The Role of Context and Its Explication for Fostering Knowledge Transparency in Modern Organizations
Stefan Smolnik (European Business School (ebs), Germany), Stefan Kremer (The Information Management Group (IMG AG), Switzerland) and Lutz Kolbe (University of St. Gallen, Switzerland)
Copyright: © 2007
In order for a company to be oriented consistently toward its customers and their processes, it needs to customize its intracorporate processes and systems. The solution seems to be customer process-oriented portals that integrate companies’ systems and provide transparent access to information objects stored in these systems. A key problem in this regard is finding relevant information objects in systems that not only are growing but also also are being disseminated. An additional challenge is making knowledge available at the right time and at the right place. A company’s competitive advantage is rooted in this knowledge advantage as well as in the capability to transform this superior knowledge into market-driven business processes. The research questions addressed in this chapter are how the value of information objects is affected by the context in which it is considered and how associated contexts can be uncovered for given situations. We introduce a continuum of context explication comprised of the relationships among data, information objects, knowledge, and their contexts according to their degree and ease of context explication. The extremes of the continuum, therefore, would be data with no context to explicate and knowledge with rich, person-specific context. We conclude that discovering implicit meanings and expressing those meanings explicitly increase information objects’ potential values. In addition, we evaluate the full-text search, attribute-based search, and topic maps as approaches for knowledge discovery through customer process-oriented portals as well as providing patterns that indicate when to apply which approach. Two small case studies are presented of knowledge discovery through such portals. We conclude with suggestions for future research, based on our final deductions with respect to the study.