Knowledge Flow Networks and Communities of Practice in Business Process Management

Knowledge Flow Networks and Communities of Practice in Business Process Management

Rajiv Khosla (La Trobe University, Australia), Mei-Tai Chu (La Trobe University, Australia), Shinichi Doi (NEC Corporation, Japan), Keiji Yamada (NEC Corporation, Japan) and Toyoaki Nishida (Kyoto University, Japan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-669-3.ch024
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Abstract

Business process management (BPM) is a common approach used in dynamic and complicated environment throughout the organizations’ operation. Knowledge Flow Networks (KFN) and Communities of Practice (CoPs), especially that resulting from innovation needs, is regarded as a BPM issue. It involves both personal and organizational aspects, and is an iteration of the transmission between explicit and tacit knowledge. We discuss business process management in the context of Knowledge Management (KM) and knowledge flow networks. KFN, unlike workflow, can often transcend organizational boundaries and are distinct and different than workflow models. In this chapter, we develop, implement, and analyze a CoPs Centered KFN model in a multinational organization. The CoPs Centered KFN model is underpinned in a CoPs model built around four organization performance evaluation dimensions and sixteen criteria. Many criteria and clusters need to be taken into consideration while establishing a CoPs model. For this purpose, fuzzy multi-criteria decision making and cluster analysis techniques for evaluation of the CoPs Centered KFN model are employed in this chapter. A Dynamic Knowledge Flow Activity Analysis Model is also defined as part of our ongoing and future work.
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2. Theoretical Underpinnings Of Kfn Model

In this section we construct KFN model based on CoPs. We assume in this research that design of KFN is driven by the need to develop effective knowledge sharing and knowledge management (KM) mechanisms in order to enable organizations to compete in a knowledge based economy. In this context we, firstly, define a CoPs model, the criteria and dimensions it is based and the business strategies or benefits which can be evaluated using the model. We follow this with definition of CoPs centered KFN model which is used for implementation and analysis in our case study.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Communities of Practice: (CoPs): community of practice refers to the process of social learning that occurs and shared sociocultural practices that emerge and evolve when people who have common goals interact as they strive towards those goals.

Knowledge Space: knowledge space is a combinatorial structure describing the possible states of knowledge of a human learner.

Knowledge Flow: knowledge flow is the passing of knowledge between nodes according to certain rules and principles.

Business Process Management: (BPM): Business Process Management is a field of management focused on aligning organizations with the wants and needs of clients. It is a holistic management approach that promotes business effectiveness and efficiency while striving for innovation, flexibility and integration with technology.

Multi-Criteria Decision-Making: (MCDM): Multi Criteria Decision Making is a discipline aimed at supporting decision makers who are faced with making numerous and conflicting evaluations. MCDA aims at highlighting these conflicts and deriving a way to come to a compromise in a transparent process.

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