Knowledge Management in Support of Crisis Response

Knowledge Management in Support of Crisis Response

Murray E. Jennex (San Diego State University, USA) and Murali Raman (Multimedia University Malaysia, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-609-1.ch013
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Abstract

Most organizations face difficult challenges in managing knowledge for crisis response, but it is crucial for response effectiveness that such challenges be overcome. Organizational members must share the knowledge needed to plan for emergencies. They also must be able during an emergency to access relevant plans and communicate about their responses to it. This article examines the role and relevance of knowledge management (and knowledge management systems therein) in support of crisis response. We begin by discussing what knowledge management and crisis response mean. We move on to suggest why crisis response efforts within an organizational context, might benefit from knowledge management initiatives. Specific examples of how knowledge management efforts have supported crisis response in the past are then presented. We end by offering researchers with some suggestions for future research work in light of this subject domain.
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Knowledge Management And Knowledge Management Systems

Jennex (2005) used an expert panel to generate a composite definition of KM as the practice of selectively applying knowledge from previous experiences of decision-making to current and future decision making activities with the express purpose of improving the organization’s effectiveness. Alavi and Leidner (2001, p. 114) define a KM System, KMS, as “IT (Information Technology)-based systems developed to support and enhance the organizational processes of knowledge creation, storage/retrieval, transfer, and application.” They observed that not all KM initiatives will implement an IT solution, but they support IT as an enabler of KM.

The purpose of implementing KMS in organizations varies. Von Krogh (1998) takes a business perspective, stating that KMS help increase competitiveness. Hackbarth (1998) suggests that KMS lead to greater innovation and responsiveness. Davenport and Prusak (1998) provide three reasons why KMS are implemented in organizations: (i) to enhance visibility of knowledge in organizations through the use of maps, hypertexts, yellow pages; directories, etc., (ii) to build a knowledge sharing culture, i.e., create avenues for employees to share knowledge, and (iii) to develop a knowledge infrastructure, not confined to technology solely, but create an environment that permits collaborative work. Work by Hackbarth (1998) and Davenport and Prusak (1998) imply that KMS can support an organization in planning for and dealing with crises.

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