This chapter focuses on the development of the Knowledge Management (KM) platform, and, more generally, the knowledge- and resource based view (RBV) of the firm. The knowledge is seen as a source of a competitive advantage. In high-velocity markets, like the ICT-sector, the knowledge is crucial in creating a long-term competitive advantage over the competitors. The study claims that corporate performance was improved when the case company simultaneously exploited a balanced set of related knowledge resources of the corporate KM Platfrom across its business areas.
Managing the data, information and knowledge in a business as well as using it to gain a sustainable competitive advantage, is a challenging assignment in any organization. Knowledge management essentially consists of tools, practices and processes to efficiently capture, store and share data and knowledge between individuals within an organization. The last decade has witnessed a growth of information generated within organizations due to the increased use of technology and the internet. In the 1990s, companies discovered knowledge as a new source of competitive advantage (See e.g. Davenport, 2001; Möller & Svahn, 2006; Nonaka et al., 2001) The concept of knowledge management was widely discussed in the information technology and management literature. Sharing, transferring and storing knowledge has highlighted the need to further develop data warehousing to support learning and knowledge management within the organization. Exploiting information and knowledge within data warehouses is one method to attain industry-leading performance (Juntunen, 2008; Matusik & Hill, 1998; Törmänen, 2003) and a competitive advantage in markets. Organizations that develop and leverage knowledge resources are more likely to achieve success than organizations with a greater dependence on tangible resources (Autio et al., 2000; Yli-Renko et al., 2002).
Also, the spirit of the knowledge-based view must be fully understood in order to truly conceptualize the value of knowledge to organizations that operate in dynamically changing environment, as exemplified by the ICT sector. The increasing importance of innovation and rapid product development in the ICT-sector has made an awareness of knowledge creation and innovative organizational transformations a critical issue in an organization. Therefore, knowledge management (KM) is not a narrow information technology (IT) related function within an organization, but rather an integration of strategic management, learning, R&D, use of different technologies, human capital and business management. From this perspective, knowledge creation and management in an organization is not purely a problem of product development, but also a question of mastering the renewal and transfer of information both within all hierarchic levels of an organization and between different communities of practice, forming a continuous organizational development process and a way to rapidly capitalize on innovations. An organization with valuable, rare, inimitable and non-substitutable resources can generate a sustainable competitive advantage over its rivals, thus resulting in better financial performance (See e.g. Barney, 1991; Conner, 1991; Hatch & Dyer, 2004; Wernerfelt, 1984).
Moreover, the introduction of Internet and web-based tools haves given rise to many forms of online interactions, including e-mail, instant messaging, blogging, and community based online services. In addition to descriptive personal profiles, members of such online communities publicly articulate mutual “friendship” links with other members, creating a browseable network of social relations (Heer & Boyd, 2005). The KM Platform concept in the case corporation included tools for different communities: for work projects, for teams and for leisure time-related online societies and individuals.
The following sections will begin with an overview of the development of Knowledge Management platform (KM Platform) concept and then proceed to explain the development, benefits and consequences of its implementation.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Organizational learning: Organizational Learning can be defined as the organization’s ability to gain understanding from experience through experimentation, observation, analysis, and a willingness to examine both successes and failures
Knowledge Sharing: Knowledge sharing refers to not only codified information, like product specifications, but also beliefs and experiences. Seen from this perspective, knowledge creation, management and sharing are a question of mastering the renewal and change in all the activities within an organization and in a network of organizations.
Knowledge Management: The Process responsible for gathering, analysing, storing and sharing knowledge and information within an Organisation. Knowledge management is seen as a way to enhance the performance in many organizations.
Capabilities: Capabilities can be defined as intangible knowledge resources, and physical and non-physical resources as tangible and intangible assets. The difference between resources and capabilities in a firm is that capabilities deploy or coordinate different resources, and therefore, capabilities are involved in the activities of the whole value chain of the company.
Knowledge: Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) explicated the concept of knowledge by contrasting knowledge and information. “First, knowledge unlike information, is about beliefs and commitment. Knowledge is a function of a particular stance, perspective, or intention. Second, knowledge unlike information, is about action. It is always knowledge ‘to some end’, and third, knowledge, unlike information, is about meaning. It is context specific and relational” (Nonaka –Takeuchi 1995, 58). Instead of the absolute, static view of knowledge, Nonaka and Takeuchi consider knowledge as “a dynamic human process of justifying personal belief toward the ‘truth’ “. Knowledge is created dynamically in social interaction among people
ICT sector: ICT sector includes both the Information Technology (IT) and telecommunication sector. The latter includes both the service and the manufacturing industry. The previous includes all the software and hardware manufacturing and developing companies.