Aligning a KM Strategy and Developing KM Capabilities: Towards Taxonomies and Frameworks

Aligning a KM Strategy and Developing KM Capabilities: Towards Taxonomies and Frameworks

Jean-Pierre Booto Ekionea (University of Moncton, Canada) and Deborah E. Swain (North Carolina Central University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-783-8.ch109

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Introduction

The resource-based view of a business firm includes the nature of resources possessed by organizations and details about the qualities that such resources must maintain in order to provide sustainable, competitive advantages over time (Barney, 1991; Wernerfelt, 1984). According to this view, “the organization must possess the ability to effectively and efficiently exploit the full potential of its resources, in order to develop and maintain any potential competitive advantages” (Adams and Lamont, 2003). Furthermore, “knowledge is viewed by many as the most valuable resource, inimitable by others and sustainable if once acquired” Yu et al (2004, p.1). For this reason, large industrial groups are recognizing the strategic importance of knowledge and are improving their capability to exploit all inherited knowledge (Dieng et al, 2000) by means of good knowledge management (KM). Organizations know that knowledge could make a difference in performance, but they do not know where or how to begin management (Earl, 2003).

Because “knowledge is the critical resource rather than others and it is generally poorly managed” (Earl, 2001, p.215), KM research is needed. The literature in several disciplines and management practices indicate how important it is for knowledge to be managed. KM is a new science aiming at reorganizing business organizations around immaterial richness by a process of capturing, sharing and re-using knowledge (Davenport, 1998). As Jennex et al (2003, p.1) note: “Organizations are much more likely to capture knowledge benefits if they have an organizational KM strategy.” The development, implementation and use of organizational knowledge require specific strategies suitable for setting up KM and the alignment of KM strategies with business strategies to ensure that KM is an integral part of a corporate strategy (Abou-Zeid, 2003 ; Asoh et al, 2003 ; Sharkie, 2003, Roth, 2003). As Asoh et al (2003) note, there has been little research into the alignment of KM with business strategies. Also, there seems to be a “lack of strategic models to link KM efforts and business strategy” (Maier, 2001, p.3). A lack of alignment can lead to poor strategic planning, which in turn can lead to the misuse of resources (Luftman, 2004) and poor performance.

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