A model for a successful implementation of knowledge management in engineering organizations
Knowledge management (KM) is an emerging discipline that promises to capitalize on organizations intellectual capital. KM refers to the process of managing the life-cycle of knowledge relevant to areas that are mission critical to the organization. This includes efforts to capture, store, and deploy knowledge using a combination of information technology and business processes. In recent years, KM has become a critical subject of discussion in the business literature. Both business and academic communities believe that by leveraging knowledge, an organization can sustain its long-term competitive advantage. Approaches to KM varied form emphasizing the capabilities of information and communication technologies to the focus on social systems such as employee training and motivation. Engineering organizations led the way in KM initiatives realizing the potential of successful KM implementation in decreasing production time and cost, increasing quality, making better decisions as well as improve organizations' performance and provide a competitive advantage. Although some engineering organizations reported early KM success, other organizations have tried and failed to implement KM. These failures have been linked to the lack of a generally accepted framework and methodology to guide successful implementation of KM in organizations. This primary aim of this research is to produce a model for a successful implementation of KM in engineering organizations which integrates the various approaches and key factors to implementing KM. The study has produced a model which provides a framework that identifies the different types of knowledge available in engineering organizations, the KM life-cycle which is needed to manage this knowledge, and the key factors that facilitate this process. The model also provides management with guidance for implementing KM in their organizations. In order to achieve the aims and objectives of this research, a triangulation nonexperimental approach is adopted using qualitative in-depth case study with triangulation of data collection methods that uses observation, structured interviews, unstructured interviews, historical data collection, and document review. This is followed by a quantitative approach with the use of a questionnaire to further validate and generalize the proposed KM model. In building the KM model a thorough review of previous related literature from different disciplines was conducted. The literature reviewed included various issues relating to KM, such as KM approaches, perspectives, frameworks, and methodologies as well as strategic planning, human resources, instructional design theories, organizational learning, information technology, etc.