Since the publication of the first knowledge management article in Harvard Business Review (Nonaka, 1991), the world has witnessed a revolution in management practice. While the origins of knowledge management extend further back in history (see Prusak, 2001; Wiig, 1997), it is certainly true that in the last decade the creation, sharing and application of knowledge are increasingly seen as a source of competitive advantage. However, knowledge management is largely a private sector innovation at the present time, although gradually moving towards the public service sector (Bate & Robert, 2002; Hartley & Allison, 2002). The implementation of knowledge management places an emphasis on organizational factors such as learning capability, culture and leadership as well as renewed focus on the importance of information quality (Alavi & Leidner, 2001). The ability to manage the sharing of information (and hence knowledge) effectively remains one of the most important but still least understood activities in modern organizations, no less so in public services.
Managing The Antecedents To Knowledge Sharing
The key to partnerships is a focus on the creation of an explicit understanding of what needs to be done to meet strategic objectives –akin to Choo’s concept of a “knowing organization” (Choo, 1988). We conceptualize the role of knowledge in the partnership process (Figure 1) in terms of two core aspects, viz:
The public service partnership: The knowing organization
Key Terms in this Chapter
This work was previously published in Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology: edited by M. Khosrow-Pour, pp. 1414-1418, copyright 2005 by Information Science Reference, formerly known as Idea Group Reference (an imprint of IGI Global).
Accountability: Transparency of responsibility for performance, the management of performance and resulting implications for the deployment of future resources.
Information Quality: The accuracy, completeness, timeliness and utility of performance related information that is used as the basis of management decision making.
Clarity of Responsibility: An understanding of the roles and responsibilities of individuals and business units working together to deliver a holistic service proposition.
Public services: Social infrastructure services, delivered wholly or partly with the benefit of public funds and strategically driven through national or regional administrations.
Strategic Connections: The relationships between the strategy formulation process and the deployment of resources to achieve it.
Knowledge Sharing: Formal, deliberate and systematic activities of transferring or disseminating knowledge from one person, group or organization to another.