World Bank Knowledge Management

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Organizational learning and knowledge-sharing are key competitive characteristics of nowadays global organizations (Teale, 2003). The development and exploitation of the intangible capabilities of an organization is a successful approach for increasing organizational responsiveness to the continuously changing external environment (Little, 2002). Being challenged by the dynamic world of complex needs and expectations, organizations need to effectively and efficiently manage their internal base of resources. An essential organizational resource is knowledge (Choo, 2002). It is not only an essential resource itself but a facilitator and stimulator of new internal capabilities (Little, 2002). The aim of this assignment is to analyze the World Bank needs and initiatives taken to transform to a knowledge-sharing organization. Each initiative is critically evaluated as each has its advantages and disadvantages. The extent to which the bank was successful is analyzed by evaluating the effectiveness of the Bank to meet the objectives of its knowledge-sharing program. Specific recommendations of what could have been done better are drawn after the summarizing conclusion at the end.

Why did the World Bank want to develop its knowledge-sharing program and what challenges did they face in doing so? The World Bank is a global leader in the provision of financial and non-financial support to slowly developing countries. The dynamic external environment and the emergence of more demanding customers’ expectations as also the increased rivalry from other financial institutions alerted the Bank that internal transformations were necessary to stay competitive and serve the purpose of its existence. In this respect, the application of a knowledge-sharing program would provide the Bank with the capability to exploit its internal resources and to ‘bloom’ its intellectual and social capital (Little, 2002). The main problem, the World Bank faced, was failing to exploit its abundant information. On the contrary, the organization focused on exploring new information which appeared to be of no use as it was hardly applied during the daily operations. Exploiting existing information was of crucial importance for the Bank as it would has enhanced its internal capabilities (Choo, 2002). Otherwise as Marsick & Watkins (1999) suggest unexploited information would have the value of meaningless data. That was the reason why the Bank needed to apply its knowledge-sharing program as an essential promoter of transforming abundant information into meaningful knowledge (Marsick & Watkins, 1999). A knowledge-sharing culture would not only make existing information useful but would increase the value of one of the most precious assets praised in the 21st century knowledge-economy ' the human capital (Jackson et al., 2003). This would be another way to energize its internal capabilities and enhance the intellectual potential in its structures.

Critically evaluate the initiatives the Bank took to enhance knowledge sharing and organizational learning. The reforms applied can be categorized as: technological, social, structural and technical. Because of technologies, geographical distances, boundaries and time zones have turned into factors with decreased meaning, (Ackoff, 1994) it can be assumed that they are one of the greatest promoters of communication and knowledge sharing (Yoshihara, 2006). Having the characteristics of storing, searching, retrieving and re-using, just to name a few, made technologies a fundamental factor for embedding the World Bank’s organizational knowledge and sustaining a memory of values and best practices for future generations (Borhoff & Parechi, 1998). In the present case the World Bank implemented a technological system, called ‘ERP’, to facilitate the process of efficient decision-making by collecting and storing information from international operations (Earl and...
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