Knowledge Management Technology in Local Government
Meliha Handzic (Sarajevo School of Science and Technology, Sarajevo, Bosnia), Amila Lagumdzija (Sarajevo School of Science and Technology, Sarajevo, Bosnia) and Amer Celjo (Sarajevo School of Science and Technology, Sarajevo, Bosnia)
Copyright: © 2009
Increased interaction, interdependency and volatility on a global scale are rapidly changing local governments’ external environment, their community characteristics, and their organisational orientation. In circumstances of high uncertainty and ambiguity, the success of local governments depends to a greater extent on how well they utilise knowledge resources in adjusting to contextual changes. This requires special attention to knowledge management (KM). The major challenge for KM in local government is to foster the development of an enriched knowledge base that will enable local actors to better deal with adjustment and development issues of importance to their communities (Anttiroico, 2006). The purpose of this article is to address technical issues in organisational KM. Referring to the theoretical work by Handzic (2004), the article considers the role of various information and communication technologies (ICT) in facilitating the processes in which knowledge is created, transferred and utilised in local governments. Findings reported in the article are part of an ongoing research project into the adoption of KM principles and practices in public sector organisations in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The role of ICT in local government KM solutions addressed in this article is only one of several aspects covered by the research project. Further project details can be obtained elsewhere (Handzic, Lagumdzija, & Celjo, 2007).
The spectrum of views on the role of ICT in KM ranges from those that see knowledge as a uniquely human concept and consider that KM has little to do with technology, to those that see knowledge as an object and therefore KM as being mostly about technology (Swan, 2003). The integrated approach advocated by Handzic (2004) bridges the artificial divide between two extreme perspectives by considering KM as a socio-technical phenomenon with both technology and people playing an important role.
Within the integrated framework, technology is placed among major influencing factors on knowledge processes. The functionalities of ICT are perceived as significant in shaping organisational efforts for knowledge creation, transfer and utilisation, and thus for organisational learning, improvement and innovation. In order to better understand and appreciate the importance of technology in KM, this section surveys some ICT-based KM initiatives deployed in firms and their roles in supporting knowledge processes.
The KM literature offers a number of useful classifications of ICT tools for KM based on their functions and techniques (Binney, 2001; Tsui, 2003). Most recently, Handzic and Zhou (2005) developed a typology of KM technologies that includes seven categories based on the distinction of KM processes they support. They include: knowledge storage, access, search/retrieval, sharing/delivery, discovery/visualisation, utilisation and platform technologies. These categories are used to frame the discussion about the applications of ICT in KM in this article.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Knowledge Management (KM): set of socio-technical initiatives and processes that move or modify knowledge stocks.
KM Strategies: codification (focuses on explicit knowledge) and personalisation (focuses on tacit knowledge).
KM Technology Types: seven classes of ICT in KM based on the different knowledge processes they support (knowledge storage, access, search/retrieval, sharing/delivery, platform, discovery/visualisation, utilisation technologies).
KM Technology Roles: support codification or personalisation strategies in processes of knowledge exploitation or exploration.
KM Technology Model: two-by-two matrix relating different types and roles of ICT in KM.
KM Development Model: a sequential evolutionary model of development in KM that includes three stages: retain knowledge to minimise risk, share knowledge to improve efficiency, and generate knowledge for innovation.
KM Technology: any information or communication technology (ICT) used for the purpose of managing knowledge.