Inside Knowledge Magazine /Knowledge Management Magazine Archive
Volume 6 Issue 8
KM and change management
Knowledge management is rooted in the need for change – true KM requires a shift in culture and a fundamental re-organisation of the way an enterprise operates. As so many firms have learnt to their cost, ‘plug and play’ is not a concept that applies here. Rather, the success of a KM programme depends on the adoption among knowledge workers of new behaviours and attitudes, a process that requires commitment, dedication and, above all, patience on behalf of those charged with leading the project. It is no exaggeration to say that the bulk of KM initiatives that fail do so because they neglect to take the change-management aspects of the discipline into account.
Though few KM practitioners would dispute this, change management remains an aspect of their art that warrants far more attention than it currently receives. Admittedly, there are no set methods for dealing with change, but firms have a number of options open to them in how they tackle the human dynamics that affect KM implementation. This month, Elisabeth Richard, Jason Slusher and Dave Snowden give their take on some of the central issues businesses should be looking to address, while the importance of effective communication, executive sponsorship, internal feedback and reward schemes is discussed in the Your Say feature. Our change-management special focus begins on page 10.
Also this month we begin a series of articles profiling the keynote speakers at this year’s KM Europe conference and exhibition. Fons Trompenaars, a renowned authority on organisational culture, describes what he sees as the five cultural dilemmas that sit at the heart of knowledge management. He outlines why he feels we need to move beyond knowledge management and towards knowledge leadership, a concept, he argues, that better describes the challenges KM practitioners face. And if you like what you read, you can register to see Fons speak in person in Amsterdam this November – click on www.kmeurope.com for more details.
Your Say: KM and change management
KM practitioners readily accept the centrality of cultural issues in KM, yet few businesses set out to actively manage the change that effective knowledge management entails. Simon Lelic talks to representatives from FBC, Perceptor, Strategy Partners, Transitus and Xerox, and assesses the importance of the change-management aspects of KM, outlining a number of techniques that companies can use to facilitate a shift in working practices.
Any project that deals with intangibles faces a number of hurdles before it will become part of day-to-day working practices within an organisation. Jason Slusher looks at the principles firms need to follow if they are to ensure their knowledge-management programme is effectively institutionalised and digested.
Ten new archetypes in network-age government
The concept of behavioural transformation from industrial-age to network-age government, while understood conceptually, remains difficult to grasp. Built on the work of scholars in the field of psychology and knowledge management, archetypes can help clarify this concept and in turn be used as change agents in uncharted territories. Elisabeth Richard describes the collaborative, iterative process involved in building these archetypes and sketches the main characteristics by which old-school and younger public servants collectively describe the main characters of a new odyssey.
Managing for serendipity
While best practice has its place in knowledge management, the fundamental principles on which the theory of best practice is based are often misplaced. Dave Snowden outlines several alternatives that that should help organisations to ensure that their KM initiative fully engages employees and allows for improved decision making and enhanced innovation capabilities.
KM and the social network
An organisations ability to realise its full operational potential is dependent on the strength of the relationships between its employees. Patti Anklam explains how social-network analysis can be used to collate and analyse the patterns of relationships that exist in an enterprise, and outlines the potential benefits the methodology can bring to a corporate knowledge-management programme.
The knowledge: Fons Trompenaars
Having researched and written extensively on how reconciling cultural differences can lead to competitive advantage, Fons Trompenaars is now widely recognised as a leading authority on organisational culture. He talks to Simon Lelic about what he sees as the five cultural dilemmas that sit at the heart of KM, and the need to move beyond knowledge management and towards knowledge leadership.
Country focus: India
Simon Lelic talks to Dr J.K. Suresh about the evolution of knowledge management in India.
Five minutes with
Jacquie Bran, project manager with the Knowledge Management events team, talks to Trevor Harkin, knowledge manager for Jaguar Cars, about his experiences implementing a knowledge-management programme incorporating a variety of diverse approaches and tools.
Book review: The Committed Enterprise
Bruce Lloyd reviews The Committed Enterprise: How to Make Vision and Values Work.