Methodology and diagnostic management tool for the coordination of Organisational Knowledge Management
Griffiths, David Anthony
Since the late 1980s there has been a greater awareness of the need to manage organisational knowledge resources, which are seen as vital to the value proposition of any organisation. This has resulted in the development of a multiplicity of Organisational Knowledge Management (OKM) approaches, systems and processes. OKM as a concept is however experiencing a prolonged period of practitioner and academic dissatisfaction, which is impacting its credibility. Commentators claim that this emanates from the fact that a general model, as a diagnostic mechanism for the field, has not yet emerged, an indicator of immaturity in the field and a destabilising influence on practitioner confidence. This research sets out to explore OKM, with the aim of understanding and attempting to help address this dissatisfaction. The literature review focuses on environmental drivers of OKM as a concept from both practitioner and academic perspectives. This highlights a need for (1) an agreed definition of purpose for OKM systems and (2) a general diagnostic model or framework for those systems that identifies common constructs across sectors or geographic locations. In turn, these require appropriate research evidence. The research reported on in this thesis utilises Soft Systems Methodology as a framework for enquiry. By means of a meta-analysis of literature, the enquiry progresses to a descriptive survey, with findings being illustrated and analysed through fractal analysis. The data is then compared against a sample of models from the field before being translated into a new OKM diagnostic model and supporting toolkit, using logic modelling and a Participatory Integrated Assessment Tool. The application of these to a case study, carried out within in a large multinational organisation, is reported on and evaluated. Findings are that 'self-similarity' exists across existing views of OKM; that the need for knowledge to be used as an organisational resource is a persistent one; that a methodology can be developed that reacts to the needs of academics and practitioners in responding to the challenges from the field; that a proposition for a general organisation diagnostic model is possible; that a robust evidence-based definition for the concept, as well as a general diagnostic model for the coordination of organisational knowledge resources is needed and are provided; and that such a general diagnostic tool, such as has been developed in the research on which this thesis is based, can be applied within an organisation to identify gaps in systems designed to coordinate organisational knowledge resources.