Soft Thinking and Intellectual Capital

Topics: Knowledge management, Management, Systems thinking Pages: 19 (5494 words) Published: June 18, 2013
Using Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) in Formulating Knowledge Management Systems (KMS) Strategy for Malaysian Public Institutions of Higher Education (PIHE). 1 2 3 Authors: Nor Hasliza Md Saad , Prof. Dr Rose Alinda Alias and Dr. Azizah Abdul Rahman 1 Email: School of Management University Science Malaysia, 11800 Minden, Penang Tel: 604-6533888 2 Email: , Deputy Dean 1 (Project Management & Finance), Research Management Centre, F54 Block, University Teknology Malaysia, Skudai, 81310, Johor, Malaysia Tel:6075537803 3 Email: Faculty of Computer Science and Information Systems University Technology Malaysia, 81310, Skudai, Johor Malaysia Tel: 07-5532099, Fax: 07-5532210

Abstract The purpose of this paper is to discuss both the methodology and the finding on how Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) is used as a basis for formulating KMS strategy in four case studies conducted within Malaysian Public Institution of Higher Education (PIHE) context. The concept of SSM was used to integrate two streams of cultural analysis and logic-based analysis to understand the ill-structured problem situation in the context. Throughout the analysis Multiple Perspectives (MP) Theory by Mitroff and Linstone (1993) is employed to differentiate between the Technical Perspective, Organizational Perspective and Personal Perspective of the formulation of KMS strategy in the context. This approach presents a holistic view of formulating KMS strategy by combining both technical and non-technical issues including business processes and human activities within an organization. The processes reflect upon the objective to answer the two main research questions; (a) How to formulate a holistic strategy for KMS implementation? and (b) What are the factors influencing the formulation of KMS strategy? Keywords: Soft System Methodology, Multiple Perspectives Theory, Knowledge Management System Strategy. 1.0 Introduction KMS is used to leverage the potential organizational knowledge through the support of technology. Consequently, prominent global organization focused their attention to the value creation through leveraging knowledge, for example HP, Xerox, BP and Dell (Housel & Bell, 2001).The wide acceptance of KMS implementation in various types of business sectors has also stimulated many researchers to explore KMS implementation in Institution of Higher Education (IHE) context where their core business is primarily related to knowledge activities. If Peter Ducker is the management guru in corporate world, Kidwell, Linde and Johnson (2000) are among the earlier notable authors in initiating KM concepts within the IHE context. This paper demonstrates the use of SSM as a framework to make sense of the situation under study in which KMS strategy will be implemented. Furthermore, information from this case study also provides insight into and makes sense of the human issues and management within an organization. KMS strategy refers to a range of potential tactics to enhance the process of managing organizational knowledge by employing advanced technological tools and application in business activities. This is similar to Henderson (1977) in his article ‘The Origin of Strategy’, which he emphasized on strategic thinking from


‘imagination’ and ‘logic’ to develop a potential plan to achieve predefined objectives. KMS differs from the traditional Information Systems (IS) because KMS is not merely concerned on identifying tacit and explicit of organizational knowledge, but also incorporates of integrated applications and collaborative technology with the convergence of electronic network and social network environment to ensure knowledge can be stored, disseminated and utilized in an organization. This is supported by Barnes (2003) as he defines KMS as ‘…not a single technology, but instead a collection of indexing, classifying and information-retrieval techniques coupled with methodologies designed to...

References: Alias, Rose Alinda & Md Saad, Nor Hasliza (2004). “A Multiple Perspectives Review of Knowledge Management Literature”. Journal of Advancing Information and Management Studies. 1(1), 17-32. Barnes, S,(2002) “Knowledge Management Systems: Theory and Practice (Ed)”, Thomson Learning, London, UK. Bennetts, P; Wood-Harper, T & Mills, S (2000). “An Holistic Approach to the Management of Information Systems Development – A View Using Soft Systems Approach and Multiple Viewpoints”. System Practice and Action Research, April, 13, 2, 189-205. Checkland, P (2000). “New Maps of Knowledge Some Animadversions (Friendly) on: Science (Reductionist), Social Science (Hermeneutic), Research (Unmanageable) and Universities (Unmanaged)”, System Research and Behavioral Science, System Research, (17), pp. S59-S75. Checkland, P & Holwell (1993). “Information Management & Organization Processes: An Approach through Soft Systems Methodology”. Journal of Information System, 3, 3-16. Checkland, P & Scholes, J (1999). “Soft Systems Methodology in Action: Includes a 30-Year Retrospective”. John Wiley & Sons. England. Housel, T and Bell, A, H (2001), “Measuring and Managing Knowledge”, McGraw-Hill Irwin, Singapore. Kidwell, J. J.; Linde, K. M. & Johnson, S. L. (2000), Applying Corporate KM Practices in Higher Education, Educause Quarterly, 4. 28-33. Mitroff, I. I & Linstone, H. A, (1993), “The Unbounded Mind: Breaking the Chains of Traditional Business Thinking”, Oxford University Press. Alias , Rose Alinda, 1997), “A Multiple Perspective Exploration of Information System Quality in Malaysia Context” Unpublished Thesis of Doctor of Philosophy from Department of Computers & Maths Science, University of Salford, UK. Tsui, E (2003). Tracking the Role and Evolution of Commercial Knowledge Management Software. In Holsapple, C.W.(Ed) Handbook on Knowledge Management: 2 Knowledge Direction. Springer.
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