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Value Creation through IT-supported Knowledge Management? The Utilisation of a Knowledge Management System in a Global Consulting Company

Author(s): Karlheinz Kautz | Volker Mahnke

Journal: Informing Science The International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline
ISSN 1547-9684

Volume: 6;
Start page: 75;
Date: 2003;
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Keywords: knowledge management | adoption and utilisation | transaction costs | global consulting

Although many consulting companies have introduced IT-supported knowledge-management systems, and proponents of the literature continue to advocate knowledge management as a key to competitive advantage in consultancies, many knowledge management systems have fallen short of expectation in companies that have adopted them. However, empirical studies regarding the performance implications of these systems are missing. This paper reports such an empirical, explorative study identifying the extent as well as impediments of the utilization of an IT-supported knowledge management system in a large, global consulting company. The main findings are that the majority of the IT users are not familiar with the knowledge management framework of the company; still the knowledge management system is used by 3/4 of all respondents, but mainly to search for general information, much less to participate in competence networks to develop shared knowledge assets. The knowledge management system is not used as the primary repository and communication media for knowledge assets. The limited use is explained by the practitioners as being caused by lack of time and their perception of the system as a slow and poorly structured technical infrastructure. These and other findings are discussed with regard to the current understanding of knowledge management as presented by the literature, and important issues with regard to future research integrating individual, organisational, technical and economical perspectives of knowledge management are raised.
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