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Presented at the STC India 12 th Annual Conference, November 11, 12, and 13, 2010, New Delhi. Knowledge Management: On the Road to Nirvana. Saurabh Kudesia Manager, Technical Documentation Tejas Networks Ltd. Bangalore About the Speaker: Saurabh Kudesia.

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knowledge management on the road to nirvana

Presented at the STC India 12th Annual Conference, November 11, 12, and 13, 2010, New Delhi

Knowledge Management: On the Road to Nirvana

Saurabh KudesiaManager, Technical DocumentationTejas Networks Ltd.

about the speaker saurabh kudesia
About the Speaker: Saurabh Kudesia

Manager, Technical Documentation at Tejas Networks Bangalore

Co-founder, former editor-in-chief, KnowGenesis International Journal for Technical Communication (IJTC)

Former associate editor of Directives, a newsletter published by the (STC) Management SIG

Bachelor of Electronics and a Certified Scrum Master (CSM)

Alumnus of Symbiosis Institute (Pune) and IIM (Bangalore)

in this session
In this session

Popular Myths and Realities of Knowledge Management (KM)

The Essence of Knowledge Management

Knowledge flow and KM framework

Understanding KM Models and Value Chain

Why KM Systems Fail?

Approaches to KM

Some exercises


exercise myths or realities
Exercise: Myths or Realities?

Knowledge can be shared.

Knowledge can be transferred.

Knowledge Management is a new phenomenon.

Knowledge Management is about technology.

KM is ‘One size fits all’ mantra.

Knowledge Management = data warehousing.

People do not like to share their knowledge.

Knowledge sharing is difficult in organization.

Knowledge management dramatically affects the bottom line.

Knowledge management must be implemented on an enterprise basis.

Knowledge management needs a chief knowledge officer.

understanding knowledge
Understanding Knowledge

a systemic and organizationally specified process for acquiring, organizing, and communicating both tacit and explicit knowledge of employees so that other employees may make use of it to be more effective and productive in their work. (Alavi and Leidner, 1999)

fluid mix of framed experience, values, contextual information, and expert insight that provides a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information. It originates and is applied in the minds of knowers. In organizations, it often becomes embedded not only in documents or repositories, but also in organization routines, processes, and norms. (Davenport and Prusak, 2000)

the formalization of and access to experience, knowledge and expertise that create new capabilities, enable superior performance, encourage innovation and enhance customer value. (Beckman, 1999)

phases of knowledge creation
Phases of Knowledge Creation

Not a linear process.

Each phase influences previous phases.

Each phase is influenced by the task at hand, the objective or purpose, the context in which this task is to be performed and the context in which the required signals could be perceived









knowledge transfer
Knowledge Transfer

Knowledge sharer creates signals.

Receiver has to complete all the phases of knowledge creation

Knowledge created by the receiver need not be same as original knowledge of sender.

Knowledge can be shared, but not transferred.












unless converted knowledge has no value
Unless converted, knowledge has no value






  • Knowledge in itself has no value.
  • Knowledge resides within a human being, and it cannot be detached.
  • This human being can produce knowledge derivates.
  • These knowledge derivates could have value when they can be combined with Labor.
  • We can sell/trade the knowledge derivates.
  • We can sell signals, but we cannot sell the knowledge from which these signals originate.
  • Therefore, knowledge production is not a linear process.
simple knowledge flow
Simple Knowledge Flow


Use Knowledge

Create Knowledge

Manage Knowledge

process view of knowledge management
Process View of Knowledge Management




Add Value

Capture Knowledge

Organize Knowledge

Define the Resource

Create the Resource

Manage the Resource





Manage Knowledge

Resource-based Customer Services

Develop Knowledge

Distribute Knowledge

major knowledge management systems
Major Knowledge Management Systems

Increasing intelligence axis

Enterprise Wide KM Systems

Knowledge Work Systems

Intelligent Techniques

General Purpose, integrated, firm-wide efforts to collect, store, disseminate, and use digital content and knowledge

Specialized workstation and systems that enable other knowledge workers to create and discover new knowledge

Tools for discovering patterns and applying knowledge to discrete decisions and knowledge domains

  • Data mining
  • Neural networks
  • Expert systems
  • Case-based reasoning
  • Fuzzy logic
  • Genetic algorithms
  • Intelligent agents
  • Computer-aided design (CAD)
  • 3D Visualization
  • Virtual Reality
  • Investment workstations
  • Structured knowledge systems
  • Semi-structured knowledge systems
  • Knowledge network systems
goals of km
Goals of KM

Manage and Locate crucial information

Capture competitive advantages

Avoid costs and consequences of relearning lessons

Focus on long term than short term

Stimulate knowledge growth and creation

Recognize and reward knowledge reuse

knowledge management models
Knowledge Management Models

Models provide a way of translating managerial activities and guiding managerial efforts in managing knowledge in the organizations.

KM models have evolved over time


Boisot’s Knowledge Category Models

Nonaka’s Knowledge Management Model

Hedlund and Nonaka’s Knowledge Management Model

Skandia Intellectual Capital Model of Knowledge Management

Demerest’s Knowledge Management Model

Frid’s Knowledge Management Model

Stankosky and Baldanza’s Knowledge Management Framework

Kogut and Zander’s Knowledge Management Model

A constant shift from categorical view to the more complicated and complex mechanistic and socially constructed perspective.

centralized distributed knowledge models
Centralized & Distributed Knowledge Models

Centralized Organizational Model: Knowledge is continuously negotiated and created within an organizational unit.

Distributed Organizational Model: Knowledge is continuously managed within organizational units, and it is continuously negotiated by people who try to understand how other units look like from different interpretation schemas.

  • Brainstorm on how can you build a Knowledge Management System for Developing, Capturing, Organizing, and Distributing knowledge within your team (Technical Publications Department)
  • Sit with your own team members if possible.
  • You have got 5 minutes for the exercise.
  • Let’s hear to two groups and their ideas after that. Please also mention the challenges that you foresee.
  • List any work that you have already done, which you think will be useful to you in developing a KM System.
why km systems fail
Why KM Systems Fail

Focus on only one requirement

Thinking of technology first than the users.

Uncomfortable ‘IT experience’

Lack of support from Management

People are afraid of losing “competitive advantage”

Representations of knowledge does not satisfy the needs and the interpretation schemas of users.

The existing KM models tend to narrowly define knowledge from conceptual and perceptual perspectives and fail to recognize affectual knowledge such as values and visions.

Most models view KM as a linear or cyclical process and thus fail to identify the multidimensional nature of the knowledge dynamics between individuals and organizations.

supporting framework strategic design perspective
Supporting Framework: Strategic Design Perspective

What are the strategic grouping structures in the organization/team?

What are the principal linking mechanisms?

What are the major alignment challenges, and how are they addressed?

What are the major strengths and weaknesses of the organization design?

supporting framework political perspective
How much power to the organization/team has in the situation?

What are the bases of the power?

What is the potential effect of the proposed system on the different stakeholders influence in the organization?

What are the resistances?

What are the effects of the resistances on the success or failure of the initiative?

Supporting Framework: Political Perspective
supporting framework cultural perspective
How is the initiative been portrayed to the organization? How do people “see” it? How do they define it?

How is the initiative related to the values and basic assumptions of the organization? Does it reinforce them or challenge them?

Are there any “ceremonies” or rituals involved in introducing the initiative? How are they interpreted?

What type of language is used in discussing the initiative? Does it vary, depending on who is speaking, or on who is listening?

Supporting Framework: Cultural Perspective
the balancing act
The Balancing Act


- Balance corporate and local goals

- Facilitate communities of practice

- Create reward and recognition

- Recognize ownership

- Enable sharing and reuse

  • Deliver training
  • Mainstream services
  • Create strategic tools
  • Form partnerships





IT Infrastructure


  • Capture content
  • Provide content
  • Require interoperability
  • Maintain directories
  • Develop and gather repositories
  • Categorize and codify knowledge resources
  • Specify access methods
  • Create building blocks
  • Adopt standards
  • Sustain service bases
two guiding principles
Two guiding principles

Principle of Autonomy – each organizational unit should be granted a high degree of autonomy to manage its local knowledge and its interpretation schema

Principle of Coordination – each organizational unit must be enabled to exchange knowledge with others not through the adoption of a single, common interpretation schema.


Important variables which determine success or failure of KM systems:

organizational model

technological architecture

Three main areas of KM: processes, systems and data

People are the key. Recognize people and reward people for sharing knowledge

Encourage and support communities of practice

Strike a balance between long-term corporate needs (capturing knowledge) with short-term local needs (completing a task quickly)

suggested readings
Suggested Readings


Sun's knowledge network enhances its selling skills.

Dow chemical capitalizes on intellectual assets

Knowledge Management at The MITRE Corporation

Additional Readings:

Nonaka, I. And Takeuchi, H (1995). The Knowledge-Creating Company: How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation. Oxford University Press.

Haslinda, Sarinah (2009) A Review of Knowledge Management Models, The Journal of International Social Research, Volume 2 / 9.

Saurabh Kudesia (Oct 2009). From Electronics Landfills to Information Superhighway: Enhancing Document Management Framework at Tejas Networks. Dr. Vijay Kumar Festschrift ‘Serving Knowledge in the 21st Century; published by Knowledge Management Group, Bhabha Atomic Research Center, Mumbai.

Thomas Stewart (1997). Intellectual Capital, The New Wealth of Organizations. Doubleday/Currency.

Melissie Clemmons Rumizen (2002). The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Knowledge Management. John A. Woods, CWL Publishing Enterprises.

Harvard Business Review on Measuring Corporate Performance, 1998, Harvard Business Review.

Cisco Systems, Inc.: Implementing ERP. Harvard Business School case 699-022

Buckman Laboratories (A). Harvard Business School case 800-160