The Importance of Collaboration in Knowledge Management in Public Services: Creating Value for Stakeholders

The Importance of Collaboration in Knowledge Management in Public Services: Creating Value for Stakeholders

António Moreira (DEGEI, GOVCOPP, University of Aveiro, Portugal) and Ricardo Augusto Zimmermann (DEGEI, University of Aveiro, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-089-7.ch004

Abstract

The methodology was based on qualitative data gathered from three case studies and collected from semi-structured, in-depth interviews conducted in the three municipalities. These, in turn, were selected from the participants in the Simplex program. This chapter highlights the role of national programs in the transfer of knowledge to the local municipalities as well as its importance in the development of their knowledge absorption capabilities.
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Introduction

As information is disseminated through different channels and speed, knowledge has become one of the most significant factors in generating value and wealth, being considered the only sustainable competitive advantage (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995). For the first time in history, mankind is creating far more information than a man can absorb and is accelerating changes with much greater speed than a man can follow. Certainly, this current scale of complexity is unprecedented (Senge, 2006).

It is therefore essential to develop knowledge management in the organizational context. The changes undergone by public and private institutions in order to secure competitiveness in their markets are characterized by the rapidity with which their activities are developed to suit the requirements of their customers and other stakeholders. The development of knowledge management, and the consequent learning processes, allows organizations to keep themselves updated, to add value to their products and services and to enhance their sustainability. The ability to absorb new knowledge is directly related to the organizational environment conducive to collaboration between organizations and to the commitment and motivation of its employees (Moreira, 2009).

In public institutions, for over thirty years countries around the world have been carrying out administrative reforms in the pursuit of improving their competitiveness.

There have been contemporary trends that call into question the traditional mode of governance, with the authority concentrated in a state in which the government embodies the will and general interest of its citizens with a formalized, top-down intervention. These trends include privatization, liberalization, deregulation, creation of incentives for the involvement of civil society and promoting the involvement of citizens in all levels of government, through the sharing of tasks and responsibilities (Fonseca and Carapeto, 2009).

Government agencies are continually interacting with a broad range of individuals, which is one of the major challenges governmental institutions are facing. In this manner, being customer-centric focused is a challenge that public institutions face today.

In Portugal, the Agency for Administrative Modernization (AMA), is the body that, according to its mission, “…identifies, develops and evaluates programs, projects and measures to modernize and simplify administrative and regulatory framework and promotes, coordinates, manages and evaluates the system of distribution of public services, within the policies set by the Government” (AMA, 2010). In this way, AMA is the Portuguese institution responsible for the deployment of customer-centric approaches and knowledge management within public institutions.

AMA, created in 2006, is a public institution that operationalized transformation initiatives and fosters the participation of all different stakeholders in the implementation of knowledge management in the public administration sector. Its main focus is to improve services for citizens and business firms alike.

AMA’s main responsibilities are: (a) to support the government in the definition of the strategic lines and general policies related with the administrative regulation and regulatory framework of electronic government and public policies; (b) to mobilize the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in order to support the modernization of the public administration sector and the interconnectedness between central, regional and local institutions; and (c) to manage and develop all specialized, integrated and multi-service public distribution channels.

Clearly, one of the main challenges in the public sector is to assure that the relationship with all individuals and business firms are based on the principle of equality, i.e., all users are to be equal. In order to achieve that principle it is mandatory that AMA has the ability to deploy knowledge across a wide range of public institutions.

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