Organizational Needs Analysis and Knowledge Management

Organizational Needs Analysis and Knowledge Management

Ian Douglas (Florida State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-931-1.ch123
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Knowledge management is one of several humanoriented interventions (such as training, human factors design, automation, and human resources management) that are targeted at improving the performance of people and organizations. The analysis stage preceding the development of a human-oriented intervention is often misunderstood and neglected by both practitioners and potential customers of the analysis. Very often there is a rush to find a “silver bullet” solution that impedes careful analysis of the problem and evaluation of all the possible solutions and how they might be blended together. The key to any good analysis is an approach that will be referred to throughout this article as organizational needs analysis (ONA), (the idea behind it has often been linked with a variety of other terms such as performance analysis, human performance technology, performance improvement, and front-end analysis). The basis of ONA is that before undertaking any significant change to an organization, it is first necessary to study and understand the organizational system, the goals of the organization, potential causes for lack of effectiveness or efficiency in achieving those goals, and building a research foundation for the selection of appropriate solutions from a full knowledge of all the possible interventions (and their variants).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Systems Thinking: An approach that emphasizes the interconnected nature of the different components that make up a system. Thus, to understand a problem with performance in an organization, you must analyze the whole organizational system not just the component (process, unit or individual) that on the surface seems to be the root of the problem.

Performance Analysis Object: A formal unit for storing information about a specific performance goal assigned to an individual or unit undertaking an operational role within an organization.

Alignment: The process of linking the high level performance goals of an organization with the more specific performance goals given to units, teams and individuals.

Organizational Needs Analysis (Performance Improvement, Front-end Analysis, Human Performance Technology): A collection of models and methods for analyzing performance needs in an organization, identifying problems in attaining that performance and determining appropriate interventions for improving performance.

Performance Case Modeling: A means of diagramming performance roles and goals and their relationships to one another.

Intervention: Any change (e.g. implementation of a new Knowledge Management or IT system) in an organization aimed at effecting an improvement in organizational performance.

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