Organizing by Skill, Visions of KM, Web 2.0 for KM, Sharing Expertise

18-Mar-08 Archive of Weekly KM Blog by Stan Garfield

KM Question of the Week

Q: Where can I find your old weekly KM blog posts?

A: My blog used to appear on the now-defunct Line56 site. Through this blog on Medium, I restored all of the posts, from the first one on February 8, 2006, “Setting up a KM Program,” to the last one on February 15, 2007, “KM Books, Periodicals, Sites, Training, and Consultants.”

From Pure Insight

Q: We are a global design and manufacturing company with three key R&D locations (Germany, UK and USA) where we develop a wide range of industrial products. We have some common skills in all locations (mechanical design, electronic hardware and software) but some skills only in one location (technical specialties and specific customer application knowledge).

What are the pros and cons of organizing by technical skill (e.g., all mechanical design in one location, all software in another, etc.) versus organizing by product group (duplication of skills in each location, but focus on a product group and customer application)?

A: Regardless of how the R&D organization is organized, Communities of Practice (CoPs) can be used to form virtual teams which cut across organizational boundaries and allow knowledge to be shared by people doing the same kind of work. For example, all mechanical designers can be in a community, all software developers in another, etc. They can participate in a discussion forum, attend meetings and conference calls, and share information in team spaces or web sites.

Here are posts about communities of practice, including one specifically on resources:

KM Blog of the Week

Visions of Knowledge Management 2 — Knowledge Wave by Miguel Cornejo Castro

For quite a while now, I’ve felt that most business managers were not getting a clear message about knowledge management. There is a lot of academic debate that not even the academics can make practical sense of, a lot of discredited methods still trying to prove themselves, quite a lot of smoke about social software and enterprise 2.0… and a cart load of vendor-talk about all sorts of technology or services solutions. No wonder KM has fame as a perplexing discipline.

And it shouldn’t. Managing knowledge is a practical part of business management, an essential good practice. Every organization does it, at least by default, and it can bring great benefits if done well.

“Visions of Knowledge Management 2 — Knowledge Wave” aims to deliver a business-friendly view of what KM is about, what it is good for, and (in very broad lines) how to go about it. It’s no rehash of literature: it reflects my opinions and experience, and while there is a basic theoretical layer, it’s as practical as it gets… but it’s not a complete manual, of course :-). 27 pages can only serve as a primer.

KM Link of the Week

APQC KM Practitioner Series — Web 2.0 for KM: Fast Track to Knowledge Management Best Practice

Wikis, blogs, social networking, and other Web 2.0 tools are being used to support KM at some of the leading organizations of our time.

If you’re still struggling to understand what these tools offer, the “Web 2.0 for KM” practitioner series revealed how leading organizations employ key technologies to realize the promise of KM by enhancing communication, collaboration, and participation.

This collaborative dialogue offered organizations a streamlined primer on incorporating Web 2.0 tools into KM infrastructures with best practices and processes from the following leading organizations:

KM Book of the Week

Sharing Expertise: Beyond Knowledge Management by Mark Ackerman, Volkmar Pipek and Volker Wulf

The field of knowledge management focuses on how organizations can most effectively store, manage, retrieve, and enlarge their intellectual properties. The repository view of knowledge management emphasizes the gathering, providing, and filtering of explicit knowledge. The information in a repository has the advantage of being easily transferable and reusable. But it is not easy to use decontextualized information, and users often need access to human experts.

This book describes a more recent approach to knowledge management, which the authors call “expertise sharing.” Expertise sharing emphasizes the human aspects — cognitive, social, cultural, and organizational — of knowledge management, in addition to information storage and retrieval. Rather than focusing on the management level of an organization, expertise sharing focuses on the self-organized activities of the organization’s members. The book addresses the concerns of both researchers and practitioners, describing current literature and research as well as offering information on implementing systems. It consists of three parts: an introduction to knowledge sharing in large organizations; empirical studies of expertise sharing in different types of settings; and detailed descriptions of computer systems that can route queries, assemble people and work, and augment naturally occurring social networks within organizations.

Table of Contents

I. Overview and Background 1

1. Why Organizations Don’t “Know What They Know”: Cognitive and Motivational Factors Affecting the Transfer of Expertise — Pamela J. Hinds and Jeffrey Pfeffer 3

2. A Critical Evaluation of Knowledge Management Practices — Marleen Huysman and Dirk de Wit 27

3. Coming to the Crossroads of Knowledge, Learning, and Technology: Integrating Knowledge Management and Workplace Learning — Bill Penuel and Andrew Cohen 57

II. Studies of Expertise Sharing in Organizations 77

4. Emergent Expertise Sharing in a New Community — Geraldine Fitzpatrick 81

5. Sharing Expertise: Challenges for Technical Support — Volkmar Pipek, Joachim Hinrichs and Volker Wulf 111

6. Locating Expertise: Design Issues for an Expertise Locator System — Kate Ehrlich 137

7. Who’s There? The Knowledge-Mapping Approximation Project — Mark Ackerman, James S. Boster, Wayne G. Lutters and David W. McDonald 159

8. Enabling Communities of Practice at EADS Airbus — Roland Haas, Wilfried Aulbur and Sunil Thakar 179

III. Exploring Technology for Sharing Expertise 199

9. Using a Room Metaphor to Ease Transitions in Groupware — Saul Greenberg and Mark Roseman 203

10. NewsMate: Providing Timely Knowledge to Mobile and Distributed News Journalists — Henrik Fagrell 257

11. Supporting Informal Communities of Practice within Organizations — R.T. Jim Eales 275

12. Knowledge Communities: Online Environments for Supporting Knowledge Management and Its Social Context — Thomas Erickson and Wendy A. Kellogg 299

13. Expert-Finding Systems for Organizations: Problem and Domain Analysis and the DEMOIR Approach — Dawit Yimam-Seid and Alfred Kobsa 327

14. Automated Discovery and Mapping of Expertise — Mark Maybury, Ray D’Amore and David House 359

15. OWL: A System for Automated Sharing of Expertise — Frank Linton 383

Links