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Southern Cross University [email protected] eses 2011 e roles and values of personal knowledge management Kam Fai Cheong Southern Cross University [email protected] is an electronic repository administered by Southern Cross University Library. Its goal is to capture and preserve the intellectual output of Southern Cross University authors and researchers, and to increase visibility and impact through open access to researchers around the world. For further information please contact [email protected]. Publication details Cheong, KF 2011, 'e roles and values of personal knowledge management', DBA thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW. Copyright KF Cheong 2011

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The roles and values of personal knowledge managementTheses
2011
The roles and values of personal knowledge management Kam Fai Cheong Southern Cross University
[email protected] is an electronic repository administered by Southern Cross University Library. Its goal is to capture and preserve the intellectual output of Southern Cross University authors and researchers, and to increase visibility and impact through open access to researchers around the world. For further information please contact [email protected]
Publication details Cheong, KF 2011, 'The roles and values of personal knowledge management', DBA thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW. Copyright KF Cheong 2011
PPeerrssoonnaall KKnnoowwlleeddggee MMaannaaggeemmeenntt
A research thesis submitted to the Graduate College of Management,
Southern Cross University, Australia, in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Business Administration
Statement of Original Authorship
I certify that the substance of this thesis has not currently been submitted for any degree
and has not previously being submitted for any other degree. I also certify that to the best
of my knowledge any help received in preparing this thesis and all sources used have
been acknowledged in this thesis.
……………………………………………….
ii
Acknowledgements
The completion of this dissertation would not have been possible without the support and
inspiration of many individuals and organisations. First and foremost, I wish to express
my heartfelt thanks to my supervisor Professor Eric Tsui who provided me with excellent
guidance, encouragement, assistance and support crucial to the successful completion of
my thesis. His profound knowledge in the field of knowledge management and in
particular to personal knowledge management enabled me to broaden my knowledge and
to complete this dissertation.
Furthermore, I would like to acknowledge the other outstanding academic and
administrative staff members of Southern Cross University and the Hong Kong Institute
of Technology for providing a splendid service throughout the course of my study. I am
especially grateful to: Associate Professor Peter Miller, Dr. Jun Xu, Dr. Simon Pervan
and Dr. Raymond Cheng for giving a lot of valuable advice and support on my research,
Miss Sue White and Miss Betty Yuen for their excellent administrative support. I would
like to also thanks Dr. Eric Cheng of Hong Kong Institution of Education, Miss Teresa
Liew of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Mr. Ricky Lee; they have also
provided me a lot of valuable advice, encouragement and support during my research. I
wish to thank Mr. Michael Pomfret for proofreading of this report.
Special thanks to all respondents who have completed my survey and I would also like to
thank those knowledge management organisations for their help in allowing me to
distribute the questionnaires to their members.
Last but not least my wife, Ruth Ma, for staying by me during some tough moments, for
encouraging and supporting me in terms of words and actions. Without her, I would not
have been able to complete this thesis.
iii
Abstract
The topic of Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) has seen accelerated growth
recently although PKM is not new, as our ancestors sought ways to learn better and to
improve their knowledge. From the literature, it is clear that an individual plays an
important role in organisational learning and knowledge management. However, there
has been very little empirical research or significant conceptual development carried out
with PKM (Pauleen 2009a), resulting in very few research publications (a search on Sept
13 2009 revealed that Google Scholar had only 1010 counts, ProQuest 28, EBSCO 22
and Emerald only 6) in this particular field of study, demonstrating that PKM is still an
under-explored or under-researched area (Pauleen 2009a; Tsui 2002b; Zhang 2009).
In the past decade, several scholars (e.g. Frand and Hixon (1999), Avery et al. (2001)
Berman and Annexstein (2003) , Efimova (2005), Wright (2005), Zuber-Skerritt (2005),
Agnihotri and Troutt (2009), and Jarche (2010a) ) have developed models to describe
PKM. Their models shared the same assumption that PKM is playing important roles in
knowledge management and has benefits to both individuals and organisations. However,
there is inadequate research investigating what are the roles and values of PKM. This
research represents the first global survey to investigate this under-explored area and to
unlock our understanding about the roles and values of PKM. There are four research
questions answered in this thesis. The first research question is “What are the roles of
PKM in the KM Process?”, the second is “What are the values of PKM for individuals
and organisations?”, the third is “Is there any correlation between the roles of PKM in
KM Processes and the values of PKM for individuals and organisations?” and the last
one is “ Is there any correlation between the values of PKM for individuals and the
values of PKM for organisations?”
A theoretical model was developed and an online survey was conducted by sending
invitations to the members of KM organisations. Altogether 206 KM participants in 44
different countries/locations completed the survey. The collected data was analysed by
both exploratory data analysis and confirmatory data analysis. Validity and reliability
tests were performed prior to the hypotheses tests that were done by standard regression
and structural equation modelling methods.
iv
The research determined that PKM is playing important roles in KM processes and has
significant values in both individual competences and organisation competences. The
results also showed that there are positive correlations between the roles of PKM in KM
processes and the values of PKM for both individuals and organisations. Moreover,
positive correlations were also found between the values of PKM for individuals and the
values of PKM for organisations.
Towards the end of this study, a PKM 2.0 conceptual model was developed which
consists of four key elements, namely personal information management (PIM), personal
knowledge internalisation (PKI), personal knowledge creation (PKC) and inter-personal
knowledge transferring (IKT). This model sets the foundation for future research and also
for applying PKM in the business environment e.g. business process management.
This research has made significant contributions with implications to both theory and
practice, in four key areas. Firstly, it provided empirical evidence to support Avery et al
(2001)’s PKM Skills Framework. Secondly, it filled the gap in the theory about the roles
and values of PKM and provided empirical evidence to support the assumption used by
many scholars that PKM is playing important roles in KM and has benefits to both
individuals and organisations. Thirdly, an empirical model was developed to describe the
Roles and Values of PKM which can be used for future research and the application of
PKM in organisations. Finally, it provided further support to the published literature
about the importance of individual learning in organisational learning and also supported
the concept that PKM is bridging the gap between individual learning and organisational
learning.
v
The following papers were originated from this research.
Refereed Journal Articles
Cheong, KFR & Tsui, E 2010, 'The Roles and Values of Personal Knowledge
Management: An exploratory study', VINE: The journal of information and knowledge
management systems, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 204-227
Cheong, KFR & Tsui, E 2010, 'Exploring the Synergy Between Business Process
Management and Personal Knowledge Management', Cutter IT Journal, vol. 23, no. 5, pp.
28-33.
Cheong, KFR & Tsui, E 2011 Forthcoming, ‘From Skills and Competences to outcome-
based Collaborative Work: Tracking a decade’s development of Personal Knowledge
Management (PKM) Models (Accepted by Knowledge and Process Management Journal)
Book Chapters
Cheong, KFR & Tsui, E 2011, 'Exploring linkage between Personal Knowledge
Management and Organisational Learning', in D Pauleen & G Gorman (eds), Personal
Knowledge Management: Individual, Organisation and Social Perspectives Gower.
Cheong, KFR & Tsui, E 2010, 'The Roles and Values of Personal Knowledge
Management', in P Miller & R Cheng (eds), Doctoral research in management and
business in Hong Kong, Hong Kong Institute of Technology, Hong Kong
vi
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .........................................................................................................................II
1.5 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND FINDINGS.....................................................................7
1.6 OUTLINE OF THE REPORT.......................................................................................................9
1.8 CHAPTER CONCLUSION .........................................................................................................10
2.4 THE ROLES AND VALUES OF PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT ...............76
2.5 CHAPTER CONCLUSION .........................................................................................................87
3.1 INTRODUCTION.........................................................................................................................90
4.1 INTRODUCTION.......................................................................................................................123
(SEM) 218
5.1 INTRODUCTION.......................................................................................................................231
APPENDIX 1 – QUESTIONNAIRE........................................................................................................299
APPENDIX 2 – LIST OF KM ORGANISATIONS INVITED TO DISTRIBUTE THE SURVEY ..312
APPENDIX 3 – DISTRIBUTION OF THE RESPONDENTS BY COUNTRY ..................................313
APPENDIX 4 - SEM RESULTS OUTPUT.............................................................................................314
Figure 1. 2: Theoretical Model ............................................................................................6
Figure 1. 3: Chapters of this Thesis .....................................................................................9
Figure 2. 1: Structure of Literature Review.......................................................................13
Figure 2. 2: DIKW Hierarchy ............................................................................................16
Figure 2. 3: SEIC Model....................................................................................................19
Figure 2. 5: Various Knowledge Management Lifecycle..................................................26
Figure 2. 6: Knowledge Process Categories ......................................................................27
Figure 2. 7: Approaches of studying organisational learning and learning organisations.31
Figure 2. 8: Review of OL Literature ................................................................................33
Figure 2. 9: Individual Learning ........................................................................................34
Figure 2. 10: OADI-Shared Mental Models (SMM) Cycle...............................................37
Figure 2. 11: Experiential Learning Cycle.........................................................................38
Figure 2. 12: Similarities among conceptions of basic adaptive processes: inquiry /
research, creativity, decision-making, problem solving, learning .....................................39
Figure 2. 13 : PKM Development in Past Decade .............................................................47
Figure 2. 14: Berman and Annexstien (2003)’s PKM Model (PK-Book Model) .............58
Figure 2. 15: Efimova (2005)’s PKM Model.....................................................................61
Figure 2. 16: Wright (2005)’s PKM Framework ...............................................................64
Figure 2. 17: Zuber-Skerritt (2005)’s PKM Model (A values and actions model)...........69
Figure 2. 18: Agnihotri and Troutt (2009)’s PKM Model (PKM Skills Tools Fit Model)70
Figure 2. 19: Jarche (2010)’s PKM Model ........................................................................74
Figure 2. 20: Learning Process ..........................................................................................79
Figure 2. 21: Professional Competences............................................................................82
Figure 2. 23: Comparison of Knowledge-related element in Effective Knowledge
Organisation.......................................................................................................................85
Figure 3. 2: Theoretical Model ..........................................................................................98
Figure 3. 3: The Research Design....................................................................................102
Figure 3. 4: Question 3.1 for Roles of PKM in KM Process ...........................................112
Figure 3. 5: Questions 4.1 for Values of PKM for Individuals........................................112
Figure 3. 6: Questions 5.1 for Values of PKM for Individuals........................................113
Figure 3. 7: Summary of Research Design .....................................................................116
Figure 3. 8: Data Analysis Procedure ..............................................................................117
Figure 4. 1: Structure of Chapter 4 ..................................................................................123
Figure 4. 2 : PKM Adoption ............................................................................................129
Figure 4. 3 : PKM Training..............................................................................................130
Figure 4. 5 : Age Group ...................................................................................................131
Figure 4. 6 : Gender .........................................................................................................132
Figure 4. 7 : Work Position..............................................................................................132
Figure 4. 9 : Industry........................................................................................................133
ix
Figure 4. 13 : The Role of PKM in Creating Knowledge................................................137
Figure 4. 14 : The Role of PKM in Transferring / Sharing Knowledge ..........................138
Figure 4. 15 : The Role of PKM in Applying Knowledge...............................................139
Figure 4. 16 : The Value of PKM in Communication Competence ................................140
Figure 4. 17 : The Value of PKM in Creativity Competence ..........................................140
Figure 4. 18 : The Value of PKM in Problem Solving Competence ...............................141
Figure 4. 19 : The Value of PKM in Learning / Self Development.................................141
Figure 4. 20 : The Value of PKM in Mental Agility Competence ..................................142
Figure 4. 21 : The Value of PKM in Analysis Competence ............................................143
Figure 4. 22 : The Value of PKM in Reflecting Competence .........................................143
Figure 4. 23 : The Value of PKM in External Information Awareness Competence......144
Figure 4. 24 : The Value of PKM in Internal Knowledge Dissemination Competence ..145
Figure 4. 25 : The Value of PKM in Effective Decision Making Competence...............145
Figure 4. 26 : The Value of PKM in Organisation Focus Competence...........................146
Figure 4. 27 : The Value of PKM in Continuous Innovation Competence .....................146
Figure 4. 28 : The Construct Assessment of PKM1 ........................................................149
Figure 4. 29 : Histogram of PKM1 ..................................................................................150
Figure 4. 30 : The construct Assessment of PKM 2 ........................................................151
Figure 4. 31 : Histogram of PKM2 ..................................................................................152
Figure 4. 32 : Construct Assessment of PKM3................................................................153
Figure 4. 33 : Histogram of PKM3 ..................................................................................154
Figure 4. 34 : Construct Assessment of PKM4................................................................155
Figure 4. 35 : Histogram of PKM4 ..................................................................................156
Figure 4. 36 : The Construct Assessment of PKM5 ........................................................157
Figure 4. 37 : Histogram of PKM5 ..................................................................................158
Figure 4. 38 : The Construct Assessment of PKM6 ........................................................159
Figure 4. 39 : Histogram of PKM6 ..................................................................................160
Figure 4. 40 : The Construct Assessment of PKM7 ........................................................161
Figure 4. 41 : Histogram of PKM7 ..................................................................................162
Figure 4. 42 : The Construct Assessment of IV.PKM1 ...................................................163
Figure 4. 43 : Histogram of IV.PKM1.............................................................................164
Figure 4. 44 : The Construct Assessment of IV.PKM2 ...................................................165
Figure 4. 45 : Histogram of IV.PKM2.............................................................................166
Figure 4. 46 : The Construct Assessment of IV.PKM3 ...................................................167
Figure 4. 47 : Histogram of IV.PKM3.............................................................................168
Figure 4. 48 : The Construct Assessment of IV.PKM4 ...................................................169
Figure 4. 49 : Histogram of IV.PKM4.............................................................................170
Figure 4. 50 : The Construct Assessment of IV.PKM5 ...................................................171
Figure 4. 51 : Histogram of IV.PKM5.............................................................................172
Figure 4. 52 : The Construct Assessment of IV.PKM6 ...................................................174
Figure 4. 53 : Histogram of IV.PKM6.............................................................................175
Figure 4. 54 : The Construct Assessment of IV.PKM7 ...................................................176
Figure 4. 55 : Histogram of IV.PKM7.............................................................................177
Figure 4. 56 : The Construct Assessment of OV.PKM1..................................................178
Figure 4. 57 : Histogram of OV.PKM1 ...........................................................................179
Figure 4. 58 : The Construct Assessment of OV.PKM2..................................................180
Figure 4. 59 : Histogram of OV.PKM2 ...........................................................................181
Figure 4. 60 : The Construct Assessment of OV.PKM3..................................................182
Figure 4. 61 : Histogram of OV.PKM3 ...........................................................................183
Figure 4. 62 : The Construct Assessment of OV.PKM4..................................................184
x
Figure 4. 64 : The Construct Assessment of OV.PKM5..................................................186
Figure 4. 65 : Histogram of OV.PKM5 ...........................................................................187
Figure 4. 66 : The Construct Assessment of OV.PKM6..................................................188
Figure 4. 67 : Histogram of OV.PKM6 ...........................................................................189
Figure 4. 68 : The Construct Assessment of OV.PKM7..................................................190
Figure 4. 69 : Histogram of OV.PKM7 ...........................................................................191
Figure 4. 70 : Mean Score of the Roles of PKM in KM Cycle........................................205
Figure 4. 71 : Mean Score of PKM Values for Individuals’ Competences .....................206
Figure 4. 72 : Mean Score of PKM Values for Organisations’ Competences.................208
Figure 4. 73 : Model for SEM Analysis...........................................................................219
Figure 4. 74 : Measurement Model..................................................................................223
Figure 5. 1 : Structure of Chapter 5 .................................................................................232
Figure 5. 2 : The Roles of Retrieving Skill in KM Processes..........................................236
Figure 5. 3 : The Roles of Evaluating Skill in KM Processes .........................................236
Figure 5. 4 : The Roles of Organising Skill in KM Processes.........................................237
Figure 5. 5 : The Roles of Analysing Skill in KM Processes ..........................................238
Figure 5. 6 : The Roles of Collaborating Skill in KM Processes.....................................239
Figure 5. 7 : The Roles of Presenting Skill in KM Processes..........................................239
Figure 5. 8 : The Roles of Securing Skill in KM Processes ............................................240
Figure 5. 9 : PKM Values for Communication Competence...........................................243
Figure 5. 10 : PKM Values for Creativity Competence...................................................243
Figure 5. 11 : PKM Values for Problem Solving Competence........................................244
Figure 5. 12 : PKM Values for Learning / Self Development Competence ....................245
Figure 5. 13 : PKM Values for Mental Agility Competence...........................................246
Figure 5. 14 : PKM Values for Analysis Competence.....................................................247
Figure 5. 15 : PKM Values for Reflection Competence..................................................247
Figure 5. 16 : PKM Values for External Information Awareness Competence ..............249
Figure 5. 17 : PKM Values for Internal Knowledge Dissemination Competence...........250
Figure 5. 18 : PKM Values for Effective Decision Making Competence .......................250
Figure 5. 19 : PKM Values for Organisation Focus Competence ...................................251
Figure 5. 20 : PKM Values for Continuous Innovation Competence..............................252
Figure 5. 21 : Model 1 and Model 2 of SEM Analysis....................................................258
Figure 5. 22 : Roles and Values PKM Model..................................................................268
Figure 6. 1 : Structure of Chapter 6 .................................................................................272
Figure 6. 2: PKM 2.0 Conceptual Model.........................................................................273
xi
List of Tables
Table 1. 1: KM and PKM search counts reported at Sept 13 2009 .....................................3
Table 1. 2: Research Question, Hypotheses and Sub-Hypotheses.......................................8
Table 2. 1: Benefits of Knowledge Management ..............................................................22
Table 2. 2: The Role of Frand and Hixon’s (1999) PKM Model .....................................50
Table 2. 3: The role of Avery et al. (2001)’s PKM Model ................................................57
Table 2. 4: The roles of Berman and Annexstein (2003)’s PKM Model...........................60
Table 2. 5: The Role of Efimova (2005)’s PKM Model....................................................61
Table 2. 6: The Role of Wright (2005)‘s PKM model.......................................................65
Table 2. 7: The Role of Zuber-Skerritt (2005)’s PKM model ...........................................68
Table 2. 8: The roles of Agnihotri and Troutt (2009)’s PKM model ...............................73
Table 2. 9: The roles of Jarche (2010)’s PKM model........................................................75
Table 2. 10: Analysis of PKM Models against KM Processes ..........................................78
Table 2. 11: Mapping of benefit and values to seven individuals competences................83
Table 3. 1: Basic Belief Systems of Alternative Enquiry Paradigms ................................93
Table 3. 2: Quantitative Research versus Qualitative Research ........................................93
Table 3. 3: Research Questions and Hypotheses ...............................................................99
Table 3. 4: Constructs and Variables for Measurement...................................................101
Table 3. 5: Probability and Non-probability Samplings Designs ....................................106
Table 3. 6: Advantages of On-line Survey.......................................................................110
Table 3. 7: Mapping of questions to hypotheses and research questions ........................115
Table 4. 1: Coding Scheme for this Research..................................................................128
Table 4. 2 : Renaming Variables Name...........................................................................192
Table 4. 3 : Assessment of the difference between groups for RPKM by ANOVA Test193
Table 4. 4 : Pro Hoc Comparison of RPKM1 and PKM_Adoption ................................194
Table 4. 5 : Pro Hoc Comparison of RPKM6 and PKM_Adoption ................................194
Table 4. 6 : Assessment of the difference between groups for IVPKM by ANOVA Test
..........................................................................................................................................195
Table 4. 7 : Pro Hoc Test of IVPKM1 and PKM_Adoption ...........................................195
Table 4. 8 : Pro Hoc Test of IVPKM5 and PKM_Adoption ...........................................196
Table 4. 9 : Assessment of the difference between groups for OVPKM by ANOVA Test
..........................................................................................................................................196
Table 4. 10 : Pro Hoc Test of OVPKM1 and PKM_Adoption........................................197
Table 4. 11 : Pro Hoc Test of OVPKM5 and PKM_Adoption........................................197
Table 4. 12 : Assessment of the difference between groups for RPKM and
Respondent_Industry by ANOVA Test ...........................................................................198
Table 4. 13 : Pro Hoc Comparison of RPKM6 and Respondent_Industry......................199
Table 4. 14 : Assessment of between groups for IVPKM and Respondent_Industry by
ANOVA Test ...................................................................................................................200
Table 4. 15 : Pro Hoc Test of IVPKM6 and Respondent_Industry .................................201
Table 4. 16 : Assessment of between groups for OVPKM and Respondent_Industry by
ANOVA Test ...................................................................................................................202
Table 4. 17 : Pro Hoc Test of OVPKM1 and Respondent_Industry ...............................203
Table 4. 18 : Mean Score of PKM Skills in KM Cycle ...................................................204
Table 4. 19 : Mean Score of PKM Values for Individuals Competences........................206
Table 4. 20 : Mean Score of PKM Values for Individuals’ Competences ......................206
Table 4. 21 : Mean Score of PKM Values for Organisations’ Competences ..................207
Table 4. 22 : Linear Regression of PKM Skills and PKM Values for Individuals..........209
Table 4. 23 : Linear Regression of PKM Skills and PKM Values for Organisations......211
xii
Table 4. 24 : Linear Regression of PKM Skills and PKM Values for Organisations......214
Table 4. 25 : Hypotheses Tests Results ...........................................................................217
Table 4. 26 : Reliability Test of Measurement Model.....................................................221
Table 4. 27 : Goodness-of-Fit of Measurement Model....................................................221
Table 4. 28 : Standard Regression of Measurement Model.............................................222
Table 4. 29 : Goodness-of-Fit of Structural Model 1.......................................................224
Table 4. 30 : Standard Regression of Structural Model 1................................................225
Table 4. 31 : Goodness-of-Fit of Structural Model 2.......................................................226
Table 4. 32 : Standard Regression of Structural Model 2................................................227
Table 5. 1 : Research Questions and Hypotheses ............................................................234
Table 5. 2 : The Means Score PKM skills in KM Processes ...........................................235
Table 5. 3 : Mean and Ranking of PKM Skills in Individuals Competences ..................241
Table 5. 4 : Mean and Ranking of PKM Skills in Individuals Competences ..................242
Table 5. 5 : Mean and Ranking of PKM Skills in Organisations Competences..............248
Table 5. 6 : The strength of relationship between the roles of PKM skills in KM Process
and the values of PKM skills in individuals competences...............................................254
Table 5. 7 : The strength of relationship between the roles of PKM skills in KM Process
and the values of PKM skills in organisation competences.............................................255
Table 5. 8 : The strength of relationship between the PKM skills’ values for individual
competences and organisation competences....................................................................257
xiii
Abbreviations
AMOS – A statistical software package for SEM, produced by SPSS
d.f. – Degree of Freedom
IL – Individual Learning
IV – Independent Variable
KM – Knowledge Management
OL – Organisation Learning
RQ – Research Question
SD – Standard Deviation
PASW (SPSS) – Predictive Analytics Software (formerly, Statistical Package for the
Social Science
CChhaapptteerr 11 -- IInnttrroodduuccttiioonn
Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 Introduction
The research undertaken studies the roles and values of the Personal Knowledge
Management, and this chapter outlines the thesis structure and provides the background
of the research. As shown in figure 1.1, this chapter starts with the introduction (section
1.1) and is followed by a description of the research background (section 1.2), the
justification of the research (section 1.3) and the research problem and research questions
(section 1.4). The research methodology and findings are highlighted (section 1.5) and
followed by the outline of this thesis report (section 1.6). At the end of this chapter, the
limitations of the research scope and key assumptions (section 1.7) are presented before
the chapter conclusion (section 1.8).
Figure 1. 1: Structure of Chapter 1
Source: Developed for this research
1.2 Background of the research
Research in Knowledge Management have been growing rapidly in the past two decades
but Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) is an under-explored / under-researched
area (Pauleen 2009a; Tsui 2002b; Zhang 2009). There has been very little empirical
research or significant conceptual development done with PKM (Pauleen 2009a) with
very few publications in this particular field of study. It can be reflected by the recent
research at Google Scholar and the journal database e.g. ProQuest, EBSCO & Emerald.
The search counts reported at Sept 13 2009, as shown in table 1.1, indicated that the
search counts for “Personal Knowledge Management” had less than 0.25% of
“Knowledge Management”.
Google Scholar ProQuest EBSCO Emerald
PKM KM PKM KM PKM KM PKM KM
1,010 477,000 28 23,112 22 45,480 6 6064 Table 1. 1: KM and PKM search counts reported at Sept 13 2009
Source: Developed for this research
In addition, Heisig (2009) analysed 160 KM frameworks and concluded that the
underlying consensuses are detected regarding the basic categories in describing the KM
activities and the critical success factors. The KM framework proposed by Heisig (2009)
from his research has three layers, which are business focus layer, knowledge focus layer
and enabler focus layer. Heisig (2009)’s research reflected most of the previous KM
research that focused on the business, process and enabler, however it lacks focus on the
fundamental element of KM, which is the people focus layer.
This big gap in the research requires more research efforts and this thesis aims to
investigate the roles and values of PKM at both the individual and organisation levels. In
this research, the term “roles” is defined as the position and function of PKM in the KM
processes and the term “values” is defined as the improvement in competencies of
individuals and organisations by practicing the PKM.
1.3 Justification of the research
This section discusses the importance of focusing on this area and justifying the selection
to investigate the roles and values of PKM.
The concept of knowledge work was first introduced by Peter Drucker (1959) and he
emphasised that knowledge worker productivity is the driver for the next level of
economic growth (1999). Knowledge work is often non-sequential, requires individual
decision-making and is self-paced (Ramirez & Nemghard 2004). The capability of
individual workers is valued as the human capital of an organisation. Employee
competence is the muscle behind the people and computers and their knowledge brought
into their ability and competence are the intangible assets for the organisation (Thomas,
B. G. 2000). The competency and proficiency of knowledge workers, among other
factors, underpins the success of an organisation’s KM journey. On the contrary, the
organisations would suffer if incapable staff performed their own tasks poorly, which
leads to poor product and service quality, low productivity, poor customer satisfaction
Chapter 1: Introduction
[email protected] Ricky K.F. Cheong 2011 Page 4
and ends up reducing the organisation’s competitive advantages in the market.
Obviously, individual knowledge and competence are important factors for organisations’
performance.
David Pauleen (2009a) mentioned that Personal Knowledge Management is helping
individuals to be more effective in personal, organisational and social environments.
From the previous literature, it was clear that the individual is playing an important role
in organisational learning and knowledge management. The main stream of
organisational learning considers individuals as “agents” for organisations to learn
(Argyris, C. & Schon 1978). New knowledge always begins with the individual making
personal knowledge available to others and is the central activity of the knowledge
creation company (Nonaka 1991). A learning organisation should primarily focus on
valuing, managing and enhancing the individual development of its employees
(Scarbrough, Swan & Preston 1998). The relationship between individual and
organisation learning is an important aspect (Kim, D. H. 1993; Matlay 2000). Ahmed et
al. (2002) mentioned that knowledge management involves individuals combining and
sharing their experience, skills, intuition, ideas, judgments, context, motivations and
interpretations. One of the knowledge management strategies proposed by Wiig (1997) is
personal knowledge responsibility.
Pauleen (2009a) argued that the history of PKM begins with the idea of the knowledge
worker by Drucker (1968), but Volkel and Abecker (2008) mentioned that the term PKM
had already been used since Polanyi (1958). Numbers of scholars have tried to define
their own PKM model e.g. Frand and Hixon (1999)’s PKM Model (PIM Model), Avery
et al (2001)’s PKM Model (PKM Skills Model), Berman and Annexstein (2003)’s PKM
Model (PK-Book Model) , Efimova (2005)’s PKM Model (Individuals, Ideas and
Communities Model), Wright (2005)’s PKM Model (Competences Model), Zuber-
Skerritt (2005)’s PKM Model (Values and Actions Model), Agnihotri and Troutt
(2009)’s PKM Model (PKM Skill-Tools Fit model), and Jarche (2010)’s PKM Model
(Aggregate, Understand and Connect Model). All these PKM models shared the same
assumption that PKM is important and could benefit individuals and organisations.
However, there is a shortfall of empirical research to investigate the roles and values of
PKM.
[email protected] Ricky K.F. Cheong 2011 Page 5
This research is important as it can fill this gap in knowledge and can provide empirical
evidence to support the assumption in previous scholars’ work on PKM. It is also
important to have a roles and values PKM model which can be used for future research as
well as a reference for executives in organisations. It sets the foundation to further
develop the theory, policy and practice of PKM, and benefits both academia and business.
In addition, the author has keen interests in investigating the roles and values of PKM.
The author also believes that this research would lead to an improvement of his own
competences and PKM skills, and as a result can achieve a better performance through a
PKM strategy to manage his work and social life.
1.4 Research problem and research questions
Given the identified knowledge gap, this research addresses the research problem in
relation to the fundamental question “What are the roles and values of personal
knowledge management?” and the following are the proposed research questions.
RQ1: What are the roles of PKM in the Knowledge Management Process?
RQ2: What are the values of PKM for individuals and organisations?
RQ3: Is there any correlation between the roles of PKM in Knowledge
Management Processes and the values of PKM for individuals and organisations?
RQ4: Is there any correlation between the values of PKM for individuals and the
values of PKM for organisations?
Based on the literature review in chapter 2, a theoretical framework on the roles and
values of PKM is shown in figure 1.2. This model illustrates the relationship between the
roles of PKM in the KM process and the values of the PKM for individuals and for
organisations. There are four concepts under this model, namely PKM Skills, KM
Process, PKM Values for Individuals and PKM Values for Organisations.
The first concept is based on the PKM Skill model proposed by Avery et al. (2001) which
consists of seven information skills: (1) retrieving, (2) evaluating, (3) organising, (4)
analysing, (5) Collaborating, (6) Presenting and (7) Securing. This model has been
Chapter 1: Introduction
[email protected] Ricky K.F. Cheong 2011 Page 6
adopted by various scholars in their PKM researches e.g. Berman and Annexstien (2003),
Wu (2007), Agnihotri and Troutt (2009) and Cheng (2009).
H 4
Figure 1. 2: Theoretical Model Source: Developed for this research
An analysis of the previous literature was done to investigate the second concept on the
KM processes. There are four generic KM processes identified, as proposed by Seufert,
Back and Krogh (2003). The four generic KM processes are (1) Capture / Locate
knowledge, (2) Create knowledge , (3) Transfer / Share knowledge and (4) Apply
knowledge.
The third concept is related to the values of PKM for individuals which consists of the
meta-competences as proposed by Cheetham and Chivers (1996, 1998), namely (1)
communication, (2) creativity, (3) problem solving, (4) learning / self development, (5)
mental agility, (6) analysis and (7) reflecting. These seven meta-competences have been
tested by 20 different professionals (Cheetham & Chivers 1998) and has influenced many
scholars in their research e.g. Jackson (1998), Boak and Coolican (2001), Foley et al
(2004), Watson et al (2004), Heilmann (2007) and Hashim (2008).
The fourth concept is concerned with the values of PKM for organisations which consists
of the organisation’s competences proposed by Mendelson and Ziegler (1999) and
Ziegler (2008). These are (1) external information awareness, (2) internal knowledge
Chapter 1: Introduction
dissemination, (3) effective decision making, (4) organisation focus and (5) continuous
innovation. Previous research performed by Mendelson and Ziegler confirmed that these
five organisation’s competences were positively correlated to the firm performance.
To answer the research questions, there are five main hypotheses and 23 sub-hypotheses
proposed and these are summarised in table 1.2. These hypotheses were tested by the
collected data and the results are presented in chapter 4.
1.5 Research Methodology and Findings
The quantitative research approach was selected after evaluation of various research
paradigms. The research was designed based on the framework proposed by Sekaran
(2003). A questionnaire using the 5 point-Likert scale with forced closed questions was
constructed from the literature by establishing the questions items to answer the research
questions and to fit the objectives of this research. A pilot test was conducted prior the
main survey to pre-test the questionnaire. The targeted respondents were the knowledge
management participants, and the questionnaire was posted to the online survey platform
(www.surveymonkey.com) and invitations were sent globally to the members /
participants of the knowledge management societies, associations and interest groups.
There were a total of 467 respondents recorded in the main survey. 5 respondents
declined to proceed with the survey in the informed consent stage. 462 respondents
accepted and a total of 213 valid samples were collected. The collected data were
examined, screened and analysed with PASW (SPSS) and AMOS version 18. The data
were analysed by both exploratory data analysis (validity test, reliability test and standard
regression) and confirmatory data analysis (structural equation modelling).
The results concluded that PKM is playing important roles in KM processes. The values
of PKM were found to have significant contributions in both individual competences and
organisational competences. Positive correlations were found between the roles of PKM
and their values in contributing to individual competences and organisation competences,
and were also found between the values of PKM for individual competences and the
values of PKM for organisation competences.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Research Questions Main Hypotheses Sub-Hypotheses
RQ1: What are the
Knowledge
values of PKM for
H3a : The value of the Retrieving skill for individuals is
positively correlated to its role in PKM Cycle
H3b : The value of the Evaluating skill for individuals is
positively correlated to its role in PKM Cycle
H3c : The value of the Organising skill for individuals is
positively correlated to its role in PKM Cycle
H3d : The value of the Analysing skill for individuals is
positively correlated to its role in PKM Cycle
H3e : The value of the Collaborating skill for individuals
is positively correlated to its role in PKM Cycle
H3f : The value of the Presenting skill for individuals is
positively correlated to its role in PKM Cycle
H3. The values of
H3e : The value of the Securing skill for individuals is
positively correlated to its role in PKM Cycle
H4a : The value of the Retrieving skill for organisations
is positively correlated to its role in PKM Cycle
H4b : The value of the Evaluating skill for organisations
is positively correlated to its role in PKM Cycle
H4c : The value of the Organising skill for organisations
is positively correlated to its role in PKM Cycle
H4d : The value of the Analysing skill for organisations
is positively correlated to its role in PKM Cycle
H4e : The value of the Collaborating skill for
organisations is positively correlated to its role in PKM
Cycle
H4f : The value of the Presenting skill for organisations is
positively correlated to its role in PKM Cycle
RQ3: Is there any
Process and the values
of PKM for individuals
H4e : The value of the Securing skill for organisations is
positively correlated to its role in PKM Cycle
H5a : The value of the Retrieving skill for organisations
is positively correlated to its value for individuals
H5b : The value of the Evaluating skill for organisations
is positively correlated to its value for individuals
H5c : The value of the Organising skill for organisations
is positively correlated to its value for individuals
H5d : The value of the Analysing skill for organisations
is positively correlated to its value for individuals
H5e : The value of the Collaborating skill for
organisations is positively correlated to its value for
individuals
is positively correlated to its value for individuals
RQ4: Is there any
H5g : The value of the Securing skill for organisations is
positively correlated to its value for individuals
Table 1. 2: Research Question, Hypotheses and Sub-Hypotheses Source: Developed for this research
Chapter 1: Introduction
1.6 Outline of the Report
This thesis contains six chapters that are outlined in figure 1.3.
Figure 1. 3: Chapters of this Thesis Source: Developed for this research
(1) Chapter One: Introduction
This chapter provides a brief overview on the background to this research, the
research objective, research questions, research gap, research model, and the
research hypotheses. It also presents a brief overview of the methodology and
limitations of this research.
(2) Chapter Two: Literature Review
This chapter overviews the literature in the parent disciplines of knowledge
management and PKM, and it reviews the literature regarding the roles and values
of PKM. This sets the foundation for the development of the theoretical
framework and the research hypotheses discussed in chapter 3.
(3) Chapter Three: Research Design and Methodology
This chapter addresses the choice of research paradigm, development of the
theoretical framework and hypotheses, research design, the population and
sample, the questionnaire design, the administration of the survey, and the data
analysis approach and tools.
(4) Chapter Four: Findings and Data analysis
This chapter presents the results of the data analysis in this research, including the
analysis of respondents’ profiles in term of the PKM profile and demographic
profile. The results of the exploratory data analysis and confirmatory data analysis
are presented. The exploratory data analysis includes validity test, reliability test,
correlations test and simple regressions. The confirmatory data analysis by
Chapter 1: Introduction
[email protected] Ricky K.F. Cheong 2011 Page 10
structural equation modeling was conducted to test both the measurement model
and hypotheses model.
(5) Chapter Five: Conclusion and Implications
This chapter provides the conclusions and implications for the whole thesis, and
discusses the research conclusion, the research implications for the theory, policy
and practice, research contributions and research limitations.
(6) Chapter Six: Future Work
This chapter presents the direction of future research. A PKM 2.0 model is
developed based on the research results and this model can set the foundation for
future research in the area of Personal Knowledge Management.
1.7 Delimitation of scope and key assumptions
The research was performed by online survey and limited only to those respondents who
could be reached on the Internet. The targeted respondents were affiliated to knowledge
management societies, associations or interest groups, which also is a delimitation of
scope. Although there is no geographic limitation set in this research, the footprint of the
targeted knowledge management organisations has indeed placed a limitation on the
locations of the respondents.
In addition, the delimitation set by the Southern Cross University’s Doctor of Business
Administration (DBA) program is that the limitation of the length of the thesis of
approximately 50,000 words is acknowledged.
A key assumption in this research is that the respondents were able to reflect their own
experience in determine the roles and values of the PKM, at both the individual and
organisation levels.
1.8 Chapter conclusion
This chapter lays the foundation for the thesis and provides an overview of the research.
The background of the research is explained, and the research problems and research
questions are introduced. The research is justified and followed by a brief discussion
about the research methodology. The outline of the thesis is presented and definitions of
Chapter 1: Introduction
[email protected] Ricky K.F. Cheong 2011 Page 11
the key terms used in this research are highlighted. The delimitation of the scope and key
assumption are discussed. On these foundations, the rest of this thesis presents a detailed
description of the research.
Chapter 2: Literature Review
CChhaapptteerr 22 -- LLiitteerraattuurree RReevviieeww
Chapter 2: Literature Review
2.1 Introduction
The aim of the previous chapter is to provide background information about this research
which sets the scene for the rest of the thesis. The purpose of this chapter is to review the
existing literature which sets the foundation of the theoretical framework for this
research. The chapter is divided into 5 sections as shown in Figure 2.1. There are two
parent disciplines of this research, namely Knowledge Management (section 2.2) and
Personal Knowledge Management (section 2.3.). The parent disciplines are the
background for the immediate discipline related to the Roles and Values of Personal
Knowledge Management (section 2.4), and before the end of this chapter a conclusion is
presented (section 2.5).
Figure 2. 1: Structure of Literature Review Source: Developed for this research
2.2 Knowledge Management
The study of Knowledge Management (KM) is not new. The first institution, a library,
dedicated to Knowledge Management was started about 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia,
when people began to lose track of the thousands of baked-clay tablets used to record
legal contracts, tax assessments, sales and law (Bergeron 2003). The study of knowledge
management has created tremendous interest for participants and researchers. It covers a
Chapter 2: Literature Review
[email protected] Ricky K.F. Cheong 2011 Page 14
broad range of fields, including but not limited to economics, information systems,
organisational behaviour, psychology, strategic management, linguistics, cognitive
science, philosophy, anthropology and sociology (Argote, McEvily & Reagans 2003;
Nonaka & Teece 2001).
This section provides the critical literature review of knowledge management, which
covers discussion on the definition of knowledge, types of knowledge, knowledge
conversion, definition of knowledge management, school of thoughts of knowledge
management, knowledge management process and organisational learning. These are the
foundation of our discussion in the next section related to the PKM.
2.2.1 What is Knowledge?
There is no single agreed definition of knowledge. Grant (2000) mentioned that there is a
philosophical debate as to what knowledge is and valuing what we do not even
understand is unlikely. The philosopher, Plato, defined knowledge as perception and true
judgement. The definitions of Knowledge in the Oxford English Dictionary are:
(1) Information and skills acquired through experience or education
(2) The sum of what is known
(3) Awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation.
Van and Spijkervet (1997, p. 36) defined knowledge as the ‘whole set of insights,
experiences and procedures which are considered correct and true and which therefore
guide the thoughts, behaviour and communication of people’. Davenport and Prusak
(2000, p. 5) stated that knowledge is
“a fluid mix of framed experience, values, contextual information,
and expert insight that provides a framework for evaluating and
incorporating new experiences and information. It originates in and
is applied in the minds of knowers. In organisations, it often
becomes embedded not only in documents or repositories but also
in organisational routines, processes, practices, and norms...”
Chapter 2: Literature Review
[email protected] Ricky K.F. Cheong 2011 Page 15
Stewart (2000) mentioned that knowledge is a conclusion drawn from data and
information. This knowledge hierarchy can be traced back in the poetry “The Rock” by
Eliot in 1934 (Sharma 2008). It is a Data, Information, Knowledge & Wisdom (DIKW)
hierarchy.
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
….
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
Where is the information we have lost in data?
Data is a set of discrete, objective facts about events. Davenport and Prusak (1998)
mentioned that data is most usefully described as structured records of transaction in an
organisation. However, Zack (1999) argued that data is not meaningful as it represents
observations or facts out of the context.
Information is the result of placing data within some meaningful context and often it is in
the form of a message (Zack 1999). Davenport and Prusak (1998) mentioned that
information is usually in the form of a document or an audible or visible communication.
It has a sender and a receiver and the information is aimed at changing the perceptions of
the receiver e.g. judgement or behaviour.
Russell Ackoff (1989) added another layer of “understanding” between knowledge and
wisdom in the knowledge hierarchy, as shown in figure 2.2. Understanding requires
diagnosis and prescription. In Russell Ackoff’s view, the first four layers are related to
the past, i.e. to deal with what has been known, and only wisdom deals with the future
because it is incorporated with the vision and design (Ahsan & Shan 2006).
Chapter 2: Literature Review
Figure 2. 2: DIKW Hierarchy
Source: Omegapowers (2008)
(1) Data
Data are the products of observation and are the symbols that represent properties
of objects, events and their environment (Ackoff 1989). Data provides the raw
materials as a set of discrete, objective facts about events (Davenport, H. &
Prusak 1998). Ahsan and Shah (2006) argued that data is the factual information
(as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning discussion and it can
be structured to become information. However, Ackoff (1989) mentioned that
data are of no value until they are processed into a useable form; therefore, the
difference between data and information is functional, not structural, but data are
usually reduced when they are transformed into information.
(2) Information
Information answers questions that begin with particular words, such as who,
what, where, what, where, when and how many (Ackoff 1989). Ashan and Shah
(2006) mentioned that information is data that has been given meaning by way of
relational connection, and this meaning can be useful but does not have to be.
Information is the analysed data for decision making and in a context to define the
relationship between two or more pieces of data and other information (Loshin
2001; Zikmund 2000). Unlike data, information informs receivers and impacts on
their judgment and behaviour (Davenport, H. & Prusak 1998).
Chapter 2: Literature Review
(3) Knowledge
Davenport and Prusak (1998) mentioned that knowledge is information combined
with experience, context, interpretation, reflection and perspective. Ashan and
Shah (2006) described knowledge as an appropriate collection of information
intended to be used. Ackoff (1989) said that knowledge is know-how and it is
what makes possible the transformation of information into instructions. James
(2005) argued that knowledge is blended by many things, and it is usually
subjective, and summarises the meaning of knowledge as an awareness,
understanding or familiarity gained from a blending of information, experience,
skills, principles, rules, values, insight, study, investigation and observation.
(4) Understanding
Ashan and Shah (2006) mentioned that understanding is an interpolative and
probabilistic process, is cognitive and analytical, and it is the process by which
individuals can take knowledge and synthesise new knowledge from the
previously held knowledge. Ackoff (1989) argued that understanding is generally
a man-machine system to facilitate and accelerate learning and adaptation, and
requires diagnosis and prescription, and focuses on efficiency.
(5) Wisdom
Ackoff (1989) argued that wisdom adds value which requires the mental function
of judgment. Wisdom is the judicious application of accumulated knowledge and
experience (James 2005), and is the ability to see through complexity and
discover the fundamental nature of issues or problems. Wisdom is an
extrapolative and non-deterministic, non-probabilistic process, and calls upon all
previous levels of consciousness, and specifically upon special types of human
programming e.g. moral, ethical, codes …etc.
Regardless of how knowledge is defined, many researchers (for example Drucker 1993;
1995; Hamel 2002; Leonard-Barton 1998; Michalisin, Smith and Kline 1997; Nonaka
1991; Pemberton and Stonehouse 2000) viewed that knowledge is the cornerstone for
competitive advantages (James 2005). Drucker (1993) argued that knowledge is not just
Chapter 2: Literature Review
another resource alongside the traditional factors of production – labour, capital, and land
– but the only meaningful resource in the new economy.
New knowledge always begins with the individual making personal knowledge available
to others and is the central activity of the knowledge creation company (Nonaka 1991).
The learning that take place from others and the skills shared with others need to be
internalised – that is, reformed, enriched, and translated to fit the company’s self image
and identity (Nonaka & Takeuchi 1995). In the view of Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995),
knowledge not only can be acquired, taught, and trained through manuals, books, or
lectures. Instead, knowledge can be gained in less formal and systematic ways by using
metaphors, pictures or experiences which are highly subjective insights, intuitions, and
hunches.
2.2.2 Types of Knowledge
Knowledge is commonly viewed as two dimensions of “Explicit” and “Tacit”. Explicit
knowledge is deeply ingrained in the traditions of Western management, from Frederick
Taylor to Herbert Simon (Nonaka & Takeuchi 1995); it is in the form of words, numbers
and can be easily communicated and shared in the form of hard data, scientific formulae,
codified procedures, or universal principles (Nonaka & Takeuchi 1995). Best (1989)
mentioned that explicit knowledge is flexible and can often be reorganised to suite our
purpose. It is more precisely and formally expressed than tacit knowledge (Zack 1999).
Polanyi (1996) termed Tacit knowledge, based on the logic that “we know more than we
can tell”. It is something not easily visible and expressible; it is highly personal and hard
to formalise, making it difficult to communicate or to share with others; subjective
insights, intuitions and hunches are classified as tacit knowledge (Nonaka & Takeuchi
1995). It is ‘subconsciously understood and applied, difficult to articulate, developed
from direct experience and custom, and usually shared through highly interactive
conversation, storytelling, and shared experience’ (Zack 1999, p. 46). It is divided into a
technical dimension and a cognitive dimension (Takeuchi 1999). The technical dimension
refers to those skills or crafts said to be ‘know-how’; the cognitive dimension refers to
those ‘taken-for-granted’ beliefs, values and meta-models that shape the way a person
sees the world.
2.2.3 Knowledge Conversion
Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) proposed the SECI knowledge conversion spiral model as
illustrated in figure 2.3. In the SECI model, there are four modes of knowledge
conversion namely Socialisation, Externalisation, Internalisation and Combination. The
Socialisation is exchanging tacit knowledge by face-to-face communication or shared
experience, Externalisation is converting tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge by
developing concepts to embed the combined tacit knowledge, Internalisation is
converting explicit knowledge to tacit knowledge and Combination is converting explicit
knowledge to explicit knowledge. These conversion processes are interacting in the spiral
of knowledge creation.
Figure 2. 3: SEIC Model Source: Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995)
2.2.4 What is Knowledge Management?
Same as the definition of Knowledge, many researchers have tried to define Knowledge
Management but there is no single definition that is commonly agreed. The following is
the selected KM definitions which provide insight of what KM is really all about. It
includes process oriented; resource based; behavioural and technology based…etc.
aspects.
[email protected] Ricky K.F. Cheong 2011 Page 20
(1) Knowledge management can be defined as the process of offering the right
knowledge to the right users at the right time and helping people share and put
information into action in ways that strive to improve organisational performance
(Schotte 2003, p. 18).
(2) Knowledge Management includes all methods, instruments and tools that
contribute to the promotion of an integrated core knowledge process – with the
following four core activities as a minimum, to generate knowledge, to store
knowledge, to distribute knowledge and to apply knowledge – in all areas and
levels of the organisation, in order to enhance organisational performance by
focusing on the value creating business process (Mertins, Heisig & Vorbeck 2003,
p. 11).
(3) Knowledge management caters for the critical issues of organisational adaption,
survival and competence in the face of increasingly discontinuous environment
change. Essentially, it embodies organisational processes that seek synergistic
combinations of data and information-processing capacity of information
technologies, and the creative and innovative capacity of human beings (Malhotra,
Y. 2001, p. 9).
(4) Knowledge management is defined as a method designed to simplify and improve
the process of creating, sharing, and using knowledge in an organisation
(Gottschalk 2005).
(5) Knowledge Management is the systematic and deliberate creation, renewal,
application, and leveraging of knowledge and other intellectual capital (IC) assets
to maximise the individual’s and the enterprise’s knowledge-related effectiveness
and returns (Wiig 2004, p. 217).
Apart from the definition of knowledge management, scholars and researchers have
articulated many different knowledge management objectives and benefits. The following
is selected literature which provides insight about what knowledge management can
provide.
(1) Knowledge management provides a competitive advantage for organisations as it
allows the organisation to solve problems and seize opportunities (Earl, M. J. &
Scott 1999; Parlby & Taylor 1999; Zack 1999).
(2) Parlby and Taylor (1999) argued that knowledge management can evaluate core
processes, capture insight about the findings, combine the skills and experience,
innovation and apply new ideas quickly.
(3) Knowledge management contributes to more effective decision making (Ernst &
Young 1999). Parlby and Taylor (1999) argued that decision making performance
may be impacted when the best know-how is not available to the decision makers
when they need it.
(4) Knowledge management improves productivity which includes reduced time to
market, improved innovation and improved personal productivity (Miller 1996).
(5) Knowledge management can improve the performance of organisational processes
(Van & Spijkervet 1997).
(6) Knowledge management can persuading people to share (Havens & Hass 2000)
(7) Knowledge management can build and exploit the organisation’s intellectual
capital affectivity (Wiig 1997).
(8) Knowledge management can make knowledge more visible throughout the
organisation (Allee 1997)
In additions, Cretau and Dfouni (2008, p. 66) summarised the values of knowledge
management in table 2.1
Chapter 2: Literature Review
Values of Knowledge Management Scholars
Increase the effective utilisation of
knowledge resource
Avoid re-inventing the wheel Waruszynski, 2000
Improve the quality of decision-making Chase 1997, Charney and Jordan 2000
Deliver higher quality products and
services
Decrease learning training time Breu et al, 2000; Waruszynski, 2000
Increase internal knowledge sharing Breu et al, 2000; Waruszynski, 2000
Increase external knowledge sharing Breu et al, 2000; Waruszynski, 2000
Help identifying new business
KPMG 2000
Increase innovation Waruszynski, 2000
Table 2. 1: Benefits of Knowledge Management Source: Cretau and Dfouni (2008, p. 66)
Patrizi and Levin (2007) also summarised the business value of knowledge management
processes as below:
(1) Increasing revenue by providing re-usable assets
(2) Improving quality as a result of real-time access to the appropriate
resources
(3) Enhancing ability to share best practices through global and local
communities
(4) Improving customer and employee satisfaction as a result of fast and easy
access to accurate and relevant information
(5) Decreasing delivery costs as a result of improved processes for storing and
retrieving knowledge
(6) Decreasing time to “ramp up” new employees with easy availability of
people and other assets to learn
(7) Supporting of employee skill building and improving ability to transfer
knowledge
[email protected] Ricky K.F. Cheong 2011 Page 23
The above listed benefits and values stated by various scholars highlight the key drivers
for an organisation to practise knowledge management.
2.2.5 Major School of Thoughts of Knowledge Management
To best understand what knowledge management is, it can also be explored by studying
the different school of thoughts of knowledge management. Knowledge management has
been defined by scholars from different disciplines and Earl (2001) classified the school
of knowledge management into three catalogues, namely Technocratic, Economic and
Behavioural. Technocratic includes the systems school, cartographic school and
engineering school which are based on information or management technologies to
govern knowledge work in everyday tasks. Economic is mainly the commercial school of
knowledge management which explicitly creates revenue streams from the exploitation of
knowledge management and intellectual capital. Behavioural includes the organisational
school, spatial school and strategic school which stimulate and orchestrate managers to be
proactive in the creation, sharing, and use of knowledge management as a resource. The
attributes of each school is summarised in figure 2.4 below. Earl (2001) mentioned that
the primary purpose of the seven schools taxonomy is to help executives know what to do
and how to undertake knowledge management initiatives or solutions and improve the
effectiveness of any existing knowledge management program.
2.2.6 Knowledge Management Process
The Knowledge Management Process has been articulated in terms of the knowledge
management cycle by many researchers, e.g. Lethbridge (1994), Wiig (1997) and
Davenport and Prusak (1998), Dilnutt (2000), Schotte (2003), Bergeron (2003), Lytras
and Rouloudi (2003), Alfs (2003), Mertins et al. (2003), and Seufert, Back and Krogh
(2003)…etc.
F ig
u re
Dilnutt (2000) described the knowledge management process as Generate, Represent,
Access and Transfer. Schotte (2003) viewed that knowledge management is the cycling
process of Use, Provide, Find, Select, Organise, Distill, Share and Adapt. Bergeron
(2003) argued that knowledge management is the cycle of Create/Acquisition,
Modification, Use, Archiving, Transfer, Translation/Repurposing, Access and Disposal.
Lytras and Rouloudi (2003), based on the research done by Rubenstein-Montano et al.
(2001), summarised knowledge management activities by various researchers in 6 phases,
as in figure 2.5. Lytras and Rouloudi (2003) proposed an integrated model of KM which
consists of Relate/Value, Acquire, Organise, Enable / Reuse, Transfer and Use.
From the previous literature, apparently those different scholars have different
classifications of the process in their KM models. However, Alfs (2003) and Mertins et
al. (2003) stated that it should be a cyclic process which comprises of Generating,
Storing, Distributing and Applying knowledge, similar to the knowledge management
lifecycle proposed by Seufert, Back and Kroch (2003) where there are four generic
knowledge processes that can be distinguished: (1) Locating / Capturing, (2) Sharing /
Transferring, (3) Creating and (4) Applying.
Heisig (2009) analysed 160 knowledge management frameworks and concluded that an
underlying consensus is detected regarding the basic categories describing the knowledge
management activities and the critical success factors. The knowledge management
frameworks proposed by Heisig (2009) from his research has three layers, which are
business focus layer, knowledge focus layer and enabler focus layer. In the knowledge
focus layer, there are four core processes which are Create, Store, Share and Apply. This
classification is also similar to the knowledge process proposed by Alavi and Leidner
(2001) which consists of four the core processes namely: Creation/Construction, Storage/
Retrieval, Transfer and Applicati
Chapter 2: Literature Review
[email protected] Ricky K.F. Cheong 2011 Page 26
Figure 2. 5: Various Knowledge Management Lifecycle Source: Lytras and Rouloudi (2003, p. 244)
Chapter 2: Literature Review
[email protected] Ricky K.F. Cheong 2011 Page 27
The frameworks proposed by both Heisig (2009) and Alavi and Leidner (2001) were
actually similar to the generic processes proposed by Seufert, Back and Krogh (2003), all
consisting of four core processes. Although, the terms used to describe the processes are
different e.g Hisig (2009) termed one of the core process as “Store”, Alavi and Leidner
(2001) termed as “Storage/ Retrieval” and Seufert, Back and Kroch (2003) termed as
“Locate / Capture”, they shared the same functions and purposes that was to acquire and
organise knowledge.
In this research, the Seufert, Back and Krogh (2003)’s knowledge management processes
framework as shown in figure 2.6 was adapted. Instead of a sequential process, the KM
process proposed by Seufert, Back and Krogh (2003) is an interactive process where the
application of knowledge takes the central role.
Figure 2. 6: Knowledge Process Categories Source: Seufert, Back and Krogh (2003, p. 112)
Creating
Applying
Transferring
/ Sharing
Locating /
Capturing
[email protected] Ricky K.F. Cheong 2011 Page 28
The following describes each of the KM processes applied in this research.
(1) Locating / Capturing Knowledge
Seufert, Back and Krogh (2003) mentioned that locating and capturing
knowledge depends on finding and charting already existing knowledge. It is a big
challenge when there is a widely dispersed knowledge base, and it is required to
have a system to reduce the search cost. This process also includes retrieval,
organising and storage of knowledge which includes written documents,
structured information stored in electronic databases, codified human knowledge
stored in expert systems, documented procedures and processes and the tacit
knowledge acquired by individuals (Tan et al. 1998). The knowledge retrieval
should be from both internal and external sources. Lim (2007) argued that staff
learn from experience. Continuous process improvement could be the internal
sources and external sources should include benchmarking, best practices from
other organisation, attending conferences, hiring consultants, monitoring social,
economic, and technological trends, collaborating with others, building alliances,
forming joint ventures and establishing links with partners. For organising and
storage, Kim, Suh and Kwang (2003) argued that the knowledge should be
structured and stored so that it can be found and delivered quickly. The ease and
ability to access the knowledge repository are critical (Davies et al. 2005).
(2) Sharing / Transferring Knowledge
Sharing / Transferring Knowledge refers to the leveraging of existing knowledge
and generating new values, and explicit knowledge is more easy to transfer
through electronic media or other forms of documents but tacit knowledge is more
difficult since it requires direct interaction with people (Seufert, Back & Krogh
2003). This process is happening at various levels which include the transfer of
knowledge from individuals to a group, between groups, across groups and from
groups to the organisation (Alavi & Leidner 2001). Albino, Garavelli and
Gorgoglione (2004) mentioned that knowledge transfer involves the mechanical,
electronic and interpersonal movement of information and knowledge, both
intentionally and unintentionally. The form of knowledge transfer between tacit
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[email protected] Ricky K.F. Cheong 2011 Page 29
knowledge and explicit knowledge is best described by the SECI model proposed
by Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995), as discussed section 2.2.3.
(3) Creating Knowledge
Seufert, Back and Krogh (2003) argued that creating knowledge is concerned with
the development of new explicit or tacit knowledge by groups or individuals. New
knowledge can be created either through the expansion of the already existing
tacit or explicit knowledge, or through a new method of combining these forms of
knowledge. This process includes development of new content or replacing
existing content for both tacit and explicit knowledge (Pentland 1995). It is
through the processes of socialisation and collaboration as well as individual’s
cognitive processes, that the created knowledge can be shared, amplified, enlarged
and justified (Nonaka 1994). Unlike knowledge capturing that is an adaptive
process, knowledge creation is a generative process (Firestone & McElroy 2004).
Knowledge is created through actions and behaviour such as problem solving and
integration with the organisation existing knowledge stock (Devinney, Midgley &
Soo 2004). Knowledge creation occurs through the application and exploitation of
the acquired information and knowledge, and the outcome of the knowledge
creation includes the production of documents in paper or electronic form,
generation of skills, beliefs, norms, images, intuition and mental models...etc
(Fung 2008).
Applying knowledge comprises the application and usage of knowledge, i.e.
reflection, in actual situations such as in decision making or problem solving
(Seufert, Back & Krogh 2003). It is to create capability by integrating knowledge
(Grant 1996); it is to realize the value of knowledge (Lytras & Rouloudi 2003),
and for an organisation it is to create commercial values for customers (Demarest
1997). It involves the integration of knowledge into an organisation’s business
processes and key applications (Laudon & Laudon 2005). Lytras and Rouloudi
(2003) mentioned that it is a goal-oriented process, and knowledge must be
applied in the context of specific purposes and to construct meanings of higher
values and to support the learning processes.
Chapter 2: Literature Review
2.2.7 Organisational Learning
Organisational Learning is an important branch in knowledge management, and actually
the concept of organisational learning can be traced back to the late 1950’s and early
1960’s to scholars like March and Simon (1958) and Cyert and March (1963).
Buchel and Probst (2002) argued that the organisational learning was primarily focusing
on identifying the learning theories and the processes of changing the organisational
knowledge, while knowledge management was taking a proactive role of providing
frameworks / guidelines for active intervention into an organisation’s knowledge base.
This section reviews the literature on organisational learning which provides better
understanding of the knowledge management at the organisational level.
2.2.7.1 Development of Organisational Learning
The development of organisational learning began to attract attention in the 1960’s and
many authors, e.g. Argyris and Schon (1978), Brown and Duguid (1991), Cangelosi and
Dill (1965), Cohen and Sproull (1996), Dodgson (1993), Duncan and Weiss (1979),
Easterby-Smith, Snell and Gherardi (1998), Fiol (1994), Hedberg (1981), Kim (1993),
Lahteenmaki, Toivonen and Mattila (2001), Levitt and March (1988), Matlay (2000),
Rashman, Withers and Jean (2008), Senge (1990), Wang and Ahmed(2003), tried to
illuminate the concept of organisational learning. There were over fifty academic articles
on organisational learning published in the 1980’s (Rashman, Withers & Jean 2008) and
the growth of the organisational learning study was mainly due to (1) the speed of
technological change, (2) the advance of globalisation, and (3) the growing corporate
competition (Easterby-Smith, Snell & Gherardi 1998).
Easterby-Smith, Snell and Gherardi (1998) discussed organisational learning
development by the four sets of issues or assumptions, which are (1) Teleology: the
purposes of organisational learning, (2) Ontology: the essence or fundamental stuff of
organisational learning, (3) Epistemology: the preferred research methodologies for
investigating organisational learning, and (4) Technology: the effectiveness of and
developmental direction for organisational learning interventions. The study of the
organisational learning has been focused on different approaches and Lahteenmaki,
Chapter 2: Literature Review
Toivonen and Mattila (2001) summarised various approaches by the learning subject,
learning process and learning precondition, as in the figure 2.2.7.1. The development of
organisational learning has been drawn from a variety of disciplines including
psychology and organisational development, management science, organisation theory,
strategy theory, production management and cultural anthropology (Easterby-Smith,
Snell & Gherardi 1998).
Figure 2. 7: Approaches of studying organisational learning and learning organisations Source: Lahteenmake, Toivonen and Mattila (2001, p. 115)
2.2.7.2 Definition of Organisational Learning
Duncan and Weiss (1979) argued that organisational learning is loosely defined as the
process by which organisations come to have knowledge on action-outcome
relationships. Fiol and Lyles (1985) defined organisation learning as the improving
actions through better knowledge and understanding. Levitt and March (1988) stated that
organisational learning is an instrument of intelligence rather than a transfer or
experience. Senge (1990) defined organisational learning as the process through which
managers seek to improve organisational members’ desire and ability to understand and
manage the organisation and its environment, so that they can make decisions that
continuously raise organisational effectives. Miller (1996) defined organisational learning
as the acquisition of new knowledge by actors who are able and willing to apply
Chapter 2: Literature Review
knowledge in making decisions or influencing others in the organisation. Hodgkinson
(2000) defined organisational learning as, “... the coming together of individuals to enable
them to support and encourage one another’s learning which will in the longer term be of
benefit to the organisation”.
The concept of organisational learning has flourished and has been defined in a wide
range of literature (Argyris, C. & Schon 1996; Cohen, M.D. & Sproul 1991; Levitt &
March 1988; Senge 1990). Most of the definitions of organisational learning appear to be
complementary rather than fundamentally original or conceptually different (Matlay
2000). However, Wang and Ahmed (2001) argued that the prevailing concept of
organisational learning bears a strong bias towards the traditional scientific approach to
management, and stresses the importance of system thinking and continuous
improvements (Wang, Catherine L. & Ahmed 2003) .
Fiol and Lyles (1985) summarised the organisational learning literature from 1978 to
1982, as shown in figure 2.8, where the theories are labelled as “learning” or
“adaptation”, and classified the concern of the theories into behavioural development and
cognitive development. This summary provides an insight of organisational learning
theories underlying in modern knowledge management theories.
Chapter 2: Literature Review
Source: Fiol and Lyles (1985)
2.2.8 Section Summary of Knowledge Management
The literature of knowledge management concluded that no single definition can explain
knowledge (section 2.2.1) and knowledge management (section 2.2.4). However, it is
clear that knowledge management is a multi-discipline aspect which covers different
schools of thoughts (section 2.2.5) and mainly focuses at the organisation level. The
DIKW knowledge Hierarchy (section 2.2.1) and the types of knowledge, i.e. tacit
knowledge and explicit knowledge (section 2.2.2), and the knowledge conversation
model (section 2.2.3) provide the basic understanding of knowledge transformation from
one form to another. The knowledge management process outlined (section 2.2.6) the
generic model to describe the interaction between capture / locate, share / transfer, create
and apply knowledge. This generic model provided a visual presentation of different
Chapter 2: Literature Review
stage of knowledge processes and the definition and development of organisational
learning (section 2.7) provided a better understanding of the underlying theories of
knowledge management at the organisation level.
2.3 Personal Knowledge Management (PKM)
The literature related to knowledge management as discussed in the previous section, is
mainly at the organisational level. It is the traditional view that knowledge management is
primarily focused on enterprise knowledge management (Pauleen 2009a) and most of the
previous research in knowledge management was performed at the enterprise level
(Pauleen 2009a; Tsui 2002b; Zhang 2009). This section discusses another parent
discipline of this research on knowledge management at the individual level, and first
reviews the individual learning, the underlying theory of PKM, followed by the literature
on PKM.
2.3.1 Individual Learning
Forcheri, Molfino and Quarati (2000) defined Individual Learning as the capacity to
build knowledge through individual reflection about external stimuli and sources, and
through the personal re-elaboration of individual knowledge