrier to knowledge sharing processes and other managerial initiatives. Under the literature review, the researcher considers defining the various concepts presented in this case (Choo 2003), providing the history of Knowledge sharing and knowledge management as well as giving the different classification initiatives.

The researcher will also explore the relationship between knowledge sharing and IT, and how factors, such as systems, procedures, employees’ behaviours and organization’s culture affect knowledge sharing ad process management (Coffee & Jones 1996). It becomes necessary for the researcher to establish whether successful knowledge sharing and management depend on other factors like social and cultural aspects and not on the technology or management procedures adopted by the company.

The term knowledge sharing and management has been used for over 400 years with a focus on specific practices of knowledge management capable of improving individual’s performances and overall organization productivity (Karlsen & Gottschalk 2004). Just like in recent cases where knowledge management has become an integral part of organizations, most companies in the past relied on the prophetic voices of knowledge management. For example, Chase (1997) identified knowledge management as a driving force for positive changes in an organization and wealth creation among individuals. By the beginning of 1990s, most organizations had searched and found reasons to incorporate knowledge sharing and management practices in their performance plans (Davenport and Völpel, 2001). Even though some organizations were reluctant to include knowledge sharing in their management strategies because of the bulk of activities involved, the organizations that tested to management approach attached positive values.

With the introduction of technology, knowledge sharing as a management approach has grown to capture the most sensitive areas of organization operations (De Long & Fahey 2000). The kind of transformation experienced in organizations todays has made knowledge management and its associated practices to be considered highly vital, particularly among practitioners and scholars.  The general argument in this context is that knowledge management has grown to capture important areas of management within organizations and as a result making firms to gain competitive advantage (Kautz & Mahnmark 2003). In other words, knowledge is considered an explanatory variable and affects the new era of business operations and economic growth (Knapp 1998). Correspondingly, most organizations have well stipulated organizational culture incorporated within its system operating on various levels and acts as a performance index to the workforce. The culture of performance and cooperation once instilled in an institution, the mutual relationship between the employees and the clients is enhanced to a great extent. A viable organizational culture serves as a yard stick to the success of the operational designs of an institution.           

Just like in the case of ATME, most scholars advise on the need to incorporate technology in organization management. Effective employees’ management rely on improved means of communication and platforms for knowledge sharing (Damodaran & Olphert 2000). An organization’s IT systems in addition to other factors have greater influence productive capacity. The ease with which organizations apply IT in areas of team management contributes to the performance levels of individuals. In other words, team work is the first area of focus when it comes of knowledge sharing and managements and heavily relies on effective and efficient communications, which can only be facilitated by an IT infrastructure (Connelly 2002).       

Methods

This section of study will focus on study approaches like data collection, analysis of variability and data analysis (Amaratunga, Baldry, Sarshar & Newton 2002). With the objective of identifying, defining, and describing potential barriers to knowledge sharing and management, the researcher will begin the study with a review of the various literatures relevant to the study topic. The researcher will employ quantitative and experimental study methods to test for the connections between the elements. Quantitative and experimental research designs are important in this case because they directly link to the major objectives of the study (Creswell 1994). The study approaches are also considered important because they assist in the generalization of the major concepts of study. As an inquiry into the cause-and-effect of certain observable conditions, the study design will give a reflection on the main managerial experiences that either allows for the incorporation of IT systems in managing the needs of employees (Amaratunga, Baldry, Sarshar & Newton 2002). These are some of the key issues that determine the validity, accuracy and applicability of a study. The research must engage in both positivism and interpretative science if the outcome of the study is to meet the objectives or questions stated earlier (Kang, Park & Kim 2003).

In the analysis, the researcher will start with the collection of both qualitative information and quantitative data based on various issues. The methods of data collection will involve surveys through questionnaires, structured interviews, or direct observation of techniques of employees’ management (Amaratunga, Baldry, Sarshar & Newton 2002). The main objective of engaging in the study through the mentioned data collection methods will be to obtain data that will help the researcher to gather the relevant information required for analysis.

The quantitative study method is supported by most scholars since its settings are applicable for deductive and holistic understanding of the certain experiences, especially those related to human behavior (Amaratunga, Baldry, Sarshar & Newton 2002). This means that the results obtained through deductive reasoning will help the researcher to test the measures taken and for the purposes of fulfilling the study objectives.

The relationship between IT system and improved knowledge sharing and management will only be possible to examine if the researcher will focus on facts, determine the causality and some of the fundamental laws governing the study. The research will also focus on both primary and secondary data obtained from their respective source. On the side of primary data, the researcher will conduct surveys using structured questions as shown in the appendix, interviews and observation (Amaratunga, Baldry, Sarshar & Newton 2002). The data collection methods will focus on organization managers, systems of management, employees’ attitudes and changes in business environment. On the side of secondary data, the researcher will focus on journals, organization publications and written reports about organization’s performances.  

Reflections

As already mentioned in the section of research methods, the researcher will base the arguments on some of the theories to help validate the study models. A theory incapable of indicating similar effects according to the researcher’s decision tree may give invalid study outcomes insufficient for decision making (Hines 2000). Similarly, the researcher expects the empirical studies to show the effect of the barriers being experienced overtime as the model predicts, and where the researcher cannot determine such relationships, the whole study would be considered flawed. At times, empirical studies may present limited feasibility hence requiring different study approaches. To this end, empirical studies become practical obstacles, especially when validity cannot be accurately measured.

A valid model of study is most known for its ability to provide an estimate of cost-effectiveness throughout the study. The model should be in a position to assist the researcher cover important areas of study at relatively lower costs, and also reduce the overall time of study. The research may experience an increase in cost and time of study; an indication that a wrong model was used in the study (Hines 2000). The simplicity and validity of a study is highly dependent on its purpose and the data type generated for analysis.

All studies are developed from theories, which must link to the concepts being investigated. Where there is a missing link between the theories and concepts, it becomes hard to provide explanation to some of the observed behaviours. The theory in this context represents all the views of other scholars, how they are represented as well as how they explain the relationship between knowledge management and its explanatory variables (Jankowicz 1995). Concepts on the other hand are specific attributes relevant to the research and capable of providing the most prolific explanations to the issues being investigated. The concepts of knowledge management and its defining attributes must be well identified prior to the study or else, the researcher risks missing important points in his or her study.

Before deciding to take part in a study, there is a need to understand that every research is guided by specific principles and standards, which the research must follow during and after the study. Some of the principles could impose restriction, which in the end affect data collection and analysis (Hines 2000). On ethics, there is a need to ensure that the identity of the participants remain concealed throughout the study since an attempt to make the identity known will lead to lower response rate. In other words, a higher response rate is important to the research because it ensures that the data collected represents the views of all the respondents. Other than these applicable standards, the researcher has limited control over the respondents and may not coarse participants to give the most crucial information (Hines 2000). Where the respondents feel the information being asked by the research is too sensitive or personal, they may decide to conceal or give wrong information. Wrong information would mean that the analysis as conducted by the researcher will be flawed.  

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References

Amaratunga, D., Baldry, D., Sarshar, M. and Newton, R., 2002. Quantitative and Qualitative Research in the Built Environment: Application of “mixed” Research Approach. Work Study, 51 (1), pp. 17-31.

Beijerse R. P. U., 1999. Questions in Knowledge Management: Defining and Conceptualising a Phenomenon. Journal of Knowledge Management, 3 (2)

Bender, S. and Fish, A., 2000. The Transfer of Knowledge and the Retention of Expertise: The Continuing Need for Global Assignments. Journal of Knowledge Management, 4 (2), pp. 125-137.

Bhatt, G. D., 2002. Management Strategies for Individual Knowledge and Organisational Knowledge. Journal of Knowledge Management, 6 (1), pp. 31-39.

Bryman, A. and Bell, E., 2003. Business Research Methods. Oxford University Press Inc., New York.

Carrillo, P., Robinson, H., Al-Ghassani, A. And Anumba, C., 2004. Knowledge Management in UK Construction: Strategies, Resources and Barriers. Project Management Journal, 35 (1), pp.46-56.

Chase, R., 1997. Knowledge Management Benchmarks. Journal of Knowledge Management, 1 (1), pp.83-92.

Choo, C. W., 2003. Perspectives on Managing Knowledge in Organisations. Cataloguing and Classification Quarterly 37 (Special Issue on Knowledge Organisation and Classification in International Information Retrieval), pp. 205-220.  [Internet] Available from: http://choo.fis.utoronto.ca/FIS/ResPub/CCQ/default.html

Coffee, R. and Jones, G., 1996. What Holds the Modern Company Together? Harvard Business Review, November-December 1996, pp. 133-148.

Connelly, C., 2002. Cost-Effective Knowledge-Sharing Strategies. Knowledge Management Review, 5 (4), pp. 6-7.

Damodaran, L. and Olphert, W., 2000. Barriers and Facilitators to the Use of Knowledge Management Systems. Behaviour & Information Technology, Nov2000, 19 (6), pp. 405-413.

De Long, D. W. and Fahey, L., 2000. Diagnosing Cultural Barriers to Knowledge Management. Academy of Management Executive, 14 (4), p113-127.

Hines, T., 2000. An Evaluation of Two Qualitative Methods (Focus Group Interviews and Cognitive Maps) for Conducting Research into Entrepreneurial Decision Making. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, 3 (1), pp. 7-16.

Jankowicz, A. D., 1995. Business Research Projects. 2nd Edition. London: International Thomson Business Press

Kang, I., Park, Y. and Kim, Y., 2003. A Framework for Designing a Workflow-Based Knowledge Map. Business Process Management Journal, 9 (3), pp. 281-294.

Karlsen, J. T. and Gottschalk, P., 2004. Factors Affecting Knowledge Transfer in IT Projects. Engineering Management Journal, 16 (1), pp. 3-10.

Kautz, K. and Mahnmark, V., 2003. Value Creation through IT-supported Knowledge Management? The Utilisation of a Knowledge Management System in a Global Consulting Company. Informing Science, Knowledge Management, Volume 6 (2003). [Internet] Available from: http://inform.nu/Articles/Vol6/v6p075-088.pdf.

Plessis, M, D. and Boon, J. A., 2004. Knowledge management in eBusiness and customer relationship management: South African case study findings. International Journal of Information Management, 24.

Proctor, T. and Doukakis, I., 2003. Change Management: The Role of Internal Communication and Employee Development. An International Journal, 8 (4).

Appendix

  1.                 What is the level of awareness of KM benefits in the organization?

Very Low            Low             High              Very High

  1.     Does the job environment support knowledge sharing and the leadership role in sharing knowledge?
   

Yes

No     

  1.         Does the IT infrastructure help you accessing information and sharing the same with others?

Yes                   No

  1. How do you feel about colleagues who do not ask for help or share difficulties?

____________________________________________________________________________________________

  1.         Do you know what your colleague is working on from the same unit and other unit?

Yes                  No

If yeas for (5), state how.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. Who are the experts in this topic inside and outside the company? Have you discussed this issue with those experts? If so, what have you learned?

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. Who are the people here you try to make friends and to keep their relationships strong get along very well and why?

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. Do you socialise outside the office with the people of your group? If yes, how many often?

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

  1.                 Compared with a year ago, how would you rate your knowledge of the company, its strategies, and its ongoing accomplishments?

Very low                  Low                         High               High

  1. What is your advice to secure the individual/human knowledge?

______________________________________________________________________________________________