Organizational Memory Challenges Faced by Non-Profit Organizations

Organizational Memory Challenges Faced by Non-Profit Organizations

Kimiz Dalkir (McGill University, Canada)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-540-5.ch012
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Research on how organizational memories can be created, preserved and made available for future reuse in NPOs is presented. An initial review of the existing literature on organizational memory research is summarized. Particular emphasis is placed on the technologies used to support organizational memories and cultural considerations, particularly with respect to incentives. Three case studies are then be described to illustrate the particular challenges faced by the NPO sector: the Second Start school for students with behavioral problems, La Centrale, an artist-run centre, and Oxfam Quebec, an international aid organization. The chapter concludes with a proposed typology that can be used to characterize organizational memory models and systems that are best suited to different types of NPOs, which will vary with respect to main features such as organizational maturity, size and complexity.
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Traditionally, knowledge management (KM) and organizational memory (OM) research has focused on the private sector, likely owing to the field’s roots in business management (Beazley, Boenisch & Harden, 2003). However, non-profit organizations (NPOs) have many of the same concerns and management issues as do profit-making firms, such as high turnover and the need for sound OM practices to ensure knowledge continuity and transfer to future knowledge workers. Nonprofits are also involved in knowledge work and have a clear need for a comprehensive strategy to manage the creation, storage, and dissemination of knowledge. Knowledge management practitioners have realized that one cannot easily adopt a “one size fits all” approach to complex and varied organizational settings. Previous research (Dalkir and Lemieux, 2005) has shown that while KM and OM remedies can be simply scaled down for smaller for-profit organizations, the same was not true of non-profit organizations. While the matter of resources plays a major role, this was not the only parameter that differed. One of the major differences lies with the culture of the organization and this variable is certainly very different in non-profit settings (Lettieri et al, 2004). In addition, the non-profit sector faces more barriers in terms of obtaining sustainable sources of funding for the implementation of OM initiatives, particularly in terms of technology and dedicated OM team members.

Both theory and research emphasize the important role non-profit organizations play by connecting and networking people and mobilizing them for collective action (Backman and Smith 2000; Putnam 2000). NPOs thus generate a great deal of “social capital” which is defined as the value produced from the trust, norms and social networks that enable a group of participants to act together more effectively to pursue shared objectives (Coleman, 1988; Putnam, 1993). Central to this concept of social capital is the interdependence of nonprofits with other institutions and their communities. Nonprofits’ value to society is not based solely on their products and services but also their ability to engage people—board members, volunteers, staff, members, and residents—in activities that are vital to the common good.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Nick Bontis
John P. Girard
John P. Girard
Chapter 1
Peter Stoyko
This chapter describes how organizational culture is both a “vessel” for preserving organizational memory and a force that conditions the way... Sample PDF
Organizational Culture and the Management of Organizational Memory
Chapter 2
Nicholas N. Bowersox
Recent business practices over the past decade have been tainted with corporate restructuring strategies such as downsizing, reorganizations, and... Sample PDF
Downsizing and Building Organizational Memory: A Paradoxical Relationship between “Brain-Drain” and “Brain-Gain”
Chapter 3
Nicholas P. Robinson, Prescott C. Ensign
This chapter argues that a trusting corporate culture predicated on values that emphasize sharing and encourage interactions amongst stakeholders at... Sample PDF
Effective Stakeholder Knowledge Sharing for Effective Organizational Memory
Chapter 4
Jerry Westfall
This chapter discusses the revision of the SECI model originally based on Japanese organizational culture into a model based on American... Sample PDF
Revising the SECI Model for American Organizational Culture
Chapter 5
Parissa Haghirian
A growing interest in the various aspects of knowledge transfer within multinational corporations has been evidenced by a recent surge in empirical... Sample PDF
Knowledge Transfer within Multinational Corporations: An Intercultural Challenge
Chapter 6
Patrice Dunckley, Suzanne Roff-Wexler
This chapter provides perspective and practical techniques that individuals and organizations can use to maximize knowledge transfer efforts. It... Sample PDF
Valuing a Multiplicity of Views: How to Tap Informal Networks to See the (W)hole
Chapter 7
Haris Papoutsakis
This chapter explores the ways that Knowledge Sharing Networks support the flow of organizational knowledge within a firm. Based on the assumption... Sample PDF
Organizational Knowledge Sharing Networks
Chapter 8
Raul M. Abril, Ralf Müller
This chapter suggests established research approaches to capture and validate project lessons learned. Past research indicates that due to the... Sample PDF
Lessons Learned as Organizational Project Memories
Chapter 9
Jerry Westfall
This chapter discusses employee recall due to training presentations. Recall is an employee’s ability to remember what they knew or have learned via... Sample PDF
Will You Recall What You Knew?
Chapter 10
Maria de los Angeles Martin, Luis Olsina
With the aim to manage and retrieve the organizational knowledge, in the last years numerous proposals of models and tools for knowledge management... Sample PDF
Added Value of Ontologies for Modeling an Organizational Memory
Chapter 11
Juha Kettunen
This study analyses how strategic management is integrated with budgeting in the cities using the Balanced Scorecard approach, which provides a... Sample PDF
The Collective Process and Memory of Strategic Management
Chapter 12
Kimiz Dalkir
Research on how organizational memories can be created, preserved and made available for future reuse in NPOs is presented. An initial review of the... Sample PDF
Organizational Memory Challenges Faced by Non-Profit Organizations
Chapter 13
Susan G. McIntyre
The case study of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological-Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Research and Technology Initiative (CRTI), a Canadian... Sample PDF
Creating and Sustaining Meta Organizational Memory: A Case Study
Chapter 14
David Bennet, Alex Bennet
This chapter begins with a brief discussion of the basic concepts related to the unconscious life of an organization, and then addresses specific... Sample PDF
Associative Patterning: The Unconscious Life of an Organization
Chapter 15
Michael JD Sutton
This chapter introduces the research domain of knowledge management educational programs and issues associated with the preservation of knowledge... Sample PDF
A Manifesto for the Preservation of Organizational Memory Associated with the Emergence of Knowledge Management Educational Programs
Chapter 16
Marie-Hélène Abel
Learning can be considered an outcome associated with acquiring new competencies (Sicilia, 2005) and adding new knowledge. A competence is a way to... Sample PDF
An Organizational Memory Tool for E-Learning
Chapter 17
Sajjad M. Jasimuddin, N.A.D. Connell, Jonathan H. Klein
It is generally recognized that Walsh and Ungson (1991) “provided the first integrative framework for thinking about organizational memory”... Sample PDF
Understanding Organizational Memory
Chapter 18
Les Miller, Sree Nilakanta, Yunan Song, Lei Zhu, Ming Hua
Organizational memories play a significant role in knowledge management, but several challenges confront their use. Artifacts of OM are many and... Sample PDF
Managing Knowledge in Organizational Memory Using Topic Maps
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