Wiki Technology and Emergency Response: An Action Research Study

Wiki Technology and Emergency Response: An Action Research Study

Murali Raman (Monash University, Sunway Campus, Malaysia), Terry Ryan (Claremont Graduate University, USA), Murray E. Jennex (San Diego State University, USA) and Lorne Olfman (Claremont Graduate University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0167-3.ch005
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Abstract

This paper is about the design and implementation of a wiki-based knowledge management system for improving emergency response. Most organizations face difficult challenges in managing knowledge for emergency 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 study, which employed action research methods, suggests that wiki technology can be used to manage knowledge for emergency response. It also suggests that effective use of a knowledge management system for emergency response requires thorough training, a knowledge-sharing culture, and a good fit between emergency-response tasks and system capabilities.
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2. Knowledge Management

Davenport and Prusak (1998) define knowledge as an evolving mix of framed experience, values, contextual information, and expert insight that provides a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information. Knowledge often becomes embedded in documents or repositories, as well as in organizational routines, processes, practices, and norms. Knowledge is also about meaning, in the sense that it is context-specific (Huber, Davenport, & King 1998). Jennex (2006) extends the concepts of context to also include associated culture that provides frameworks for understanding and using knowledge. A simpler definition of knowledge is that it is the how and why of something. Gaining knowledge is gaining insight into how and why things happen. To be useful, this knowledge must be framed in context and culture, providing the information and data needed to explain how the knowledge was generated, what it means, and how it should be used.

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