Knowledge management in business has become one of the most important processes that aid organizations in governing the utilization, dissemination, and creation of knowledge. Randeree (2006, p. 145) posits that different organizations have developed an inherent interest in utilizing knowledge from employees for innovation, service provision, production, and management. The role of managing knowledge within an organization focuses on certain processes that facilitate the transfer of knowledge to workers. This paper critically explores the concept of knowledge management and concludes by providing future directions and recommendations on how the concept can be applied in a business setting.
Theories of knowledge management
Organization learning to gain knowledge
According to Mishra and Bhaskar (2011, p. 344), Organization learning involves the assumption of a special culture of responsibility where both employees and management maintain strong accountability. Many managers who are keen on knowledge management have particularly achieved this aspect as their employees maintain strong knowledge of both the production process and resultant products. In these organizations, a very thin line exists between their management and employees such that the former is free to cite areas of improvement and experiment without fear of failure. A good example is the four years of continued research driven by employees that resulted in Toyota’s hybrid cars which captured the largest market share in the year 2007. The president of Toyota Motors in the year 2008, Katsuaki Watanabe, pointed that it was only through the cooperative learning culture that the company managed to counter exiting giants and that the trend would be maintained in replicating similar outcomes globally (Nold 2011, p. 84).
In his theory of organizational change, Kurt Lewin argued that changes in organizations must reflect clear understanding and acceptability to reduce resistance and promote the faster achievement of objectives (Mishra and Bhaskar (2011, p. 344). Organization learning reflected through the Toyota Way has therefore created intrinsic harmony which changes agents (either employees or management) use to drive objectivity. Nold (2011, p. 84) posits that the company is based on strong research that underlines key changes in operations and relations between employees and even clients. At every step, the culture of change has further become the center-post in supporting innovations and creativity at all levels of the company’s product development. At this point, the emphasis on stopping production to make adjustments or correct a problem has further enriched the culture of change on the platform of continued improvements (Nold 2011, p. 84).
Mechanisms of organization learning application
Peter Senge will remain an icon in organization management and leadership because of his model that levers organization learning and knowledge management. This model agrees with Singh and Sharma’s (2011, p.115) argument which creates a mechanism that seeks to continuously assess, reflect, and establish methods of improvement in organizations. The model has gained great followership as its affinity by institutions’ management continues to skyrocket. Organization learning to agree with Iaquinto, Ison, and Faggian (2011, p. 6) is a theoretical model that organizations adopt to create a method of continuously improving knowledge and innovation among workers and in an organization.
This occurs when all stakeholders especially the top, middle-level management, and employees at the lower levels, reflect on performances in drawing methods for improvement. The reflection, in this case, could be comparative or drawn from creativity to create a new orientation in the management. Learning, as Singh and Sharma (2011, p.115) continue to indicate, though idealistic in the application, seeks for sense-making in complex systems in ensuring that achievements, whether positive or negative, are considered to have room for improvement. The model greatly borrows from the systems approach in that the latter strongly incorporates the need for improvement and emphasizes the change in complex systems (Mishra & Bhaskar 2011, p. 344).
Organizational learning is characterized by systems thinking which allows the study of business-like bound objects when assessing and measuring their performances (Nold 2011, p. 85). The notion is more theoretical with many authors indicating that it is a derivative of the systems approach. System thinking is believed to be achieved over time as opposed to being developed radically or simultaneously. Also, personal mastery and mental models indicate individual commitments towards progressive learning and progress (Nold 2011, p. 84). Though systems’ thinking focuses on considerations of culture and change orientation, organization learning emphasizes the need for personal mastery in learning because a learning organization is considered to be a sum of all stakeholder’s learning. In organization learning, personal mastery is not necessarily driven by the management, a consideration that makes a learning organization to seek to influence the culture of the organization towards learning.
Shared visions and team learning further make a learning organization to have a shared objective at all levels of application. Randeree (2006, p. 145) points out that organization learning organizations develop common visions that easily nurture behaviors, values, and norms towards the need for improvement. Also, organization learning is built on the belief that workers and employees learn better and faster in teams because they get a sense of security and identity with their colleagues compared to their senior management. This particular consideration slightly differs from the systems theory which indicates that collaborating systems develop the need for learning. Peter Senge, in this case, was right because workers to agree with Randeree (2006, p. 147) and Nold (2011, p. 84) have stronger ties with their colleagues compared to their senior management. |
Culture and knowledge sharing
Training and development role in culture and cultural change
The fact that training impacts an organizations’ culture has been interpreted differently by different scholars. In their article, Gao, Li, and Clarke (2008, p. 10) underscore the critical role played by the organization culture towards knowledge management and achievement of main objectives. They view training as an empowering tool that facilitates the culture of involvement, consultation, and integration in decision making. In their definition of the organization culture, Gao, Li, and Clarke (2008, p. 10) argue that training and development become incorporated when knowledge management is employed in an organization. Therefore, training and development become a factor of enrichment for an organization’s culture by building the needed autonomy that builds the demand for higher objectivity.
According to Mary Hatch’s model of cultural dynamics, culture is made up of key subcultures that run deep within the organization’s network. Iaquinto, Ison, and Faggian (2011, p. 6) indicate that training and development, therefore, facilitate the development of new believes, trends, and models of communication-based that improve the overall value of the employees. Though Iaquinto, Ison, and Faggian (2011, p. 6) acknowledge how hard it is to change the organization’s culture at any particular time, they consider employing Hatch’s model to create a changing culture and its orientation with minimal resistance. To begin with, new propositions are introduced to human resources through training and development sessions by human resources management to invoke a new approach to cultural outsets. Then Iaquinto, Ison, and Faggian (2011, p. 6) continue to indicate that the management challenges the employees by providing the necessary platform for such changes. A good example at this point is the application of teams and teamwork as a cultural organization factor. Notably, despite employees being trained on how to establish teams, they easily adhere o its ideas after realizing the related short and long term benefits.
On the other hand, although Singh and Sharma (2011, p.117) agree that training and development are essential in building a better organizational culture, he points out the possibility of creating a stronger force that can limit the overall returns. In a more classical style, Celeb and Çetin (2005, p. 104) indicate that after training, most of the employees and indeed the managements expect the rewards and salaries to move up irrespective of the organization’s status. Training and development create a high level operating standard that Smedley (2010, p. 233) considers as creating competition with itself. Therefore, training and development form an equal force and outsourcing ground from other organizations that do not wish to invest in the critical process. However, Smedley’s argument appears deficient in two major aspects. First, it does not recognize the critical role played by the highly charged employees towards improving profitability. Besides, as Smedley (2010, p. 235) indicates, the main aim of training and development was to create an added competitive advantage over others in the market. Therefore, improving their salaries and safeguarding their tenure is part of the motivation for the highly valuable and skilled employees after their training.
Cultural theory is a model that seeks to redefine an organization by drawing cultures that allow managers and workers to share their focus on work as a means of achieving present objectives. In organizations, managers are shifting their models of assessments by expounding its orientation to determine the culture of their organizations. Scholars appear in agreement that successful organizations and those that expect to maintain sustainable productivity and profitability are only those that can maintain positive cultures.
Cultural theory is particularly emphatic on the need for a culture that is based on the need for progress in processes that aid organizations in governing utilization, dissemination, and creation of knowledge development. As indicated earlier, a shared culture creates a unity of purpose for an organization and ultimately makes respective stakeholders carefully seek methods of improvement and governing of knowledge (Mishra & Bhaskar 2011, p. 344). It is this consideration that makes this model even get closer to systems theory which maintains strong feedback systems as a method of supporting change.
In particular, the systems approach seeks to incorporate all stakeholders and therefore progress towards change propositions. In a similar model, cultural theory seeks to influence people’s beliefs in an organization to encourage them to move forward together with their organizations. Therefore, Kazemi and Maral (2010, p. 872) were correct in their view that by drawing identity, the consideration of change is internal and personalized. At Harvard University, the institution’s efforts for change are seen to resound from all levels as all stakeholders believe that progress in their institution is also their concern. Either through change agents or managerial proposition for change, all workers are often receptive and resist changes minimally. To reiterate Kazemi and Maral’s (2010, p. 874) view, the line between cultural theory and systems approach continues to get slimmer with cultural theory always going back to the systems approach in emphasizing components such as communication, change, and continued progress.
Knowledge management strategies
Appraisals (performance management)
Performance appraisal is a system applied in businesses to assess the employees’ performance about the set targets and objectives. According to Randeree (2006, p. 145), this assessment is linked to the demand for harmonizing the strategic management plans with organizational knowledge, growth, and developmental objectives of a business unit. To add to that, it entails an evaluation of the employee’s potential to determine a company’s overall potential in meeting its goals and aims. One major question that has been posted to the proponents of the system is how to effectively articulate this evaluation without negatively affecting the employees’ morale which is necessary for higher productivity. Finally, it assesses the employees’ developmental needs as part of the major facilitating facets in promoting higher performance through staff performance. Unlike the anti-performance appraisal school claims, this system provides a highly integrated system that factors all the underlying factors to generate the most appropriate concussions. It is worth noting that depending on the type and size of a business firm, the performance appraisal may assimilate a highly diversified nature which is either general or particularistic.
According to Kazemi and Maral (2010, p. 872), performance appraisal was initiated as one of the business management tools based on the need to understand how businesses can grow and increase their overall productivity as well as the demand for greater employees’ satisfaction. It is worth noting that all aspects of business operations are based on the need to generate high levels of productivity as the main link to improved profitability. The benefits accrued from performance appraisal are perhaps most evident to an organization as a whole. Ma and Yu (2010, p. 175) indicate that the application of performance appraisal in organizations greatly improves their overall productivity and profitability from their systems. The ability to assess and cite the areas that need improvement in an organization acts as the major facet in dictating the levels that can be achieved in its overall performance. Due to the current business environment dynamics, the regular assessment provides an organization with the necessary trends that a business is following and therefore offers a major insight for cohesive changes to generate better results. Though employees form only one single component in a business setting, organizations consider performance appraisals to involve all of their branches in that they form the operationalization board upon which all the decisions are implemented.
Besides, it assists in the generation of a culture of change for an organization. As Kurt Lewin indicated in his theory of change management, assimilation of change culture forms the best platform for continuous improvement in an organization (Randeree 2006, p. 145). Tetras and Pouloudic (2006, p. 64) argue that organizations are like ships sailing in calm waters and therefore subject to changes with time which require clear evaluation and assimilation of the best models that can guarantee the achievement of its strategic plan. Performance appraisal can therefore be considered to be the main stepping stone for an organization to achieve its strategic goals. As indicated earlier, organizations operate as blocks that must cohere to the central authorities if productivity is to increase and profitability promoted. Performance appraisals, therefore, become necessary pointers for areas that require changes in an organization.
Performance appraisal is of paramount importance to management since it aids in their understanding of the staff and also providing them with the correct platform for enhancing their development. Arguably, the ability of the managers to perfect their duties in an organization is based on their understanding of the operating systems towards the same objectives. The managers’ work is therefore highly simplified about the business objectives and expectations. For instance, during the year 2007 annual report, the management of Coca-Cola Company indicated that the paradigm shift assimilated in its performance appraisals since the year 2003 was the main facilitating factor for its managers’ cohesion with the staff and the organization’s strategies (Randeree 2006, p. 145). This interlink, therefore, provides a holistic self-perpetuating system with a set of alternative management options from both stakeholders through effective communication (Ma & Yu 2010, p. 175).
According to Wang and Xiao (2009, p. 239), the benefits of performance appraisal should be viewed from a holistic point of view where the involved parties’ input towards higher levels of staff productivity is included. In this respect, Wang and Xiao continue to say that staff is one of the most important aspects that an organization has and therefore requires to harmonize its strategies to achieve its overall mission and vision. It is from this consideration that the performance appraisal application is oriented at enhancing the staff’s satisfaction and a strong sense of identity. As Ma and Yu (2010, p. 175) indicate, it is the mode of performance appraisal assimilated by a company that dictates its acceptability by the staff. One of the most remarkable benefits to the staff is the ability of the performance appraisal to establish the need for enhancing the best operating environment for them. Researchers indicate that a poor working environment forms one of the major aspects that lead to reduced productivity and profitability. Effectiveness in this case as Seba and Rowley (2010, p. 611) put it, is derived from the ability of the staff to have the best tools and equipment for performing the different tasks.
Performance appraisal is also beneficial to the staff by seeking their further professional development to be able to perform their tasks with greater levels of efficiency. In the modern era where most of the business operations are based on the application of information technology, performance appraisals recommend further training on particularistic aspects that enhance their overall output. By providing the necessary avenue for their professional development, Ringel-Bickelmaier and Ringel (2010, p. 524) argue that the employees join the global pool of human resources, a notion that strongly generates the necessary sense of identity for them. Ringel-Bickelmaier and Ringel continue to say that the sense of identity puts the staff at the international level and thereby increasing their demand both locally and internationally.
According to Mills and Smith (2011, p. 156), the upgrading of staff acts as a direct ladder upon which they use to get promotions and increases in their payments. The modern business environment is highly particularistic and dependent on the ability of the staff to professionally dispense their duties. However, as it has become a tradition for most business entities, staff promotion is generally based on their experience and recommendations they get from the performance appraisals. Veli (2008, p. 390) argues that performance appraisal has turned out to be the main tool in determining the need for promotions in most organizations. Over 20% of the banking institutions in the US use the performance appraisals in determining the promotions to be assimilated to staff and their respective rewards.
According to Mills and Smith (2011, p. 156), the ability of staff is also advantaged from the use of performance appraisal by providing greater levels of communication with the management. As indicated in the definition of performance appraisal, it seeks to establish the different aspects that hinder the staff from effectively dispensing their duties optimally. One of the most cited obstacles to the high productivity of the staff is poor communication with the staff. By seeking to enhance higher levels of communication between the employees and the management, it becomes much easier to address all the problems affecting the staff to enhance higher production from them. Mills and Smith (2011, p. 156) continue to say that the system further generates identity, commitment, and a sense of value for the staff. In most cases, performance appraisals have advocated for the reduction of the general management hierarchy to promote higher levels of autonomy necessary to derive commitment and innovation from them.
In his model of organizational cultural dynamics, Hatch indicated that staff should be made to understand their position in the process by creating an enhancing environment that they can embrace and therefore perpetuate (Randeree 2006, p. 145). As indicated earlier, performance appraisal seeks to establish and therefore promote all aspects of the staff that can promote their performance and therefore raise productivity. One such system is the staff culture that seeks to promote their beliefs and values which determine the general relationship between them. In this respect, the staff values and beliefs are generally promoted as one of the major objectives to validate the use of teams, joint operations, and change demands that result in win-win situations for both the organization and the staff. Hatch further indicates that the ability to bring in new ideas into an organization’s human resources culture is indeed much easier as opposed to its reinvention.
Knowledge mapping is one of the most important strategies of knowledge management that involves identifying an organization’s knowledge assets and categorizing them under technology, content, processes, and people. Seba and Rowley (2010, p. 611) posit that knowledge mapping is an important imperative that allows organizations to identify obstacles to achieving organizational objectives and leveraging existing expertise. In his publication, Veli (2008, p. 390) points to the production section which forms the center of the company’s effectiveness. Implementing knowledge management in this department should seek the integration of greater creativity and innovation in providing more unique products to clients and adding value to them, a consideration that will give the company a competitive advantage over others Veli (2008, p. 392) continues to cite the need for training on cooperation between production unit and the marketing department to facilitate faster response to clients’ needs and concerns.
Incorporation of knowledge through learning cannot be comprehensive without including the management in the training programs. Though the management at all levels seeks to maintain critical independence for workers to facilitate creativity and innovation, it must be involved in various operation teams. Seba and Rowley (2010, p. 612) posit that constant training and modeling the management will create an effective platform for restructuring key products with vitality. With the management occasionally being accused of leaving the production to the production unit, training on cooperation and operating as teams will perhaps be one of the most valuable factors in the organization.
Organization analysis in knowledge mapping looks into an organization and how effective its structures are to cite areas that require improvement. While training is often directed at the human resources, Hall’s (2006, p. 117) views and Evanschitzky et al (2007, p. 267) arguments consider an organization to be a critical indicator in reflecting performance and redefining key objectives and missions in context. This analysis should identify changing automation and technology in the context of auto-industry. Effective understanding and projection of technology will ultimately help the company in developing superior models of vehicles for its clients (Mishra and Bhaskar 2011, p. 344). Besides, the changing workforce, economic status, and legislative cohesiveness should be clearly assessed. Organization analysis should further consider the overall climate for supporting training especially the willingness of all stakeholders to support training.
Task analysis as Sabherwal and Becerra-Fernandez (2003, p.225) explain provides important data about jobs and required skills for optimum performance. First, all jobs should be effectively described to relate them with specific results. While this might not be a major issue in a company, it is critical because of a company’s expansion agenda which requires clear guidelines for all tasks in line with the organization objectives Sabherwal and Becerra-Fernandez (2003, p.227) add that training job training analysis should further be extended to performance standards by assessing the understanding of different tasks objectives and performance discrepancies that could obscure them. This analysis will particularly be very crucial to a company because it will bridge employees’ innovativeness with the company’s vision and mission. In line with the company’s efforts to reduce wastes, Tytras and Pouloudic (2006, p. 64) explain that training analysis should further reflect a clear evaluation of operating problems because they determine how effectively a company’s goal is implemented. Operating problems would make the entire process holistic and consequently help the management devise models of addressing them.
While management and task analysis facilitate the establishment of the correct cultural environment it is the individual analysis that brings the entire training analysis holistic because employees are directly involved in the implementation of the company’s policies. Individual training analysis should therefore include performance evaluation which identifies key weaknesses and how they can be improved (Mishra and Bhaskar 2011, p. 347). Most multinationals as Goel, Rana, and Rastogi (2010, p. 104) continue to say, often fail to effectively evaluate individual performance due to their overwhelming large market demand. This evaluation will therefore be of great importance to a company that practices knowledge management because it will reveal the key potential that has not been tapped and present the company in a better position to fight for greater market share in the highly competitive market.
In his article McAdam (2000, p. 233) explains that performance problems should further be evaluated to identifying individual productivity, tardiness, and consumer complaints in their duties. Understanding individual problems will be essential at Toyota motors because the management will gather insights on motivating employees. Assessors should use confidential interviews with employees at different departments in the company. Finally, the assessment should assess the attitudes of employees in doing the workplace. Toyota management as Celeb and Çetin (2005, p. 104) reflected in their publication should understate that employees have key subcultures that are very strong and operate at lower levels of its operations. Consequently, their evaluation would facilitate articulation of change to align these subcultures with the organization’s mission.
Transfer of knowledge through organizational learning
One of the most emphasized aspects of any organization is the resulting implications of the transfer of knowledge. Goel, Rana, and Rastogi (2010, p. 104) bring out an advanced understanding of the role that organizational training and development play in knowledge management in an organization. While equating training with the transfer of knowledge, Goel, Rana, and Rastogi argue that a new environment facilitates assimilation and application of skills to improve profitability. From a resource-based view, organizations’ resources form a strong basis for creating a competitive advantage for a firm. The acquired skills improve the value of services and products which make it to cut a specific niche in the globalizing market. While supporting the same notion, McAdam (2000, p. 233) gave the example of Southwest Airlines which maintained high profitability after the New York World Trade Center Attack by Terrorists when most of the flight companies were closing most of their activities. He indicates that it was the employee’s creativity and innovation that came from the transfer of knowledge that saw customer service value cut a new niche to establish the needed confidence for the travelers.
Notably, Jebrin (2011, p. 234) greatly laments the current emphasis on current assessment methods that greatly fail to appreciate the behavioral changes that occur to the workers. Using the cybernetic systems model, training and development create the needed throughput in form of employees’ behavior (throughput) that facilitates the application of new knowledge and objectives for higher profitability. To further support the cybernetic model, Rosa, Rosa, and Alves (2011, p. 255) explain that new behavioral patterns become evident as employees cannot only view the benefits that their organizations would derive, but their raised competitiveness to operate at different levels from knowledge transfer.
One major question to ask at this point is what are the repercussions of not subjecting the employees to effective training and development to transfer knowledge? Jebrin (2011, p. 234) laments in his article on poor leadership exhibited by officials that lack specific skills and knowledge that is generally acquired during human resources management training. Cegarra-Navarro and Arcas-Lario (2011, p. 609) indicate that through knowledge transfer, lower-level employees are energized to assume an upward progression to facilitate their ability to assume leadership. Through training and knowledge transfer, human resources acquire the analytical domain, conceptual capacity, and emotional orientation that are required by a leader in facilitating focus or their organizations. Though not all the employees who undergo training and development become leaders, Ueki et al (2011, p. 120) concur with Navarro and Arcas-Lario that it sets the needed pace through motivation.
Training and development impact on employee’ motivation
In their view of training and development, McNamee et al (2010, p. 54) indicate that employees must be able to see the existing link between training and development that goes beyond benefiting their companies only. Therefore, the motivation must be seen from a two-dimension orientation that brings aboard employees and management. Unlike it has constantly been held that employers alone should drive the training initiative, the employees must equally be able to see the opportunities that emerge from their skills acquisitions. Using Maslow’s theory of human needs, Kaiser and Fordinal (2010, p. 928) postulate that a continuous consideration of their status must be cut out. Maslow’s theory of human needs indicates that people assume an upward move towards self-actualization as their needs keep changing with improvement in their social-economic status. As a result, Rosa and Alves (2011, p. 255) indicate that through training and development employees can move up the hierarchy of needs and closer to self-actualization through job security, better pay, respect in an organization, and assimilation of greater self-esteem.
In their article, Evanschitzky et al (2007, p. 267) bring out the importance of motivation in organizational learning and knowledge management by making employees assimilate an active role. At this point, therefore, training and development become a self-propelling application. Employees view the process as a critical factor in facilitating their job security and improving their payments. During the last decade of the 20th century, Kaiser and Fordinal (2010, p. 928) cite the critical role that training and development played in saving the embattled Royal Dutch Shell Group from collapsing amidst emerging competition and national oils participation in the global market. The company’s new restructuring under Mark Moody-Stuart, the Chairman of the Committee of Managing Directors, used an evaluative model based on previous training to determine its downsizing mode. In his shake-up restructuring, Moody-Stuart indicated that the company would only manage to profitably match into the future by removing the obstacles that lay between employees and the top management (middle-level bureaucracies) through constant development.
During training and development processes, Makani and Marche (2010, p. 265) found out that special networks are created between the employees, their trainers, and immediate management. By actively participating in the process, the training becomes the center for discoveries where motivation sets the needed force to take the new skills to higher levels. Therefore, Makani and Marche explain that the process of training and development becomes part of many organizational cultures for continued improvement. According to the human capital theory, human resources occupy a special niche that must be exploited to fit in the fast-changing global market orientation. A new set of behavior which Mcqueen and Chen (2010, p. 240) refer to as replication of relationships emerges where the human resources become a center for testing new ideologies. Similar to Mcqueen and Chen, Kaiser and Fordinal (2010, p. 928) also lament the narrow focus taken by organizations when conducting training and that limits the overall motivation.
According to Kaiser and Fordinal (2010, p. 928), failing to incorporate knowledge management in an organization is the surest way of failure. Kaiser and Fordinal bring out the contrast of the human capital theory over the last half-century by emphasizing the efficacy of critical position that employees hold for success in organizations. Through training motivation as López-Sáez et al (2010, p. 690) view it, creating a new force where achieving the best is the ultimate goal as opposed to only meeting the departmental and organizational set goals.
Methods of employees’ motivation
From the theories of organization, Wang and Xiao (2009, p. 239) emphasize that the employed methods of employees’ motivation should cohere with the organization’s overall objectives. Besides, they should only seek to infer the mechanisms they can sustain. Succession knowledge management and employee motivation success are equally dependent on methods employed to infer motivation to their employees.
Teams and team operations
In knowledge management, to effectively infer high levels of motivation, Ueki et al (2011, p. 120) indicate that management should seek to use of teams and team operations. Teams and team operations as Ueki et al (2011, p. 120) further indicate provide a major operational platform that enhances the application of leadership and management ideals at the lower levels of organization management. The notion of teams therefore provides a key outline for the management to bring down its leadership and management to the employees. Unlike the traditional mechanistic methods where all aspects of management were operated on a highly hierarchical model, the operation of teams requires that the management trusts the employees with various responsibilities. Makani and Marche (2010, p. 265) explain that by operating as a team, employees are able to internalize the sense of appreciation by the management which is very crucial for their commitment and innovativeness. It is therefore a key motivating factor in that employees are elevated from being just ordinary workers to a higher level of management where they are considered key factors in drawing effective organization decisions.
In an organizational setting, Ewest (2010, p. 137) explains that it is only through teamwork that success is possible. Notably, the procedures involved in the offering of services in organizations are highly interdependent in that they require certifications from different departments. At every level, therefore, team operations enhance great efficiency and facilitate the ability to solve any emergent problems. Antonio et al (2010, p. 635) indicate that through deliberations of teams as the direct interlink between their departments and consumers, they can figure out and advises the top management in a bottom-top approach which is very effective. It is from this consideration Ewest (2010, p. 137) holds a different view from the school of thought that indicates teams would reduce the autonomy of the management and their leaders.
Maintaining effective organizational cultures
Ewest (2010, p. 137) further concurs with the recent researchers that organization culture dictates the ability of an organization’s objectives and propositions to be effected with minimal resistances. By supporting an effective organizational culture, employees will become part of the overall operating system for the organization. Ewest (2010, p. 13) goes on to indicate that similar to team operations, organization culture formulates the key ties at the lower and the top management levels. Modern organization management recognizes that employees operate in minor subcultures that are so strong in dictating their response toward various decisions. Identification and promotion of beliefs, values, and orientation toward their job and management act as the main identity factor for the employees with the management. Though Ewest (2010, p. 137) indicates that care should be taken to support the correct organization cultures, he generally concurs that it forms one of the most important motivating aspects in organization management. To ensure greater focus towards raising the employees’ commitment and motivation in an organization setting, establishing a correct organizational culture has been very critical.
Emergent leadership and devolution of authority in management
As indicated earlier in Maslow’s theory of motivation, a shift from the lower hierarchy levels is very critical for all the employees. Emergent leadership is based on the merits of the lower-level employees where they are given priority when promotion chances occur in the management. Marina (2007, p. 97) explains that it becomes of great importance to the employees as they view their hard work to act as a springboard towards their upward shift in the management ladder. Marina continues to explain that owing to the great amount of work that demands great commitment and creativity in the library setting, emergent leadership anchors the ability to formulate clearer focus and therefore culminating to higher levels in maintaining the demanded services quality.
Competition and rewarding system
Evanschitzky et al (2007, p. 267) indicate that competition and rewarding systems are further key motivation aspects by adding to the ordinary returns of the consumers. Notably, competition brings out the need to outdo others in a similar operating environment. However, Ueki et al (2011, p. 120) point out that for the competition to be more effective, group competition should be emphasized as opposed to personal competition to further strengthen the operation of teams. By making a group or a team celebrate the organization’s progress, it is possible to invoke higher levels of creativity at all departments. Rewards provided to the winning teams should further have the required totality for the organization by invoking a sense of identity with it as opposed to scores of sabotage (Randeree 2006, p. 145).
The notion of communication brings out the need to link lower levels of management with the top management in an organization. In his view, Marina (2007, p. 97) explains that employees became highly motivated when they are in constant touch with their top leaders in an organization. Under this consideration, they see the communication interlink as a clear mechanism of solving their problems faster whenever they occur. Besides, employees believe that being in direct communication with the authorities facilitates their efficacy in sailing on the same tide and therefore promoting their chances of winning variant rewards and emerging as key leaders for possible future promotions. An organization’s setting demands for greater efficacy in the main operations is a major consideration towards generating holistic cooperation in a sensitive industry (Evanschitzky et al. 2007, p. 267)
Knowledge management and retention
Promoting teams and fostering cooperation
The use of teams and teamwork in knowledge management as Squier and Snyman (2004, p. 234) narrate has become an important retention strategy for many institutions in that it increases the ability of employees to learn from each other and contribute more openly. Indeed, many employees feel free and contribute more towards their specified tasks when they are with other colleagues. At all levels of management, an organization such as Google promotes the use of teams and maintains a decentralized model of leadership to promote cooperation.
The greatest retention pillar in an organization as Mary Jo Hatch argued in her model of cultural dynamics is cooperation and articulate communication (Randeree 2006, p. 145). Organizations fostering knowledge management have created strong cooperative frameworks where views and ideas flow with ease. By promoting cultures of cooperation, their management has made it possible for employees to have their ideas improved and consequently greatly promoted the capacity to resolve conflicts. Either at the company’s labs or in the field where consumers access the products, the response is always communicated promptly to raise the value of products by addressing issues and concerns. It is from this consideration, that Nold (2011, p. 84) concurs with Rosa and Alves (2011, p. 255) that employees of these organizations easily see their way and walk by it, a fact that is brought about by gaining knowledge and which makes their future very certain and desirable
Knowledge management for maintaining change
The reference of change in organizations is perhaps one of the realities that cannot be avoided in the fast dynamic world. However, how effective has change application been in the recent past? While this question appears to recur in managers’ minds, Ma and Yu (2010, p. 175) explain that Knowledge management brings out the needed force to generate new ideas and bring them aboard for application.
External change agents, which Marina (2007, p. 97) concurs with Wang and Xiao (2009, p. 239) that should not be encouraged, bring into an organization new models or operations either to address a given problem or create a roadmap or for higher profitability. However, external agents are usually considered external and their propositions easily rejected by the existing culture. In his theory of change management, Kurt Lewin’s freezing and refreezing model points at the critical outline and the depth that change application must go. Wang and Xiao (2009, p. 240) explain that training creates a new understanding that dawns the members on their role in improving their organization as opposed to the consideration that it is only an employment unit. A holistic force, therefore, becomes evident as all departments float with new proposals either at the personal or as a team for improvement.
In metaphor, Squier and Snyman (2004, p. 234) liken an organization to a ship sailing afloat towards its destination. Notably, the ship remains subject to major and minor unexpected disturbances that must be addressed for it to effectively reach its destination. Training and development are considered as the major tool that the management holds to indirectly to facilitate addressing thee disturbances. Particularly, Squier and Snyman emphasize the proactive and diverse nature of the people in the management towards addressing the emergent disturbances. Through training and development, human resources provide an expanded view by generating more alternatives for addressing challenges. Internal disturbances such as conflicts which are likened to mechanical problems and external forces such as competition that are compared to waves and tides are easy to address as all people are part of the process. In this case, Squier and Snyman’s conclusion coheres with that of Nold (2011, p. 84) which indicate that training and development create a sense of continuous change as the ‘ship’ must be monitored at every instance to hasten its speed towards destiny and improve the quality of products to colonize the market
Conclusions and future directions
Knowledge management facilitates the reference of a company as a top performer and therefore setting the pace for others. The current disconnect between knowledge management and training and development, and the future of their successes. The disconnect has particularly doomed small and medium enterprises in their quest for progress as their efforts are considered to be passive as human resources shift to larger organizations.
In conclusion, which seeks to answer the question of whether the current knowledge management is strong enough in organizations, two considerations have been brought out in the paper that will make the concepts of knowledge management critical in maintaining high profitability and out doing competitors. First, organizations are expected to give the necessary framework that facilitates the effective application of the learned skills and knowledge. Secondly, organizations must create the needed force through effective leadership for improvement and motivation.
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