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The future of knowledge management: An international Delphi study

Authors:
  • University of Applied Sciences, Potsdam, Germany

Abstract

The field of knowledge management (KM) is highly estimated in research and practice but at the same time relatively diffuse and scattered into diverging concepts, perspectives and disciplines. On that background, it was the aim of this delphi study to give more structure to the field of KM and to get an outlook on worthwhile developments for the next ten years. International experts of KM from natural/technical and social/business sciences as well as practicians of KM with a similar background were asked some basic questions onto the future of KM in two rounds. According to the experts, the future of knowledge management lies in a better integration into the common business processes, a concentration on the human-organization-interface and a better match of IT-aspects to human factors whereas IT-aspects rank low on this agenda. There are no broadly agreed theoretical approaches though something can be gained from the related organizational learning field; in general much more interdisciplinary and empirical research is needed. There are also almost no broadly agreed practical approaches besides communities of practice.
The future of knowledge management:
an international delphi study
Wolfgang Scholl, Christine KoÈ nig, Bertolt Meyer and Peter Heisig
Wolfgang Scholl, Professor for
Organizational and Social
Psychology, Institute of Psychology,
Humboldt University, Berlin,
Germany (wscholl@rz.hu-berlin.de).
Christine KoÈ nig, Student,
Department for Industrial and
Organizational Psychology,
Institute of Psychology, Technical
University, Berlin, Germany
(chr.r.koenig@gmx.net).
Bertolt Meyer, Tutor, Department
of Organizational and Social
Psychology, Institute of
Psychology, Humboldt University,
Berlin, Germany (bmeyer@
psychologie.hu-berlin.de).
Peter Heisig, Director,
Competence Center Knowledge
Management, Fraunhofer Institute
for Production and Construction
Technology, Berlin, Germany
(peter.heisig@ipk.fhg.de).
Abstract The ®eld of knowledge management (KM) is highly estimated in research and practice
but at the same time relatively diffuse and scattered into diverging concepts, perspectives and
disciplines. On that background, it was the aim of this delphi study to give more structure to
the ®eld of KM and to get an outlook on worthwhile developments for the next ten years.
International experts of KM from natural/technical and social/business sciences as well as
practicians of KM with a similar background were asked some basic questions onto the future
of KM in two rounds. According to the experts, the future of knowledge management lies in a
better integration into the common business processes, a concentration on the human-
organization-interface and a better match of IT-aspects to human factors whereas IT-aspects
rank low on this agenda. There are no broadly agreed theoretical approaches though
something can be gained from the related organizational learning ®eld; in general much more
interdisciplinary and empirical research is needed. There are also almost no broadly agreed
practical approaches besides communities of practice.
Keywords Knowledge management, Delphi method, Human resourcing, Business development
Introduction
The immense interest in knowledge management is re¯ected throughout the world in articles,
books, conferences and research papers. Despres and Chauvel (2000, p. 5) speak of ``an
explosion of interest in the term `knowledge management' '', whereas Grant (2000, p. 27) holds
that ``among the innovations that have swept through the world of management during the past
two decades . . . knowledge management has probably aroused the greatest interest and made
the biggest impact''.
At the same time, the ®eld of knowledge management (KM) is relatively diffuse and scattered.
It is characterized by many differing concepts, perspectives and approaches. Knowledge
management spans multiple areas, reaching into many disciplines and is said to be ``one of the
most rami®ed topics in the business lexicon'' (Despres and Chauvel, 2000, p. 55). The same
authors notice that ``there exists a patchwork of subdomains in and around knowledge
management that deal with one set of issues while ignoring others'' (Despres and Chauvel,
2000, p. 57).
The varying foci of interest may be exempli®ed with three contrasts: the process of knowledge
sharing is often seen as the central theme of KM. On the other hand it is agreed that successful
knowledge management demands the consideration of the whole life cycle of knowledge
DOI 10.1108/13673270410529082 VOL. 8 NO. 2 2004, pp. 19-35, ãEmerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 1367-3270
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processing, for instance, to generate, to store, to distribute and to apply knowledge (Mertins
et al., 2001, p. 3). Other authors have developed similar process models but it seems that the
distribution or sharing process is more important to most KM writers than the other processes.
A second contrast exists in the literature between a focus on intelligent IT-solutions and on
human resources' solutions like communities of practice or storytelling. Though no one
recommends a purely technical or a purely human approach, the disciplinary orientation of the
authors often de®es an integrative approach such that the authors' disciplinary approach
dominates the method and the solutions.
As a third contrast, many underlying ± but often undeclared ± differences can be observed
regarding the nature of knowledge itself. Lueg (2002, p. 4) states that ``de®ning the scope and
the aim of `knowledge management' is as dif®cult as de®ning the nature of `knowledge' which is
the `substrate' to be managed . . . we have some understanding of `management' but our
understanding of the stuff to be managed is rather rudimentary. It does not come as a big
surprise that it is dif®cult to manage something we haven't understood yet''.
Following an European-wide company benchmarking survey carried out four years ago (Heisig
and Vorbeck, 2001) we wanted to assess the ``future of knowledge management'' with a global
delphi survey searching for answers to these and other questions deemed important by the
delphi experts.
Method
Our study was based on the delphi technique for getting a clearer picture of unintelligible
developments. According to Murry and Hammons (1995), delphi is generally characterized by
three features including:
(1) anonymous group interaction and response;
(2) several rounds of questionnaires or other means of data collection with researcher-
controlled statistical group responses and feedback; and
(3) presentation of statistical group responses.
Proceeding along these lines, ®rst of all, potential delphi panellists were identi®ed. All panelists
had to be experts in the ®eld of knowledge management. ``Experts'' were de®ned as people
being active in KM research or practice who had published on the subject. Due to extensive
research in databases, more than 400 potential panelists from all over the world were identi®ed
and invited to participate in the study; 254 actually received the questionnaire in winter 2001/
2002, the rest were not reachable via e-mail, because of technical errors or due to outdated
addresses. Presumably, they formed a representative sample of all experts in knowledge
management. A strati®ed panel of experts was aspired: theory and practice of KM as well as the
different disciplinary backgrounds should be equally represented.
It was harder to get the desired answers on a mailed questionnaire than thought; nevertheless
45 experts took part in the study. Yet, the desired strati®cation of the sample was possible such
that at least ten persons ®lled the provisioned cells, see Table I.
The response rate of 17.7 percent may be mainly due to the fact that most of the KM experts
may have had hard deadlines with other work duties. Many of them may have been afraid of just
another questionnaire and have clicked it away without opening it. And the open format made
it necessary to re¯ect some time over a suitable answer such that some experts may not have
®nished the questionnaire. An inspection of possible response biases in demographic
background (gender, education etc.) showed no obvious biases except one: the smaller the
cultural distance to Berlin, the issuing location of the questionnaire, the (relatively) higher the
response rate: Germany 18 (40 percent), Europe 15 (33.3 percent), North America 11 (24.4
percent), others 1 (2.2 percent). We interpret this bias as caused by loyalty re¯ections due to
social identity feelings, but ± of course ± this may add a more German and European ¯avor to
the results than with a totally representative sample.
The study consisted of two rounds: the ®rst questionnaire contained open-ended questions in
order to be maximally open to all perspectives on knowledge management. The second round
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questionnaire condensed these answers from the ®rst round into scalable questions in order to
get precise estimates on all topics with at least some importance. A third round would have
been nice but seemed not necessary because already the second round showed substantial
agreement. This fact is in line with Richey et al. (1985), who hold that two rounds are suf®cient to
achieve both consensus between the panelists and stability in the individual responses. Instead
of a third delphi round, we presented the results of the ®rst two rounds at an international
conference to invited KM experts and a Berlin group of researchers, both originating from
different disciplines. Their commentaries on the results helped us to come to a more thorough
interpretation[1].
In the ®rst delphi round, individual judgments and opinions about the future of knowledge
management should be elicited from each member of the panel. Therefore, all panelists got a
questionnaire in an open-ended format and were asked to give their personal responses. The
®rst-round questionnaire comprised the following six questions:
(1) What is the most pressing and challenging theoretical research issue for the understanding
and advancement of knowledge management?
(2) Which theoretical approach and/or scientist is most likely to deal effectively with this
theoretical research issue?
(3) What is the most important recent theoretical advancement in knowledge management?
(4) What is the most pressing and challenging practical problem for the understanding and
advancement of knowledge management?
(5) Which practical approach and/or organization is most likely to deal effectively with this
practical problem?
(6) What is the most important recent practical advancement in knowledge management?
After the questionnaires had been returned, the panelists' responses were reviewed and
compiled. Table II shows how a response given by a scientist was categorized:
Similar responses were categorized as close as possible to the original content into common
categories. This procedure led to 61 categories which could be assigned to 14 main classes
(see Table III).
After frequencies had been counted, all those categories were selected which integrated at
least two responses. These categories served as a basis for the second-round questionnaire:
under each of the six questions already known from the ®rst round, the corresponding
categories were listed in the rank order of their frequency. The selected categories were
Table I Sample distribution of delphi participants in the ®rst round
Scientists Practitioners Total
Natural/technical sciences 10 (22%) 14 (31%) 24 (53%)
Social sciences and business administration 11 (25%) 10 (22%) 21 (47%)
Total 21 (47%) 24 (53%) 45 (100%)
Table II Categorization example
Response Keywords Categories Main classes
How to combine human resource management,
organizational management and informatics into a
coherent framework such that knowledge management is
smoothly integrated into the common business processes
that are executed anyway
Coherent framework
Integrating knowledge
management into the
common business
processes
Knowledge management
framework
Integration into business
processes
Conceptual framework
Organisational concepts
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presented with the best exemplifying phrases from the ®rst round to all panelists, who were
asked to rate these categories on a seven-point Likert scale. For example:
Question 1: Do you agree that the following theoretical research issues are the most pressing and
challenging theoretical research issues for the understanding and advancement of knowledge
management?
I strongly I strongly
disagree agree
±3 ±2 ±1 0 +1 +2 +3KM framework: integrating human resource
management, organizational management
and information management
The second delphi panel attracted 25 experts, with 22 of them having already participated in the
®rst delphi round. No systematic drop out could be observed; it seemed that the non-
respondents from the ®rst round were just too busy with other things to participate again. The
scientists and practitioners as well as those with a natural/technical sciences background and
Table III List of categories condensed from the answers from the ®rst round
I. Conceptual framework
Knowledge management framework
Standards
Terminology
II. Scienti®c areas
Computer science/arti®cial intelligence
Economic sciences
Human approaches
Interdisciplinarity
Mathematics/statistics
Philosophy of knowledge
Psychology
Social sciences
Systems theory
III. Scienti®c approaches
Action theory
Complexity theory
Contextual logic
Description logic
Kelly-grids
Knowledge structures
Ontologies
Situated cognition
Structuration theory
IV. Social vs. technical aspects
Matching social and technical aspects
Priority on human factors
V. Management concepts
Different conception of management
VI. Organizational concepts
Coordination based approaches
HR management
Integration into business processes
Knowledge enabling
Knowledge organization
Knowledge roles
Knowledge strategy
Micro politics
Organizational culture
Organizational learning
Time for knowledge management
VII. Implicit knowledge
Externalisation of implicit knowledge
Implicit knowledge
Implicit vs. explicit knowledge
VIII. Knowledge assessment
Knowledge assessment
IX. Knowledge creation, knowledge selection
and use of knowledge
Knowledge creation, knowledge selection and
use of knowledge
Sense making
X. Personal knowledge sharing
Best practice
Communities of practice
Knowledge sharing
Knowledge trading
Learning
Networking
Transfer techniques
XI. IT-instruments
AI-tools
Instruments and practices
IT-systems (Internet/intranet; groupware)
Knowledge-orientated data-bases
Programming languages
Usability
XII. Motivation
Barriers
Incentives
Motivation
Sensibilization
XIII. Research methods
Research designs
Network analysis
XIV. Others
No breakthrough
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those having a business administration or a social sciences background participated in similar
proportions (see Table IV).
Results
The results are presented separately for each of the six questions. The corresponding tables
summarize the frequencies ( F ) of the categories in the ®rst delphi round as well as their means
(x
Å) and standard deviations ( s) in the second delphi round. The focus of the following analyses
lies on the results obtained in the second delphi round because these judgments were formed
under consideration of all responses given in the ®rst round. The results obtained in the ®rst
delphi round will be outlined comparatively and possible explanations for noticeable ranking
differences will be offered.
Question 1: What is the most pressing and challenging theoretical research issue for the
understanding and advancement of knowledge management? (see Table V)
According to the panelists, the most pressing theoretical research issue lies in the integration of
knowledge management into the common business processes (F = 2; x
Å= 2.12), which was only
mentioned twice in the ®rst round. This raises the question whether knowledge management
has mainly been a concern of some designated specialists so far. The most frequently
Table IV Sample distribution of delphi participants in the second round
Scientists Practitioners Total
Natural/technical sciences 4 (16%) 7 (28%) 11 (44%)
Social sciences and business administration 8 (32%) 6 (24%) 14 (56%)
Total 12 (48%) 13 (52%) 25 (100%)
Table V Results for question 1
Category Fx
Ås
Knowledge sharing, e.g. identifying the knowledge bearers within an
organization, convincing and motivating people to share their knowledge
7 2.04 1.14
Implicit knowledge 5 0.80 1.83
Organizational learning, e.g. forming and developing organizational competence,
its connection with business success
5 1.92 1.12
Knowledge management framework: integrating human resource management,
organizational management and information management
4 1.56 1.04
Knowledge assessment, e.g. valuing contributions to a knowledge pool,
identifying invalid knowledge as well as measuring valuable knowledge and
intellectual capital in unambiguous terms
4 1.52 1.76
Terminology, e.g. de®nitions, taxonomies, classi®cations and ontologies 3 1.04 1.46
Motivation, e.g. motivating people to participate in knowledge management 3 1.44 1.47
Integration into business processes, e.g. integrating knowledge management
into the common business processes
2 2.12 1.17
Knowledge enabling; enabling knowledge management e.g. by using knowledge
management infrastructure
2 1.00 1.38
Learning, e.g. the differences between implicit and deliberate learning and
between non-formal and formal learning, as well as the social aspects of learning
and their connection with business success
2 1.52 1.36
Knowledge-orientated data-bases, e.g. structuring and integrating text
documents and data-bases into knowledge bases
2 0.00 1.91
Knowledge creation, knowledge selection and use of knowledge 2 1.32 1.28
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mentioned theoretical research issue of the ®rst round, knowledge sharing, received second
highest weight in the second round (F = 7; x
Å= 2.04). The second most often mentioned research
issue from the ®rst round, organizational learning, came third (F = 5; x
Å= 1.92). This second and
third rank re¯ect earlier interests: knowledge management started with an interest in knowledge
sharing, and organizational learning (OL) is probably the most suitable earlier concept to learn
from. Relatively agreed upon (x
Å> 1.5) are also the need for an integrative KM framework, for
research on the organizational assessment of relevant knowledge and on the specialities of
learning in general.
Apparently, IT-aspects are not at the forefront; the only mentioned category from the IT ®eld is
knowledge-oriented databases, which both had a low frequency in the ®rst round and the
lowest average score in the second one (F = 2; x
Å= 0.00). But this is also the most controversial
category as indicated by the high standard deviation (s = 1.91). This might re¯ect the fact that in
organizational practice IT-driven solutions are still dominating. Taken together, the most
pressing theoretical research issues center on the organizational integration of KM efforts.
Question 2: Which theoretical approaches are most likely to deal effectively with these
theoretical research issues? (see Table VI)
The approaches which could effectively deal with the research issues mentioned before, were in
the ®rst round often formulated in a rather global way. Whole disciplines were often mentioned
in the ®rst round but received far less weight in the second round.
According to the experts, KM would primarily pro®t from inter- and transdisciplinary work (F = 3;
x
Å= 2.4) and from manifold empirical research designs (F = 4; x
Å= 1.88). This result is an indication
that some very basic work has ®rst to be done before more speci®c KM approaches can be
successfully applied.
The importance assigned to social network analysis as the only speci®c approach that is
mentioned among the agreed ones (F = 2; x
Å= 1.76) might be related to the growing interest of
communities in KM. Organizational learning (F = 2; x
Å= 1.52) and aspects of knowledge sharing,
e.g. transactive memory, common knowledge, connecting people (F = 2; x
Å= 1.64) are again
broader categories. Both categories have already been mentioned as important in the ®rst
question; thus, they do not only seem to be pressing research issues but have some promising
aspects to offer.
Table VI Results for question 2
Category Fx
Ås
Psychological approaches 5 1.32 1.57
Complexity theory 5 0.48 2.14
Social science approaches 4 1.48 1.39
Economic approaches 4 1.08 1.47
Empirical research designs, e.g. action research, case studies, survey studies,
qualitative studies, statistical studies
4 1.88 1.27
Interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary approaches, combinations of respective
methods and techniques
3 2.40 1.19
Philosophy of knowledge deliberations 3 ± 0.20 2.04
Aspects of knowledge sharing, e.g. transactive memory, common knowledge,
connecting people
2 1.64 1.15
Organisational learning 2 1.52 1.29
Knowledge enabling 2 1.16 1.34
Social network analysis 2 1.76 1.13
Instruments and practices 2 1.40 1.15
A different conception of management 2 1.16 1.82
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Question 3: What is the most important recent theoretical advancement in knowledge
management? (see Table VII)
Whereas the even distribution of most of the frequencies in the ®rst round (eight categories
with F = 2) give no clear distinctions regarding the relevance of recent theoretical
advancements, the ratings of the second round present a clearer picture. Noticeably, the
®rst three ranks: priority on human factors; shift from an IT-perspective to a behavioral science
perspective (F = 2; x
Å= 1.92); social network analysis (F = 2; x
Å= 1.79); and matching social and
technical aspects (F = 2; x
Å= 1.72) are pointing to the growing importance of behavioral science
approaches as compared to IT-approaches ± a shift towards that perspective is taking place.
IT-systems and capabilities are rated much lower (F = 2; x
Å= 0.5). This can be interpreted as
learning from the failure of the ®rst generation of KM projects, which promoted sophisticated
information management techniques as the core of knowledge management (Snowden, 2002).
A better match between the social and technical aspects of knowledge management is
considered to be a substantial progression.
Also, some advancements have been made by the use of organizational learning approaches
(F = 2; x
Å= 1.52). Organizational learning ranks high in all three questions; it is mentioned as an
important problem as well as a promising solution and some advancement already has been
made. This appears odd at ®rst sight but can be explained by the different contexts in which it is
mentioned and with the different examples it was stated: in the ®rst question, it was exempli®ed
by forming and developing organizational competence, which was seen as a challenging
problem. In the second question, the concept of organizational learning was not narrowed at
all and thus presented as a global concept. And it was the view of the panelists, that in
organizational learning in general, some advancement has been made, especially in
emphasizing the collective in contrast to the individual learning aspect.
The advancements in connection with implicit knowledge, most frequently mentioned in the ®rst
round (F = 5; x
Å= 0.76), are not considered to be of high relevance in the second round on
average, although there is less consensus on that issue as indicated by the relatively high
standard deviation (s = 1.94). But what is more important, it is disagreed by the majority of the
respondents that there is no recent theoretical advancement at all (F = 2; x
Å= ± 1.14), as two
participants have stated in the ®rst round.
Question 4: What is the most pressing and challenging practical problem for the
understanding and advancement of knowledge management? (see Table VIII)
Answers to the fourth question are slightly more concrete than to its theoretical counterpart, the
®rst question. The results obtained in the ®rst round are more differentiable here, at least among
the higher ranking categories. The categories knowledge assessment (F = 14), knowledge
Table VII Results for question 3
Category Fx
Ås
Implicit knowledge: the distinction between implicit and explicit knowledge 5 0.76 1.94
Knowledge enabling 3 0.79 1.25
Systems theory, e.g. autopoiesis, systemic thinking 3 1.04 1.52
Organizational learning, collective learning models 2 1.52 0.99
Nonaka and Takeuchi: spiral of knowledge creation, Ba 2 1.04 1.78
Boisot: I-space, knowledge production 2 0.33 1.66
IT-systems such as Web tools and portals, IT capabilities 2 0.50 1.98
Matching social and technical aspects 2 1.72 1.06
Priority on human factors: shift from an IT-perspective to a behavioural science
perspective
2 1.92 1.19
Social network analysis 2 1.79 1.25
None (there is no recent theoretical advancement) 2 ±1.14 1.73
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sharing (F = 10), and knowledge creation, knowledge selection and use of knowledge (F = 6)
stand out. Thus, the core activities of knowledge management processes are often used to
frame the pressing practical problems. The importance assigned to knowledge assessment
re¯ects a clear need to have some indicators to measure the organizational knowledge base
and to control its development.
However, the emphasis is shifted quite a bit in the second round. The ®rst and second ranking
categories from the ®rst round remain among the largely agreed categories, i.e. knowledge
assessment (x
Å= 1.96) and knowledge sharing (x
Å= 1.75). But they are topped by barriers
to knowledge management (F = 4; x
Å= 2.25) and an organizational culture that promotes
knowledge management (F = 3; x
Å= 2.04) as the most pressing practical problems. These
answers re¯ect that the progress to a conscious knowledge management was and is much
more dif®cult than promised and expected in the past. Transforming an organization into a
knowledge organization is therefore agreed upon as a pressing practical problem (F = 3;
x
Å= 1,60). The addendum: reducing the KM overhead suggests that this category parallels the
answer to question 1 ± integrating KM into the common business processes and can be seen
as a rejection of the implementation of a special organizational KM overlayer.
Again, IT-aspects get the lowest ratings both in the ®rst and in the second round and thus
are less important practical problems than organizational issues, which again indicates a
withdrawal from the IT-focus of the ®rst generation of knowledge management.
Question 5: Which practical approaches are most likely to deal effectively with these
practical problems? (see Table IX)
Whereas the use of IT systems to solve the practical problems was mentioned relatively often
(F = 4) as a promising practical approach in the ®rst round, IT-aspects ranked very low in the
Table VIII Results for question 4
Category Fx
Ås
Knowledge assessment: measuring and validating knowledge, inventorying
knowledge; distinguishing between data, information and knowledge; quality
measures
14 1.96 1.17
Knowledge sharing, e.g. identifying the knowledge bearers within an
organization, convincing and motivating people to share their knowledge
10 1.75 1.29
Knowledge creation, knowledge selection and use of knowledge 6 1.32 1.38
Barriers: organizational, technical and emotional barriers; breaking the
dominance of Taylorist thinking
4 2.29 0.95
Matching social and technical aspects 4 1.42 1.21
Organizational culture promoting knowledge management 3 2.04 0.98
Time for knowledge management 3 1.36 1.44
Knowledge organization: transforming an organization into a knowledge
organisation, reducing the knowledge management overhead
3 1.60 1.29
Sensibilisation, awareness raising for knowledge management 3 1.32 1.35
Knowledge-orientated data-bases, e.g. knowledge formats, extracting
knowledge from documents
3 0.16 1.89
Implicit knowledge: externalisation of implicit knowledge, distinction between
implicit and explicit knowledge
3 0.80 1.29
A different conception of management, new mindset for management 3 1.40 1.63
Motivation for knowledge management 2 1.30 1.43
IT-systems: intranet, internet and groupware 2 0.00 1.73
Instruments and practices, e.g. activity reports and measures to increase
usability
2 1.12 1.01
Standards: standardization of knowledge management vocabulary and
knowledge management processes
2 0.60 1.63
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second round ( x
Å= 0,64). Here too, organizational measures seem to be more promising.
Integrating knowledge management into business processes (F = 2; x
Å= 2.48) holds the highest
promise in the eyes of the respondents. But there have been few clear exempli®cations in the
®rst round answers of how to achieve this, which could be presented in the second round.
Categories like sensibilization, incentives, internal and external learning or human resource
management could be such integration candidates but they are on average not really agreed
upon. Taken together, they may re¯ect an appropriate focus on organizational culture (F = 3;
x
Å= 1.76), with a change away from command and control in order to unleash knowledge
potentials. This result validates the ®ndings in the benchmarking survey regarding the
management tasks ``provide conditions for autonomous actions'' (76.7 percent) as one
important characteristic of management tasks to support knowledge sharing (Heisig and
Vorbeck, 2001, p. 109).
Communities of practice rank second among the practical approaches (F = 6; x
Å= 2.12), a much
more concrete and apparently effective means to (self-)organize and to utilize human
capabilities. Another important approach is marked by various forms of knowledge
assessment, e.g. evaluation systems, veri®cation of knowledge, follow-up analysis and project
success measures (F = 3; x
Å= 1.88). Interestingly, knowledge assessment has already been
among the three pressing practical issues which indicates that some promising methods of
knowledge assessment are out here which could solve those problems if they were developed
further.
Question 6. Which practical advancements are the most important recent practical
advancements in knowledge management? (see Table X)
Whereas IT-systems were most often nominated as a recent practical advancement in the ®rst
round (F = 7), it declined sharply in the comparative judgment of the second ( x
Å= 0.60). Instead,
the priority on human factors, e.g. the non-technical re¯ection of knowledge management,
emphasizing social aspects is seen in retrospect as the most important advancement (F = 2;
x
Å= 1.96). This is underlined by the high valuation for emphasizing human approaches,
considering human values, trust etc. (F = 3; = 1,83). Highly estimated as a recent practical
Table IX Results for question 5
Category Fx
Ås
Communities of practice 6 2.12 1.09
HR management, e.g. capabilities development, management by knowledge
objectives, altering assumptions about people and human nature, measuring
employees on knowledge management
4 1.12 1.45
IT-systems: intranet, internet, groupware; computer-based information-
systems, Web tools, networking, chat rooms
4 0.64 1.91
Focus on organizational culture; cultural change away from command and
control, ®t between the business culture, knowledge management potentials
and information systems
3 1.76 1.01
Knowledge roles, e.g. internal auditors, knowledge workers 3 1.12 1.45
Incentives: providing (im-)material rewards for sharing knowledge 3 0.72 1.81
Knowledge assessment, e.g. evaluation systems, veri®cation of knowledge,
follow-up analysis and project success measures
3 1.88 1.17
Knowledge trading, e.g. via knowledge market places or e-commerce 2 0.40 1.85
Learning, e.g. internally by encouraging user interaction or externally by
capturing experience from consulting ®rms
2 0.92 1.64
Integrating knowledge management into business processes 2 2.48 0.65
Arti®cial intelligence tools, e.g. human language technologies 2 ± 0.17 1.86
Sensibilisation: raising the awareness for the importance of knowledge
management
2 1.42 1.32
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advancement are also communities of practice (F = 5; x
Å= 1,84) which had already a top
placement in the last question regarding promising practical approaches.
Although knowledge assessment has been among the practical problems (see above), some
advances are also reported, partly due to the development of the knowledge value added
technique (KVA) (cf. Housel and Bell, 2001) (F = 2; x
Å= 1.64). Another advance is visible in the
®eld of transfer techniques, such as storytelling (F = 3; x
Å= 1.50), which is also a mainly human
approach.
Finally, the relatively low values for IT-systems in the second round have already been
mentioned. IT-techniques like intranet, Internet, groupware, Web conferencing, ®ling systems,
instant messaging, collaborative knowledge creation tools, portals and e-mail, were nominated
in the ®rst round, of which at least some of them are commonly used whereas their value for KM
seems doubtful. The practical advancements in the ®eld of arti®cial intelligence tools seem to be
even less important for knowledge management (F = 2; x
Å= ± 0,12). Since more respondents
answered this question on the negative side, i.e. they disagreed, it is not fully clear whether they
see no recent advancements with AI-tools, whether they see them as not practicable or
whether they judge them as not important. Probably a mixture of all three aspects causes the
low score in the respondents' answers. Finally, the opinion on technological aspects of
knowledge management seems to be quite diverse, since IT-systems and AI-tools get low
average weights but also very high standard deviations.
The majority of the observed practical advancements originate from the proper use of human
capabilities and a supporting environment. The importance of technical aspects seems to fade,
basic problems are mastered and further progress for knowledge management apparently has
to be sought in the human capabilities ± organizational facilitation interface.
Further comparisons
The expectation was that the topics which received high relevance in the second round had
been already been named more frequently in response to the open questions in the ®rst round.
However, the ®ndings do not support this hypothesis. Five of the six correlations are quite low
and not signi®cant (see Table XI).
The reason for this generally low correspondence may be that the respondents originate from
diverse ®elds of research and practice and show vast differences among their disciplinary
backgrounds. Thus, the topics that lie within their own area of interest should have been most
Table X Results for question 6
Category Fx
Ås
IT-systems: intranet, internet, groupware; web conferencing, ®ling systems,
instant messaging, collaborative knowledge creation tools, portals and e-mail
7 0.60 1.96
Communities of practice 5 1.84 1.25
Sensibilisation: awareness raising for the importance of knowledge
management
4 1.16 1.31
Transfer techniques, e.g. storytelling 3 1.50 0.98
Emphasizing human approaches, considering human values, trust etc 3 1.83 1.09
Arti®cial intelligence tools, e.g. sophisticated information extraction and
document management systems
2 ± 0.12 1.96
HR management, e.g. supporting grass-root knowledge management-
initiatives, group intervention techniques; Knowledge roles, e.g. knowledge
management of®cers (KMOs)
2 0.96 1.43
Priority on human factors, e.g. the non-technological re¯ection of knowledge
management, emphasizing social aspects
2 1.96 0.93
Knowledge assessment, e.g. knowledge value added (KVA) technique,
knowledge as long term investment goal
2 1.64 1.60
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VOL. 8 NO. 2 2004
accessible to their memory in the ®rst round; but confronted with topics from another area,
things are re¯ected differently in the second round. As the only exception, the most pressing
and challenging practical problems (question 4) seem to have crystallized in the discussions on
knowledge management such that the ®rst open answers show a similar weighting as the
second closed format ratings of a broader array of alternatives.
How similar or how divergent are the ratings of scientists and practitioners? The sample
was explicitly proportioned in order to be able to answer this question. Table XII shows the
correlations per question between the rank orders of their mean estimates.
The consensus between scientists' and practitioners' judgments is ± according to the effect
size of the correlations ± strong to very strong, and all but one show signi®cances of p< 0.10 or
smaller. This indicates that there are no fundamental differences in the views of both groups.
Somewhat more divergent is the view on practical advancements in the past (question 6) and
on the most promising theoretical approaches (question 2).
Another comparison between respondents' groups can answer the question of how similar or
how divergent the estimates of natural versus social sciences people are. Table XIII shows the
results.
The comparison between respondents originating from the natural and the social sciences
shows even fewer differences in the ratings than between practitioners and scientists. All
correlations are high or very high and all of them are at least signi®cant on the 5 percent level.
Taken together, the ratings between both pairs of groups are relatively similar, more than
expected. This suggests a basic consensus in the ®eld.
A ®nal test is made for possible regional differences. In the second round the German
participation was even stronger than in the ®rst, i.e. 14 respondents came from Germany, 6
from other European countries, 4 from the US and 1 from South Africa. So we divided the
sample into German and non-German respondents and looked for signi®cant differences in the
74 items of the second round questionnaire. In general, Germans gave more extreme scores,
especially in questions 1, 4 and 6, where the average difference was above 0.42. There were
Table XI Rank order correlations (spearman-rho) between frequencies of the ®rst
round and averages of the second
Questions 1 2 3 4 5 6
Correlations (n) 0.31 (12) ±0.24 (13) ±0.18 (11) 0.68** (16) 0.11 (12) ±0.26 (9)
Signi®cance: ** = p< 0.01
Table XII Rank order correlations (spearman-rho) of averages of the second round
between scientists and practitioners
Questions 1 2 3 4 5 6
Correlations (n) 0.65* (12) 0.49
+
(13) 0.83** (11) 0.62** (16) 0.95** (12) 0.50
ns
(9)
Signi®cance:
+
=p< 0.10; * = p< 0.05; ** = p< 0.01;
ns
= not signi®cant
Table XIII Rank order correlations (spearman-rho) of averages of the second round
between respondents with a natural and a social science background
Questions 1 2 3 4 5 6
Correlations (n) 0.57* (12) 0.60* (13) 0.83** (11) 0.60* (16) 0.76** (12) 0.80** (9)
Signi®cance: * = p< 0.05; ** = p< 0.01
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6 differences signi®cant on the 5 percent level, but the rank differences were usually not so
large. The rank correlations between the average German and non-German ratings were all
signi®cantly and substantially correlated (see Table XIV).
In question one, the integration into business processes obtained a German average of 2.57
(rank 1), whereas the others gave only 1.55 (rank 3.5). Based on a strong development tradition
in applied science of methods and tools for business process design, the proponents now try to
widen their approaches towards the combination with KM (Bach et al., 1999; Heisig, 2001;
Abecker et al., 2002; Remus, 2002; Reimer et al., 2003; Gronau, 2003). In question two we
found the most important difference: complexity theory was strongly valued by non-Germans
(1.82; rank 2.5), but almost least valued by Germans (± 0.57; rank 12). It seems that complexity
theory is not well known and therefore not well accepted in Germany. In question 3, Germans
strongly denied that there is no recent theoretical advancement (± 1.79; rank 11), whereas non-
Germans just did not agree with that statement (0.00; rank 10). In question 4 there are
substantial signi®cant differences in the importance of knowledge sharing, with an average
German rating of 2.36 (rank 1.5) and a non-German average of 0.90 (rank 10.5), as well as
differences in the importance of motivation for knowledge management with Germans giving
1.86 (rank 5.5) and non-Germans 0.44 (rank 14). In question 6 there was a signi®cant difference
in the estimation of communities of practice which were valued higher by Germans (2.29;
rank 1) than by non-Germans (1.27; rank 5). There were no IT-related estimates signi®cantly
different. Taken together, it seems that Germans are a bit more enthusiastic about knowledge
management and its main themes (except complexity theory).
Discussion
The delphi study on the future of knowledge management gives a differentiated picture. There is
progress in the ®eld, theoretical as well as practical advancements have been noted in the ®rst
round and weighted in the second round. In the answers to the questions 3 (q3) and 6 (q6) the
most important advancement was a priority on human factors, which means a shift from an IT-
perspective to a behavioral science perspective (q3: 1.92), and a non-technological re¯ection of
knowledge management, emphasizing social aspects in practice (q6: 1.96). Consequently, IT-
aspects always rank very low in importance or are even not mentioned at all as a promising
theoretical approach (q2). The low importance of IT-aspects can be understood as mirroring the
not ful®lled promises of the so called ®rst generation of knowledge management (Prusak, 2002;
Snowden, 2002). The relatively naõÈve expectation that the new IT-possibilities for information
management can be easily translated into large progress in knowledge management is ±
implicit in these answers ± almost unanimously rejected. That does not mean that IT-support is
useless; the basic IT-techniques like relational data bases, e-mail and e-conferences, Internet
and intranet etc. just seem to be suf®cient as information infrastructure for many KM
applications. In organizational practice, such IT-solutions are the most frequent approaches to
start with knowledge management (Davenport and VoÈ lpel, 2001). Matching social and technical
aspects (q3: 1.72) therefore seems to be a real advancement. But how to succeed in this (and
other) KM matters?
The main steps from a ``natural'' processing of knowledge in organizations to a re¯ected
knowledge management are not straightforward and have to master primarily the human-
organization interface. This is re¯ected in many speci®c results of the delphi study. For instance,
the popular ideas of Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) regarding the distinction between implicit and
explicit knowledge have been often mentioned as a theoretical advancement (q3) as well as a
theoretical and practical problem (q1, q4) in the ®rst round. Yet, they achieved low weights in
Table XIV Rank order correlations (spearman-rho) of averages of the second round
between German and non-German respondents
Questions 1 2 3 4 5 6
Correlations (n) 0.70** (12) 0.57* (13) 0.68** (11) 0.58* (16) 0.82** (12) 0.58* (9)
Signi®cance: * = p< 0.05; ** = p< 0.01
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VOL. 8 NO. 2 2004
the second round (x
Å= 0.76; x
Å= 0.80; x
Å= 0.80) and they have not been mentioned at all among
the promising theoretical and practical approaches as a means how to deal with this problem
(q2, q5). Why are these seemingly convincing ideas not high on the KM agenda? Snowden
(2002) suggests, that knowledge has been dealt with as a thing which could be transformed
from implicit to explicit and back again, and that this was the fundamental ¯aw in the concept.
Another example of the human-organization interface problematic are the top values given to
the idea of integrating knowledge management into the common business processes as the
most promising practical approach (q5: 2.48) as well as the prime theoretical problem (q1:
2.12). These high valuations probably result from the insight, also gained from early KM
initiatives, that an extra organizational department or organizational layer for knowledge
management misses the main problem: knowledge has to be attained, shared and used within
the daily work itself at every point in the organization because the most important parts of
knowledge can not be handled as a thing for others. The high valuation has some speci®c
German ¯avor, because there is a strong tradition in applied science in developing methods and
tools for business process design; these proponents now try to widen their approaches
towards the combination with KM (Bach et al., 1999; Heisig, 2001; Abecker et al., 2002;
Remus, 2002; Reimer et al., 2003; Gronau, 2003). But it is also underlined by the much lower
importance ratings for special knowledge roles (q5: 1.12; q6: 0.96) and by the agreement that
transforming an organization into a knowledge organization also means reducing the
knowledge management overhead (q4: 1.60). Although the integration of KM into daily
business processes is the most promising practical approach (q5), as agreed and taken up by
many researchers (Wiig, 1995; Weggeman, 1998; Heisig, 2000; Prusak, 2002; El Sawy and
Josefek, 2003), research is still required to engineer and test practical methods and tools and to
integrate them with the existing organizational environment in order to overcome organizational,
technical and emotional barriers (q4: 2.29). A possible step in this direction are the assessment
methods proposed by some KM approaches, which aim to identify the current state of
knowledge processing, the framework conditions as well as the enabling factors and barriers in
order to set up a KM initiative successfully (e.g. Weggeman, 1998; Langen and Ehms, 2000;
Mertins et al., 2001b).
A focus on organizational culture with a cultural change away from command and control and a
®t between the business culture, knowledge management potentials and information systems
(q5: 1.76) give some direction where to move. This validates the results from the benchmarking
company survey, where culture ranked ®rst as critical success factor for KM (Mertins et al.,
2001a). But at the same time a culture promoting knowledge management is a big practical
problem (q4: 2.04). In the scienti®c debate on organizational culture there is wide agreement
that it is dif®cult to form a culture at will. Of course, the literature on organizational culture offers
some insights in general (e.g. Denison, 1990; Gebert et al., 2001), but the link to KM has still to
be better speci®ed.
The really complex and dif®cult nature of knowledge management comes up from question 2:
the most promising theoretical approaches are interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary
approaches, combinations of respective methods and techniques (2.40) and empirical
research designs, e.g. action research, case studies, survey studies, qualitative studies,
statistical studies (1.88). That means, that scienti®c work from a purely disciplinary perspective
falls short of the real problem and much more interdisciplinary and empirical work is needed on
KM than until now. KM approaches have to integrate different perspectives in order to provide
useful help for the organizational practice. Many of the existing KM frameworks are addressing
the main aspects of KM already, but more research is required to ®ll the gap between the
identi®ed critical aspects and appropriate methods to analyze, design and implement
appropriate KM solutions.
For theoretical concerns some help can be gained by going back to the organizational learning
debate which is rated as an important recent theoretical advancement (q3: 1.52), is seen as a
promising theoretical approach (q2: 1.52), but is still more seen as a pressing and challenging
issue (q1: 1.92). Of course it is useful to look to the organizational learning debate since it could
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be a theoretical basis for the corresponding management problems and solutions. But
regrettably, this literature is also somewhat diffuse and contradictory, dominated by interesting
ideas which are not suf®ciently tested empirically. So, it resembles KM not only in content but
also in scienti®c status.
Agreed upon recommendations for concrete theoretical and practical solutions are rare:
communities of practice (q5: 2.12; q6: 1.84) stand out, and social network analysis (q2: 1.76;
q3: 1.79), which is helpful for identifying connected or to be connected people, e.g. as potential
members of communities of practice. Some concrete advancements are also agreed upon
in the ®eld of knowledge assessment, e.g. the KVA technique, knowledge as a long term
investment goal (q6: 1.64) and other practical solutions are offered, e.g. evaluation systems,
veri®cation of knowledge, follow-up analysis and project success measures (q5: 1.88). But
some caveats remain, since assessment procedures may be trapped again into handling
knowledge as a thing (Snowden, 2002) which can be measured like other things. So, it remains
on the agenda as a theoretical and a practical problem (q1: 1.52; q4: 1.88).
Last but not least, knowledge sharing came up as an important theoretical and practical
problem, especially in Germany (q1: 2.04; q4: 1.75), e.g. identifying the knowledge bearers
within an organization, convincing and motivating people to share their knowledge (Dierkes and
Houben, 2002). There are also some promising approaches to that problem: theoretical
approaches mentioned as exemplars of sharing include transactive memory, i.e. ways to know
about who knows what (Moreland, 1999; Brauner, 2002), which has already been used for a
process-oriented KM approach (Remus, 2002), common knowledge, i.e. how to create a
common ground for mutual understanding, and connecting people (q2: 1.64); the last may be
supported by social network analysis (q2: 1.76). Practical approaches to knowledge sharing
concentrate on incentives, providing (im)material rewards for sharing knowledge, which are
less well estimated by the panelists (q5: 0.72), and of course include the highly estimated
communities of practice (q5: 2.12). Especially in Germany, there is currently a high interest
about communities of practice in academic research (Spath et al., 2003) and in industry (SchoÈn
and Gunther, 2002).
With regard to the three contrasts from the introduction, the survey revealed that the whole
array of knowledge processing tasks like creating, procuring, storing, sharing and applying
knowledge is still not equally attended. Often knowledge sharing (see q1: 2.04) is the core
intent of a KM initiative, combined with heavy investment in IT-solutions. The other relevant
processes like creating, selecting and using knowledge are less well regarded in theory and
practice (q1: 1.32; q4: 1.32). This is surprising because one of the most prominent KM
approaches, proposed by Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995), focuses on knowledge creation and
there is a huge interest in combining the ideas on knowledge creation with innovation
management. And what is the use of knowledge creation and sharing if it is not applied by the
receiving, deciding and acting persons (see Wilensky, 1967)? In a newer study on information
pathologies, the missing or incorrect application of received information was the most frequent
failure in the knowledge processing cycle (Scholl, 1999). This gives an answer to the ®rst
contrasting question of the introduction: the main knowledge processes are still unequally
attended by the experts and practitioners in the KM movement, which started with knowledge
sharing and still dwells on it.
The second contrasting question was clearly answered: human resource solutions are seen as
much more challenging as well as more promising as IT-solutions. The task of future KM efforts
is to concretize that line of thinking and acting. The third question about the better
understanding of the nature of knowledge itself was not explicitly brought up in the ®rst delphi
round and can therefore not be compared to other problems from the second round. The
implicit-explicit-distinction is an important aspect of the nature of knowledge, but it seemed not
to be very relevant to the respondents as shown above. Terminology was also mentioned but
seemed also not a very pressing issue (q1: 1.04). Least respected are philosophy of knowledge
deliberations (q2: ±0.20) which may be seen as underestimated when the question about the
nature of knowledge is really set on the agenda. Some more differentiated conceptions of the
nature of knowledge are given in the literature (Collins, 1993; Blackler, 1995; Krogh and Venzin,
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VOL. 8 NO. 2 2004
1995; SchreyoÈ gg, 2001; Brauner, 2002), but more research is needed on the usefulness of
these distinctions.
Taken together, the future of knowledge management depends on the following insights and
steps to be taken: a shift to the priority of human factors is already taking place and is strongly
recommended for the future. The integration of KM activities into business processes should be
fostered and methods to support this are already underway. IT-systems and programs should
have no more but also no less than a supportive role if they are properly matched to the human
and organizational factors. The sciences have to establish a sound interdisciplinary framework
for KM which can be successively developed, ®lled and improved by manifold empirical
investigations (see Figure 1).
First efforts to establish a European KM framework are currently underway within the CEN/ISSS
workshop on knowledge management. The aim of this workshop[2] is ``to investigate those soft
areas related to KM which can be the subject of common approaches, good practice
identi®cation or standardization initiatives, and to situate and describe these in the wider
organizational context. The overall intention is to provide meaningful and useful guidelines to
companies, and notably SMEs, as to how they might align their organizations culturally and
socially to take advantage of the opportunities of knowledge sharing within and beyond their
organizational boundaries'' (CEN/ISSS, 2002).
In the meantime, organizations will make more experiences with existing concepts like
communities of practice, storytelling, transactive memory promotion and the like and will
develop other new KM forms, i.e. they will learn ± after reviewing the experiences of others ± by
own trial and error. If they do this with a ®rm commitment to human factors and a keen eye on a
supportive culture they will have a better balance of success and become more effective in
general.
Note
1. The conference entitled ``First international conference on the future of knowledge management'' took
place on 8-10 March 2002 near Berlin and was ®nanced by the Stifterverband der Deutschen
Wissenschaft (Donors' foundation of German Sciences). We thank all participants for their helpful
comments.
2. For more information see www.cenorm.be/isss/Workshop/km/Default.htm
Figure 1 Main research recommendations from the delphi study on ``future of knowledge management''
Information Technology as
enabler matched with
processes and humans.
IT
Integrati on of KM
into Business
Processes.
Verteil en des
Fach-
Process
Priority on Human
factors
People
Integrated
consideration of all
KM activities
Organizational (expli cit) knowl edge base
Organizational, technical and emotional barri ers
Devel opment of a supportive organizational culture
Interdi scipl inary and multi-discipli nary approaches
with empirical research
Information Technology as
enabler matched with
processes and humans.
IT
Integrati on of K M
into Business
Processes.
Verteil en des
Fach-
Process
Integrati on of K M
into Business
Processes.
Verteil en des
Fach-
Verteil en des
Fach-
Process
Priority on Human
factors
People
Integrated
consideration of all
KM activities
Integrated
consideration of all
KM activities
Organizational (expli cit) knowl edge base
Organizational, technical and emotional barri ers
Devel opment of a supportive organizational culture
Interdi scipl inary and multi-discipli nary approaches
with empirical research
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PAGE 33
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VOL. 8 NO. 2 2004
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... Delphi is considered one of the best techniques for reaching an agreement because it uses a series of predefined questions to collect data from a group of experts. 25 For this purpose, eight professionals working in construction projects according the Tables 4 were interviewed in the form of questionnaires on transportation submitted in the context of MEP elements under six criteria related to cost comparisons and time required in the clash resolution process. In this study, three rounds of questionnaires are used to reach an agreement. ...
Article
Design coordination and clash detection are the most common and appreciated applications of three-dimensional modeling (3D modeling). In some projects, millions of clashes are detected including a large number of irrelevant clashes. The purpose of this research is to determine the priority of resolving clashes before the construction phase. In this research, the results of Autodesk Navisworks have been used to improve the process of clash detection. Also, this study attempts to use the fuzzy-AHP for weighting criteria and then, by presenting a relationship, to provide a basis to prioritizing clashes for their resolution and, finally, for identifying irrelevant clashes. This method has been tested on a real project, and the comparison of the expert opinions and the proposed method showed that applying the proposed relationship can identify important and irrelevant clashes. Practical application If clashes are not carefully detected in the design stage, project management components face a serious challenge. In this study, using the weight of clash elements and the degree of penetration of clash elements into each other, a logical and practical relationship is presented that improves the process of clash detection.
... Beim Lernen durch Kommunikation spielen daher die Formen eine besondere Rolle, die die persönliche, gemeinschaftliche Begegnung und Auseinandersetzung fördern wie teilautonome Gruppen, Projektgruppen, "communities of practice", das sind persönliche Netzwerke von Personen, die an gleichen oder ähnlichen Problemen arbeiten, und "Storytelling", das sind Problemlöseversuche, die als situationsgebundene Geschichten einander erzählt werden, um implizites Wissen beim jeweils Anderen zu aktivieren und damit ein adäquates Verstehen zu erleichtern (Brown & Duguid, 1991;Leonard & Sensiper, 1998;Snowden, 1999). Auch die negativen Erfahrungen, die mit der ersten, datenbankorientierten Generation des Wissensmanagements gemacht wurden, bestätigen diese Notwendigkeit des persönlichen Austauschs in deutlicher Weise (Snowden, 2002;Scholl & Heisig, 2003 (Katz & Kahn, 1966). Dies geschieht zum einen dadurch, dass einer oder mehrere die Initiative ergreifen, Prozesse vorantreiben, Barrieren aus dem Weg räumen und für eine klare Ergebnisorientierung sorgen, wobei Ziele und Wege bereits bekannt sind; Führung in diesem Sinne ist die Mobilisierung und Koordination von Ressourcen. ...
Book
In diesem Buch geht es um gelungene und misslungene Innovationen aus deutschen Unternehmen und um die wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnisse und praktischen Lehren, die man daraus ziehen kann. Diese Betrachtung ist in mehrerer Hinsicht einzigartig: In der Innovationsforschung werden entweder einzelne Innovationsfälle ausführlicher recherchiert oder Breitenerhebungen zu ausgewählten Fragen von Innovationen durchgeführt. Hier haben wir die Vorzüge beider Verfahren kombiniert: Wir haben intensive Fallstudien erstellt, gewonnen aus ausführlichen Interviews mit den Hauptbeteiligten, so dass die spezifische Entwicklung jeder einzelnen Innovation erfasst werden konnte. Dies geschah nicht nur bei Einzelfällen, sondern bei insgesamt 42 Produkt- und Verfahrensinnovationen. Ergänzt wurde es durch eine anschließende Fragebogenerhebung bei den befragten Hauptbeteiligten, so dass wir auch vergleichende Auswertungen machen konnten, um Hypothesen bzw. Erklärungen statistisch abgesichert zu prüfen. Dabei haben wir gelungene und misslungene Innovationen aus denselben Unternehmen verglichen, so dass die ermittelten Unterschiede direkt die Innovationsprozesse widerspiegeln und nicht etwa Unterschiede zwischen Unternehmen, Branchen oder Marktbedingungen. Aus den recherchierten Innovationsfällen wurden 21 ausgewählt und jeweils als Beispiel für die untersuchten Thesen dargestellt (im Inhaltsverzeichnis kursiv gedruckt). Diese Fallgeschichten sind nicht, wie sonst oft üblich, als Heldentaten oder Schurkenstücke ausgemalt, sondern sie geben einen realistischeren Einblick in die Vielgestaltigkeit und Verschlungenheit typischer Innovationsprozesse als üblich.
... Moreover, the Delphi method is suitable to involve experts in remote locations as it allows asynchronous responding. According to several sources [19,20], the Delphi method is most often used to identify problems, determine solutions, or to explore complex, interdisciplinary issues, which involve new or future trends for a given context. However, to the best of our knowledge, the method is rarely used to develop design science-based artifacts. ...
... The Delphi methodology consists of a panel of participants, who are subject matter experts (SMEs) on the given topic (Skulmoski et al. 2007;Alder and Ziglio 1996). Delphi studies have been used when the consensus among participants in a relatively unstructured environment is desirable or when the knowledge of experts is fragmented among different fields or industry sectors (Bradley and Stewart 2003;Scholl et al. 2004). Delphi methodology has been applied when the consensus of experts on an uncertain issue, often intangible, is desired (Landeta 2006;Manoliadis et al. 2006). ...
Article
Economic changes impact the construction industry and the associated stakeholders involved in construction projects. Construction companies are not immune to economic downturns, as evidenced by the sharp decline and long recovery period associated with the Great Recession of 2007–2009. Therefore, construction companies and construction industry stakeholders need to infuse specific economic strategies into their business operations. To determine effective strategies for construction companies to consider for weathering the risks associated with economic downturns, a Delphi study methodology was employed. Three rounds were conducted with qualified construction economic and financial experts representing financial officers, certified public accountants, and sureties to collect and confirm the existence and effectiveness of economic strategies employed by construction firms during economic downturns and recessions. From the Delphi study, 40 strategies were confirmed as highly or moderately effective methods based on the consensus criteria established from the Delphi study across six categories (1) organizational and project management, (2) direct-cost, (3) overhead, (4) financial, (5) preconstruction and marketing, and (6) efficiency strategies. This study contributes to the body of knowledge by providing a roadmap of economic, managerial, and financial strategies that can be implemented by construction companies to improve their financial health during different economic cycles.
... Measuring consensus in the Delphi process is a matter of debate. Measures such as variance have been frequently used to evaluate the consensus among panelists (Hallowell and Gambatese 2009;Scholl et al. 2004). Nevertheless, there is no agreement on the level of variance representing consensus that constitutes the end of the Delphi process. ...
Article
This study identifies and classifies the root-causes (i.e., the most primary precursors) of cost overruns in oil and gas construction projects. Past studies have generally focused on identifying the most immediate precursors of cost overruns and failed to address the need to identify their root-causes. Specific root-causes are inherent to projects with certain characteristics (e.g., projects in a particular domain or sector). Accordingly, research is needed to identify various cost overrun factors and their root-causes in a context-specific manner. This study used content analysis to identify 38 recurrent cost overrun factors and 11 root-causes in oil and gas construction projects. The cost overrun factors were classified based on their common root-causes. The Delphi method was used to verify this classification. The evidence from 12 construction projects in the oil and gas sector that had faced cost overrun was used to verify the outcome of this study. The findings of this study assist practitioners in mitigating the risk of cost overruns in oil and gas projects and meeting their budget goals.
... Measuring consensus in the Delphi process is a matter of debate. Measures such as variance have been frequently used to evaluate the consensus among panelists (Hallowell and Gambatese 2009;Scholl et al. 2004). Nevertheless, there is no agreement on the level of variance representing consensus that constitutes the end of the Delphi process. ...
Thesis
Project cost overrun is one of the most frequently occurring issues in the construction industry. Past research studies have investigated the project cost overrun problem from various perspectives. However, to date, only a few studies have focused on the identification of the root causes of projects cost overruns. A close review of these studies reveals that the studies often provide limited insight into the root causes of project cost overrun. These studies fail to consider the impact of project delivery system as a defining project characteristic that may influence construction cost overruns. This study investigates the root causes of construction cost overruns in Design Bid Build (DBB) construction projects. It uses Delphi method to obtain highly reliable information from experts. As part of this study, a comprehensive review of literature was conducted to identify the factors that lead to cost overrun in DBB projects. 495 factors were initially identified. These factors were later reduced to 113, and then 38 unique factors. Factors classified based on their common root causes. Using the Delphi methods, each factor, its root cause, and their relationship were verified in the context of DBB construction projects. This study contributes to the body of knowledge by enhancing the understanding about root causes of cost overrun factors. From the practical view, it enables practitioners to plan for the elimination of root causes of cost overruns not the symptoms that are associated with them.
... Moreover, panel experts are able to modify or refine their response based on the feedback anonymously, without the risk of embarrassment (Hsu and Sandford, 2007). Delphi has been adapted to numerous research fields, such as needs assessment, resource utilization, policy determination, forecasting, and program planning (Heisig et al., 2004;Ogden et al., 2005;Pal et al., 2018). ...
Thesis
Secured traceability implies not only the ability to identify, capture, and share required information on product transformation throughout the supply chain (SC), but also the ability to ensure the security of the traceability data. Due to information asymmetry and lack of transparency, textile and clothing (T&C) industries often face challenges in implementing and maintaining sufficient traceability. The SC actors find it difficult to identify and track the suppliers and sub-suppliers involved. Additionally, the opaque and largely untraceable structure of the SC has enabled the easy intrusion of counterfeits. Hence, a secured traceability system is imperative to ensure that the required traceability data are captured and shared among SC actors, thereby allowing the tracking and tracing of the products in the SC. Further, a secured traceability system helps organizations in various decision-making processes and protects customers from counterfeits. This thesis contributes to the development of a secured traceability system for the T&C sector. It examines traceability at product and information levels, based on the system-of systems approach. At the product level, the thesis introduces a secured traceability tag that can be printed on the textile surface. The secured tag is hard to copy and is durable enough to withstand normal textile use, thus providing sufficient security besides product tagging for traceability implementation. At the information level, the thesis explores and classifies traceability data that can be shared at business-to-business and business-to customer levels for the implementation of secured traceability. Subsequently, a block chain-based traceability framework is proposed for the T&C supply chain to systematically capture and share data in the supply chain network. The proposed framework demonstrates the applicability of shared data infrastructure to traceability without a central authority and develops technology-based trust among the supply chain actors. It relies on no central authority, and has customized data privacy and accessibility rules, thus providing a unique opportunity, flexibility, and authority to all supply chain actors to trace their supply chains and create transparent and sustainable supply chain networks.
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents our proposal for an exploratory research study. The objective of the research is to develop a conceptual framework of the interpretations, meanings, perceptions, and beliefs related to the role, development, and future of the knowledge management (KM) discipline. We propose to develop a holistic model that will depict professionals' perceptions of this issue: the combined perceptions of both KM consultants and knowledge managers. The proposed qualitative research will be based on three research tools: Semi-structured in-depth interviews, focus groups, and content analysis. The data will be analyzed using a thematic analysis method based on the grounded theory approach. We collected preliminary empirical evidence from international KM experts during 2020. The findings revealed a remarkable variety of issues that exist at the core of the KM discipline. These issues include the role and purpose of KM in knowledge-intensive organizations, the implications of the existence or absence of KM, and views about future avenues for its development. Our intention is to explore these issues further by expanding the research to other KM professionals. Through this, we hope to assist in the positioning of the discipline in the age of knowledge. This research may contribute significantly to both the theoretical and practical aspects of KM. Its uniqueness is reflected in the voices of KM professionals. We foresee that our research will enable a better understanding of the evolution of KM as a discipline, its contemporary role, and its future possibilities.
Book
Erfolgreiches Wissensmanagement setzt voraus, dass es in die tägliche Arbeit integriert ist, wie sie durch die Geschäftsprozesse eines Unternehmens vorgegeben wird. Wissensmanagement muss deshalb als integraler Bestandteil von Geschäftsprozessen und deren Gestaltung betrachtet werden. Wissen ist für ein Unternehmen relevant, wenn es die Geschäftsprozesse verbessert. In diesem Buch werden praxisrelevante Techniken und Vorgehensweisen beschrieben, mit deren Hilfe relevantes Wissen identifiziert, gesichert und gezielt zur Bearbeitung von Prozessaktivitäten bereitgestellt werden kann.
Article
This article describes the Delphi method, how it is used, its underlying assumptions, its strengths and limitations, its potential benefits to higher education research, and some key considerations in its use. The authors illustrate the Delphi method by discussing a recent national study to develop a set of management audit assessment criteria. Their focus is on often overlooked and unique aspects of this versatile qualitative research methodology.
Chapter
Die Verbesserung von wissensintensiven Prozessen hängt in hohem Maße von der Verbesserung der prozessinternen und -externen Kommunikationsstruktur ab. Soll die Wissensverarbeitung in diesen Prozessen verbessert werden, sollte darauf geachtet werden, dass die in den Prozessen beteiligten Agenten optimale Strukturen und Prozesse zur Kommunikation zur Verfügung haben. Kommunikätionsprozesse laufen oft quer über verschiedene Geschäftsprozesse und sind häufig nur schwer formal organisatorisch abgrenzbar. Auβerdem sind sie Grundlage fur die Beschreibung von Gedächtnisprozessen innerhalb eines Organisatorischen Gedächtnisses, Für die Analyse und Beschreibung der Prozesse und Strukturen eines Organisational Memory bietet sich als theoretische Basis das „Transaktive Memory System“ an. Damit lassen sich auch Kommunikationsstrukturen innerhalb und zwischen Gruppen im Kontext von Geschaftsprozessen beschrei ben. Kommunikationsstrukturen können durch die Modellierung und Diagnose transparent gemacht werden. In diesem Kapite l solI deshalb ausgehend von den theoretischen Konzepten des „Transaktiven Memory Systems“ und der Prozessorientierung diskutiert werden, welche Anforderungen an eine integrierte Prozess- und Kommunikationsmodellierung für die Gestaltung und Verbesserung von wissensintensiven Prozessen gestellt werden.
Chapter
It seems logical that knowledge is an extremely important resource for business success. Therefore, the lack of theoretical understanding of knowledge and practically proven methods for efficient knowledge management is surprising. Only recently have academics and practitioners begun publishing their approaches and experiences under the concept of knowledge management.16
Chapter
Knowledge management is rarely thought of as a strategy for redesigning business processes. This chapter examines approaches to knowledge management within the context of business process redesign. In it, we illustrate and explain how knowledge management can be used both to support and to enhance business processes.
Article
Ikujiro Nonaka e Hirotaka Takeuchi establecen una vinculación del desempeño de las empresas japonesas con su capacidad para crear conocimiento y emplearlo en la producción de productos y tecnologías exitosas en el mercado. Los autores explican que hay dos tipos de conocimiento: el explícito, contenido en manuales y procedimientos, y el tácito, aprendido mediante la experiencia y comunicado, de manera indirecta, en forma de metáforas y analogías. Mientras los administradores estadounidenses se concentran en el conocimiento explícito, los japoneses lo hacen en el tácito y la clave de su éxito estriba en que han aprendido a convertir el conocimiento tácito en explícito. Finalmente, muestran que el mejor estilo administrativo para crear conocimiento es el que ellos denominan centro-arriba-abajo, en el que los gerentes de niveles intermedios son un puente entre los ideales de la alta dirección y la realidad caótica de los niveles inferiores.