Optimisation of Knowledge Work in the Public Sector by Means of Digital Metaphors

Although most enterprises nowadays increasingly employ digital informa-tion management in all areas, there are still many organisations – e.g. in the Public Sector – where much of formal and informal information is documented on paper only. This work lays out the concept of a set of digital metaphors for entities in the “paper world” and argues that they will ease the adoption and acceptance of digital informa-tion and knowledge management solutions.

We furthermore describe how the metaphors are linked with each other. We place a special focus on the relationship between informal, unstructured information and formally structured one, as well as on collaboration and knowledge sharing enabled by the metaphors. These aspects have been combined into a prototype that is described and illustrated in some detail

Challenges and Solutions for Knowledge Sharing in Inter-Organizational Teams: First Experimental Results on the Positive Impact of Visualization

As pointed out by several scholars, inter-organizational collaboration is an important vehicle for knowledge creation. But the process of integrating knowledge across organizational boundaries entails great complexity. In this paper, we argue that visualizing knowledge in inter-organizational meetings is a conduit of knowledge sharing, and enables innovative re-combinations of organizational competences. We propose an experimental design to uncover the advantages and possible disadvantages of using visual techniques as a support for inter-organizational knowledge sharing. In particular, we compare the process and the outcome of knowledge sharing in inter-organizational teams supported with 1) software-based visualization, 2) poster-based visualization, and 3) text-based methods. The first results of our experiments suggest that software-supported teams outperform the control groups in knowledge-sharing tasks, and exhibit greater satisfaction with teamwork process and outcome. After discussing relevant implications for both researchers and practitioners, we point out limitations of our study and suggest directions for future research.

Towards Need-driven Knowledge Sharing in Distributed Teams

Knowledge sharing between individuals has traditionally been conducted using faceto- face conversation. In the networked society – initially formed by telegraphs and the phone and nowadays powered by the Internet – many acts of knowledge sharing are carried out in a mediated fashion. While this typically introduces a number of problems in the knowledge sharing process, it also offers certain advantages. In this paper, we describe a framework for analyzing different modes of knowledge sharing. Furthermore, we line out the concept of “need-driven” knowledge sharing to address limitations in current mediated knowledge sharing approaches.

Do Visualizations Foster Experience Sharing and Retention in Groups? Towards an Experimental Validation

In recent years the visualization of knowledge has been gaining wider attention: visualization is said to enhance human capabilities for knowledge intense activities such as decision making and strategic thinking. However, this is a recent field and still widely unexplored. Thus far, the advantages of knowledge visualization have been investigated mainly through anecdotal evidence and qualitative studies. In this paper, we propose an experimental approach to further comprehend the role of visualization in fostering knowledge sharing. We plan to compare the elicitation and evaluation processes of groups who are provided (1) with an optimal visual support, (2) with a sub-optimal visual support, and (3) without any visualization. The goal of our research is to apply the experimental approach – widely used in studying GSS (Group Support System) but seldom used in knowledge management – to shed light on the role of visualization for knowledge-intensive tasks in groups. We report first preliminary results of an experiment with 56 MBA students and also outline the limitations of our approach.

The Leap to Knowledge Management for Universities in Developing Economies

Although collaboration is widely accepted as the most efficient method for creating value some important barriers of knowledge sharing arise leading to the creation of noncollaborative environments. Especially in developing countries, universities have to face new challenges that rise from shifts in the knowledge production paradigms and from frequent changes in policies. Considering these particularities, we believe that some measures have to be taken to ensure a leap to knowledge sharing, a leap over usual knowledge sharing barriers that arise on traditional approaches to knowledge management implementations.

Collaboration Patterns for Knowledge Sharing and Integration in Second Life: A Classification of Virtual 3D Group Interaction Scripts

In this paper we propose a classification and systematic description structure based on the pattern paradigm for interaction scripts in Second Life that aim at facilitating knowledge sharing and knowledge integration in groups. We present eight examples of such interactions, a description structure to formalize them, and classify them into four classes according to their design scope and added value. Based on this classification we distinguish among sophisticated 3D collaboration patterns, seamless patterns, decorative patterns, and pseudo patterns.

Analyzing Organizational Information Gaps

In this paper, we analyze the relation of private and public information spaces in organizations and its implication for organizational knowledge management. By private information spaces, we mean all (electronic) information, which is only accessible by a single person in an organization (e.g. local files or personal E-Mails). The organizational information space in turn, consists of all electronic information, which can be accessed by all or most members of an organization. Based on this distinction, we develop a notion of information gaps between the organizational and the individual worker’s information space. We derive four basic situations and discuss the implications for organizational knowledge management in each one. We support our claims by describing results from initial evaluation studies.

A Dynamic Factorial Model of Knowledge Exchange and Sharing – An Exploratory Perspective

There is surprisingly little literature specifically concerned with theorising and conceptualising of the transfer and sharing of complex information and/or knowledge, despite the fact that its significance is widely and without restriction acknowledged throughout the [mostly Anglo-American] literature on knowledge management and organisational learning. It is the aim of this paper to provide a brief review that allows an eclectic snapshot of the state of the – predominantly continental European – literature on this subject. After an introductory definition and limitation of the concepts involved the theoretical constructs are illustrated with the use of a set of models – selected predominantly for their link to empirical research and the capability to delimit the field. The empirical grounding of the models makes it possible to view them as partial investigations contributing individual elements of a more overarching research framework into which future studies may be integrated. In conclusion, a systemic approach of knowledge exchange in the form of a dynamic factorial model is proposed, the contributing frameworks are further categorised as to the type of knowledge for which they would be of maximum utility and the influence of external issue and problem spaces is shown.

Knowledge Sharing in a Logistics Education Network: Challenges, IT Concepts, Operational Model

The ELA-LogNet is an educational network of persons and institutions involved in logistics education and training and interested in supporting it by use of multimedia and information technologies. It focuses on enabling logistics educators and trainers to introduce any kinds of educational multimedia and technologies to their educational processes as knowledgeable consumers or well acquainted supervisors or even to become enthusiastic multimedia developers. For this, not only an appropriate technological infrastructure is required, but also an organizational basis and culture encouraging collaboration and exchange to the benefit of all of the network’s members. The paper will discuss these aspects on the basis of experience gained within the ELA-LogNet to help educational networks to encourage knowledge sharing and overcome knowledge hiding despite competitive situations.

Hybrid Forms of Knowledge Sharing and Transfer in Higher Education: A Case Study

Technology-enhanced support for knowledge sharing and transfer in higher education has attracted increasing attention over the past years. Within this context, this paper presents a case study on knowledge sharing conducted with more than 160 students at Graz University of Technology in the winter term 04/05. During the course of the study, the students were provided with a working environment consisting of different knowledge management instruments. The paper motivates the use of these instruments, compiles lessons learned with applying these tools and makes recommendations for future developments in the area of hybrid forms of knowledge sharing.

Impact of Social Roles on Designing Sociotechnical Knowledge Sharing

This contribution describes results of an empirical study based on interviews with experts in “course guidance” at three European Universities. Sharing of knowledge about course guidance at the Universities happens merely fragmentally and not systematically. This is a problem, especially for new students and beginners. The study’s goal was to shed light on existing roles in organizations and look at their impact on designing knowledge sharing. What are the role-based principles that have to be taken into consideration when designing sociotechnical systems?

Knowledge Management in Challenging Settings – A Case of Military Aircraft

Besides typical challenges related to knowledge management (KM), EADS Military Aircraft is facing some specific challenges resulting from the company’s history as well as from its position in the military environment. This descriptive case study reports on the specific challenges and state-of-the-art of KM within a military company and presents some KM initiatives related to these challenges. Furthermore, challenges are related to corresponding concepts and criteria for selecting specific methodologies to tackle upcoming challenges. Finally, the authors are concluding this paper with several key success factors for KM within this environment and give an overview of the next steps.

Inter-Organizational Knowledge Community Building: Sustaining or Overcoming Organizational Boundaries?

Various studies focus on general networks within and between organizations, but strongly focused studies on knowledge sharing through social networks and communities within specific domains that are of critical relevance to the R&D organization are hard to find. Therefore, the argument presented here is explored through an empirical case study on inter-organizational knowledge community building between different research institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, a large German organization for contract research in all fields of the applied engineering sciences. Expert knowledge communication and networking processes are evaluated by a multi-level approach. Institutionalization of knowledge transfer is studied with regard to the development of the informal contacts between the community members and the inter-organizational linkages on an aggregated level. The main focus is put on the relationships of knowledge exchange between the formal organizational boundaries and the informal interorganizational network structures. Finally, this case study aims at further supporting the adaptation of methods from social network analysis for purposes of organization and management practice.

Process Awareness in Divergence-supportive Knowledge Communities

DIVergence Awareness (DIVA) is a technological framework for management of divergence occurrence in knowledge communities, which is a precursor to the creation of new knowledge in these communities. The DIVA workspace system is aware of the members’ profiles (skills, interests, etc) and their evolution; and as a result, it can deliver custom-made contributions to the members in an attempt to manage divergence within the community. In this paper we introduce process awareness formalism as an addition to the existing formalism of DIVA in order to enhance knowledge creation and knowledge sharing processes within the DIVA process. The added formalism achieves these objectives by facilitating identification of the process awareness requirements of the actors based on both the roles they play as well as the tasks they perform within the DIVA process.

A Framework Supporting Knowledge Sharing in Organizations

This paper focuses on a framework for supporting knowledge sharing in organizations through computer support. Results from three ethnographic field studies of organizational knowledge in three kinds of settings show that sharing of knowledge, or finding things out, is a highly contingent matter. There is no single solution to support this. Instead, a combination of communication tools, awareness applications and information management solutions provide a suitable framework for knowledge sharing. One of the field studies also included an evaluation of a number of lightweight prototypes developed based on the three areas focused on in the framework. The results from the evaluation indicate that the framework is suitable for the purpose of supporting knowledge sharing.

Knowledge-Based Strategy Development: An Integrated Approach

Strategy development is a rational decision making process, carried out by a group of managers aiming to match the organization’s resources to the opportunities arising from its competitive environment. We argue that, in order to develop successful strategic plans, contemporary business organizations should exploit features from diverse disciplines to attain a synthesis of the strategists’ highly specialized state-of-the-art knowledge. In this paper, we present a collaborative framework where Decision Support Systems and Knowledge Management Systems features are integrated for the appropriate handling of strategic management issues. Based on a well-defined ontology model that interweaves concepts from the Knowledge Management, Argumentation Theory, Decision Making and Multicriteria Decision Aid disciplines, our framework enables strategists to collaborate and accomplish a common understanding of different user perspectives. Furthermore, it assists them in reaching a decision by exploiting the organization’s knowledge resources.

A Tool for Supporting Knowledge Creation and Exchange in Knowledge Intensive Organisations

In this paper we describe a software tool which aims at supporting the interplay between autonomous management of local knowledge within communities and the sharing, negotiation and coordination of knowledge among different (heterogeneous) communities, in order to sustain perspective making and perspective taking leading to innovation. The developed system combines methods for constructing artefacts reflecting the patterns of language use in a community (LanguageMaps) through document clustering and creation of personalised concept networks, with interactive visualisation and with the Reconciler tool for explicit negotiation and alignment of meanings between disparate concepts into ontology-like structures.

SELaKT – Social Network Analysis as a Method for Expert Localisation and Sustainable Knowledge Transfer

In many organisations, conservation of specialised expertise is picked out as a central theme only after experienced members have already left. The paper presents the SELaKT method, a method for Sustainable Expert Localisation and Knowledge Transfer based on social network analysis (SNA). It has been developed during a project co-operation between the Department of Information Science at the Institute for Media and Communication Studies, Free University Berlin, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology IPK, Berlin. The SELaKT method uses recent insights into network analysis and pragmatically adapts SNA to suit organisational practice. Thus it provides a strategic tool to localise experts, to identify knowledge communities and to analyse the structure of knowledge flows within and between organisations. The SELaKT method shows its advances and increasing relevance for practical use by integration of specific organisational conditions and requirements into the process of analysis.

OntoShare – An Ontology-based Knowledge Sharing System for Virtual Communities of Practice

An ontology-based knowledge sharing system OntoShare and its evaluation as part of a case study is described. RDF(S) is are used to specify and populate an ontology, based on information shared between users in virtual communities. We begin by discussing the advantages that use of Semantic Web technology afford in the area of knowledge management tools. The way in which OntoShare supports WWW-based communities of practice is described. Usage of OntoShare semi-automatically builds an RDF-annotated information resource for the community (and potentially for others also). Observing that in practice the meanings of and relationships between concepts evolve over time, OntoShare supports a degree of ontology evolution based on usage of the system – that is, based on the kinds of information users are sharing and the concepts (ontological classes) to which they assign this information. A case study involving OntoShare was carried out. The evaluation exercise and results for this case study are described. We conclude by describing avenues of ongoing and future research.

Cross-Organisational Knowledge Management: a Case Study

This paper describes experience gained in implementation of Knowledge Management models and instruments in a cross—organisational research setup. concretely in a case of Delft Cluster Knowledge Centre. The role of Knowledge Management and in particular of Communities of Practice in Delft Cluster is outlined, followed by an extended list of Lessons Learned.