Barriers to Successful Knowledge Management

Barriers to Successful Knowledge Management

Alexander Richter (Bundeswehr University Munich, Germany) and Volker Derballa (Augsburg University, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch054
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Knowledge and Knowledge Management (KM) are gaining more and more attention in theory and practice. This development can be observed by an increasing number of publications since the 1990s, addressing the question of how knowledge in organizations can be organized and managed (Davenport & Prusak, 1998; Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995). It is argued that knowledge is becoming the pre-eminent source of competitive advantage compared to the traditional factors of production, labour, capital and land. This theoretical discourse is accompanied in practice by an increasing number of KM initiatives. In many cases however, the results of those KM implementation projects have not lived up to the high expectations associated with them. Reasons for that are manifold. In this article, we will present the results of an extensive analysis of KM literature identifying the major barriers to KM. Those barriers represent current challenges during any holistic KM implementation that includes knowledge management systems (KMS).
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Barriers To Successful Km

Table 1 shows the barriers to successful KM, which are detailed in the following and categorized according to their origin along the dimensions technology, organization and human factors (Richter, 2006).

Table 1.
Synopsis of all barriers
“T,” “O“ und “H“ stand for the three dimensions “Technology,” “Organization“ and “Human“
T 1Lacking acceptance
T 2Information overload and redundancies
T 3Missing instruments for integrated planning and evaluation
O 1Linguistic problems
O 2Lack of time
O 3Unfavourable company-and knowledge culture
O 4Missing or diverging goals
H 1Cultural influences
H 2Personal fears and uncertainties
H 3Inadequate motivation

Key Terms in this Chapter

Usability: The extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use. endnote 1 Cf. (Bullinger et al., 1998, p.30 AU19: The in-text citation "Bullinger et al., 1998" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ].

Knowledge: Knowledge is defined according to Steinmüller (1993) as the combination or connection of information.

Knowledge Management: Knowledge Management (KM) “(…) refers to the critical issues of organizational adaptation, survival and competence against discontinuous environmental change. Essentially it embodies organizational processes that seek synergistic combination of data and information processing capacity of information technologies, and the creative and innovative capacity of human beings” ( Malhotra, 2005 ).

Personification Strategy: In contrast to the technical strategy, the personification or social strategy focuses on tacit knowledge and leveraging knowledge exchange on the interpersonal level.

Technical Strategy: The technical strategy implies that knowledge is not solely embedded in humans, but can be provided to knowledge users, after having gone through the process of explication, in codified form

Knowledge Management System (KMS): KMS describe information systems that are designed to support certain KM processes like the dissemination or application of knowledge.

Controlled vocabulary: Standardized terms used in searching a specific database. These terms can differ for each database. Using controlled vocabulary to search will provide you with more focused results.

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