Sustainable Knowledge Management through Wiki’s
Knowledge Management is an environment where people are persuaded to use their personal knowledge and that of others in a smart way to realise their personal and collective ambitions. The ultimate goal of Knowledge Management is competence development (ability) and expertise development (ability) of the employee (participant). Within the context of expertise and competence development, several actions can be taken like: education, contracting of expertise, experiments and pilots.
Actions (interventions) may be directed towards the securing of knowledge such that the collected information guarantees the continuity of the process. The objective here is the development of a company memory where information and knowledge is made accessible.
Also actions/interventions may be directed towards the facilitation of internal and external networks and various other contexts (e.g. communities of practice, wiki’s) where knowledge is developed and shared through the cooperation of people.
Knowledge Management is a tool for the management of an organisation to allow it to look at chances, problems and solutions, and is not an objective as such. Core topics for the management are: synergetic effects, customer orientation, efficiency, effectiveness and innovation. For Knowledge Management to be successful, there has to be a good balance between three critical success factors and some necessary boundary conditions have to be met. This is expressed in next table.
|1. Focus – Requirement||3. Motivation – Desirability|
|* environmental pressure||* ambitions|
|- social network||* attitude|
|- colleagues||* perception|
|- management||- advantages|
|* intrinsic motivation|
|2. Infrastructure – Ability||4. Boundary Conditions – Availability|
|* competencies||* working conditions|
|* abilities||* finances|
|* methods||* time allocation|
|* techniques tools / knowledge & capability to use||* support|
1. Focus - Requirement
Knowledge Management has to contribute in a sustainable way to the achievements of the targets set by the organisation (e.g. turnover, cost, customer satisfaction, etc.). This means that the Knowledge Management agenda has to be tuned to the strategic agenda of the organisation. In this way Knowledge Management determines for the organisation valuable knowledge areas and the organisation knows which knowledge areas to invest in respectively to support.
Within an organisation only a limited number of knowledge initiatives must be pursued at the same time. This increases the chances for success as the people do not have to dilute their attention and energy over too many initiatives.
2. Infrastructure - Ability
For Knowledge Management to be successful, an effective and efficient communication, education, cooperation and information supply is essential. Infrastructure refers to the physical (IT) as well as the social infrastructure (e.g. teams, professional; groups).
To motivate colleagues to share their knowledge and reuse somebody else’s information is difficult. This problem is aggravated when it takes too much time to retrieve information / knowledge or start using a tool.
Sustainable Knowledge Management requires effective tools and resources for colleagues, teams, project groups, networks that support communication, cooperation and information supply.
This not only refers to tools but also to the people that facilitate the request and supply of knowledge company wide.
3. Motivation - Desirability (“what’s in it for me”)
Motivation is an important aspect of Knowledge Management. Knowledge is the basis of all work that people do in organisations. The sharing of knowledge or reusing somebody else’s knowledge causes resistance in people. They may think, the sharing of knowledge makes them superfluous or they assume the reuse of someone else’s knowledge may/will not work. Understanding these blockades in the sharing / reuse of knowledge is important for improving the way information in organisations is used. The answer to the question “what’s in it for me” by the management is often determining, as well as attention for their personal situation and an example function in knowledge sharing by the management.
4. Boundary conditions - Availability
For the successful implementation of Knowledge Management, a number of boundary conditions should be fulfilled. Not only should the instruments be available but there should be time for the individual employee to absorb the knowledge, share the knowledge and secure it.
Initially Knowledge Management will require extra time and the organisation should coordinate/facilitate these activities at the various organisational levels.