Espacios. Vol. 34 (5) 2013. Pág. 3
Knowledge management in incubated enterprises: using the KMD method
Gestão do conhecimento em empresas incubadas: usando o método KMD
Recibido: 06-12-2012 - Aprobado: 12-03-2013
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The new organizational scene has as main characteristics that constant change in processes, products and also in management. These changes have as main objective the achievement of greater competitiveness.
Given this initial context, Costa et al (2009) argue that nowadays knowledge is understood and perceived by organizations as a source of value, especially when its use is linked to the development of new strategies.
Still according to those author’s, the knowledge management (KM) has been gaining strength in organizations, presenting itself as a tool to facilitate better interaction with the flow of information in the routine of organizations, as well as stimulate organizational learning.
Due to the lack of methodologies which allows managers to achieving improvements in the performance of knowledge management, the authors Bukowitz and Williams, through his studies and extensive experience, developed a model called Knowledge Management Diagnostic (KMD) which evaluates the tactical and strategic level if the organizational knowledge creates value or not.
Although the book Knowledge Management Book field, was released in Brazil in 2002, but few studies following this model were published. Studies that had been highlighted:
These works helped to strengthen this model of knowledge management, but it is still necessary to perform other applications of KMD so that managers analyze the real situation of KMD in their own companies.
Observing the studies cited above, it’s possible to analyze that are no researches using the KMD in companies that are incubated. The incubation period is strategic for companies which learn to manage their knowledge.
Based on these considerations, the research problem was formulated through the linkage between the chosen method, which was applied into two incubated enterprises.
How to diagnose whether the knowledge is captured, created, used and stored in an incubated company and how it generates increased in their performance?
Diagnose, through the model proposed by the authors Bukowitz and Williams (2002), how knowledge is captured, created, used and stored in an incubated company generates increased in its performance.
3.1 Specific objectives
To achieve the main objective, we intend to achieve the following specific objectives:
4.1 Knowledge Management (KM)
Given the increasing changes and difficulties that organizations are facing, Knowledge Management (KM) has demonstrated excellent source of work which before was "neglected" (RODRIGUES et al, 2009).
This paradigm shift brought KM to a place of prominence due to the intensive use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), especially by using the internet, spreading knowledge between organizations and individuals.
According to Holanda et al (2009), several authors have been formulating definitions of Knowledge Management. Although it is not possible to affirm that these authors have a complete definition, they generally speak about KM like the use of intangible assets of the company, those assets that are related to people, processes, patents, documents and practices in order to create value and sustainability for the organization.
So faced with these authors and their respective concepts, it is possible to understand that the KM understands the best use of internal and external knowledge, its dissemination (socialization) among employees and storage through the various Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The next topic will discuss the main models.
4.2 Models of Knowledge Management
Besides various approaches explained in the previous section, Castro (2005) summarizes in Chart 1 some of the main models of knowledge management, emphasizing the main features:
Chart 1: Models of knowledge management and its features
Before the presentation of these four models, this research used the KMD method, due to the companies under study doesn’t know if there is some structure which supports the knowledge management.
4.3 Knowledge Management Diagnoses - KMD
Bukowitz and Williams (2002) affirm that the KMD´s main objective is to structure the processes of knowledge management. This structure follows two courses activities that occur simultaneously in organizations:
The KMD is composed by the tactical and strategic processes. The tactical is divided into four sections (obtain, use, learn and contribute), since the strategy is divided into three sections (assess, build / maintain and disposal). The Figure 1 shows the Structuring of Knowledge Management Processes:
Figure 1: Structuring of knowledge management processes
The subtopics 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 present in detail the divisions of the KMD and its seven sections.
4.3.1 The Tactical Process
Refers to how people gather the information they need for their daily work, use the knowledge to create value, learn from what they created, and finally return to this knowledge system for others to use when embracing their own problems (BUKOWITZ and WILLIAMS, 2002 p.25).
Problem: High availability of information provided by technologies. According to the authors, individuals and / or teams must find the right information when needed, and organizations should provide tools to access manage and store information.
Problem: Use of traditional sources of inspiration and creative thinking that cannot generate competitive advantage. The authors affirm that individuals and / or teams must constantly seek new and reliable sources to innovate and meet customer needs. Already have organizations that provide environments and best practices for stimulating creativity and use of information.
Problem: Integrate new ways of learning with the various ways in which people work. Persons / groups have to understand and learn from some actions that affect outcomes in their daily work, to improve future results. The responsibility of organizations for this section is to provide an environment to understand the different learning styles (BUKOWITZ and WILLIAMS, 2002).
Problem: Mindset of people to think that knowledge sharing is a waste of time and does not add value for those who contributed but only for those who receive. Individuals and / or groups need to cancel this type of mindset and awaken the desire for collaboration. Organizations have the responsibility to promote this section structures to support a culture focused on collaboration of ideas, (BUKOWITZ and WILLIAMS, 2002).
4.3.2 The Strategic Process
Knowledge management at the strategic level requires an ongoing evaluation of existing intellectual capital and a comparison with future needs (BUKOWITZ and WILLIAMS, 2002 p.26). The authors also say that part of the process of knowledge management is concerned more particularly with the role of specific groups and organizational leaders.
Problem: Lack of safety measures to evaluate the intangibles. Individuals and / or groups must find ways of measuring less complex intellectual assets in the planning process. For organizations, the biggest responsibility is to map and evaluate which of these assets will be used for future needs (BUKOWITZ and WILLIAMS, 2002).
Problem: Difficulty of measuring the amount of funds to be invested to maintain and grow its intangible assets. Individuals and / or teams must always seek new experiments aiming to generate a competitive advantage for the organization to justify new investments and systematic. In the organization's main responsibility is to develop and implement a good plan of action to promote new knowledge (BUKOWITZ and WILLIAMS, 2002).
Problema: falta de visão quando parte ou toda a base de conhecimento não fornece mais vantagem competitiva. As pessoas e/ou grupos devem desenvolver e utilizar algum método para analisar os custos dessa retenção de conhecimento desnecessário. E a organização deve reconhecer que pode existir conhecimento desnecessário e incentivar o conhecimento novo (BUKOWITZ e WILLIAMS, 2002).
5.1 Scientific Method
Scientific method is a set of processes or mental operations that must be employed in research. It's the line of reasoning adopted in the research process. The methods that provide the rationale for research are: deductive, inductive, hypothetical-deductive, dialectical and phenomenological (GIL 1999; LAKATOS; MARCONI, 1993; SILVA AND MENEZES 2001 p.25).
According to the above concept, the research method used in this work is the inductive, since the data will be collected from a company (incubated), and on the analysis of this sample, generalizations are made for other companies.
5.2 Research Classification
From the point of view of its nature, this research is classified as applied.
According to Silva and Menezes (2001 p.20), the applied research aims to generate knowledge for practical application aimed at solving specific problems.
The knowledge originated from diagnosis may lead managers to develop better policies, tactical and strategic levels, in order to generate increased performance.
From the viewpoint of how to approach the problem this study is classified qualitative and quantitative.
According to Patton (1990) in a survey can be collected both qualitative and quantitative data. The qualitative approach in this research allows you to check what the real situation of knowledge management in the company studied. However, the approach becomes more consistent quantitative analysis of each section of the Diagnostic Knowledge Management (KMD).
From the point of view of its objectives, the research is classified as exploratory.
According to Gil, (2002 p.44) the exploratory research mainly aims to develop, clarify and modify concepts and ideas, with a view to formulating problems more accurate searchable or hypotheses for further studies.
Based on the concept of Gil, the exploratory research that sheds light how knowledge is captured, created, used and stored by the company incubated generates increased performance.
From the point of view of the technical procedures research is classified as a study case.
Silva and Menezes (2001 p.21) argue that the study case involves a profound and exhaustive study of one or a few objects in a way that allows its broad and detailed knowledge. And since this research seeks to meet through a diagnosis as knowledge captured, created, used and stored generates increased performance, we considered the case study as indicated.
5.3 Sampling and Population
Population (or the survey universe) is the totality of individuals who possess the same characteristics defined for a particular study (SILVA AND MENEZES, 2001 p.32). Given the above concept, the study population were all micro and small enterprises incubated in “Intecponta Incubator” from Ponta Grossa - PR, Brazil. Has seven companies incubated, however in this study, two incubated companies were defined as samples.
Still according to the authors, the sample is the population or the universe, selected in accordance with a rule or plan. Therefore, this study sample comprised companies with incubation period started in 2011.
5.4 Collection Instrument Information
According to Silva and Menezes (2001 p.21) the questionnaire is an ordered series of questions that must be answered in writing by the informant. The questionnaire should be objective, limited in scope and be accompanied by instructions.
The collection instrument used in this research was the questionnaire. This was developed by the authors Bukowitz and Williams (2002) and consists of 140 multiple choice questions.
5.5 Questionnaire Development
As explained in the previous section, the questionnaire was chosen as a tool for gathering information and this was applied by the manager of the firm studied. In according to Bukowitz and Williams (2002), the KMD is composed of seven sections that discuss each step of Knowledge Management. And each of the seven sections contains a list of twenty (20) claims that evaluated the organization or some sector of it.
For each question the authors adopt a rating scale (ascending order) where:
S - Represents the statement is strongly descriptive in my organization;
M - Represents the statement is moderately descriptive in my organization;
W - Represents the statement is weakly descriptive in my organization.
The interpretation of the results of score KMD happens according to a simple criterion: the higher the percentage obtained in answers, the better the performance of a specific step in the process of Knowledge Management. To calculate each section and also the average of the seven sections is required:
Figure 2: Results punctuation
For each evaluation scale scores were assigned: ("S" = 3) ("M" = 2) and ("W" = 1), ie add to the total of "S" and multiply by three; the total of "M" and multiplied by two, and the total of "W" and multiply by 1. The maximum score for each section is 60 points (20 X claims 3), since the maximum possible score is 420 overall (60 points X 7 sections).
Figure 3: Evaluation scales
The authors adopt the acceptable standard of performance in organizations an average score for each section of 30 to 70%, and for all sections a percentage of 55%.
The information found in this chapter was obtained from an incubated company located in the city of Ponta Grossa - PR. To ensure the confidentiality of information, the company´s ware identified as ALHA and BETA.
To obtain the section the average 66.67% or greater than the stipulated (30% to 70%) by the authors Bukowitz and Williams (2002) has to be reached. From these data we can infer that the company´s people can find the right information when they want. The organization also has a good structure for Information Technology. However, some "limitations" were found by DGC in this section, the company BETA. The main limitations faced by this company were:
Table 1, show the results obtained by companies ALPHA and BETA in Section 1 – Obtain:
Table1: Section Obtain (ALPHA and BETA)
From the interpretation of these data it was possible to infer that in the company ALPHA people can describe what information is required and use reliable sources with easy access. There is a solid structure of Technology Information and the manager takes beyond its traditional functions other specific positions, such as knowledge manager and archivist.
In company BETA people can find the right information when they want. The organization also has a good structure for Technology Information. However, some "limitations" were found by KMD in this section in the company BETA. The main are:
Table 2 presents the results obtained by companies ALPHA and BETA in Section 2 – Use:
Table 2: Section Use (ALPHA e BETA)
According to the data obtained from the company ALPHA, ideas are encouraged and flow both inside and outside the organization (competing suppliers and customers), providing new perspectives and possibilities.
In company BETA people use internal knowledge and sometimes interact with other external partners to improve their information. Some "limitations" were found by KMD in this section, the company BETA, the main are:
Table 3 presents the results obtained by companies ALPHA and BETA in Section 3 - Learn.
Table 3: Section Learn (ALPHA e BETA)
From results obtained through the questionnaire it is possible to infer that the company ALPHA strategy is geared towards learning. The only "limitation" was found by KMD manager understand that the use of games and simulations to consider new market situations and the promotion of group activities to generate mutual learning are not considered priorities for learning.
For the company BETA is concluded that there is an environment that provides an understanding of the various learning styles. The "limitations" by KMD found in this section for the company BETA are:
Table 4 presents the results obtained by companies ALPHA and BETA in Section 4 – Contribute:
Table 4: Section Contribute (ALPHA e BETA)
From the obtained data it appears that the company ALPHA members want to contribute to the growth of organizational knowledge. The company also provides an efficient technological structure that supports the sharing of knowledge. A "limitation" found in this section by KMD was the manager understand that for the company is not common to have systems for evaluating of sharing knowledge and not formally practicing physical interactions to transfer tacit knowledge.
In the company BETA people also want to share the knowledge with the aim of strengthening the organizational knowledge. However, the "limitation" by KMD found in this section was the absence from the organization in determining where knowledge sharing by people or groups generate greater benefits.
Table 5 presents the results obtained by companies ALPHA and BETA in Section 5 – Evaluate:
Table 5: Section Evaluate (ALPHA e BETA)
From the obtained data, it is possible to infer that the company ALPHA there has efficient mechanisms for capturing knowledge. The "limitation" found in this section was the company not using a schematic map showing how different types of knowledge interact. Also, there are not exist internal documents showing the importance of knowledge management.
In BETA company there are good mechanisms for capturing knowledge. A "limitation" found was that the company did not map the different types of knowledge and their interactions. Another limitation is the lack of formal qualitative or quantitative measures to measure knowledge management.
Table 6 presents the results obtained by companies ALPHA and BETA in Section 6 - Build / Maintain:
Table 6: Section Build / Maintain (ALPHA e BETA)
According to the obtained data it appears that the company ALPHA transmits efficiently its resources for the development of new knowledge internally. It was also possible to identify the relationship with suppliers and customers generate creative partnerships.
In section build / maintain the results for the company BETA infer that people use new experiments for the development of new knowledge internally. It was also possible to identify in the organization that there are actions to promote the new knowledge. The "limitation" of this section was failure in technology information systems which do not promote the formation of different networks.
Table 7 presents the results obtained by companies ALPHA and BETA in Section 7 – Disposal:
Table 7: Section Discard (ALPHA e BETA)
From the obtained data, it is possible to infer that the company ALPHA values ??the quality and applicability of knowledge. For the manager the discard of worthless knowledge prevents bad decisions.
In company BETA there are methods which analyze the costs of retaining and disposing of worthless knowledge. The "limitation" of this section was that the organization does not outsource skills that are not within its competence.
Table 8 presents the results of all sections of the company ALPHA and BETA, respectively:
Table 8: All Sections Points (ALPHA e BETA)
As observed, ALPHA and BETA companies found rates of 77.52% and 74.52% respectively, in the seven sections. From the model used it is possible to infer that, as perceived by managers, the two studied companies use efficiently managing knowledge in strategic and tactical levels.
This article identified through the diagnose model (KMD) proposed by the authors Bukowitz and Williams (2002), how knowledge is captured, created, used and stored in two incubated companies, generating increase in its performances.
The survey also identified aspects of knowledge management in enterprises ALPHA and BETA, and identifies in those companies the strengths and weaknesses in each KMD section (Get, Use, Learn, Contribute, Assess, Build / Maintain, Discard).
After collecting and processing the data it was possible to establish the KMD rates in both companies. For the company ALPHA this rate was 77.62%, and for the company BETA 74.52% (above the average considered ideal by the authors, which is 55%). Therefore, from these data it was possible to diagnose the Knowledge Management happens in the two organizations at both the tactical and the strategic levels.
In regarding to the application of KMD in the form of a questionnaire, any difficulty was found by managers to answer the questionnaire. However, they expressed that this research instrument is tiring as a result of the 140 statements, requiring considerable time to answer it.
It is important to detach that this study is relevant to understanding more about knowledge management in organizations. However, the theories and evidence presented does not claim to be an ultimate theory, but aims to stimulate debate and criticism in the academic community and business. Also, a lack of pertinent actual bibliography about the surveyed topic was found.
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1Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná – (UTFPR) Programa de Pós-graduação em Engenharia de Produção – (PPGEP) E-mail: email@example.com