Knowledge Management : Philosophy , Process , Pitfalls , and Performance

  • Soo C
  • Devinney T
  • Midgley D
 et al. 
  • 33

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Abstract

According to a leading scholar of management James Brian Quinn (1992), “the capacity to manage human intellect—and to transform intellectual output into a service or a group of services embodied in a product—is fast becoming the critical executive skill of this era”. According to the pointy-haired boss of the Dilbert cartoon, his company’s success will be driven by “redesigning processes to enable enterprise integration of knowledge resources and tools.” The first statement is a serious, thoughtful and eminently reasonable statement about a belief in the transformation of management. The second assertion is a farcical caricature of that belief that is soon doused by Wally’s response, “is it okay if I do nothing?” Leave it to Scott Adams and his alter egos to gut the sanctity from the latest management fad. Indeed, any manager attempting to deal with the reality of knowledge management is faced with a cold hard fact—few managers know what they are doing when it comes to the management of their firm’s knowledge base. Most, like Wally, hope to get away by doing nothing. And, provided their knowledge management is not measurable in terms of business outcomes, they can indeed get away by doing nothing. However, they will not be able to get away with this for much longer. Our research clearly shows that, whilst knowledge itself is difficult to measure, it does have clear impact on business outcomes. More critically, there are good proxies in terms of innovative outputs that we can use to measure whether management is doing a good or poor job at managing their firm’s knowledge base.

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Authors

  • Christine Soo

  • Timothy Devinney

  • David Midgley

  • Fontainebleau France

  • Anne Deering

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