Potential for leverage between the quality management and knowledge management professional communities : an intellectual capital mapping
This research describes the problems facing two important professional communities, Quality Management (QM) and Knowledge Management (KM), which face multiple challenges in their efforts to impact the organisations in which they operate and contribute significantly to their performance and financial results. The two communities are positioned at very different points in their maturity life cycle. While QM is an aging community that is trying to regain its relevancy, the KM community is still in its infancy, and is struggling to mature. Many practitioners and academics consider both to be 'over promising and under delivering'. The aim of this research is to explore how the two communities can enhance their effectiveness. As a theoretical framework the author used the concept of Intellectual Capital, which is usually used in the context of formal organisations, and applied it to the case of professional communities. The hypothesis states that the two communities have complementary Intellectual Capitals, i.e. that the intangible assets of each can be shared and exchanged through different patterns of interaction. An investigation was conducted into whether the flows of such intangible assets between Quality Management (QM) and Knowledge Management (KM) can increase their organisational effectiveness. The research surveyed the scientific as well as professional literature and classified the evidence on QM/KM interactions into twelve patterns that cover the spectrum, from complete ignorance of each other to full co-operation. Two case studies are explored, where explicit efforts to encourage flows of Intellectual Capital were demonstrated, one at a company level and the other at a national level. A unique methodology and visual tool, to map the Intellectual Capital of professional communities, was developed and used to draw a generic map of the complementary ICs of QM and KM and the potential flows between them, as perceived by a diverse body of experts from both communities. Finally, a series of (computer aided) focus groups were held with professionals. Based on triangulation of the data between the 14 expert interviews, 2 in-depth case studies, 68 focus group attendees and the literature, the following contributions to knowledge were identified: 0 Creation of a new scheme to classify interactions between professional communities. O The application of the Intellectual Capital concept to professional communities. Q New insights into the situation of QM and KM communities using the framework of Intellectual Capital, and the complementary nature of their intangible assets. Q New perspective on flows of Intellectual Capital between different entities (in this case professional communities) as a way to increase the effectiveness of both. QA new methodology to self-assess and map Intellectual Capital.