Evolution of EKM (Enterprise Wide Knowledge Management) Tool as a Solution for Skill Set Deficiency in Recessionary Times

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VSRD
-
IJBMR,

Vol. 1 (3
), 2011,
127
-
136


____________________________

1
Lecturer
,
MBA
Department
,

2
Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Application,

12
Bharati Vidyapeeth University
Institute of
Management & Research
,
New Delhi
,
Delhi
, INDIA.

*Correspondence :
aparnamarwah@gmail.com

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Evolution of EKM (Enterprise W
ide Knowledge
Management) Tool as a Solution for

Skill


Set Deficiency in Recessionary Times

1
Aparna Marwah
*

and
2
Daljeet Singh Bawa

ABSTRACT

These are brutal economic times. Performance in a few areas of a firm’s operations can spell success or failure.
These areas, called critical success factors
(CSF’s
), vary from one firm to another, but tend to follow certain
patterns based on indu
stry. One of the critical success factors is cross
-
training.

From a positive view point, recession actually means a new beginning, a fresh start from a break. The CEOs
who feel the pressure from all sides to do more with less, can take this time to be a pe
rfect opportunity to make
the pitch for one more
alternative:

an enterprise knowledge management (EKM) tool.

Knowledge Management is managing; dealing, with an abstract conceptual knowhow, a very subtle framework
of experiences, instances,
circumstantial
and

spatial incidences of workforce. The challenge in these
recessionary trends in global scenario is “How to create the flow from Tacit Knowledge to Explicit
Knowledge.” While creating this transition, there should not be any leakages as far as proper com
munication is
concerned. It has been seen that, the transition from tacit to explicit is quite a delicate one as it includes feelings,
emotions, values, spatial experiences, circumstances, i.e. added experiential learning.

What is
Knowledge:

By applying th
e corollary of explicit, knowledge
does know

what was not known earlier.
By applying Tacit or implicit,
knowing something

from experience, from practical point of view, to be more
concrete the application. Also,
Knowledge is : Know the Edge if we have a hy
brid as far as both tacit and
explicit knowledge is concerned. In other words, explicit knowledge is learning from

text, whereas tacit
knowledge
is forward

integration of knowledge. Or it can be understood from this perspective also that, from
forward in
tegration, a person can go towards backward integration too, if we take him standing at a particular
point.

Aparna Marwah

et. al

/ VSRD
International Journal of Business & Managemen
t Research Vol. 1 (3
), 2011

Page
128

of
136

In simple terms, it is back and forth mechanism, i.e. continuous training and development and pro
-
activity to
sustain onslaught global recessionary
trends, one has to be AN IDEACRAT, one has to innovate and
upgrade.
To put it rightly the challenge with HR is to create a balance among the employees to create a right mix of both
tacit and explicit knowledge which facilitates cross training.

EKM model ty
pically help organizations collect and make sense of data to facilitate governance, assessment of
the competency and its development of available skills in the enterprise. This perceptual model can also assist a
company's not only to plan and track existin
g skill sets but also create a portfolio of existing and future
knowledge base of employees categorized by such criteria as budget size, schedule, or business line from
company’s perspectives and feelings.

Keywords :

Performance, critical success factors
(CSF’s
), cross
-
training, Knowledge Management, subtle
framework of experiences, instances,
circumstantial and

spatial incidences of workforce, Tacit Knowledge to
Explicit Knowledge,
IDEACRAT,

perceptual model

1.

INTRODUC
TION

These are brutal economic times. Performance in a few areas of a firm’s operations can spell success or failure.
These areas, called critical success factors
(CSF’s
), vary from one firm to another, but tend to follow certain
patterns based on industry
. One of the critical success factors is cross
-
training.

From a positive view point, recession actually means a new beginning, a fresh start from a break. The CEOs
who feel the pressure from all sides to do more with less, can take this time to be a perfec
t opportunity to make
the pitch for one more
alternative:

an enterprise knowledge management (EKM) tool.

Knowledge Management is managing; dealing, with an abstract conceptual knowhow, a very subtle framework
of experiences, instances,
circumstantial and

spatial incidences of workforce. The challenge in these
recessionary trends in global scenario is “How to create the flow from Tacit Knowledge to Explicit
Knowledge.” While creating this transition, there should not be any leakages as far as proper communi
cation is
concerned. It has been seen that, the transition from tacit to explicit is quite a delicate one as it includes feelings,
emotions, values, spatial experiences, circumstances, i.e. added experiential learning.

2.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

OF THE RESEARCH

The aims and objectives of the
research are as follows :



To identify the skills set required by senior
executives, managers and operations personnel

of
varied
organizational levels
, whether these services are converged or not, to enable them to function ef
fectively at

the
various

management level
s
. The
research

aimed to identify both the generic management

skills needed,
and specifically the information management skills
.



To identify the skills gaps of the current generation of information managers working
at
deputy
level who
are aspiring to senior information management positions
.

Aparna Marwah

et. al

/ VSRD
International Journal of Business & Managemen
t Research Vol. 1 (3
), 2011

Page
129

of
136



T
o put forward proposals as to how the skills gaps identified might be translated into modular

learning
products, within a coherent framework, for potential delivery via the Web
.



To make recommendations to relevant bodies within the
enterprises’ working
community and to relevant
training

providers
o
n

the potential application of the open learning model as a means of addressing these
skills ga
ps.



To explore the feasibility of develo
ping a diagnostic tool from the findings of the surveys and interviews for
assessing both generic and specialist information management skills.

What is Knowledge

: By applying the corollary of explicit, knowledge
does know

what was not known earlier.
By ap
plying Tacit or implicit,
knowing something

from experience, from practical point of view, to be more
concrete the application. Also,
Knowledge is : Know the Edge if we have a hybrid as far as both tacit and
explicit knowledge is concerned. In other words,

explicit knowledge is learning from

text, whereas tacit
knowledge
is forward

integration of knowledge. Or it can be understood from this perspective also that, from
forward integration, a person can go towards backward integration too, if we take him st
anding at a particular
point.

In simple terms, it is back and forth mechanism, i.e. continuous training and development and pro
-
activity to
sustain onslaught global recessionary trends, one has to be AN IDEACRAT, one has to innovate and
upgrade.
To put it
rightly the challenge with HR is to create a balance among the employees to create a right mix of both
tacit and explicit knowledge which facilitates cross training.

EKM model typically help organizations collect and make sense of data to facilitate govern
ance, assessment of
the competency and its development of available skills in the enterprise. This perceptual model can also assist a
company's not only to plan and track existing skill sets but also create a portfolio of existing and future
knowledge ba
se of employees categorized by such criteria as budget size, schedule, or business line from
company’s perspectives and feelings.

Traditional organizations with heavy internal competition, rigid functional silos and undue
compartmentalization exhibit sub
-
o
ptimal performance by inhibiting critical knowledge flows. Cross
-
functional
teaming attempts to solve this problem by building organizational connections across functional silos. However,
merely bringing members of formerly isolated departments together pr
oduces only marginal increases in
performance. Any synergistic collaboration is likely to arise serendipitously and unpredictably. We propose a
systematic approach for combining the principles of knowledge management and cross
-
functional teaming in
ways th
at purposefully enhance knowledge flows and result in significant improvements in organizational
performance as measured by cost, time and quality.

Knowledge management issues are of paramount importance for the success of projects. The purpose of this
re
search is to provide new insights into the question of knowledge creation during cross
-
functional projects.
Adopting a constructionist approach, we propose a conceptual framework of the knowledge creation process
during a project. This model considers four

steps in the knowledge creation process based on the links between
the epistemological level (tacit/explicit) and ontological level (individual/organisational).

Aparna Marwah

et. al

/ VSRD
International Journal of Business & Managemen
t Research Vol. 1 (3
), 2011

Page
130

of
136

BACKGROUND OF KNOWLEDGE MANGEMENT


RESEARCH CONTEXT

In the information age of today’s econo
my the fundamental sources of wealth are no longer natural resources
and physical labour but knowledge and communication. Knowledge has thus become the preeminent economic
resource and has come to play a dominant role in out economy. Is impossible to find
a company that has not
become dependent on knowledge as a source of what attracts customers and on information technology as a
means or running the business. To manage knowledge should be high on the list of CEOs and executives, for it
can give the company

that extra mileage to stay ahead of the business.

However, while knowledge Management (KM), which includes sharing and using of information ad n skills, is a
fairly new concept and ash received considerable attention in recent years, the understanding of
the area is still
in an early stage of development. Many business manages are interest but hardly know how to make KM
concrete. Therefore, it may yet be high on their priority list.

It is also a well known fact that knowledge for the sake of knowledge is o
f no use if you have acquired skill s
through experience ingrained information from various sources but don not apply it, then such skill on
information is of no use to anyone. Knowledge when shared always increases because you gain new insights
and perspe
ctives. When you share you are also using the skills acquired by you whereby you get an opportunity
to have that skill.

Knowledge needs to be managed by every employee on a day to day basis. Knowledge Management needs to
produce concrete and visible result
s; this can generate commitment for more far stretching applications. Another
important condition for success of a KM tool is that management support needs to be obtained throughout all
layers of the company and it needs to be fully integrated din the bus
iness processes.

It is essential to first develop a strategy and then quickly implement some concrete told that help people in dong
their work and providing better service to their customers. An example of such a tool can be a knowledge
sharing system that

gives people quick and easy access to corporate knowledge and experts.

Knowledge sharing within a company has three key results and every knowledge
-
sharing tool should aim at
achieving these. The key results are:
-




Prevention of re
-
inventing the wheel at

different places (i.e. doing a task that has already been
completed by someone else and /or at different times, specifically regarding day to day practices. This
saves money time, efforts and frustration.



The creation of new knowledge is stimulated and en
abled.



Corporate wide unity thinking together with higher employee motivation is achieved resulting in
improved performance.



Results in an organization’s efforts for better succession planning.


Aparna Marwah

et. al

/ VSRD
International Journal of Business & Managemen
t Research Vol. 1 (3
), 2011

Page
131

of
136

3.

HYPOTHESIS FORMULATION



HYP1 : Acceptance of skill


set defic
iency among employees of business firms with diverse portfolios is a
common
scenario.



HYP 2
:

Significant difference lies between theoretical aspect of cross functional training
(inquiry

basis)

and when brought into reality.



HYP 3

: S
ignificant difference in
remuneration when comparing the theoretical
(inquiry)

aspect and
bringing it into rational aspect
(the

incentives are negligible). Promotion and Advocation of Knowledge
Management is not upto the par.



HYP 4 :

Cross


functional tra
ining when leading to desire generating capacity
(inspirational

in
character)

and then instigating it into action
(cross



functional training in
reality)

are based on the same parameters.



HYP 5 :

Marketing department is found to be the most exciting where
as finance is the least preferred when
it came to cross


functioning if given a choice.

4.

METHODOLOGY

The study on effectiveness was carried out on the unregimented sample (s) in general as well as the sample
segmented by the demographic variables (educati
on, age, sex, and income) and psychological variables (need
priority) by tabular analysis. Random samples of
Internet users
, metropolitan newspaper readers
, working
professionals

were selected from NCR.600 copies of the questionnaire were distributed out o
f which 518 could
be
retrieved

after they were answered. Further, the sample(s) in general and sample segmented in the above
manner were statistically analyzed by using Z
-
Test.

5.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Table 1 : Respondents
Reaction To
Acceptance Of Skill


Set Deficiency In

Business Enterprises With Diverse Portfolios
.

Reaction to

Response

%

Skill set deficiency is prevalent

Skill set deficiency is not prevalent

289

229

55.79

44.21

Total

518

100

From the above data it was seen that out of the 518 valid respondents in the state, 55.79% of the respondent
accepted that skill set deficiency is prevalent
, while 44.21% of the responde
nts felt it was not a true fact
.

Table 2: Respondents
Opinion Regardin
g Comprehensive

Capacity
of Employees With Regard To Knowledge Management

Aparna Marwah

et. al

/ VSRD
International Journal of Business & Managemen
t Research Vol. 1 (3
), 2011

Page
132

of
136

Comprehensive capacity of Employees

Response

%

No

Yes

218

300

42.08

57.92

Total

518

100

The above table shows that 57.92% of the
respondent was

aware of knowledge management and

create
d

confidence and a positive attitude in their mind towards
enhancing their skill sets

while 42.08% of the
responded were not of such opinion.

Table 3: Respondents
Retention
If Having Multi


Varied Skill Set

Retention of Employee

Response

%

Not at
all

A bit of the contractual work profile

Major part of the contractual period

The complete work profile

49

252

134

83

66.60

48.65

25.87

16.02

From the tabular analysis it was quite clear that 48.65% of the respondents

wanted to be retained in the
organization for
smaller

time duration,

25.87% of them
did not want leave the organization too early and wanted
to stay
, 16.02%
wanted to stay for
longer

time duration

while
66.60

of the respondents
wanted to leave
.

Table 4:
R
espondents Preference For
Emotional And Rational

Appeals
With Respect To Cross


Functional Training

SCORE

EMOTIONAL APPEALS

RATIONAL APPEALS

Response

%

Response

%

Score 1

Score 2

Score 3

170

21

327

32.82

4.05

63.13

345

38

135

66.60

7.34

26.06

Total

518

100

518

100

(Score 1 stands for least preferred, 2 for undecided &3 for most preferred)

From the table it was quite evident that the percentage of the respondents who had strong preference for
cross


functional training

using emotional appeal was 63.13
while the

percentage of the respondents who had strong
preference for
cross
-

training
using

rational appeals was 26.06.

Aparna Marwah

et. al

/ VSRD
International Journal of Business & Managemen
t Research Vol. 1 (3
), 2011

Page
133

of
136

Table 5:
Respondents Opinion Regarding Emotive
Appeals

(Desire

Generating Capacity).

Are Respondents
/ Able To Associate
with the New Departmental Function With

Respect To A Variety of Parameters
?

Emotive appeals ( desire generating capacity )

Yes

%

No

%

Total

%

Values

Ettiquettes

Ethics

Education

Interest ratio (Stimulation)

Remuneration

Experiential Facet

Upbringing


Cultural Background

Inherent ability

313

313

303

268

281

180

136

160

217

181

60.42

60.42

58.49

51.74

54.25

34.75

26.25

30.89

41.89

34.94

205

205

215

250

237

338

382

358

301

337

39.58

39.58

41.51

48.26

45.75

65.25

73.75

69.11

58.11

65.06

518

518

518

518

518

518

518

518

518

518

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

(All

the departmental functioning like Sales, Marketing, Human Resource, Finance, Production & Operations,
Manufacturing and Industrial Relations were taken in this category).

The above table shows that in case of
cross departmental functioning

60.42%, 58.49
%,
51.74 and

54.25% of the
respondents felt that
appeals in
rational

tone played a positive role in creating a want or desire for
working in a
new department with respect to matrix organization.

Table 6: Influence
of
Rational Aspects In Terms Of Action

Inf
luence of Rational Aspects

in T
erms of Action

INQUIRED

TRIED/TESTED

TOTAL

Response

%

Response

%

Response


Values

Etiquettes

Ethics

Education


Interest ratio

Remuneration

Experiential Facet

Upbringing


Cultural Background

Inherent ability

165

185

196

301

222

399

324

358

359

238

31.85

35.71

37.84

58.11

42.86

77.03

62.55

69.11

60.31

45.95

353

333

322

217

296

119

194

160

159

280

68.15

64.29

62.16

41.89

57.14

22.97

37.45

30.89

30.69

54.05

518

518

518

518

518

518

518

518

518

518

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

The above table shows the effect of
rational aspects like monetary and non monetary on cross functional training
leading to rich knowledge
management warehouse
. The percentage of inquiry was 31.85% for
values
,

35.71%
for
etiquettes
, 37.84% for
ethics
, 58.11% for e
ducation
, 69.11% for
interest ratio (stimulation)
,
77.03% for
Aparna Marwah

et. al

/ VSRD
International Journal of Business & Managemen
t Research Vol. 1 (3
), 2011

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134

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136

remuneration
60.31% for
cultural background

and 45.95% for
inherent a
bility.

The percentage of trial or
tested

was 68.15% for
values
, 64.29% for
etiquettes
,62.16% for
ethics
,41.89% for
e
ducation

and 57.14% for
interest ratio

while the % of
trial

was 22.97% for
remuneration
, 37.45% for
experiential

,30.89% for
upbringing
,30.
69% for
cultura
l

background

and 54.05% for
inherent ability
.

The percentage of inquiry was more
whereas the trials were brought into place with reluctance and forced super


ordinate pressure to achieve perceived targets.

Table 7: Most
Preferred
Departmen
t In Terms Of Cross


Functional Training

Department Preference

Rational

%

Emotional

%

Total

%

Marketing

Human Resource

Production and Operations

Finance

453

182

178

171

87.45

35.14

34.36

33.01

65

336

340

347

12.55

64.86

65.64

66.99

518

518

518

518

100

100

100

100


87.45% of the respondents preferred
marketing department

by rational appeals
in favor of marketing
, 64.86% of
the respondent preferred ads dominated by emotional for
human resource
,

65.64% and 66.99% of the
respondents preferred ads dominated by emotional appeals for
production & operations and finance function

respectively.



Z (
calculated) 0.14 < than
Z (
tabulation) at 5% level of significance. The null hypothesis
(HYP

1
) was

accepte
d. There was no significant difference

when it came to denial of skill


set deficiency among
employees of business firms with diverse portfolios
.



Z (calculated) 2.32 > than
Z (
tabulation) at 5% level of significance. The null
hypotheses, (HYP 2) were

reje
cted. There was significant difference
between theoretical aspect of cross functional training
(inquiry

basis)

and when brought into reality.



Z (calculated) 2.13 > than Z (tabulation) at 5% level of significance. The null hypothesis
(HYP

3) was
rejected. T
here was significant difference in
remuneration when comparing the theoretical ( inquiry ) aspect
and bringing it into rational aspect ( the incentives are negligible)



Z (calculated) 1.12< than
Z (
tabulation) at 5% level of significance. The null
hypothesis was accepted.
There was no significa
nt difference when it came to desire generating capacity
(inspirational

in
character)

and then bringing it into action
(cross



functional training in
reality)
.



Z (
calculated) 1.94 < than
Z (
tabulation) at 5%
level of significance. The null hypothesis is accepted.
Marketing department is found to be the most exciting whereas finance is the least preferred when it came
to cross


functioning if given a choice.

Aparna Marwah

et. al

/ VSRD
International Journal of Business & Managemen
t Research Vol. 1 (3
), 2011

Page
135

of
136

6.

CONCLUSION

The aim of the
research

was to contribut
e to
knowledge management

sector’s succession planning for

information management
of
staff by identifying the skills needed by such staff. It sought to find

out whether a
skills gap exists among the cadre of staff currently working at
various
levels
in

div
erse

service roles, and, if a
skills gap does exist, to identify the nature of that gap. In

particular the project focused on the hybrid
information management skills required to operate

effectively at
different

level
s
, in an increasingly complex
technical

and managerial environment.

7.

SUGGESTIONS



The business enterprises

should review their schemes of staff development and reward management, to
ensure

that, where appropriate, these schemes provide sufficient encouragement, support and

direction to
those aspiring to leadership roles,
which

have the skills to succeed in such roles.



The business
enterprises
should

consider developing a more structured approach to succession planning,

through the development of enhanced management developme
nt
tool
s. Such

tool
s should encourage staff to
analyse and evaluate their skills and abilities, and

also provide staff with greater exposure to institutional
planning, policy and decision
-
making,

to prepare them better for future director roles.



A diagnost
ic tool for aspiring senior information managers should be implemented, based

upon the
prototype developed under the auspices of the
research taken
.

8.

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