Classification of supply chain knowledge: a morphological approach

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of the article is to create a knowledge classification model that can be used by knowledge management (KM) practitioners for establishing a knowledge management framework (KMF) in a supply chain (SC) network. Epistemological as well as ontological aspects of knowledge have been examined. SC networks provide a more generic setting for managing knowledge due to the additional issues concerning flow of knowledge across the boundaries of organizations. Design/methodology/approach – Morphological analysis has been used to build the knowledge classification model. Morphological approach is particularly useful in exploratory research on concepts/entities having multiple dimensions. Knowledge itself has been shown in literature to have many characteristics and the methodology used has enabled a comprehensive classification scheme based on such characteristics.Findings – A single, comprehensive classification model for knowledge that exists in SC networks has been proposed. Nine characteristics, each possessing two or more value options, have been finally included in the model. Research limitations/implications – Knowledge characteristics have been mostly derived from past research with the exception of three which have been introduced without empirical evidence. Although the article is primarily about SC knowledge, the results are fairly generic. Practical implications – The proposed model would be of use in developing KM policies, procedures and establishing knowledge management systems (KMS) in SC networks. The model will cater to both system and people aspects of a KMF.Originality/value – The proposed knowledge classification model based on morphological analysis fills a gap in a vital area of research in KM as well as SC management. No similar classification model of knowledge with all its dimensions has been found in literature.
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Structural social capital and innovation. Is knowledge transfer the missing link?

Abstract

Purpose – Individuals and organisations are becoming increasingly involved in collaboration networks to share knowledge and generate innovation. Social Capital (SC) Theory has been adopted in several areas of study to explain how individuals, groups, and organisations manage relationships to generate innovation. However, to date no systematic review has been carried out on the role that structural social capital plays for knowledge transfer and innovation at the interpersonal, inter-unit, and inter-firm levels and therefore the aim of this study is to address this gap.Design/methodology/approach – This review covers studies of social capital in organisational behaviour, strategy, and management over a period of 20 years. Findings – The literature review shows that knowledge types and knowledge transfer processes are the missing links in the relationship between structural social capital and innovation. Moreover, the paper demonstrates that seemingly opposite configurations of social capital are complementary to each other (structural holes vs. dense networks, strong vs. weak ties) and that contextual factors should be considered when discussing the effects of social capital on knowledge transfer and innovation. In addition, it is the balance of different configurations of social capital which enables an individual or a company to explore, access, assimilate, and combine different knowledge types, which will lead to improved innovation outcomes.Originality/value – This review facilitates understanding of the role of social capital for knowledge transfer processes and the mediating role of knowledge transfer processes and knowledge types in the relationship between structural social capital and innovation.
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Use of information and communication technology to support employee-driven innovation in organizations: a knowledge management perspective

Abstract

Purpose – Employee-driven innovation (EDI) involves systematic exploitation of knowledge resources in organizations. The role of information and communication technologies (ICT) for efficient knowledge management is important in this respect, and the purpose of this paper is to investigate how organizations focusing on EDI use ICT-based tools in their innovation work.Design/methodology/approach – In-depth interviews with employees, managers, and union representatives from 20 organizations focusing on EDI were conducted. The sample included organizations from eight different industries, representing both private and public sectors.Findings – The results show that ICT-based tools can support the processes of acquisition, dissemination, and exploitation of knowledge, which are important aspects of EDI. However, use of ICT-based tools has to be aligned with organizational structures and professional role conduct to be efficient. Practical implications – The study contributes to practice by highlighting several factors that organizations should emphasize in order to succeed with application of external and internal knowledge in their innovation work.Originality/value – The study applies a knowledge management perspective on the role of ICT-based tools to support employee-driven innovation in organizations. The findings contribute to an improved understanding of organizational conditions for succeeding with use of ICT-based tools in innovation work, and emphasize that perspectives on knowledge management, technology management, and human resource management have to be combined to understand how employee-driven innovation can be promoted by use of ICT in organizations.
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The barriers of knowledge generation, storage, distribution and application that impede learning in gas and petroleum companies

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Purpose – This paper tries to find and rank the barriers of the four knowledge management processes including generation, storage, distribution and application in gas and petroleum sector.Design/methodology/approach – Reviewing the literature of knowledge management and organizational learning, this paper extracted all of the barriers which impede KM processes. Then it designed a questionnaire for validating, ranking and categorizing barriers. Totally 190 completed questionnaires were gathered from 26 gas and petroleum companies in IRAN. Some statistical tests such as T, Friedman and Kruskal Wallis and Mann-Whitney were used for analyzing data.Findings – Findings reviewed the current literature of KM barriers either validated and ranked the barriers of knowledge generation, storage, distribution and application separately. The importance of knowledge generation and knowledge application barriers were significantly different between gas and petroleum companies. Hence they were disjointedly ranked for gas and petroleum. Finally, KM barriers were ranked according to their contribution to KM processes and the average mean of their importance in KM processes. Practical implications – From the practical point of view, this paper suggests managers of gas and petroleum companies to emphasize solving high priority barriers according to the knowledge management process which they are focused on. Furthermore, the study provides a check list that can be used as an assessment tool for evaluating knowledge management processes considering barriers. Originality/value – This paper finds the importance of each barrier for each of the four KM processes and ranks the “critical barriers” according to their contribution to four KM processes in gas and petroleum sector.
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Customer knowledge management, innovation capability, and business performance: a case study of the banking industry

Abstract

Purpose – Customer knowledge management (CKM) emerges as an important and effective system for innovation capability and firm performance. However, the role of CKM in innovation and performance is not well understood. To fill this gap, this paper aims to examine the effect of CKM on continuous innovation and firm performance, in 35 Private Banks in Guilan (Iran).Design/methodology/approach – Via questionnaires, data have been collected from managers of private Banks in Guilan. Feedback is received from 265 managers in 350 distributed questionnaires, and hypotheses were tested using structural equation modelling (SEM).Findings – The results of this paper indicate that knowledge from customers has a positive impact on both innovation speed and innovation quality and also operational performance and financial performance. Also, our results demonstrate a different effect of knowledge about customer and knowledge for customer on various dimensions of innovation and firm performance. By using customer’s knowledge flows, firms will aware of external environment and new changes in customers’ needs and so will be more innovative and perform better.Practical implications – Customer Knowledge management is known as an important system to connecting internal environment to external environment in order to create novel ideas. The results of this paper shed light on the consequences of CKM on firms, and provide support for the importance of CKM to enhance innovation capacity and firm performance.Originality/value – This article is one of the first to find empirical support for the role of customer knowledge management within firms and its importance on innovation capability and firm performance. This study can provide valuable insights and guidance for researchers and managers as well.
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Knowledge management in supporting collaborative innovation community capacity building

Abstract

Purpose – The importance of collaborative innovation in developing organizational competitiveness is increasingly being recognized in both theory and practice worldwide. Collaborative innovation, however, is still under-explored from the trans-disciplinary perspective of knowledge management and community capacity building. This paper investigates the role of knowledge management in collaborative innovation and identifies the knowledge management approaches for supporting collaborative innovation community capacity building (CICCB) in organizations.Design/methodology/approach – A comprehensive review of the related literature in collaborative innovation and knowledge management is conducted. Three demands for CICCB including (a) trust building for enhancing the effectiveness, (b) sustainability building for improving the efficiency, and (c) extensibility building for developing the competitiveness in organizations are identified which paves the way for the development of a holistic approach to effective CICCB.Findings – Three roles of knowledge management in supporting CICCB are identified including (a) the reformation of knowledge management for convergence in collaboration, (b) the remediation of knowledge activities for synergy in communication, and (c) the reconfiguration of knowledge artifacts for the integration of knowledge management activities in connectivity. A holistic approach is proposed for effective CICCB in organizations including (a) the multi-dimensional convergence for trust building in collaboration, (b) the multi-directional synergy for sustainability building in communication, and (c) the multi-layer integration for extensibility building in connectivity.Research limitations/implications – Insights about how organizations can better support CICCB through effective knowledge management for improving their competitiveness are provided based on the identification of the demand for CICCB and the role of knowledge management in collaborative innovation. The development of a holistic approach to effective CICCB can help organizations better utilize their limited resources for developing their competitiveness in today’s dynamic environment.
Originality/value – This paper is the first step of a comprehensive study on the role of knowledge management in supporting CICCB in organizations in today’s dynamic environment. It provides a solid foundation for the investigation of the models, approaches and mechanisms for effective CICCB through knowledge management in organizations.
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Managing knowledge in IT projects: a framework for enterprise system implementation

Abstract

Purpose – This study explores the knowledge management perspective of IT projects, based on Enterprise System implementations. The study determined what knowledge is needed in each of the project phases (what for, from what sources), how this knowledge is transformed during the project (what knowledge activities are performed concerning this knowledge), and what knowledge-related artefacts are created. A knowledge management framework for ES projects is formulated based upon the results.Design/methodology/approach – The research has a qualitative exploratory design, based on multiple data sources: documentation, semi-structured interviews, and participant observation. A coding procedure was applied with the use of a pre-defined list of codes, as derived from Knowledge Management literature regarding knowledge types, actors, project phases, and activities. Open coding was used to determine the role of each type of knowledge in the implementation process.Findings – The study examined the significance of the particular types of knowledge of each project actor across the project phases, and identified the specific knowledge activities that need to be performed for a successful outcome. In contrast to existing literature, this study also demonstrates that project management knowledge consists of two components: generic and product-related. Meta-knowledge, i.e., knowledge about other people’s knowledge was also identified as critical in the initial phases of the project. Solution knowledge was identified as the primary knowledge product. It is the result of the integration of company and product knowledge and is embedded into the system.Research limitations/implications – The limitation of this study is that it concentrated on a specific type of the IT project, namely Enterprise System implementation. The results cannot be directly extrapolated to other IT projects.Practical implications – The results of the study may aid in effective staffing for ES implementations and in identifying the necessary knowledge sources. They may also enable the development of relevant knowledge management procedures for a project.Originality/value – No comprehensive Project Knowledge Management framework for Enterprise Systems has been found in the existing Knowledge Management literature, and this study fills this gap in the research.
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