Assessing Knowledge Management Systems Usage in Supporting Decision Making Processes in Organizations

Assessing Knowledge Management Systems Usage in Supporting Decision Making Processes in Organizations

Mahmoud Abdelrahman (University of Manchester, UK), K. Nadia Papamichail (University of Manchester, UK) and Simon French (University of Warwick, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4434-2.ch015
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With the advent of the knowledge economy and the growing importance of knowledge societies, organizations are constantly seeking new ways of leveraging knowledge assets to support Decision Making (DM) processes. This chapter presents an initial insight to the little-researched phenomenon of how Knowledge Management Systems (KMSs) can support DM processes in organizations. A synthesis of ideas from a literature review suggests a new conceptual framework with several critical factors that organizations should take into account to assess the usage of KMSs tools in supporting DM processes in organizations. The proposed framework, “USUQ,” will benefit managers in both public and private sectors in knowing how the Usage, Satisfaction, Usefulness, and the Quality of using KMSs can support DM processes.
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Knowledge can be considered as one of the most important resources in any organization that can provide a sustainable competitive advantage at any competitive market and dynamic economy (Wang and Noe, 2010). Gaining a competitive advantage is challenging, especially in public sectors, as it is essential for public organization to rely on knowledge systems that encourage employees who have specific knowledge, skills, talents, abilities, proficiencies or competencies to share their knowledge with other people in their organizations. Therefore, with the advent of the knowledge economy, organizations are continually seeking new ways of leveraging and sharing knowledge to support Decision Making (DM) processes and to achieve a lot of benefits in this competitive market place (DeTienne and Jackson, 2001). In the DM processes, decision makers combine different types of data like internal and external data, and different types of knowledge like tacit and explicit knowledge which are available in a variety of forms in organizations (Bolloju et al., 2002). Accordingly, Knowledge Management (KM) and decision support processes are mutually dependent activities in many organizations. Nielsen and Michailova (2007) state that over the past two decades, many organizations have developed Knowledge Management Systems (KMSs) designed specifically to facilitate the sharing, integration and utilization of knowledge. Alavi and Leidner (2001) highlight that KMSs can support the creation and dissemination of firm expertise and knowledge. In addition, Nemati et al. (2002) emphasize that those KM initiatives can facilitate the capturing, coding and sharing of knowledge within organizations, which is expected to result in well informed decision processes. Therefore, KMSs can facilitate KM functions by ensuring knowledge flow from the person(s) who know to the person(s) who need to know throughout the organization (Bose, 2004). Moreover, Wang and Noe (2010) highlight that research has shown that knowledge management strategies are positively related to organization’s performance. For example, decisions based on KM can help organizations in reducing costs, elaborating products and services, improving team performance, encouraging firm innovation capabilities and increasing sales and revenue from new products and services. Choi et al. (2010) highlight that, little is known of how IT support for KM practices in organizations affects the development of KMS, and also the precise role of KMS on knowledge sharing and knowledge application, which in turn influences team performance has not been fully explored. Furthermore, Nag and Gioia, (2012) suggest a need to understand how key decision makers utilize the use of knowledge in their organizations by using what they know and seeking out what they don’t know to guide the creation of unique knowledge-based competencies.

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