Critical Review of a Journal Article – Ensuring the Effectiveness of a Knowledge Management Initiative

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Critical Review of a Journal Article – Ensuring the effectiveness of a Knowledge Management Initiative (James Bishop, Dino Bouchlaghem, Jacqueline Glass & Isao Matsumoto, 2008) Introduction
Knowledge Management (KM) initiatives are the different approaches adopted by companies which incorporate the shared characteristic of a company’s commitment to developing the flow of knowledge and the maintaining the use and dissemination of knowledge to create economic value (Clarke & Rollo, 2001). Bishop et al. (2008) in the article share the same underlying belief. They stress that the term KM initiative, represents an organization’s approach towards knowledge management and encompasses both human and system components. KM initiatives therefore involve a more holistic approach to managing knowledge, rather than just a systems or information technology (IT) oriented approach. The article particularly lays emphasis on the people factor and people related practices aimed at providing effective KM solutions, within construction firms. Although the context here is of UK based construction firms, the article analyzes the impact on employees and seeks to provide recommendations that are generally applicable across organizations. Further on, it continues to identify several critical factors that ensure the effectiveness of a knowledge management initiative through the stages of pre, post and during implementation. This review attempts to critically analyze whether the article has been successful in doing so and in the process to also bring out some of the key strengths and limitations of the article. The review commences with addressing two main arguments of whether the critical factors stated by the article are in fact a comprehensive set of the most crucial success factors and secondly whether the article indeed lays adequate emphasis on the people (soft) component and covers all aspects of this component, as it claims to. The third argument of the review questions whether the method used to arrive at the critical success factors was appropriate and finally whether the assertions made were substantiated with adequate empirical evidence. The next section enunciates the strengths and limitations observed in the article. The utility of the article is discussed in the following section in terms of whether it has been found useful since published and if so which areas were found beneficial, followed by the conclusion. The article identifies eight critical factors to be considered and applied before, during and after implementation of a KM initiative, to ensure its effectiveness. These include firstly to establish a high level of understanding and a clear definition of KM. This factor highlights that there should be no scope left for misinterpretation of the KM initiatives and the existence of one common understanding. The second factor as per Bishop et al. (2008), is to ensure that the KM initiative fits in with the needs of the individuals and the organization’s business objectives which involve applying the initiative to their specific context and tailoring it incase required, to suit specific business objectives. The next aspect is to integrate the initiative continuously in the organization and the daily lives of employees. Here the authors stress the need for the initiative to become intuitive and be embedded within people’s everyday lives, rather than appearing as an additional task that requires completion. The fourth factor is the need for KM champions and a team to support the implementation of the initiative. The KM champion should ideally be placed a strategic level in the organization as they have the authority, responsibility and accountability for providing the required resources and processes. The article emphasizes the importance for giving the KM champion the required time from the beginning to speak to people across the organization and communicate the benefits of the initiative. The next factor critical factor is...
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