Handbook on Knowledge Management 1 pp 349–365 Cite as
Problem Solving: A Knowledge Management Process
- Thomas Whalen 2 &
- Subhashish Samaddar 2
Part of the International Handbooks on Information Systems book series (INFOSYS,volume 1)
Organizations manage their knowledge resources to provide an environment for their members to make well-informed decisions and to take problem-solving actions. A decision-making process is a knowledge intensive process that both recognizes and solves problems along the way to the objective of producing a decision. During such a process knowledge is continually created, stored and retrieved, shared, used, and modified to create new knowledge. In this chapter we present the evolving trend in which soft computing and an emerging “post-modern” management science will provide an environment that will stimulate, shape, and challenge the discipline of knowledge management in creating new opportunities and capabilities for organizational problem solving. We posit that the discipline of knowledge management must accept a new mission: bringing the power of soft computing and post-modern management science into the mainstream of business problem solving. We show how this mission can be achieved.
- Fuzzy Logic
- Knowledge Management
- Post-Modern Management Science
- Problem Solving
- Soft Computing
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Whalen, T., Samaddar, S. (2004). Problem Solving: A Knowledge Management Process. In: Holsapple, C.W. (eds) Handbook on Knowledge Management 1. International Handbooks on Information Systems, vol 1. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-24746-3_17
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Journal of Knowledge Management
ISSN : 1367-3270
Article publication date: 3 April 2017
The purpose of this paper is to empirically test the link between knowledge management practices, problem-solving processes and organizational performance.
This study uses survey data from 112 leading Italian companies. To test the structural relations of the research model, we used the partial least squares method.
Results show a strong relationship between knowledge management practices and intermediate activities of creative problem solving and problem-solving speed. In addition, creative problem solving has a direct impact on both organizational and financial performances, whereas problem-solving speed has a direct effect only on financial performance.
The focus on top Italian firms limits the generalizability of results.
This study provides empirical evidence of the importance of knowledge management practices for problem-solving activities and firm performance.
The present paper fills an important gap in the extant literature by conceptualizing and empirically testing the relationship between knowledge management, problem-solving processes (creative problem solving and problem-solving speed) and firm performance. This study is the first ever to study these relationships within the Italian context.
- Financial performance
- Knowledge management
- Organizational performance
- Problem solving
Giampaoli, D. , Ciambotti, M. and Bontis, N. (2017), "Knowledge management, problem solving and performance in top Italian firms", Journal of Knowledge Management , Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 355-375. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-03-2016-0113
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Problem-solving = Understanding
8 Knowledge Management Challenges You Must Solve ASAP
Has your team ever run into trouble when an individual with tons of knowledge left your company? Or, do you struggle to find the information you need from subject matter experts (SMEs) when working on a project? You’re not alone.
Thankfully, there’s a simple solution: Implement an easy-to-use knowledge management tool and follow some best practices.
Implementing a collaborative knowledge management system will help an organization increase productivity, become more agile, and improve efficiency while avoiding common pitfalls that may arise when starting the process.
We’ll walk you through some of the most common knowledge management challenges and how to overcome them.
Ready to start improving your knowledge management system today? Stonly’s no-code solutions make creating and maintaining a knowledge base easy and efficient. Start a FREE trial
8 Challenges of knowledge management and how to overcome them
While there are many benefits of a knowledge base, it isn’t without drawbacks. However, you can overcome these challenges using tools and following best practices.
Let’s look at some of the most common knowledge management challenges and their solutions:
1. Empowering your team to share their knowledge
It can be difficult to encourage all team members to share knowledge instead of siloing or hoarding it with one person. While it may seem fine in the short term, if that one person chooses to take a position with another company or otherwise becomes unavailable, all their tacit knowledge disappears with them.
It’s crucial to implement a system that makes all employees want to share their expertise and keep it up-to-date so others can benefit from it. That way, all needed data and processes are already documented for whenever a team member needs to access them.
Solution: Make knowledge sharing simple and engaging
Make it easy and enjoyable for your whole team to share their implicit and explicit knowledge and key learnings. Allow employees to share their expertise in various ways that suit their personality and competencies. Tools like Stonly make it easy to share organizational knowledge by making it simple and enjoyable.
No one wants to read a long, boring block of static content. Choosing a tool with interactive features makes creating and consuming content easy and enjoyable. Plus, it’s a more effective teaching method, and employees will better retain the information.
2. Delivering the right knowledge for your organization
What works for one company’s knowledge management won’t work for another. It can be difficult to choose a system or strategy that’s right for your organization’s needs and supports existing tools and processes. If the tool you choose doesn’t offer much flexibility or customization, it will be more difficult to update as the company grows and evolves.
Solution: Don’t follow one-size-fits-all solutions
Don’t just use a standard employee onboarding template. Instead, share the information employees need to know in the context of your company and specific workflows.
Choose a platform like Stonly that has a highly personalized knowledge base system. It’s customizable and only shows team members the knowledge they need contextually rather than overloading them with the entirety of your help documentation.
3. Scaling knowledge as you grow
As more employees come on board, your knowledge creation and sharing processes will need to evolve. A company with five people likely doesn’t communicate the same way as one with 500. Instead of casually turning to your team and informing them of a new project, you’ll need to send out and store that information more traceably.
If you don’t implement scalable knowledge management programs at your organization as early as possible, it will be more challenging to change and reorganize in the future. You’ll have to go through an entire migration and spend tons of time transferring knowledge from one platform to another.
Solution: Implement a scalable system
Save yourself time and headaches by implementing a knowledge management strategy that’s easy to scale as your company grows. This will give you a competitive advantage over companies who waste time on outdated processes and allow you to reap the benefits of knowledge management initiatives. Outline clear parameters for adding knowledge so that all employees are on the same page and have access to the same information.
Stonly has a modular knowledge base, so it's easy to update and expand with your company. Plus, it’s a low-maintenance, no-code system that easily integrates with your existing platforms and tools.
4. Keeping knowledge bases up-to-date
Keeping your knowledge bases up-to-date when bogged down by clunky software that requires permissions or dev help is difficult and tedious. You don’t want to make a ticket whenever a minor update to your documentation is needed. It discourages employees from sharing information and taking the initiative to refresh content.
If you have a knowledge base, it should be super easy for all employees to update, and it shouldn't require the assistance of your dev or support teams.
Solution: Choose a tool that’s easy to update
Choose a knowledge base platform or tool that’s simple to update and accessible to all your employees. Since Stonly is a no-code, modular tool, it's easy for team members to make quick updates without developers and streamline knowledge creation.
Additionally, you may consider setting aside some time for knowledge base audits to help you find dated information or clear out irrelevant documents. You could schedule these for every few months, once or twice a year, or every couple of years.
5. Getting buy-in from senior executives
Even if your coworkers are on board with updating processes or investing in knowledge management software tools , you’ll still need to get the approval of senior executives and other leadership typically involved in decision making. You’ll need them to lead the charge and be enthusiastic about changes for them to be successful.
If senior leaders aren’t pushing new processes to the rest of the company, other employees aren’t likely to be excited. Organizational change often starts at the top.
Solution: Ask senior executives to help lead the charge
Meet with senior executives and other stakeholders before implementing any new processes or tools and ask them to be the facilitators or ambassadors of the project. They can share knowledge management examples of them using the new tools to the rest of the company, set benchmarks, encourage consistency, and be available to answer any questions employees have about the new rollout.
6. Employee resistance to adopting new technology
As with most new projects, the implementation of a new knowledge base may be met with employee resistance. Many individuals can be apprehensive about changing and suspicious of new technology, especially if they feel the current ones are doing the job just fine.
If employees are on tight schedules, they’re likely worried about the time it will take to learn a new process. Plus, if the new tool is just boring, static blocks of text, they likely won’t feel like there’s much incentive to interact with it.
Solution: Show employees that the new solution will benefit them
Show employees that the new processes will save time and make their jobs easier. Provide them with comprehensive, easy-to-follow training that will reduce the time they spend learning new tools.
It’s beneficial if you build a knowledge base with a tool like Stonly, which can remove barriers to use, make knowledge, training, and onboarding interactive and engaging, personalize the learning process, and customize guides based on team and individual needs. Plus, you can add attractive visuals and include screenshots.
7. Finding answers too slowly
It’s irritating when employees waste valuable time searching a disorganized knowledge base for specific information, not finding what they need. Too many organizations use knowledge management systems that aren’t searchable or are difficult to understand. Without visuals to help employees learn, they won’t retain information.
Solution: Choose a tool that’s searchable
Implement a tool that can help employees find the information they need in just a few simple clicks. Stonly’s troubleshooting and search features help users get specific search results. Its in-context interactive tooltips give your team answers when needed rather than making them dig through lengthy documents with irrelevant info.
8. Incorporating knowledge into your everyday systems
Having a knowledge base completely separate from other company platforms and processes can make it difficult to incorporate it into your workflow. It can quickly become dated if there are no points of integration or dedicated steps in company processes to add/update your knowledge management.
Solution: Make knowledge sharing part of your workflow
Making continual learning/knowledge sharing part of your company workflow. A tool like Stonly can automatically launch guides in third-party tools that your team already uses in their day-to-day workflow for in-context training, increasing adoption of your company's tools.
Start improving your knowledge management processes today
Now that you know the solutions to the most common obstacles that come with knowledge management, you’re equipped to make better decisions and implement an effective, long-lasting system within your organization. Whether adding some new tools to your tech stack or improving your current processes, you’ll be able to boost your team’s productivity and get everyone on the same page.
Frequently asked questions about knowledge management challenges
Why is knowledge management difficult.
Knowledge management can be tough. Information can get siloed with one or just a few employees, it can be difficult to scale, employees may not be enthusiastic, or you might not have support from upper management.
What are the pros and cons of knowledge management?
Some pros of knowledge management include increased productivity, more agility, and improved efficiency. Cons include maintaining it, employee resistance to new systems, getting buy-in from executives, etc.
How can knowledge management challenges be overcome?
You can overcome knowledge management challenges by implementing a great tool like Stonly and following a list of knowledge management best practices .
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Introduction, section snippets, references (61), cited by (108), recommended articles (6).
Decision Support Systems
A problem-solving perspective on knowledge management practices.
A wide variety of organizational practices have been proposed to support the creation, storage and transfer of knowledge, yet it is often unclear how these practices relate to one another in their contribution to organizational performance. This study develops a categorization system for knowledge management practices based on two dimensions: the practices' role in the problem-solving process, and the type of problem they address. Analysis of survey data supports the proposed framework and uncovers two higher order factors that correspond to the concepts of exploration and exploitation . By focusing attention on the importance of problem solving in transforming knowledge into business value, this research suggests a new way to understand the connection between knowledge management practices and organizational goals.
The development of a body of language, ideas and models that describe practices for managing organizational knowledge is one of the more significant advances in management research to have occurred in the past decade. Researchers and practitioners have proposed a wide variety of practices to support the creation, storage and propagation of knowledge within and across organizations. Gray and Chan  advance a framework that seeks to categorize and integrate these practices into a single model based on the view that the problem-solving process is a vehicle for connecting knowledge and performance — knowledge can generate economic value when it is used to solve problems, explore opportunities and make decisions. Understanding the contribution of various knowledge management practices to problem solving may help integrate the diverse thinking in this area. This article describes an empirical test of Gray and Chan's integrating framework.
The importance of acquiring new knowledge to enhance organizational competitiveness is now well established. The emergence of the resource-based view of the firm has brought with it a focus on capability, competency and innovation as keys to building successful organizations , , . A firm's ability to compete is increasingly seen as being rooted principally in the skills and knowledge of its employees. Rapidly evolving business environments, however, tend to decrease the useful life span of such skills and knowledge; organizations must therefore continuously adapt to the environment with which they co-evolve in order to maintain their fitness for survival .
A necessary but not sufficient pre-requisite for effective organizational adaptation over time is that some subset of employees understands the changes occurring in the organization's environment . By developing an understanding of such changes, employees improve their knowledge; this is commonly thought of as learning. Organizations that operate in rapidly evolving environments therefore stand to benefit most from learning, and suffer most from a lack thereof. At the extreme, a lack of learning can prevent a firm from adapting its core competency to new market conditions; instead, it can become a core rigidity that seriously hampers effectiveness .
A considerable body of literature addresses the management of knowledge from a variety of perspectives. For example, authors have discussed the use of information systems (e.g., , , ), social networks (e.g., , , ), communities of practice (e.g., , ), organizational design (e.g., , ), work processes (e.g., Ref. ) and other forms of organizational practices (e.g., , , ) as methods for managing the creation and/or transmission of relatively unstructured knowledge. A separate research tradition examines the use of structured knowledge representations embedded in technology to enhance decision making (e.g., , ), including considerable research into methods and tools for knowledge acquisition (e.g., , ). Some knowledge management practices are relatively new while others have long histories. Training, for instance, is a well-established practice for transferring knowledge to employees and enhancing their skills, while publishing a directory of employees and their specialized areas of knowledge is a more recent phenomenon. The thread that ties these practices together is their common conceptualization as tools for managers who wish to make more effective use of their organization's knowledge assets.
This article first discusses existing frameworks for categorizing knowledge management practices based on organizational strategy and knowledge characteristics to explain why a problem-solving approach is likely to have value. Section 2 describes the underlying theoretical constructs and integrates them into the research framework. Section 3 details the development of a survey instrument to test the dimensions of the framework. This is followed in Section 4 by an analysis of 63 returned questionnaires and discussion of findings. The article concludes with a summary of the outcomes, limitations and contributions of this research to a new way of understanding knowledge management practices.
Knowledge management frameworks
The two most widespread types of categorization systems for knowledge management practices are grounded in organizational strategy and characteristics of knowledge, respectively. An example of the strategic perspective is the grouping of knowledge management practices into those supporting a strategy of knowledge replication and those supporting knowledge customization . This approach emphasizes the need for corporate strategy to dictate which knowledge management strategy a firm should use
The activity of problem solving is essentially the same as the activity of understanding . Regardless of whether or not the implementation of a solution is successful, an organization refines its understanding of its environment, increases its absorptive capacity  and improves its ability to react appropriately to future stimuli by attempting to solve a problem. Indeed, failure to arrive at a successful solution may be essential to effective learning and adaptation over time . In
Method and results
The empirical research described in this section was undertaken to test whether the dimensions proposed in the knowledge management framework enable significant distinctions to be made between different kinds of knowledge management practices. This represents a first step in testing the full model. Should the dimensions prove stable over a variety of settings and practices, further research into the hypothesized cross-cell knowledge flow processes can then occur.
To test the framework, managers
This study contributes to the literature on knowledge management by uncovering systematic connections between knowledge management practices and decision-making theory. The survey provides substantive, statistically significant evidence supporting the hypothesis that knowledge management practices vary along two continuums in their contribution to decision making. By demonstrating that knowledge management practices can be distinguished from each other based on their role in decision making,
The author thanks Yolande Chan, Brent Gallupe and Darren Meister for their insight and advice in conducting this research project and preparing this article. Many thanks also to the Guest Editor and anonymous referees for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this article, and to the Queen's Management Research Centre for Knowledge-Based Enterprises http://business.queensu.ca/kbe ) for its generous support of this project.
Peter H. Gray has a background in electronic commerce and online information services and master's degree in management information systems from Queen's University. He worked in information technology and management consulting positions before returning to academia, where he is a PhD candidate at Queen's University and a research associate with the Queen's Management Research Centre for Knowledge-Based Enterprises. He has Published in the Communications of the AIS, and has a forthcoming
The new network firm: a spherical structure built on a human investment philosophy
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In many situations, the overuse of natural resources is aggravated by illegal use. More insights on the drivers and significance of this phenomenon are needed in order to formulate policies that can effectively ease human pressure on the environment. This paper makes use of the water footprint (WF), as a physical indicator of freshwater use, and introduces both economic (water productivity) and social (labour intensity) indicators to understand illegal groundwater use from a multiple perspective. Using data from the year 2000 and from 2007 to 2009, we analyse in detail the case of the Western Mancha Aquifer, in central Spain, where legal and illegal groundwater use take place simultaneously. Results show that nearly 52% of the agricultural blue WF is linked to illegal groundwater use, mostly for vine and vegetable irrigation. Besides this, the illegal share accounts for around 56% and 57% respectively of the gross income and employment generated by irrigation in the area. Therefore, although action to halt illegal withdrawals is a recurrent call to ease pressure on natural resources and ecosystems, these figures reflect the economic and social drivers, which might explain why such action is difficult to implement. In addition, the data presented in this paper provides new insights into some aspects of a public plan recently implemented to regularize illegal use by purchasing and reallocating groundwater rights on the basis of social and environmental grounds, which might be relevant for future public policy measures in situations presenting both over-allocation of water rights and illegal water use.
Theory of Problem Solving
The article reacts on the works of the leading theorists in the fields of psychology focusing on the theory of problem solving. It contains an analysis of already published knowledge, compares it and evaluates it critically in order to create a basis that is corresponding to the current state of cognition. In its introductory part, it pursues a term problem and its definition. Furthermore, it pursues the problematic situations and circumstances that accompany the particular problem and appear during its solving. The main part of this article is an analysis of the problem solving process itself. It specifies related terms in detail, e.g. the ability to perceive the problem, the perceptibility of the problem, the willingness to solve the problem, the awareness of existence of the problem or strategies of problem solving. Published knowledge is applicable not only in fields of psychology, but also in fields of pedagogy, or education.
Knowledge management practices in universities: The role of communities of practice
One of the major strategies for managing knowledge for competitive advantage in universities is through Communities of Practice (CoPs). This study sought to assess how universities are using CoPs as a tool to manage and safeguard knowledge for competitive advantage. The study adopted the survey and mixed method research approach to collect data from selected universities in Ghana. The study established that despite the high level of understanding and appreciation for knowledge management practices and the existence of both formal and informal forums for managing and safeguarding knowledge at the universities, the role and impact of CoPs in KM at the universities were insignificant. This was due to the low level of understanding of the concept of CoPs, non-belonging to a CoP and lack of tools and systems to support CoPs at the universities. The study finally proposed a framework for CoPs in universities. According to the proposed framework, the successful deployment of CoPs in universities depends on identifying and linking the knowledge (tacit and explicit) and CoPs to the universities.
Relationship between Knowledge Management and Organizational Performance: A Test on SMEs in Malaysia
Generally, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play a crucial role in supporting the nation's economy. Nevertheless, Malaysian SMEs have not developed their full potential. Therefore, it is essential for the entrepreneurs to search for and shift towards better strategies to become more successful. In the present turbulent environments, knowledge has been viewed as a major strategic competitive resource. Given the importance of knowledge, entrepreneurs are encouraged to develop their capabilities to manage knowledge which will move them to become more competitive and innovative. Extensive research is available in the knowledge management literature investigating the process of knowledge management as a composite construct; nonetheless little research has been done to examine the independent effects of the individual dimensions of knowledge management process. In particular, little empirical evidence has been found to determine the implementation of knowledge management practices in the context of developing countries and small business. This study aimed to fill the perceived gaps by investigating the relationship between knowledge management process capabilities and organizational performance in the context of Malaysian SMEs. Knowledge management process capabilities were conceptualized as four dimensional constructs: knowledge acquisition, knowledge conversion, knowledge application, and knowledge protection while organizational performance were divided into two dimensions namely, non-financial performance and financial performance. This paper anticipates that the four knowledge management process capabilities are important antecedents of organizational performance, which have in turn a positive relationship with both non-financial performance and financial performance of SMEs. The findings of this study will provide insights to entrepreneurs and help them to identify and develop effective strategies towards enhancing their overall performance.
Unveiling the impacts of explicit vs. tacit knowledge hiding on innovation quality: The moderating role of knowledge flow within a firm
This study explores how two dimensions of employees’ knowledge-hiding behaviours, explicit knowledge hiding and tacit knowledge hiding, influence a firm’s innovation quality. Furthermore, knowledge flow within the firm is examined as a moderator in these relationships. We tested corresponding hypotheses based on a research sample of 791 respondents across different industries and regions of China. Empirical results reveal that both explicit and tacit knowledge-hiding behaviours have inverted U-shaped relationships with innovation quality, and knowledge flow within the firm positively moderates these curvilinear relationships. The theoretical contributions of the study are to provide a more advanced understanding of the link between knowledge-hiding behaviours and innovation quality, as well as the role of knowledge flow within the firm. It is therefore suggested that practitioners encourage effective knowledge flow that helps to reduce individual employees’ intentions of knowledge hiding and strengthen their innovation capability, which in turn promotes a firm’s innovation quality.
Knowledge transfer in organizations: The roles of members, tasks, tools, and networks
This article describes advances in the study of knowledge transfer in organizations over the fifteen years since Argote and Ingram (2000) appeared in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes . Argote and Ingram developed mechanisms of knowledge transfer and discussed factors that facilitate or impede transfer. Conditions under which knowledge transfer improves organizational performance were identified and conditions under which knowledge transfer is a source of competitive advantage for organizations were theorized. The current article concludes that research subsequent to the publication of Argote and Ingram has both increased the depth of our understanding of knowledge transfer and broadened the factors considered as predictors and consequences of transfer. Challenges to studying knowledge transfer, primarily in the area of measurement, are described, and new measurement approaches are discussed. We conclude with a discussion of future research directions that are likely to be productive and suggest that expanding the study of knowledge transfer to new problem domains, such as entrepreneurship, would advance knowledge of those domains as well as increase understanding of knowledge transfer.
Peter H. Gray has a background in electronic commerce and online information services and master's degree in management information systems from Queen's University. He worked in information technology and management consulting positions before returning to academia, where he is a PhD candidate at Queen's University and a research associate with the Queen's Management Research Centre for Knowledge-Based Enterprises. He has Published in the Communications of the AIS, and has a forthcoming Publication in the Journal of Strategic Information Systems . His research interests focus on knowledge management and knowledge management systems, organization theory, information systems strategy, diffusion of innovation and social networks.
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How to Fix Knowledge Management
- David Gilmour
Companies should stop trying to capture knowledge and instead help employees truly connect.
People’s tendency to hoard their information and release it only selectively is often a core problem in many corporate cultures. But some firms are finding their employees are more eager to share when they perceive there’s something in it for them—like appearing more valuable to their company.
It’s time to abandon the fiction that knowledge management technology is working. Last year, U.S. companies spent $4.5 billion on software and other technologies that claim to foster information sharing among employees. Where’s the payoff?
The problem is that most organized corporate information sharing is based on a failed paradigm: publishing. In the publishing model, someone collects information from employees, organizes it, advertises its availability, and sits back to see what happens. But because employees quickly create vast amounts of information, attempts to fully capture it are frustrated every time. Even the most organized efforts collect just a fraction of what people know, and by the time this limited knowledge is published, it’s often obsolete. The expensive process is time consuming, and it doesn’t scale well. Worse, it’s retrospective: Companies make decisions about which information to capture based on what’s been useful in the past. It’s like using the rearview mirror to navigate the road ahead.
Even if all the right knowledge could be identified, the publishing model wrongly assumes that people are willing to share their most valuable knowledge equally and without some quid pro quo. The reality is that what employees say they know depends on who’s on the receiving end of that information. People guard their information and selectively release it. This tendency to hoard knowledge is often cited as a core problem of corporate culture and the cause of poor collaboration. But, in fact, hoarding and meting out information result from an important positive impulse, the desire to appear valuable to the company.
People guard their information and selectively release it. This tendency to hoard knowledge is a core problem of corporate culture.
Instead of squelching people’s natural desire to control information, companies should exploit it. They should stop trying to extract knowledge from employees; they should instead leave knowledge where it is and create opportunities for sharing by making knowledge easy for others to find. This requires a shift away from knowledge management based on a publishing model, and a focus on collaboration management based on a brokering model.
Going for Brokering
A brokering model taps people’s eagerness to share when there’s something in it for them—particularly when sharing makes them visibly more valuable to their company. For example, if, unbeknownst to each other, two managers in different divisions are evaluating the same vendor, wouldn’t they want to talk to each other and compare notes—especially if their successful connection was apparent to management? Or consider the executive in New York evaluating an acquisition and the plant manager in Michigan who used to work at the target company. These people would have a lot to share—if only they knew about each other.
The challenge for the brokering model, then, is to connect people who should be connected. One IT-based solution is to continually survey the flood of electronic information that flows through a company to learn who is likely to know what. Then, when someone needs information, those who have it can be asked privately whether they are willing to share. At Tacit, our software sifts through e-mail, network folders, and other data sources to identify common information threads. Our systems alert people about their shared interests without identifying them—somewhat like a dating service. That gives knowledge holders the opportunity to contact seekers directly or to confidentially decline contact. The systems also field queries. For example, an individual can ask whether anyone else is talking to the vendor he or she is considering. The parties can then connect or confidentially decline.
Our experience shows that brokering works best when people feel free to share the information they want, when they want. Technology should not flood people with information or take it from them; instead, it should identify connections that are valuable to the people that are being connected. Paradoxically, the more privacy privileges companies extend to employees in this process, the more they will choose to share.
The Cost of Missed Connections
Tacit recently commissioned a Harris poll of 536 professional, managerial, and technical knowledge workers in companies with 1,000 or more employees to ask the workers how they thought their companies handled knowledge sharing. Across the board, these employees reported that knowledge sharing fell far short, despite an abundance of collaboration tools.
Percentages of employees who said the following:
- Some people in the company can help me do my job better.
- I don’t know how to find these colleagues.
- Work is often duplicated because people are unaware of each other’s work.
- Opportunities to innovate are missed because the right people do not work together.
- Wrong decisions are regularly made because employee knowledge isn’t effectively tapped.
- DG David Gilmour is the president and CEO of Tacit Knowledge Systems in Palo Alto, California.
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The Biggest Knowledge Management Problems (And How to Overcome Them)
The cost of knowledge management problems is familiar territory. Whether trying to find information after an employee leaves the company , or trying to manage files and content in a less-than-ideal system, the fallout of mismanaged information results in costly delays, lost sales, and hours of wasted time.
With the growing popularity of knowledge management systems, there are plenty of options on the market. In fact, many companies are dedicating themselves to following the best practices they believe to be at the forefront of managing their company knowledge, but the real problem is that they are investing in traditional knowledge management systems that are falling short of their needs. The game has changed since knowledge management was established in the ’90s. What companies should now invest in is a more efficient way to retain company information: a knowledge sharing platform.
Common Knowledge Management Problems:
When knowledge management solutions first rose to popularity in the 1990s, the tools were well-intentioned, and at the time, did the job. Traditional knowledge management gives organizations a place to store their company data in one centralized system, allowing employees to access the information as needed. But with the constant influx of information, traditional knowledge management just can’t keep up with the increase in information and the change in expectations for finding company information.
1. Knowledge Management Is Overwhelming
Traditional knowledge management systems, while meant to make work life easier, can lead to information overload. As the collection of company knowledge grows, traditional systems get filled with so much information that they can become hard to navigate, leaving your team buried in information.
And with that overwhelming and difficult-to-manage system comes the decline in productivity. The investment that was meant to make work easier and more efficient is ultimately a costly productivity killer. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your employees are probably not using the system anymore.
2. Knowledge Management Doesn’t Break Down Barriers
What good is a knowledge management system if your team isn’t using the tool? A traditional knowledge management solution gives your team a place to capture, store, and retrieve information. Do you see what’s missing? Hint: it’s the ability to find information easily and then communicate about and analyze that company information.
The prospect of sharing ideas can be daunting, and if it isn’t an easy process, some team members may shy away from communicating with co-workers about company information. So, while the wrong system hinders communication, the right knowledge sharing platform motivates people to collaborate. Many knowledge management systems are lacking in this ability, resulting in low employee engagement.
Why Do Knowledge Sharing Platforms Win?
So, what is the right solution to gain efficiency, increase productivity, and solve your knowledge management problems? A comprehensive knowledge sharing platform.
1. Knowledge Sharing Platforms Organize Information
Knowledge sharing platforms allow team-based or role-based access, as well as filters to your content to help prevent information overload. Different team members get personalized experiences, so they have access to resources, content, and conversations that are most relevant to them.
The most effective solutions integrate an intuitive and intelligent search system, so employees can find the answers to their questions and navigate content more efficiently, resulting in fewer redundant email conversations, faster problem solving, and simpler communication.
2. Knowledge Sharing Platforms Encourage Employee Engagement
By investing in a knowledge sharing platform with built-in gamification features, you can easily monitor and reward employee engagement. The opportunity to be a thought leader in the office can motivate people to share information, instead of keeping it to themselves.
And isn’t being able to share information quickly a reward in itself? With an easy-to-use system in place, employees will appreciate the efficiency in communicating about content, and asking and answering questions, without cumbersome email chains, phone calls, and repetitive conversations.
Harness The Power Of Knowledge Sharing With Digital Transformation
Companies that grasp what the digital workplace is really all about are willing to change the ways people and applications connect across their organizations. By fostering a digitally driven culture of collaboration, they break down silos, share knowledge more effectively and compete more successfully.
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