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The Importance of Collaboration in Knowledge Management in Public Services: Creating Value for Stakeholders


Abstract and Figures

Knowledge management, understood as a means of value creation for stakeholders, has become one of the main concerns of the “New Economy,” and therefore, is receiving a great deal of interest from academics as well as the business world. Formerly restricted to private companies, the concern for knowledge management is now studied in public institutions in order to understand the influence of customers’ demands. As public services are part of a complex network in which citizens are the main players, public authorities are increasingly trying to identify and deploy programs that promote the modernization and simplification of Portuguese public services. Knowledge management activities play an important role in these programs; therefore, this study seeks to understand how collaborative knowledge practices are implemented in Portuguese public services. This study aims primarily at understanding the importance of collaboration in knowledge management having the value creation for Portuguese public institution stakeholders’ in mind. In order to gain a better understanding of this theme, this chapter presents a case study involving the Simplex Program, created and managed by Agência para a Modernização Administrativa (AMA) and its implementation in the municipal councils of Porto and Águeda and the Inter-municipal Community of Vale do Minho. Among other aspects, this chapter analyzes how knowledge management activities in the local municipalities are influenced by their strategies, commitment, organizational structure, and culture, as well as workflow processes and employee involvement. It also aims to identify the distinctive features of knowledge management in regards to the use of the Simplex Program in the three municipalities under investigation. The methodology was based on qualitative data gathered from three case studies and collected from semi-structured, in-depth interviews conducted in the three municipalities. These, in turn, were selected from the participants in the Simplex program. This chapter highlights the role of national programs in the transfer of knowledge to the local municipalities as well as its importance in the development of their knowledge absorption capabilities.
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Minwir Al-Shammari
University of Bahrain, Bahrain
Knowledge Management:
Concepts and Applications
Customer-centric knowledge management: concepts and applications / Minwir Mallouh Al-Shammari, editor.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Summary: “This book is a comprehensive collection addressing managerial and technical aspects of customer-centric
knowledge implementation, contributing to the dynamic and emerging fields of organizational knowledge management,
customer relationship management, and information and communication technologies”--Provided by publisher.
ISBN 978-1-61350-089-7 (hardcover) -- ISBN 978-1-61350-090-3 (ebook) -- ISBN 978-1-61350-091-0 (print & perpetual
access) 1. Customer relations. 2. Knowledge management. 3. Relationship marketing. I. Al-Shammari, Minwir, 1962-
HF5415.5.C833 2012
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Chapter 4
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-089-7.ch004
António Carrizo Moreira
University of Aveiro, Portugal
Ricardo Augusto Zimmermann
University of Aveiro, Portugal
The Importance of
Collaboration in Knowledge
Management in Public Services:
Creating Value for Stakeholders
Knowledge management, understood as a means of value creation for stakeholders, has become one
of the main concerns of the “New Economy,” and therefore, is receiving a great deal of interest from
academics as well as the business world.
Formerly restricted to private companies, the concern for knowledge management is now studied in
public institutions in order to understand the inuence of customers’ demands. As public services are
part of a complex network in which citizens are the main players, public authorities are increasingly
trying to identify and deploy programs that promote the modernization and simplication of Portuguese
public services. Knowledge management activities play an important role in these programs; therefore,
this study seeks to understand how collaborative knowledge practices are implemented in Portuguese
public services.
This study aims primarily at understanding the importance of collaboration in knowledge management
having the value creation for Portuguese public institution stakeholders’ in mind. In order to gain a
better understanding of this theme, this chapter presents a case study involving the Simplex Program,
created and managed by Agência para a Modernização Administrativa (AMA) and its implementation
in the municipal councils of Porto and Águeda and the Inter-municipal Community of Vale do Minho.
The Importance of Collaboration in Knowledge Management in Public Services
As information is disseminated through different
channels and speed, knowledge has become one
of the most significant factors in generating value
and wealth, being considered the only sustainable
competitive advantage (Nonaka and Takeuchi,
1995). For the first time in history, mankind is
creating far more information than a man can
absorb and is accelerating changes with much
greater speed than a man can follow. Certainly,
this current scale of complexity is unprecedented
(Senge, 2006).
It is therefore essential to develop knowledge
management in the organizational context. The
changes undergone by public and private institu-
tions in order to secure competitiveness in their
markets are characterized by the rapidity with
which their activities are developed to suit the
requirements of their customers and other stake-
holders. The development of knowledge man-
agement, and the consequent learning processes,
allows organizations to keep themselves updated,
to add value to their products and services and to
enhance their sustainability. The ability to absorb
new knowledge is directly related to the organi-
zational environment conducive to collaboration
between organizations and to the commitment
and motivation of its employees (Moreira, 2009).
In public institutions, for over thirty years
countries around the world have been carrying out
administrative reforms in the pursuit of improving
their competitiveness.
There have been contemporary trends that call
into question the traditional mode of governance,
with the authority concentrated in a state in which
the government embodies the will and general
interest of its citizens with a formalized, top-down
intervention. These trends include privatization,
liberalization, deregulation, creation of incentives
for the involvement of civil society and promot-
ing the involvement of citizens in all levels of
government, through the sharing of tasks and
responsibilities (Fonseca and Carapeto, 2009).
Government agencies are continually interact-
ing with a broad range of individuals, which is one
of the major challenges governmental institutions
are facing. In this manner, being customer-centric
focused is a challenge that public institutions
face today.
In Portugal, the Agency for Administrative
Modernization (AMA), is the body that, ac-
cording to its mission, “…identifies, develops
and evaluates programs, projects and measures
to modernize and simplify administrative and
regulatory framework and promotes, coordinates,
manages and evaluates the system of distribution
of public services, within the policies set by the
Government(AMA, 2010). In this way, AMA
is the Portuguese institution responsible for the
deployment of customer-centric approaches and
knowledge management within public institutions.
AMA, created in 2006, is a public institution
that operationalized transformation initiatives
and fosters the participation of all different
stakeholders in the implementation of knowledge
Among other aspects, this chapter analyzes how knowledge management activities in the local munici-
palities are inuenced by their strategies, commitment, organizational structure, and culture, as well
as workow processes and employee involvement. It also aims to identify the distinctive features of
knowledge management in regards to the use of the Simplex Program in the three municipalities under
The methodology was based on qualitative data gathered from three case studies and collected from
semi-structured, in-depth interviews conducted in the three municipalities. These, in turn, were selected
from the participants in the Simplex program. This chapter highlights the role of national programs in
the transfer of knowledge to the local municipalities as well as its importance in the development of
their knowledge absorption capabilities.
The Importance of Collaboration in Knowledge Management in Public Services
management in the public administration sector.
Its main focus is to improve services for citizens
and business firms alike.
AMA’s main responsibilities are: (a) to support
the government in the definition of the strategic
lines and general policies related with the admin-
istrative regulation and regulatory framework of
electronic government and public policies; (b) to
mobilize the Information and Communications
Technology (ICT) in order to support the modern-
ization of the public administration sector and the
interconnectedness between central, regional and
local institutions; and (c) to manage and develop
all specialized, integrated and multi-service public
distribution channels.
Clearly, one of the main challenges in the public
sector is to assure that the relationship with all
individuals and business firms are based on the
principle of equality, i.e., all users are to be equal.
In order to achieve that principle it is mandatory
that AMA has the ability to deploy knowledge
across a wide range of public institutions.
The main objective of this study is to un-
derstand the importance of collaboration in
knowledge management for the value creation
of public institution stakeholders. The Simplex
Autárquico1, case study created and managed by
AMA serves as an example of this collaboration.
Another objective of the study is to identify the
characteristics that differentiate the management
of knowledge in the Simplex program through-
out the three municipalities: Porto, Águeda and
Inter-municipal community of Vale do Minho.
The important factors to consider are: the knowl-
edge absorption capacity, the commitment to the
program and its adaptation to local reality. The
questions to be addressed are put forward in the
objectives section.
Ultimately, this chapter intends to answer the
following research question: What is the impor-
tance of collaboration for knowledge management
in the institutions participating in the Simplex
The business world is increasingly supported by a
knowledge-based economy, where technological,
economic, political, social and cultural changes
alter production methods and consequently the
nature of human relationships.
The “New Economy”, which centralizes
organizational value on intellectual capital and
the skills of individuals and organizations, is
characterized by important innovations and by the
widespread use of the Internet, therefore, boosting
the creation of new businesses, the growth of stock
markets and the high expectations of investors
(Almeida, 2007).
The knowledge economy follows a new eco-
nomic logic. Knowledge presents a great differ-
ence from all other commodities, as it does not
follow the theory of scarcity, but rather the theory
of abundance. The sharing of knowledge is able
to generate superior returns than the sum of the
knowledge of those involved (Holmquist, 2008).
Knowledge management is becoming a key con-
cern for businesses (Moreira, 2009; Ajmal et al,
2010) and has therefore, aroused greater business
and academic interest.
Drucker (1993), Mitchell and Boyle (2010)
and Vorakulpipat and Rezgui (2008) defend that
knowledge is the main – if not the only – com-
petitive advantage of organizations. Nonaka and
Takeuchi (1995, p. 3) conceptualize the creation
of knowledge in organizations as the “Ability of
the company as a whole to create knowledge, dis-
seminate it through the organization and apply it
to products, services and processes”.
Knowledge management, therefore, covers the
entire process of intentional creation, acquisition
and sharing of knowledge as well as its use as a
key driver of value creation. It is an intrinsically
human and collaborative process.
The Importance of Collaboration in Knowledge Management in Public Services
Knowledge has, in essence, a social character.
The process of knowledge creation involves the
sharing of information which, when added to
previously existing knowledge, will lead to new
knowledge. Collaboration, therefore, is essential
for the knowledge to flow within and outside of
organizations (Moreira, 2009).
A subjective approach suggests that knowl-
edge is inherent in human experience and is
constantly being shaped by the social practices
of communities and institutions (Vorakulpipat
and Rezgui, 2008).
Capra (1982) argues that the systemic concep-
tion sees the world in terms of relationships and
integration. Instead of concentrating on the basic
elements or substances, the systems approach em-
phasizes the basic principles of the organization.
Systemic thinking, in general, can be defined as
a new way of perceiving reality.
According to Capra (1996), the more one
studies the problems of our time, the more one
realizes that they can not be understood in isola-
tion. One should always assume that the whole is
more than the sum of its parts, and thus the system
is an integrated whole whose essential properties
arise from the interrelations between its parts.
For Senge (2006), one can only understand a
system by observing it as a whole. Senge (2006)
argues that systemic thinking is a frame of refer-
ence to see interrelationships rather than events, to
see the patterns of change instead of ‘snapshots’.
Just as systemic thinking, the concept of shared
vision helps us understand the importance of col-
laboration to generate knowledge. When sharing
a vision, people feel connected, linked by a com-
mon aspiration (Senge, 2006). Building a shared
vision consists of the sharing of goals, values and
commitments by all members of an organization
or group of people (Senge, 2006).
Unlike the visions imposed by the leaders of
most organizations, a shared vision can count on
the true commitment of people because it reflects
the personal views of each individual. In general,
the views of most firms, at best, are accepted by
their stakeholders, although the formers are hardly
committed to the imposed vision (Senge, 2006).
The existence of cultural barriers (Daven-
port and Prusak, 2000), as well as lack of trust
between partners (Sveiby, 1998) can be a great
inconvenience to the success of knowledge sharing
between institutions. It is then up to the leaders
(Ajmal et al., 2010) to provide a favourable envi-
ronment for collaboration through the construction
of shared visions.
Social relationships are characterized as
dynamic processes. In this manner, transactions
between different organizations are part of a com-
plex network involving a large number of players
(Chetty and Eriksson, 2003), in which the actions
of one influence those of the others. Similarly,
the knowledge generated within a relationship is
unique because it is built upon the information
and experiences of both organizations. Under
the same circumstances, the knowledge gener-
ated by a firm with another partner would have
different characteristics. Moreover, once created,
knowledge belongs to both organizations and is
naturally diffused to the other players within the
business network. Therefore organizations need
to extend their efforts with regard to knowledge
management beyond the organizational borders
and collaborate with other organizations in order
to keep abreast of the network knowledge (Weer
et al., 2009).
Collaboration can unite partners towards
favourable outcomes that could not be achieved
in isolation (Holmquist, 2008). The creation of a
shared vision between partners is able to gener-
ate the necessary commitment to mutual growth.
For that a “dialogue” between the partners is
mandatory in order to transform tacit knowledge
into explicit knowledge (Nonaka and Takeuchi,
1995), both internally and externally. This process
allows the creation of agreements between all
organizational players, contributing to a greater
identification with the organization and its goals
(Sousa, 2009).
The Importance of Collaboration in Knowledge Management in Public Services
The success of the learning process is generally
perceived as an effective internalization of knowl-
edge (Becker-Ritterspach et al., 2010).The cultural
and social contexts of the “recipient” institution,
as evidenced by the commitment and motivation
of people, have a strong influence on its ability
to internalize this knowledge.An environment
focused on collaboration, dominated systemic
thinking, a shared vision among the people and an
elevated communication flow is highly motivat-
ing and conducive to organizational commitment
(Becker-Ritterspach et al., 2010).
The commitment of employees is often one of
the main barriers to both the internal and external
sharing of knowledge within organizations (Lam
and Lambermont-Ford, 2010; Massingham and
Diment, 2009). According to Lambert and Lam-
Ford (2010), theories on knowledge sharing
usually start with the assumption of a utopian
benevolent cooperation between people who
donate their expertise to companies without the
need to be rewarded.
This optimistic view overlooks the importance
of dealing with conflicts of interest and does
not consider motivation and reward as a key to
generating the commitment needed to create and
share knowledge.The lack of reward may lead to
decreased self-esteem and self-determination of
employees (Lam and Lambermont-Ford, 2010).
The knowledge absorption capacity (Daghfous,
2004) is directly related to the stimuli received
by those involved. According to Massingham and
Diment (2009) an individual’s reactions to a new
process or new practice depends on the approach
used in its implementation. Accordingly, it is the
leader’s task to motivate and generate commit-
ment for a successful implementation. Even if
an employee “likes” a new idea he/she could not
use it if he/she does not realize the direct benefits
over his/her work.
The organizational commitment is an agree-
ment between individuals and organizations that
is achieved when people are treated with dignity
and respect (Senge, 2006). It is a fundamental ele-
ment of the psychological contract between both
parties and can be understood as a motivational
process characterized by reciprocity (Massingham
and Diment, 2009).The feeling of security and
commitment, based on mutual confidence, allows
the creation of a favourable learning environment.
When one realizes one shares the same interests
with another person or organization, one tends
to act quite differently than one would act if one
perceived conflicting interests (Weer et al., 2009).
Lack of trust creates insecurity when sharing ex-
periences and fear of losing the unique value of
knowledge that can be used towards self benefit.
The employee’s commitment is still related
to the predisposition of the leaders in sharing
responsibilities (Becker-Ritterspach et al., 2010).
A corporate culture with characteristics similar
to those of bureaucratic organizations, such as
centralized decision-making, lack of autonomy
in carrying out tasks, individualism, rigidity of
rules, control, and a hierarchical structure (Lam
and Lambermont-Ford, 2010; Sousa, 2009),tends
to generate less involvement and is less conducive
to the internalization of knowledge.
Basadur and Gelade (2006) and Davis (2009)
defend that the reduction of the distance between
managers and other employees as well as, the adop-
tion of practices of integration between different
functions and areas of the organization decreases
the resistance to change (Daghfous, 2004) and
promotes knowledge sharing (Davis, 2009).
The adaptation or translation of new knowl-
edge to a new reality (Becker-Ritterspach et al.,
2010; Li, 2010; Champika et al., 2009) contrib-
utes greatly to the motivation of people and can
be a key factor for successful implementation
of new working practices. The translation work
is necessary because it allows the integration of
new practices in a specific social and cultural
background.According to Daghfous (2004), the
adaptation of practices to a new context can make
the difference between success and failure.If the
employees do not understand the processes by
which they are involved, they will not be able to
act proactively nor propose improvements, even
if they are motivated to do so.
The Importance of Collaboration in Knowledge Management in Public Services
Knowledge management can be classified as a
source of value creation. This is related to meeting
the needs and expectations of the key stakehold-
ers of the organization.For Kim and Mauborgne
(2005), the constant pursuit of value creation for
the customer is a key strategic factor that leads
the company to very positive results.
Although not a new concept, there is some
confusion regarding the use of the term “value”.
According Boztepe (2007), part of the confusion
comes from the fact that value is a highly poly-
semic word.Its meaning varies between concepts
as far as economic return and moral standards.It
is common to find settings that relate only to the
needs of shareholders, arguing that the creation
of value will increase the value of their shares.
In this study, the creation of value for the public
is more important, as they represent the main
stakeholders of public enterprises. In this case,
value relates to the perception of the relation-
ship between what is paid for the services, either
directly or through taxes, and the actual quality
of the services provided.
According to Basadur and Gelade (2006),
value creation is the result of a learning process
involving organizations that have some degree
of efficiency, adaptability and flexibility, and
that can manifest themselves through continuous
improvement and innovation.
Senge (2006) argues that learning does not
mean acquiring more information, but rather the
expansion of the ability to produce a desired re-
sult. As a result, organizational learning enables
organizations to adapt to changes and acquire new
knowledge, skills or behaviours that can transform
the organization.
Knowledge management has major implica-
tions for the learning capacity of organizations and
their ability to adapt to a changing competitive
environment.As stated by Fonseca and Carapeto
(2009, p.103), knowledge allows learning and
this allows for change and improvement”. The
most important purpose in managing knowledge is
learning, as it determines the value of a company
(Sveiby, 1998).
According to Guns (1998), learning is rarely
easy.However, we are clearly moving towards a
labour world where continuous learning is man-
datory. All the learning that results from the use
of knowledge acquired, stored and shared, can be
translated into improved practices and standards
that aid in the creation of competitive advantages
for companies.
The quest for knowledge and learning becomes
an important factor for individuals and organiza-
tions. An organization that learns is an organiza-
tion empowered by the creation, acquisition and
transfer of knowledge. Consequently, this can
modify an organizational behaviour in order to
reflect the new knowledge and insights gained
(Kiernan, 1998).
Finally, organizational learning can be achieved
by stimulating, in parallel, a continuous improve-
ment and innovation of learning processes.Innova-
tion is characterized by periods of disruption to the
practices previously used and therefore, results in
further progress in a shorter space of time. On the
other hand, the generating process of continuous
improvement is responsible for gradual changes
over time, enabling the organization to attain the
main needs of stakeholders.
The importance of innovation as a knowledge
mechanism that enables or hinders the implemen-
tation of changes is well understood in industrial
environments (Sousa, 2009). Motivation, recog-
nition of the importance of people in the process
of innovation, creativity, and the possibility of
developing new knowledge and skills are the main
factors that underpin innovation in a knowledge-
based environment (Sousa, 2009).
Little has been said about knowledge management
in public institutions.However, just as private
The Importance of Collaboration in Knowledge Management in Public Services
organizations, public institutions also “suffer”
with the increased complexity of today’s world.
Due to the excess of information and the chang-
ing needs of customers and citizens, companies
must face the new organizational landscape in
which customers have become more demanding
and more aware of their roles within the business
firms as well as the public institution.
A public institution is a de jure person, which
is controlled by the state and supported by public
funds. In Portugal, public institutions belong to
the public sector, which can be controlled by
the national, regional or local authorities. Public
administration, despite its apparent homogeneity,
is quite complex as is composed by the central,
regional and local administration, which report
to different ministries and town halls that do not
always hold the same interests and objectives
(Fonseca e Carapeto, 2009).
A key issue in public institutions is the fact
that they are governed by the State. Taking into
account the complex organizational structure of
this public network, knowledge management is
a key issue in assuring that the recipient institu-
tions have the absorptive capacity to internalize
the knowledge they deal with and, that emitting
institutions have the transmissive capacity to
transfer the knowledge they really want to convey.
The phenomena of globalization and the
knowledge society introduce an unprecedented
complexity, diversity and dynamism in the en-
vironment in which governments operate. This
has lead to a change in the State’s role in society
and has questioned the efficiency of existing
institutions therefore, encouraging the required
change in political, administrative, business and
civic behaviour (Fonseca and Carapeto, 2009).
Although these changes happen at different paces
in many countries, according to the receptiveness
of public participation, their impacts are already
being noticed when analyzing the State’s role in the
lives of the contemporary citizen. The absence of
more radical changes can be explained at least in
part, by the non-uniform participation of citizens,
who are still seeking a more active participation
in decisions.
Fonseca and Carapeto (2009, p.19) describe
the main distinctive feature of the contemporary
State, as “the development of new forms of shared
and network governance open to citizens”.In this
way, the concept of collaborative governance is
gaining more relevance as it is based on a collective
process of governance conducted by partners seek-
ing to develop alternatives for action, identifying
solutions, aligning priorities and taking decisions.
This collective process means that coordination
occurs through collaborative mechanisms. These
innovative approaches, based on networks of
partners and on the involvement of stakeholders
to achieve public policy goals, allow (Fonseca
and Carapeto, 2009):
The creation of effective intergovernmen-
tal partnerships;
The development of innovative solutions
for different groups of stakeholders;
The lowering of the barriers in the adoption
of new solutions, due to the dissemination
of successful cases and lessons learned;
The easiness of the transfer of technology
because it relates researchers and users;
The development of human capital by
learning; and
The development of a permanent dialogue
between and among stakeholders.
Despite the apparent homogeneity of public
administration, the complexity of its structure,
composed not only by central government but
also regional and local levels and by different
ministries, makes collaboration as difficult and
important for public institutions as for private
companies (Fonseca and Carapeto, 2009).
In Portugal, many changes have been imple-
mented in the public administration sector in
response to pressure from citizens for the cre-
ation of better services.The growing importance
of municipalities in the provision of services to
The Importance of Collaboration in Knowledge Management in Public Services
citizens (Costa et al., 2006), in the search for the
mainstreaming of their organizations and in the
creation of integrated one-stop shops (Fonseca
and Carapeto, 2009), has urged AMA to develop
the Simplex program in order to improve services
and to create value for citizens through the transfer
of knowledge.
Even with constant efforts to improve ser-
vices, public administration is still seen mostly as
outdated and strongly linked to bureaucracy and
inefficiency (Fonseca and Carapeto, 2009). As a
consequence, the Simplex Program addresses this
problem and tries to find new ways to empower
citizens with brand new solutions based on the
transfer of knowledge and best practices.
Taking into account the importance of diffusing
knowledge across public institutions in order to
develop a customer-centric strategy based on a
homogeneous service, this chapter aims to ex-
amine the collaboration between the Agency for
Administrative Modernization (AMA) and the
Local Authorities participating in the Simplex
program regarding the transfer and generation
of new knowledge. Therefore, at the end of the
chapter it should be possible to answer the fol-
lowing questions:
Question 1: Is there consistency between
AMA’s expectations and the Simplex
program’s local participants? Does the
relationship between the parties favour
cooperation and knowledge generation?
How committed are local authorities to the
Question 2: What is the role of the Simplex
program in the transfer of knowledge to the
different municipalities?
Question 3: Do strategies, technology,
organizational culture, processes, human
resource management and organizational
structures of the various participants in the
Simplex program favour knowledge man-
agement? What are the main factors ex-
plaining the different approaches and dif-
ferent outcomes of the Simplex program?
AMA was created in 2006 with the objective of
identifying, developing and evaluating programs,
projects and actions to modernize and simplify
administrative and regulatory framework. AMA
seeks to promote, coordinate, manage and evalu-
ate the distribution system of Portuguese public
services within the policies set by the Government.
For AMA (2010), administrative simplification
and electronic administration are key challenges
to raise competitiveness, economic growth and
quality of life standards in Portugal.AMA’s main
targets include facilitating the lives ofcitizens and
economic agents’ by making the interaction with
public institutions more convenient and transpar-
ent as well as streamlining of Public Administra-
tion services.
The objectives set for the modernization of
public administration are an essential piece in
order to place Portugal in the group of leading
European countries that seek to fulfil the Lisbon
strategy, and focus on growth and employment
in Europe through the launch of the initiative
“i2010 - An European Information Society for
growth and employment”.
AMA’s strategy is tuned with the European
Union policy, which is focused on the mod-
ernization of services, the simplification of the
regulatory framework and the deployment of
economic growth.
In Portugal, the Simplex program is an opera-
tional program that embodies AMA’s strategy and
is centred on the processes and procedures of the
The Importance of Collaboration in Knowledge Management in Public Services
central administration that underpin the modern-
ization of the public administration.
Throughout two years the SIMPLEX program
has aimed at simplifying the Portuguese central
government, resulting from the implementation
of simplification measures by municipalities and
encouraged by local authorities, who wished to
voluntarily engage in this common goal. Thus, the
Simplex program, launched in July 2008, spurred
by the Government, first gathered measures pro-
posed by the nine municipalities that volunteered in
this project: Águeda, Cascais, Guimarães, Lisbon,
Pombal, Portalegre, Porto, Redondo and Seixal.
Currently, in the 2009/2010 cycle, the initiative
has 60 municipalities that joined individually or
with the support of inter-municipal communities.
Joining this project implies the acceptance of the
public disclosure of the commitments assumed by
simplifying each of the participating municipali-
ties as well as, its objectives and the date on which
should be completed (AMA, 2010).
Simplification in the local context is of strategic
importance to improve the citizen’s quality of life,
to increase the competitiveness of the municipality
and to improve the transparency of decisions and
the image of local governments. There are four
pillars of strategic action (AMA, 2010):
To qualify and optimize the internal opera-
tions of municipal services through inno-
vative leadership and actions, namely by
streamlining of processes, by the adoption
of atter organizational structures and by
sharing common services
To improve services to citizens and busi-
nesses in terms of quality and accessibility,
providing services through different chan-
nels, particularly electronically and apply-
ing the principle of one-stop shops;
To promote the interaction between the dif-
ferent public administrations, through the
strengthening of cooperation among them,
the sharing of information and the dissemi-
nation and replication of best practices;
To contribute to the strengthening citizen-
ship and quality of democracy, by enhanc-
ing the transparency of the municipality.
In order to understand the process of collabo-
ration between AMA and the local authorities,
the following case studies involving two mu-
nicipalities and one inter-municipal community
were analyzed: the Municipality of Porto (263 131
inhabitants), the Municipality of Águeda (14 504
inhabitants) and the Inter-municipal Community
of Vale do Minho (includes 5 municipalities to-
talling 62 562 inhabitants). The main results are
shown in Table 1.
During the process of information gathering
conducted by AMA to implement the Simplex
program, it was noticed that the majority of Por-
tuguese municipalities were not properly tuned
to the “new economy” challenges and were char-
acterized by highly bureaucratic processes and
excessive use of paper.
The Simplex program has been created to give
new life to local communities and to provide better
services to citizens and businesses. In practice this
results in the dematerialization of procedures and
the reduction of costs, both for local authorities
as well as for citizens and businesses.
The definition of the nine founders of the
Simplex program, though voluntary, happened
through calls made by AMA and the Secretary of
State of Administrative Modernization (SEMA)
to the most advanced municipalities. These were
chosen in terms of simplification of their proce-
dures, which ensured the success of the Simplex
program in its first year.
The municipalities of Porto and Águeda were
invited to participate as founders of the Simplex,
in 2008, due to their advanced stage in the search
of administrative simplification.
The deployment of previous steps in the search
for administrative simplification was reflected in
the greater participation and commitment of their
employees in the Simplex program. An important
and distinctive aspect of these municipalities
The Importance of Collaboration in Knowledge Management in Public Services
was the existence of a standard procedure for the
program assessment by means of data processing
Moreover, the Inter-municipal Community of
Vale do Minho, despite having invested resources
in the program Vale do Minho Digital, is in a less
advanced stage of administrative simplification.
Their late entry into the program also jeopardized
their performance, since they had little time for
implementing all the procedures and actions
A key aspect to the success of the Simplex
program was the definition of a detailed work plan,
mentioning the activities to be undertaken by each
of the Municipalities in every week of the year.
Due to the autonomy of municipalities, AMA
has no control “power” over local authorities.
Thus, despite the assessment being done by
AMA of the fulfillment of defined deadlines and
milestones, their achievements depend only on
the commitment of local authorities. AMA also
lacks any form of reward for good performance
Table 1. Situation of the Simplex program
Porto Águeda Vale do Minho
Beginning of participation in
the Simplex program
End of 2008/beginning of 2009
(during the first cycle)
Implementation of the program
The administrative simplifica-
tion process began in 2003 with
the deployment of a series of
structural changes, including
the creation of the citizen’s
Played an important role in the
development of the Simplex
The process of administrative
simplification in the Munici-
pality began in 1995, marked
by the deployment of Single
Service Tour. The invitation to
participate in the Simplex pro-
gram was seen as recognition of
this process.
The project Vale do Minho
Digital, prior to Simplex, had
objectives related to moderniza-
tion and administrative reform.
The invitation for participating
in the Simplex program was
addressed to Municipal Boards
in late 2008.
Number of people directly
involved with the program 3 4
One in the inter-municipal
community and one in every
town hall.
Awareness of employees
Awareness sessions.
Menu for dealing with the
simplification of the Employee
It was felt that it was not appro-
priate because there is already a
consolidated culture.
Not carried out
Key expectations for the
AMA’s contribution in raising
awareness of other players to
the importance of the plans and
To achieve progress in areas
where there was less internal
Compliance measures and en-
hancement of the Municipality
Strengthening and monitor-
ing of measures implemented
by the Vale do Minho Digital
Main difficulties
Excessive ambition in the first
year of the program, internal-
ization of the principles of con-
tinuous improvement and little
prioritization by other important
Lack of funding for the plans
and actions.
Little support from the AMA.
Lack of financing plans and
Adaptation of the program to
local reality
The program was adapted to the
previous measures
The program was adapted to the
previous measures Not carried out
Accompanying measures
Development of software for
project management, used to
follow up the measures
Development of software for
project management, used to
follow up the measures
Performed independently by
each municipality.
The Importance of Collaboration in Knowledge Management in Public Services
in the Simplex program. Public recognition is the
only award given to participants.
The inter-municipal plans and actions, by
depending on the coordination of one of the mu-
nicipalities, also depended on the commitment of
this leadership.Some of these plans and actions
have not had the expected success precisely be-
cause of the lack of a committed and effective
The time limit imposed by the program to the
plans and actions, which should be performed
within one year, was one of the great difficulties
AMA’s participation in raising the awareness
of the employees of local municipalities took place
only through the provision of promotional material
and printed and digital workbooks. Also, AMA did
not get involved in the training of employees of
the different municipalities that were included in
the Simplex program, leaving this process effort
to the municipalities.
Regarding the collaboration issue, among the
three cases analyzed, the Municipality of Águeda,
that sought to establish relationships with other
municipalities in order to exchange experiences
and ideas in a systematic way, stands out as a
good example.
The Municipality of Porto and the Inter-
municipal community of Vale do Minho sought
collaboration with other local authorities only
sporadically, which produced few benefits in these
relationships. In both cases some difficulties in
maintaining these relationships were reported due
to the low interest/involvement of their partners.
AMA has sought to encourage the maximum
exchange among the Municipalities, through a
series of events as well as from the sharing of
experiences. AMA’s support to local authorities
was also considered from the outset, as a crucial
point to the success of the Simplex program.
Therefore, AMA tried to be very present during the
implementation of the actions, while recognizing
that success depended on the deep commitment
of the local municipalities.
Moreover, the initiative to have contact with
other municipalities depends both on the willing-
ness of the person responsible for the program
and on the availability of human resources in
the local municipalities. Although AMA could
play a greater role in this aspect, facilitating and
further promoting contacts and meetings between
the participants, it was left to the local bodies to
decide who to contact with and how to do it.
Each municipality developed its own strategic plan
to promote the different actions of the Simplex
program. Those plans proved to be an important
tool in the municipalities of Porto and Águeda,
that also deployed the project management tools
and the monitoring of action plans in order to man-
age their involvement with the Simplex program.
These actions not only demonstrated their total
commitment to the program, but also contributed
to its success.
The main use of ICT within the Simplex program,
contrary to AMA’s expectation, took place within
the municipalities in the management of the plans
and actions, especially in Porto and Águeda.
The ITC platform, created in 2008 to underpin
the Simplex program, uses the share point concept
that allows the sharing of information between
people located in different places and involves
discussion fora, a documentation warehouse, shar-
ing news, sharing projects information, sharing
timetables, etc.
It is, in essence, an internal tool focused on
the employees of central and local administration,
but that can also be used externally by citizens
and businesses.
The Importance of Collaboration in Knowledge Management in Public Services
The most significant benefit of this ICT plat-
form is its capacity of safeguarding stored docu-
ments, which ensures the preservation of historical
records and the assessment of all changes.It is
possible to know who changed which documents
and when all documents were altered. The use of
the platform for document management purposes
was one of the main assets of the Simplex program
for satisfactorily coordinating the whole data flow.
On the other hand, the participation in discus-
sion fora as well as other events held during the
program, although encouraged,did not reach the
original expected values AMA forecasted.
Organizational Culture
A strong leadership is an important issue in
transferring knowledge across organizational
boundaries. The municipality of Águeda is by
far the most developed of the three municipalities
with a strong organizational culture focused on
continuous improvement and administrative sim-
plification. This entrenched culture is the result of
a long term commitment that started in 1995 and
has as outcome very interesting internal projects
for managing data and documentation workflows.
The ISO 9001 quality standard certification and
the participation in the EFQM’s program, by the
municipalities of Porto and Águeda, show their
high concern for the continuous improvement
and facilitate the implementation of necessary
changes in their services and processes within the
Simplex program, due the their commitment to
quality management systems. On the other hand,
the participation in the program also increases the
awarding probability by EFQM.
Although using project management tools for
assessing Simplex plans and actions, the account-
ability of the results could have gone further.
Human Resources
Encouraging participation of people in the pro-
gram, though an important factor in generating
commitment, was not systematically used by local
authorities studied. The main motivation for par-
ticipation in the Simplex program was identified
by employees of Águeda’s municipality, due to
their internal organizational culture being focused
on continuous improvement.
The analysis of these three case studies dem-
onstrates the potential of the Simplex program
as an incentive tool for knowledge sharing and
management involving local authorities.The
constant stimulus to the implementation of both
improvements in services and simplification of
procedures can be considered an important step
towards the formation of next generation of public
institutions, focused on the transfer and internal-
ization of new knowledge.
The commitment assumed by local authorities
for the absorption of this new knowledge means
that a new open mind and a continuous improve-
ment process is mandatory to develop brand new,
citizens’ oriented services. However, although
there are stimuli to improve the relationship among
the participants of the program, among local au-
thorities, and even between local authorities and
AMA, a brand new “open” culture is necessary.
The Simplex program ICT platform, which should
have been a great underpinning tool to foster col-
laboration among the program participants, has
not been used as initially planned. It seems that
the lack of culture to participate in discussion
fora and the slowness of the system are pointed
out as some of the causes for the low utilization
of the ICT platform.
The Importance of Collaboration in Knowledge Management in Public Services
Direct contact between the participants of the
program has not been conducted frequently. Ex-
amples of cooperation identified in the program,
which resulted in the implementation of improve-
ments, confirm the importance of collaboration in
knowledge management, but it is worth reiterating
that these are isolated cases and the exchange of
experiences, despite being a stated goal of the
program, happens only sporadically.
Another point to emphasize is the difference
in expectations for the Simplex program between
the municipalities studied and AMA. For example,
AMA expected that the program would encourage,
among other things, the exchange of experiences
between local authorities, which would lead to
service improvements. On the other hand, the
Municipalities give little value to this facet of the
program, although they recognize that it could be
of added value.
The commitment to the program proved to be a
determining factor for the successful implementa-
tion of the plans and actions. The commitment to
administrative simplification was clearly evident
in all municipalities analyzed, to a greater or lesser
extent, through the existence of earlier programs
or projects also related to the topic. However, in
the Simplex program, the commitment was not
evenly followed by local authorities, being the
leadership style and the ways of encouraging and
motivating people a good indicator.
The adjustment of the Simplex program to the
local reality was not a concern for the municipali-
ties studied. In the cases of Porto and Águeda this
was due to the existence of consolidated earlier
initiatives towards administrative simplification.
In the case of the inter-municipal community
of Vale do Minho, it is believed that the lack of
employees’ involvement and the type of organi-
zational structure adopted jeopardized a deeper
commitment to the program.
This study also sought to identify the rela-
tionship of knowledge management with the
strategies implemented, technologies employed,
organizational culture, management processes,
people management and organizational structure
of municipalities.Significant differences were
found between the municipalities in some of these
items, which explains the different approaches
to the program and, consequently, the results
achieved. Among the items evaluated, the lack
of action to encourage employee participation in
the program, which could have generated greater
commitment to it, was one of the main limitations
of municipalities. Moreover, the technological
structure proved to be an important tool used by
local municipalities.
In order to improve the results of the program, a
standard tool based on Kaplan and Norton’s (1997)
Balanced Scorecard to analyze the results must be
implemented, firstly, in order to give the results
credibility, and secondly, as a means of compat-
ibility and incentive for further improvement.
The improvement of the communication
among the players involved in the program as well
as the improvement of the ICT infrastructure is
also mandatory for a more widespread participa-
tion of both the players involved and the citizens.
This chapter addressed the importance of knowl-
edge in collaborative Public Administration en-
vironments in Portugal, namely between AMA’s
Simplex program and three local municipalities.
Although the analysis has highlighted successful
co-operative relationships and a knowledge-shar-
ing atmosphere, it also shows that different players
behave differently in what regards to knowledge
management activities: while AMA is interested
in generating transfer-oriented knowledge, the
local municipalities are much more tuned to get-
ting involved in co-operative activities when they
realize they can internalize brand new knowledge.
Taking into account AMA’s objective of iden-
tifying, developing and evaluating programs to
modernize and simplify the Portuguese public
services, it is clear that all the players have dif-
The Importance of Collaboration in Knowledge Management in Public Services
ferent perspectives regarding their involvement.
Although knowledge-sharing relationships are
normally initiated by AMA in order to pursue their
objectives, this work concludes that successful
knowledge transfer amongst all players depends
on the contextual setting in which this takes place:
firstly, they fitted best when both players are tuned
to a co-operative atmosphere based on mutual trust
and dependency and secondly, they are doomed
when players do not deploy strong interaction-
oriented capabilities with other players.
As described before, some municipalities
have effectively internalized knowledge from
their relationships with AMA. Nevertheless, in-
ternalization of knowledge from this co-operative
approach is only possible when the municipality
has developed its own internal absorptive capac-
ity from a continuous improvement plan (see
for example the Porto’s ISO 9000 and Águeda’s
EFQM program) and steers its own knowledge
management capabilities.
AMA’s interaction-oriented capabilities,
although interesting in order to intensify both
general and operating knowledge regarding the
modernization and simplification of the Portu-
guese public services, is doomed to failure if not
properly assessed in less-endowed, small-sized
municipalities. Accordingly, interactive-oriented
capabilities need to be nurtured and require careful
inter-organizational involvement between AMA
and local municipalities as well as extensive
learning-by-doing and learning-by-interacting
practices in order to generate new organizational
Some of the differences between the local
municipalities can be attributed to both the lack of
commitment to AMA’s program and to different
organizational styles/structures, i.e. the lack of a
win-win, symbiotic relationship.
Although interaction-oriented capabilities
of AMA’s Simplex program played a pervasive
role in disseminating the modernization and the
simplification of Portuguese public services, it is
the municipality’s knowledge creating capacity
that enables the continuous improvement of its
knowledge base towards the same modernization
and the simplification.
Clearly, AMA’s challenges are far from solved
as each municipality has its own strategy. Although
knowledge management plays an important role
in disseminating the modernization of services, a
truly customer-centric approach is a challenge that
can only be overcome when local municipalities
and AMA are tuned to a common shared vision
in terms of services and customer satisfaction.
The present study sought to identify issues relevant
to knowledge management in public institutions.
Although its main limitation is the fact that it is
based on a small number of case studies on how
local communities dealt with a national program,
its main advantage is that it depicted the intrica-
cies of how those local communities dealt with
knowledge management initiatives.
One aspect that deserves deeper research is
how knowledge management initiatives enhance
the values for all the players involved in non-
hierarchical networks, as is the case between
AMA and their local counterparts. In this situa-
tion researching the following aspects would be
of added value:
How the control of activities, such as au-
dits or benchmarking studies, can inu-
ence the transfer and the internalization of
How a reward system would increase
the collaborative relationships among lo-
cal municipalities and between them and
How the implementation of a Balanced
Scorecard, for the Simplex program as
well as for the municipalities, could inu-
ence AMA’s strategy and the transfer of
knowledge to the local municipalities.
The Importance of Collaboration in Knowledge Management in Public Services
A much more focused research involving the
type of organizational structure, the organizational
culture, the municipality knowledge acquisition
strategy and how quality management systems
influence knowledge flows between organizations
would be of added value.
A quantitative research approach involving all
the municipalities that participated in the Simplex
program would be of interest to identify and quan-
tify the most influential variables that underpin
the degree of strategic communality between local
municipalities and AMA.
Finally, it would be of added value to address
the degree of integration of knowledge sharing
management strategies with the service delivery
performance in order to understand how local au-
thorities can be restructured to achieve a minimum
threshold of customer satisfaction and orientation.
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Administrative Simplification: The mod-
ernization of the public administration in order to
improve services to the customers/users through
the dematerialization, zero bureaucracy and elec-
tronic government.
AMA: Public institution responsible for the
administrative simplification in Portugal.
Cooperation: The process of sharing informa-
tion, experiences or other resources by members
of the collaborative network. The main facilitators
of a cooperative relationship are the following
ones: a systemic thinking, a shared vision and a
proficient dialogue capability.
Knowledge: The set of information interpreted
and internalized according the previous experi-
ences of the recipient individual.
Knowledge Management: The intentional
process of creation, acquisition and sharing of
knowledge and its utilization as a key factor in
the creation of added value. It is an inextricably
human and cooperative process.
Simplex Program: One of AMA’s programs
created to deploy administrative simplification in
the Portuguese local public sector.
1 The English translation is “Municipal Sim-
plex”. For simplicity reason is going to be
called Simplex program.
... Findings of several researches [7], [8] demonstrate that collaboration and knowledge management have mutual and complementary relationships, meaning that they feed and build upon each other. Collaboration can promote knowledge management, and knowledge management can drive organization collaboration. ...
The automotive troubleshooting unfolds from the system phase to the multiple-domain phase. It is necessary that different field members, for example, system and domain engineers, cooperate tightly toward an integrated product service process. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to generate a knowledge management platform for the overall automotive troubleshooting service. Besides, general ontologies, automotive troubleshooting service ontology (ATSO), is also created as a helpful tool for the communication of heterogeneous systems. This proposed approach of automotive collaborative troubleshooting is explained with the corresponding meta-model. The main contribution of this research is to assure the traceability in both system and domain phases by structuring knowledge. Eventually, an application is illustrated in enhancing re-usability in the region of automotive braking system in collaborative environment.
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to understand how suppliers have managed to accumulate knowledge in their relationship with large multinational clients. Design/methodology/approach The methodology was based on four case studies' qualitative data, collected from semi‐structured, in‐depth interviews. The buyers were selected among the largest MNEs of the electronics, automotive and footwear industries and the suppliers were selected among the set of SMEs supplying to those MNEs. The objective was to assess the supplier's knowledge transfer‐oriented capabilities and the buyer's interaction‐oriented capabilities in the SBR. Findings The paper highlights the important leading role of the client in the buyer‐supplier relationship involving SMEs as well as the knowledge‐sharing atmosphere of successful cooperative relationships. Although it confirms the advantages of alliances for SMEs, knowledge transfer‐oriented capabilities, are used by SMEs in order to sustain client satisfaction and to strengthen their core competencies. Despite all efforts of SMEs, if clients are not willing to use interaction‐oriented capabilities, buyer‐supplier relationships are doomed to failure. Research limitations/implications One practical implication is that, if SMEs are adequately supported by public policies, it is possible to transfer knowledge from more advanced to less endowed economies . The main limitation stems from the fact that it is not possible to claim generalisation as the research is the result of a series of four case studies. Originality/value The paper uses dyadic relationships as a viable option to compensate internal knowledge deficiencies of SMEs in their relationship with MNEs. It complements former research as little is known about the importance of alliances in the context of knowledge acquisition and learning in SMEs. It contributes to the SME scientific literature by investigating how SMEs learn from their alliance partners.
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Purpose Facilitating knowledge sharing within organisations is a difficult task: the willingness of individuals to share and integrate their knowledge is one of the central barriers. This paper aims to develop a motivation‐based perspective to explore how organisations resolve the social dilemma of knowledge sharing. Design/methodology/approach The analysis builds on a three‐category taxonomy of motivation, adding “hedonic” motivation to the traditional dichotomy of “extrinsic” and “intrinsic” motivation. It uses case studies gleaned from the literature to explore the interactive effects between the different motivators in two different types of knowledge‐intensive organisations: professional bureaucracy and operating adhocracy. Findings Within a professional bureaucracy, the social dilemma of knowledge sharing may be overcome through normative motivation, with provision of hedonic motivation through extrinsic incentives such as training and career progression. In an operating adhocracy where interdependent teamwork is vital, it may be overcome through normative alignment reinforced by intensive socialisation. Extrinsic motivators that align with hedonic motivation may also reinforce the propensity for knowledge sharing. In both organisational types, financial extrinsic incentives do not appear to be relevant on their own, and may “crowd out” other motivators. Research limitations/implications The cases reported were chosen from the existing literature and, although many were not designed specifically to address motivational issues, suggestive conclusions are drawn. Most of the cases were drawn from organisations rooted in the Anglo‐American context and thus care would be needed in generalising the findings to organisations in other contexts. Originality/value The paper represents the first attempt to apply a three‐category taxonomy of motivation to examine knowledge‐sharing behaviour in organisations. It highlights the interaction between the different motivators and provides a basis to integrate further the work of social psychologists and socio‐economists on incentives and motivation in the context of knowledge sharing.
In design research, the issues of what exactly constitutes user value and how design can contribute to its creation are not commonly discussed. This paper provides a critical overview of the theories of value used in anthropology, sociology, philosophy, business, and economics. In doing so, it reviews a range of theoretical and empirical studies, with particular emphasis on their position on product, user, and designer in the process of value creation. The paper first looks at the similarities and differences among definitions of value as exchange, sign, and experience. It then reviews types and properties of user value such as its multidimensionality, its contextuality, its interactivity, and the stages of user experience dependency identified by empirical studies. Methodological approaches to user value research and their possible applications in design are also discussed. Finally, directions for future research on user value are discussed giving particular emphasis to the need of tools and methods to support design practice.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between organizational commitment and knowledge management initiatives in developing learning organization capacity (LOC). Design/methodology/approach – This is an empirical study based on a single case study, using partial least squares (PLS) analysis. Findings – The strategic importance of LOC and the role of knowledge sharing in developing LOC have been well documented. The effect of social and conversational technologies on LOC has also undergone investigation. The effect of individual factors (e.g. attitudes) towards such technologies has not been adequately described empirically. This paper links organizational commitment, a broad attitude domain, and technology aptitude, a narrow attitudinal facet, to knowledge sharing via a social and conversational technology. Originality/value – This research clarifies person‐related effects within these important workplace phenomena.
Purpose With a few exceptions, the mainstream literature on learning in multinational enterprises (MNEs) has shown little concern for the transformational nature and the social constitution of learning. This paper aims to address this gap by drawing on Scandinavian institutionalism, social learning perspectives, and comparative institutionalism. Design/methodology/approach A comparative case study of two subsidiaries of the same MNE was conducted. The subsidiaries received similar practices from headquarters (HQ) but displayed contrasting learning outcomes. Findings It is shown that learning outcomes differed based on the varying extent to which practices were translated, which depends on the participation of local actors. The difference in participation pattern, in turn, is rooted in differences in the institutional context of the two subsidiaries. Research limitations/implications It is recognized that apart from institutional influences, organizational idiosyncrasies may be at work. In addition, the paper briefly considers the extent to which the notion of contrasting forms of capitalism is still useful when comparing the German and British institutional contexts. Practical implications The findings highlight the importance of involving employees in the translation of new practices. A challenge for MNEs is that learning of new practices can differ by institutional context. Where enabling institutional conditions are absent, conscious effort may be needed to ensure employee participation. Originality/value This paper highlights that MNE practice transfer rests on the translation of the practice content to the local context, and that subsidiary‐level learning processes may be institutionally embedded, thus establishing a link between subsidiary learning and the macro‐level context. As such, this paper both illustrates the value of social learning perspectives and the relevance of the work of institutionalists for understanding MNE learning processes.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine whether universities can find ways to make more practical contributions through collaboration, collective reflection and joint learning. Design/methodology/approach The approach takes the form of action research and cooperation in three different development networks in Sweden. Data are analyzed by theories on science in society, organizational learning, dialogue and reflection. Findings Results show that the participants in the networks reduced their insecurity and increased their competence to handle change. The dialogue, exchange of experiences and systematic reflections gave ideas, knowledge and contacts that supported them in their work life and inspired them to take development action. Research limitations/implications Researchers can contribute to the development process by acting as facilitators and using interactive methods for joint learning. Coming from different cultures and aiming to collaborate under equal and democratic conditions, all involved actors must have an attitude that is humble and free of an assumed prestige. Practical implications External development networks with university participation can be a useful tool for internal development. Originality/value Interactive research is a possible way for universities to make practical contributions at work. All academics who work with applied research should consider this approach.
Knowledge-based competition has magnified the importance of learning alliances as a fast and effective mechanism of capability development. This case presents a technology transfer project from a university's engineering research center to a private firm to illuminate learning and knowledge-based determinants of the outcomes of such projects. In this paper, project success and effective knowledge transfer are used interchangeably to indicate a relatively high level of achievement of intended as well as the unintended benefits to the recipient firm. The main focus of this paper is on the contribution of prior related knowledge and the learning processes and activities, performed by the recipient firm, to such benefits. Based on the results of the case study, this paper draws several implications that differ from those prevailing in the literature on organizational learning and technology transfer, proposes ideas for future research, and makes practical recommendations for managers.
Under the influence of the changes induced by the movement known as New Public Management, the administration in general and the local governments in particular are assuming multiple and fragmented forms, with more and more complex group structures. The administration of this fragmentation and the role of the accounting information in its optimization arise questions about the critical analysis of the present administration system as well as about local governments information and auditing. Paradoxically, in Portugal, despite the multiplicity of control bodies on local governments, the local governments’ accounts are appreciated by the municipal assemblies without the previous analysis of an auditor. In this work we will try to characterize the new universe of local governments, describing the current system of information and analysing the functions and competences of the several bodies of control of the municipal districts, identifying overlappings and gaps in the existing system, in the context of complex group of entities that local governments are assuming.