A Fuzzy Graph-Based Model for Selecting Knowledge Management Tools in Innovation Processes

A Fuzzy Graph-Based Model for Selecting Knowledge Management Tools in Innovation Processes

Kouroush Jenab, Ahmad R. Sarfaraz
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/jeis.2012010101
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The evolution of organization, management, and production processes is moving towards more complexity every day. An improvement of the performance by the recovery and reuse of resources can be reached by going beyond traditional boundaries and by enforcing an external relationship system. Using fuzzy conflict resolution technique and management objectives, this paper develops a graph-based model to select the most appropriate set of Knowledge Management (KM) tools to support the innovation processes in organizations. The model not only resolves the conflict of experts’ opinion but also aggregates the multi-layer graph corresponding to decision criteria into a single graph. This graph is used to evaluate the KM tools. It also suggests conditions for the improvement of knowledge management in different types of knowledge-based inter-organizational collaborations. An illustrative example is demonstrated to present the application of the model.
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The ever growing competition among companies is forcing them to provide the internal and external resources, with the greatest attention and consideration. Therefore, improvement of the performance by the recovery and reuse of resources becomes important. This improvement must not only go beyond traditional boundaries but also enforce an external relationship system. Organizations need to select the most suitable Knowledge Management (KM) tool by using the proposed framework to identify gaps and overlaps compared to the capabilities of their current KM tools portfolio and select a tool that meets the KM needs of the organization to maintain and support the innovation.

Many companies have resources dedicated to internal KM efforts, and they are often categorized as a part of their business strategy, information technology, or human resource management departments. Knowledge Management efforts typically focus on organizational objectives such as improved performance, competitive advantage, innovation, sharing of lessons learned, integration and continuous improvement of the organization.

The KM includes a range of strategies and practices used in an organization to identify, create, represent, distribute, and enable adoption of innovations and skills. It is a discipline that has been recognized since 1991 and includes fields of business administration, information systems, management, and library. Other fields have also contributed to KM research such as information and media, computer science, public health, and public policy. There are two types of knowledge that can be created:

  • Explicit knowledge, which is contained in manuals and procedures.

  • Tacit knowledge, which is learned only by experience, and communicated only indirectly through metaphor and analogy.

An innovation is something new or novel (Lundvall, 2009). A broad definition of innovation is provided (Zairi, 1994; To & Ngai, 2011). It is stated that what makes innovation challenging is the fact that it is very difficult to agree on a common definition for it, and also it is very hard to decide which firms are the most innovative and how to quantify innovation activity. Another definition states that innovative companies are especially proficient at persistently responding to change of any sort in their environments and are characterized by creative people developing new products and services. These definitions emphasize change as a key part of innovation in organizations, where innovation includes the control of creative ability within individuals in response to change.

Also, the innovation is seen as an outcome of a collision between technological opportunities and user needs (Gumusluoglu, 2009). The focus is upon the interaction between producers and users of innovation. Leadership has been suggested to be an important factor affecting innovation. A number of studies have shown that transformational leadership positively influences organizational innovation (Gumusluoglu, 2009). Organizational innovation was conceptualized as “the tendency of the organization to develop new or improved products or services and its success in bringing those products or services to the market (Malins & Grant, 2010). Leadership has a positive influence on organizational innovation. Support received from internal or external organizations for the purposes of knowledge and resource acquisition also provides moderate relationship between transformational leadership and organizational innovation.

There are a wide range of approaches and organizations with the common aim of delivering new products and services (Newell et al., 2005). Some organizations have adopted a user-centered approach that encourages companies to consider their core values, identify opportunities based on their customers’ needs and encourage new thinking based on a reevaluation of the company's innovation culture. However, independently of approaches, many numbers of resources have been developed to help organizations choose KM tools for their innovation processes. These are generally based on a user-centered or ethnographical strategy.

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