Knowledge Patterns

Knowledge Patterns

Jörg Rech (Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering, Germany), Raimund Feldmann (Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering, USA) and Eric Ras (Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-783-8.ch212
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Category: Technologies for Knowledge Management



Knowledge is one of the most important assets for any kind of organization, and for all areas of science. While experiences describe events in one specific context that can only be reused carefully, knowledge is usually applicable in previously unknown contexts with a fair amount of certainty. Unfortunately, a small number of experts who have acquired knowledge through their experiences in day-to-day work hold major parts of the knowledge in an organization. Surprisingly, this is equally true for researchers in KM. Experiences gained regarding knowledge itself and KM systems, either technical, social, or socio-technical ones, are typically recorded in the form of models or process models only. Fine-grained knowledge about the structuring, interconnection, or classification of knowledge is rarely documented, and common and recurring patterns are hardly available. Further, while best practices regarding the technical KM system or KM initiatives are often documented and shared (Davenport & Probst, 2000; Mertins et al., 2003), knowledge and best practices are often hard to transfer (Szulanski, 1996).

Such knowledge about KM systems is documented in the form of success factors (Mathi, 2004) (Thomas, 2006) (Morisio et al., 2002), success models (Jennex & Olfman, 2004, 2006), success measures (Jen & Yu, 2006), reference architectures for KM systems (Davenport & Probst, 2000; Mertins et al., 2003), worst practices (Fahey & Prusak, 1998), barriers (Eberle, 2003), facilitators (Damodaran & Olphert, 2000), and incentives (Feurstein et al., 2001), which are often described in an unstructured and informal way. They typically preserve knowledge about a whole KM system or initiative. Barriers, facilitators, or incentives represent types of patterns that describe common and recurring incidents, practices, or behavioral structures in KM. There are many different types of barriers, such as knowledge barriers in general (Riege, 2005), barriers in knowledge transfer (Sun & Scott, 2005) and distribution (Bick et al., 2003), barriers based on culture (Wolf & Wunram, 2003), as well as barriers based on roles and activities (Awazu, 2004).

In software reuse, several barriers were described by Judicibus and classified into the two classes “individual factors” and “collective factors” (Judicibus, 1996), such as the “Feudal Lord’s Syndrome” or the “Egghead’s Syndrome” (Rech et al., 2007a).

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