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BOOK REVIEW: Case Studies in Knowledge Management

Author(s): Reviewed by Dr. Adnan BOYACI

Journal: The Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education
ISSN 1302-6488

Volume: 6;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 161;
Date: 2005;
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161Case Studies in Knowledge ManagementEdited by Murray JennexHersley: PA: Idea Group, 2005, pp. 372, ISBN 1-59140-352-9Reviewed by Dr. Adnan BOYACIAnadolu UniversityEskişehir-TurkeyKnowledge management (KM) as a structured system and the way to the effectiveness isrelatively new field for the contemporary organizations functioning in different andcompetitive domain of public and private sectors in terms of getting optimal effectivenessunderlined by the concepts such as quality, productivity…etc. Because of the growingimportance and the popularity of the KM either as a research topic or specialized coursesubject, a crucial need for understanding, conceptualization and implementation of KM asa system has emerged since the mid 1990’s. In this sense, the book contributes criticallyto fill the gap between theory and implementation as a teaching material.This edited book is published by Idea Group Publishing. The book has twenty chaptersdivided into seven sections. In addition to a section of authors’ biography contributing thebook and an index, there is a preface that the basic terms and key concepts underliningthe cases discussed following chapters, which is explained in a schematized way.Besides the editor, total of 47 authors have contributed to the book. These authors arefrom different countries, academic backgrounds, and institutions. Although approximatelyone third of the authors are from USA, the rest of the authors are from Canada, England,Austria, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, Bahrain and China. The authorsrepresent a variety of universities, private companies, and military institutions. Most ofthem have strong professional backgrounds, which help them address the issues bothfrom theoretical and practical perspectives. Contributions of authors having differentbackgrounds and institutions enable the book to have very comprehensive spectrum andthis makes the book attractive practically for those working different sectors.The book presents case studies explaining actual applications of KM in a different oforganizational and global settings. Different subjects and issues associated withconstruction of KM system in different kinds of organizations are explored within eachsection. Organizational learning (OL), knowledge, culture and productivity are some ofthe issues tackled with construction of KM system in a variety of organizational andglobal settings.The book is organized into seven sections; KM in support of organizational learning,knowledge management in support of retaining organizational knowledge, knowledgemanagement strategy, issues in knowledge management, KM is support of knowledgetransfer, KM in support of projects, KM outcomes. Each section is related with an area KMresearch.In section I, there are two cases discussing KM in support of OL. The first case is fromLynne P. Cooper, Rebecca L. Nash, Tu-Anh T. Phan, and Teresa R. Bailey and describesdevelopment and operation of knowledge system in order to support learning oforganizational knowledge at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in USA. It presents in detailimplementation and rollout of the system and argues the results from performance andusage data collected over 19 weeks. The second case is from Brigette McGregor-MacDonald and describes the work of global organizations in its KM efforts to sustain andtransfer learning from global leadership curriculum. It mainly focuses on KM solution162developed to support employees to sustain their learning, to enable them to share theirinsights and experiences with others, and thus increase organizational capability.Section 2 explores using KM to support the retention of organizational knowledge inorganizations where the work forces are in transition. In third chapter in this section HaniAbdel-Aziz, and Khaled Wahba discuss the building of organizational memory informationsystem (OMIS) in an Egyptian Professional Services company suffering from knowledgeloss due to high rate of employee turnover In the fourth chapter, Gail Corbitt discussesdefinition identification and the transfer of the core competencies associated with thesplit to all employees who need to have them when HP splits into HP and AgilentSection three explores the importance of a KM strategy in the implementation of a KMinitiative. In chapter five, Afsoun Hatami and Robert D. Galliers discuss long term impactsof knowledge (re) use and organizational memory on effectiveness of strategic decisions.Suzanne Zyngier, Frada Burstein, and Judy McKay, in chapter six discusses governancestrategies to manage organizational knowledge in Australia’s Science and TechnologyDevelopment Organization. In chapter seven, Summer E. Bartczak and Ellen C. Englanddiscuss the issues and challenges in developing KM strategy for the United States’ AirForce Material Command’s.In section four, the use of KM in the support of projects and project management arediscussed. Elayne Coakes, Anton Bradburn, and Cathy Blake, in chapter eight discuss thetopic ‘KM in a projects-t climate’. Under this topic, they mainly focus on using of KM tominimize mischance by promoting best practices in the British construction firm TaylorWoodrow In chapter nine, Jill Owen and Frada Burstein look at where knowledge residesin an Australian consulting firm and how the firm uses this knowledge to improve projectperformance. This case study highlights the importance of understanding the drivers ofknowledge transfer and reuse in the projects.In section five KM in support of knowledge transfer is explored and discussed. Zhang Li,Tian Yezhuang, and Li Ping, in chapter ten, focus on the effect of knowledge sharing inthe process of enterprise resource planning (ERP) system implementation in a Chinesemanufacturing firm. Thomas Hahn, Bernhard Schmiedinger, and Elisabeth Stephan, inchapter eleven, discuss the use of communities of practice and other techniques toimprove the transfer of knowledge in and between Austrian small and medium sizedmanufacturing firms. In chapter twelve, Florian Bayer, Rafael Enparantza, Ronald Maier,Franz Obermair, and Bernhard Schmiedinger discuss the use of Know Com to facilitate thedecentralized control of the flow of knowledge between small and medium sized Germandie and mould makers.In section six, different issues and problems associated with the implementation of KMand a knowledge management system (KMS) are discussed. In chapter thirteen, YogeshAnand, David J. Pauleen, and Sally Dexter look at adoption and implementation of KM inthe New Zealand Reserve Bank. Colin White and David Crosdell, in chapter fourteen, lookat the assessment methods for organizing data and data resources in organizations byfocusing on four cases and provide examples for organizations based on ability to activelycollect and distribute knowledge.In chapter fifteen, Minwir Al-Shammari, discussesdeveloping an understanding of the various aspects and issues related with theimplementation of a knowledge enabled customer relationship management (KCRM)strategy at a telecommunication company in a developing country. Ivy Chan and PatrickY.K. Chau, in chapter sixteen, explore why a KM failed in a Hong Kong manufacturing andexport firm. In chapter seventeen, Nikhil Mehta and Anju Mehta look at theimplementation efforts of one such firm-India’s Infosys Technologies, Limited and discusshow KM emerged as a strategic requirement of the firm, and various capabilities the firmhad to develop to fulfill this requirement. Eliot Rich and Peter Duchessi, at the lastchapter–chapter eighteen – of this section, explores how to manage KM initiative going163after it has been successful for a couple of years at the United States’ SystemManagement Solutions International.Section 7 discusses the determination of KM outcomes. A.N. Dwivedi, Rajeev K. Bali, andR.N.G. Naguib, in chapter nineteen, explore a general KM framework for the Britishhealthcare industry and how to manage KM successfully. In chapter twenty, Murray E.Jennex looks at how the use of knowledge can impact individual and organizationalproductivity.

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