Managing Organizational Knowledge
offered from the Southern California aerospace industry for
Mark Chun, PhD, Mike Williams, PhD, and Nelson Granados, PhD
continued from page 1
A Knowledge Management Exchange Forum
Despite technological advances and recent experience of firms in the implementation of knowledge management systems, the practice of KM remains more of an art than a science. For aerospace firms, the additional challenges presented above only exacerbate the complexity that they face to place the right knowledge in the hand of the right decision makers, at the right time.
Since 2005, several Southern California aerospace firms and local universities have engaged in a forum to exchange best practices for knowledge management. Participating organizations include Pratt-Whitney Rocketdyne, Northrop Grumman, NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratories, and Pepperdine University, California State University-Northridge, and University of California at Irvine. Participants benefit from participation by benchmarking their own knowledge management efforts against those of other firms, and from the opportunity to share knowledge management approaches.
The Southern California Aerospace Industry Knowledge Management Exchange (SCAIKME) meets several times a year to support KM and share key lessons. Additionally, SCAIKME provides a variety of electronic resources to foster collaboration between the KM staff of participating firms. Through face-to-face and virtual networking and collaboration, knowledge management executives at participating firms have gained new insights to the practice of knowledge management. In particular, they aid each other to retain knowledge assets and reduce the potential risk of knowledge loss as experienced employees and experts retire.
Some Guidelines for Effective Knowledge Management
During several SCAIKME seminars and roundtable discussions, KM officers were asked to share best practices in leading knowledge management initiatives. The strategies they discussed can be described as focused on 1) internal strategies aimed at identifying, capturing, and reusing the knowledge assets within the firm; and 2) external strategies aimed at building, measuring, and improving organizational KM competencies.
Below is a list of the top internal and external strategies for effective knowledge management that we have identified. This list is not exhaustive, but it is rather a set of guidelines that are potentially applicable and useful to KM initiatives in many industry contexts.
Using information systems to manage the knowledge of the firm is often a difficult, time-consuming, and tedious task. The strategies enumerated above should help to ensure effective implementation of KM systems and make knowledge a strategic differentiator.
** The authors would like to acknowledge and thank Kiho Sohn (Pratt-Whitney Rocketdyne, Chief Knowledge Officer), Jeanne Holm (NASA-JPL, Chief Knowledge Architect), and Scott Shaffar (Northrop Grumman, Director, Knowledge Managment, Systems Support, and Integration) for access to their knowledge management exchange forums and for their contributions to this article.
Mark W.S. Chun, PhD, is an assistant professor of information systems at the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University. He earned his PhD in information systems from the University of Colorado at Boulder and received his MBA from the University of California at Irvine in international business and strategy. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in management information systems from the University of Hawaii. Prior to entering academe, Dr. Chun worked for companies such as Intel Corporation, Pepsi Co./Taco Bell, Coopers & Lybrand, and the Bank of Hawaii. His research focuses on the use of information technology to create value and to transform organizations. firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Williams, PhD, is an assistant professor of information systems at the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University. Dr. Williams earned a PhD in Information Systems from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He received an MDiv and an MA from Abilene Christian University. Prior to entering academe, Dr. Williams was an IT consultant in the Washington, D.C. area. email@example.com
Nelson Granados, PhD, is an assistant professor of information systems at the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University. He received his PhD in information sciences and decision sciences, M.S. in applied economics, and MBA from University of Minnesota. His research on the economics of information systems has been published in the Journal of the Association for Information Systems, Information Systems and e-Business Management, and Electronic Markets. He has presented his research at the Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences and the INFORMS Annual Meeting, among others. Prior to his academic career, he worked as an airline revenue manager in Japan, U.S., and Europe, and was also a product manager for enterprise systems at IBM Colombia. firstname.lastname@example.org
D. Leonard and D. Kiron. "Managing Knowledge and Learning at NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory," Harvard Business School Case #9-603-062, (2002).
M. Alavi and D.E. Leidner. "Review: Knowledge Management and Knowledge Management Systems: Conceptual Foundations and Research Issues," MIS Quarterly, 25, no. 1 (2001/3): 107-136.
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