Nov 6, 2013 (3 years and 5 months ago)



Peter Parycek, Richard Pircher
Centre for Telematics , Danube University Krems, Austria
, richard.pircher@donau-uni.ac.a

The Department TIM (Telecommunication, Information and Media) aims to provide the necessary
education for the most recently developed occupations. The Department is particularly interested
in the introduction, application and use of Communication Technology (ICT) in various profit and
non-profit organisations. The following is a presentation of the University course e-Government,
and will be discussed and evaluated on the on the basis of experiences obtained from the University
course “Knowledge Management” .
1. Introduction
E-Government is the new challenge for public administration in the 21st century. The aim of achieving
administrative procedures which are not disrupted by different forms of the media and automatic electronic
processes requires change in the organisational units and the development of complete electronic systems.
To achieve this, the organisation needs specialists and generalists, as well as the necessary know-how
which can come from the further development of the present staff. The public administration’s financial
system does not allow the acquisition of external experts, only consultants can be hired for a limited amount
of time.
A number of factors support changes in terms of New Public Management, and, with the increasing use of
ICT in both the public as well as the grey sector, has lead to a new consciousness.
Governments from the EU countries are forced to maintain convergent aims (economic growth, budget
deficits, inflation, unemployment), thus increasing the pressure on state expenditure. This has in turn
increased the governments’s willingness to fundamentally restructure the public sector and to
increasingly employ ICT – hoping that this will lead to a reduction in state expenditure
The state, like the economy, is always in a process of development, and has therefore come away from
a focus on internal processes only, and opened up to the private sector, trying to provide the citizen
with a performance-oriented and cost-effective service.
This also includes a change from being a
Protective State to a Productive State, with a focus on the citizen as the client.
A further factor is the EU, which has stated that by 2005, all EU citizens should be able to complete
administrative matters with the authorities electronically.
Given this challenge, the Danube University in Krems has developed the University course “e-
Government” to professionally train those individuals responsible for e-Government. The aims and subjects
of this course will be discussed at a later point.
A main issue in e-Government processes is knowledge management. The University course e-Government
started in November 2002, and is therefore a pilot project, whilst the University course “Knowledge
Management” was developed in 1999, and given the similar structure and interdisciplinary focus of both
University courses, the experiences obtained from the course “Knowledge Management” will be reported
2. The Aims of the University Course e-Government:
e-Government projects draw on resources from a number of different areas, which should not be dealt
with singly. Therefore the course was set up to ensure that project managers develop the necessary
responsibilities and abilities.
Interviews reveal that one of the main problems are the communication barriers between the various
departments. Organisational developers often do not speak the IT specialists’ language and vice-versa. IT
departments work whilst ignoring the customers’ requirements, resulting in expensive re- adaptations. E-
Government can only be successful if all the organisational units and its members are working in one
A further problem for the implementation of e-Government projects in Austria is its’ federal structure, so
the relevant institutions’ competencies and issues are included in the course, allowing the students to gain a
complete view of the Austrian situation. This is a important, because it is by seeing how an organisation is
part of the Austrian e-Government network that a student is able to understand the complexity and the
integration of the relationships.
The subject e-Government concerns a number of disciplines, including administration information
technology, administrative sciences, social sciences, and law: this explains the interdisciplinary approach
and aim of the University course. This course, similar to the other courses held at the Danube University in
Krems, offers further academic education for adults and is very practice-oriented. This practice-oriented
aspect is one of the main characteristics of the course, and allows the participants to directly apply what
they have learned.
All University courses from the TIM department are characterised by being practice-relevant and
interdisciplinary, thus a clear break from traditional methodology. The progressive convergence which
influences all aspects of aspects of life, is therefore viewed from a number of different disciplines –in both
teaching and in research. For this purpose, there is an interdisciplinary scientific staff consisting of a group
of fixed staff, and a large number of free-lance experts.
An interdisciplinary approach in teaching is easy to achieve, as it takes place in the post-graduate
education sector, where students already come with a sound knowledge in a given area. This
interdisciplinary approach can also guarantee the factors necessary for modern research and teaching, as
well as the ability to quickly adapt to changes. Such factors also form the basis of the University course.
The main aim was to develop a wide-focused interdisciplinary University course, allowing the graduates to
analyse, implement and further develop e-Government projects.
3. Subject e-Government
How can e-Government be defined? What discipline does it belong to - business administration, which has
developed rapidly in the last 2 decades; or administrative information technology, with its forecasts on
technology and its focus on the implementation of ICT in administration, or law, which adapts ICT to its
own purposes, or even the social sciences.

In Germany, research and theory was faced with a similar problem, given an increasing demand for further
education in the science of public administration management which could not be satisfied with the given
educational system. Given the demand, the business administrative sciences developed interdisciplinary
program, and therefore break away from the traditional methodological approach.
The term “e-Government” is clearly an interdisciplinary term. Definitions stem mostly from business
administration and business administration technology. For example:
Electronic Government is understood to be the transaction of business processes in the context of governance
and administration (government), using the information and communication technology available within
electronic media.
The word is integration and includes the citizen, the administrative authorities and the organisaitonal
partners. Integration includes monetary transactions, and the security and legal aspects of such a
transaction need to be secured. .

It is not possible to locate e-Government to a sole subject, rather, it is an umbrella term for a number of
problem formulations or as a function belonging to the public sector. Several disciplines are conveyed in
the University course e-Government.
4. The Teaching Basis
The TIM Department also plays and important role in applied research and consultancy projects in a
number of subjects, using the results obtained directly in the University courses

Some of the projects:
- krems direct: planning and realisation of a new internet website for the city Krems as well as the
development of an online citizen service
- e.com: conception of an e-Community fort the Lower Austrian Chamber of Commerce
- e-government in the District Capital St.Pölten – carried out part of a work project t by a student
from the 5th Telematics University Course.
- Market Square Export Economy: a feasibility study and product concept for a market square /
platform for the Austrian export economy, with the aim to achieve a paperless and electronic
- Internet Portal for the Association of Austrian Municipalities: the feasibility study and product
concept of an internet portal for the Austrian municipalities to promote the exchange of information,
taking in consideration the employment in the context of “e-Government”
A further basis is given by the research staff’s active work in scientific and study groups, for example,
- OCG (Austrian Computer Society), Forum e-Government, Working group Organisation
- E-Government Association of Regions and Municipalities, a working group to increase the
interconnections of procedural information
Close partnerships with organisations allow for the implementation of e-Government projects, such as with
Unisys, Austria Telekom, IBM, the results gained then flow back into the University courses and provide
for new and innovative approaches.
The scientific exchange with foreign partners in the area of e-Government is given through lectures,
conferences and projects
A further important aspect is the public sector, where those individuals in positions of high responsibility e
are frequently asked to lecture in both University courses and workshops
Given the different sources of information, ranging from the academic community to public administration
and economy, an applicable and up-to-date content in the lectures can be guaranteed.
5. Curriculum
The University course e-Government aims to provide the students a specialist and applicable scientific and
practical knowledge of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), which can be applied to the
public and non-profit sectors. This is particularly important given the further development of the European
integration. The politics of the EU provide the legal framework, whilst the social sciences provide the social
framework – both important elements for realising e-Government and the eEurope initiatives. The
European Commission has already realised that e-government will not be possible without reorganisation
– although reorganisation can lead to problems and resistance within the organisation. Reorganisation of
thus requires change management.

The course also focuses on the formulation, development and realisation of ICT projects in public sector
and the non-profit organisation sector. Students are shown the importance of adopting an integral
approach and understanding the relationship between management, communication, law, EU-politics and
5.1 Course Contents
On the basis of the above assumptions, the course focuses on five (interrelated) areas,
- Law (approx. 10%)
European law
o Austrian Law in relation to ICT projects
- Communication and Management (approx. 20%)
o Leadership disciplines
o Organisational development
o Change management, organisational culture
o Communication and decision making in teams, conflict management
o Strategic management
- E-Government: (approx. 40%)
o Markets and their requirements
o Best practice
o e-Government organisational models and applications
o The Formulation of e-Government Projects
strategy development; planning and analysis; implementation and roll-
out; application and evaluation
management of business processes; worklow management and document
management; e-tools – software and service providers such as groupware; ERP;
System-Integration, the connection of back-end work in administration and NPOs,
front-end solutions (Usability, Design, ..)
- Social Sciences and Administration Sciences (approx. 10%)
o Cross Cultural Management – taking into consideration the East European countries
o Basic principles governing the Austrian administration; New Public Management
o Digital Divide
- Information Technology (approx. 20%)
o Database systems, use of database systems
o Networks and network systems, from LAN to WAN
o Basis principles of the human-computer interaction, methods and applications
o Interfaces for data exchange: EDI, XML, ELAK
o Electronic signatures: technical application and associated problems.
o Web technologies

5.2 Teaching Methods
The educational aim is to transmit the ability to analyse problems and solve problems in a team. Students
attend classes which are a combination of lectures, workshops, case studies, problem-oriented learning,
group projects and expert discussions.
Additionally, there are two written assessments: a group project and a master thesis to ensure independent
5.2.1 Lectures
Lectures are held throughout the 4 semesters, and spread over 13 blocks. They are held from 9:15 to
18:00, so the program has 53 hours of classes per semester (or 120 ECTS)
The majority of the teaching faculty are external teachers and their selection aims to achieve at a well-
balanced composition of scientists, consultants and practitioners presently working with e-Government
projects in companies. All scientists involved are also experienced in consulting.
5.2.2 Written Assessments: group project and Master Thesis
The group project is the final written assessment at the end of the second semester. Students or companies
can provide the topics, and specialists from the relevant area actively support this project.
The group project represents more just a challenge from the content aspect: it is also a social challenge.
The work of the team (and not the individual effort) is what is finally assessed.
Two of the four projects from the present course will be implemented. One of the projects is an external e-
Government Project (G2B), supervised by Unisys, which will then be implemented.
The master thesis is a scientifically-based paper written during the fourth semester, and a requirement for
the Master’s title. Unlike the group project, Each student writes his or her own master thesis, but again, the
topic can either be chosen by the student or by an organisation. Specialists are chosen from the relevant
area to individually supervise the student. There are special master thesis seminars, which give students the
opportunity to discuss their work.
Companies or institutions can use this opportunity to have business ideas or projects analysed scientifically.
6. Teaching Comprehensive Knowledge Management
6.1 What means “comprehensive”?
Until recently, the discourse on the relatively new discipline Knowledge Management (KM) was
dominated by technological aspects especially among practitioners. Information and communication
technology provides very powerful and easily manageable possibilities of retrieving, exchanging and
generating data, information (or knowledge). Constructivist approaches suggest that only data, or
information is being exchanged among people. Knowledge could only be generated by the integration of
data within the framework of references and experiences of an individual human being
. As such, it is the
basis for enabling successful action. For that reason the only realistic objective of KM may be regarded as
providing suitable structures for encouraging the development of the intellectual capital
. Knowledge itself
appears to be unmanageable.
Implicit or tacit knowledge
also represents an important challenge for KM and especially for codification
approaches. The majority of our knowledge is not (easily) communicable. Learning by doing, intuition or
day-to-day activities are sources and evidence of the importance of tacit knowledge. Nonaka / Takeuchi
proposed a `spiral of organizational knowledge creation´ which aims at the continuous transformation and
transfer of implicit and explicit knowledge
. Organizational culture and a `common language´ in teams and
organizations are being emphasized as other non-technological levels of KM.
The “organizational
learning” approach
as a main predecessor of KM shows organizational learning processes on different
as a way to improve efficiency and to gain organizational intelligence

The whole spectrum of dimensions
which have an impact on an organisation’s ability to use and develop its
knowledge effectively may include
- Structures
: Incentives, career opportunities, means of communication, ...
- Processes
: knowledge processes, transparency of decision making, ...
- Strategies
: knowledge goals and visions, ...
- People
: free play for activity and creativity, ...
- Corporate Culture
: values fostering or hampering the sharing of knowledge, ...
- Information and Communication Technologies
: Intranet, Internet, etc.
- Space
: spatial opportunities for communication and interaction

Analogous to these dimensions different types of instruments can be applied for the realisation of KM
. These cover
- human resources
: (action) training, coaching/mentoring, career plans, ...
- work
: job enrichment, job rotation, job enlargement, quality circles, learning laboratories, group
work, etc.
- communication
: storytelling, interview, therapeutic talk, mission statement, metaphor, scenario
technique, dialogue, ...
- problem solving
: yellow/blue page, knowledge map, balanced score card, checklist, system
simulation, creativity techniques, ...
- technological infrastructure
: Intranet, Internet, expert systems, organisational memory systems,
databases, ...
- spatial infrastructure
: space management, think tank, knowledge broker, ...

For technological KM Tools
the following functions can be distinguished
- Data/Information pull
- Data/Information push
- Knowledge representation and visualisation
- Data/Information publishing, structuring and linking
- Automatic Data/Information harvesting
- Knowledge communication and co-operation
- Administration of knowledge management tools
- Analysis of data for the generation of knowledge
- Computer based teaching and learning

6.2 Educating Executives in Comprehensive KM
Educational programmes dedicated to KM are offered in about 20 educational institutions, but it is difficult
to compare them according to their contents
. 12 of these programmes offer a degree at master’s level,
and 10 of them can be taught in part time mode. 60 % of the providers have a Library and Information
Studies (LIS) background and revised their LIS programmes or developed an alternative offer for another
target group and profession.
Understanding Knowledge Management as described above has been the basis for the development of the
concept of a comprehensive programme for the further teaching executives at the Donau-Universität
. It focuses on the human issues and at achieving a balance of the aspects mentioned in the above
mentioned dimensions. The overall aim of the course is to impart the necessary competence to graduates,
so that they are able to design KM projects adequately
in their specific organisational environment and to
conduct implementation and evaluation
. Considering the participants varied backgrounds, the context of
their professional KM activities and the potential characteristics and necessities of the projects they are
involved in, the course aims at conveying the basis for the selection and employment of a broad spectrum
of concepts, tools and methods.
The duration of the part-time course is 2 semesters with 450 contact hours. The maximum number of
participants per year is 24. The graduates graduate with the title "Master of Advanced Studies
(Knowledge Management), MAS". The course imparts to participants the capacity of the proper use of
these dimensions by means of the following subject categories:
1. Theories and Approaches to KM
(approx. 20 %)
organisational learning, roots and different approaches to KM, systems theory, etc.
2. Leadership and Management
(approx. 20 %)
Leadership disciplines, organisational development, change management, human resource
management, organisational culture, communication and decision making in teams, conflict
management, strategic management and KM, simulations
3. Methods and Practices

- Non-Technological Methods (approx. 20 %)
Yellow pages, skills matrix, knowledge communities/CoPs, space management, knowledge
audit, incentives, competitive intelligence, environmental scanning, knowledge organisation,
measuring intellectual capital, balanced score card, KM and innovations management,
terminology, ontology engineering, knowledge profiles, knowledge market, microarticle,
process integration, space management, coaching, network management, etc.
- Technological Tools (approx. 20 %)
Organisational memory systems, success factors for the implementation of knowledge bases
and knowledge centres, document management, "Business Intelligence" (data warehouse,
OLAP, data mining, ...), workflow systems, process management tools, knowledge community
systems, e-learning, software agents, etc.
4. Case Studies
(approx. 20 %)
Practical experiences in organisations of different sizes and branches presented by consultants
and (knowledge) managers (about 50 case studies during the whole course).

The average age of the participants
during the first course held 2001/2002 was 38 years, ranging from 30
to 51 years. Their educational background includes economics, technical fields, medicine, consulting,
translation studies, psychology/-therapy, arts, etc. The participants are active as managers (top executives,
human resources, marketing, finance, etc.) among others, in the branches of the telecommunication
industry, software/hardware, consulting, research, non profit organisations.
The majority of the faculty
are external teachers and their selection aims to achieve a well-balanced
composition of scientists, consultants and practitioners realising KM projects in companies, and all of the
scientists invited have experience in consulting.
7. The Results from the First Course “Knowledge Management”
To identify the results of the first course we analysed the participants’ overall evaluation of the course and
the subjects of their Master Theses. We focused on the question whether the participants are able to
absorb and apply the multi-disciplinary view of knowledge

7.1 Evaluation by participants
Beside the obligatory evaluation of each member of the faculty, the participants were asked to give
feedback on the concept of the course as a whole. Open questions
were mentioned by individuals in the
areas of
- getting a concrete vision of how to implement KM under certain individual circumstances;
- how to deal with the different, conflicting approaches in KM;
- if there is a necessity to differentiate between KM and other related management measures;
- a useful definition of knowledge and the importance of discussing and communicating one explicitly
to employees during KM projects;
- the organisational and structural implementation of KM;
- the future development of KM through the next decade.

Asked for the personal changes triggered by the attendance at the course participants stated the following
points as having been surprising and being regarded as important lessons learned
- the number of different approaches of KM and the lack of a state of the art in the sense of an
integrated and widely accepted concept;
- the impact of the organisational hierarchy on the knowledge and innovation culture;
- the fact that knowledge serves as a source of productivity and effectivity appears to be a relatively
new conviction in the practices of management whereas the first corresponding theoretical
statements date from the first half of the 20th century;
- the own view of an organisation has changed from a transparent and solid one towards an
complex, diffuse system influenced by many factors;
- the conviction that KM is tantamount to Knowledge Organisation (thesauri, classification, etc.) had
to be changed because of the discovery that the human aspect deserves attention;
- KM as a development of human resource management and business process reingeneering;
- the disappointment of the expectation to receive a static recipe like "how to implement KM"
instead of developing an understanding of the influences supported by methodology and
- to discover the lack of an differentiation of data, information, tacit and explicit knowledge in the
own organisation. The latter shall be stressed in the future before making important decisions with
an impact on the organisational knowledge;
- after the personal experience of several change and restructuring processes in their own
organisation during the last years the manager in a multinational company expects to have acquired
tools to develop the organisation’s ability to innovate on the basis of these structural changes;
- KM as a specific kind of management in general is still difficult to seize and hardly takes shape.
As "highlights
" related to the course as a whole the participants have mentioned
- the positive group dynamics despite fact of the very heterogeneous composition,
- the given overview to the different approaches to KM,
- the multi-disciplinarity of the subject as a whole,
- the practical methods of designing and implementing KM with consideration of the specific
requirements of the organisation.
7.2 Master Theses
The subjects of the Master Theses of the first course may be distinguished as follows:
- focusing on specific dimensions and targets of KM
- focusing on specific types of organisations or user groups
- a combination of both
8. Focus on specific dimensions and targets of KM
11 Master Thesis subjects focus on specific dimensions, aspects or targets of KM. Participants have
addressed the field of Methods and Tools
like the technological topics XML and Datawarehouse for
SMEs and non technical fields like knowledge audit as a basis for the development of knowledge
strategies. One Thesis examines organisational development as a root of KM, another one the settings
and methods of analogue networking knowledge including possible synergies with digital methods of
networking knowledge.
Two participants have addressed aims of KM
by chosing the usage of tacit knowledge in the context of
Business Process Reingeneering projects and KM for the improvement of innovation.
Other specific dimensions of KM inquired are:
- Instruments and Methods for KM and OL on the basis of constructivistic approaches
- Leadership requirements in learning organisations and methods to impact
- Success factors for KM besides IT
- Individual KM and Human Resources Management as an interface between individual and
- The Knowledge Manager: an examination of the profession
- Focus on specific types of organisations or user groups
7 projects focus on specific types of organisations or user groups. A participant who is working as a
researcher in Functional Genomics and Bioinformatics puts the Integration of KM in biomedical research
and life sciences centrestage ("Bioknowmic"). The employee of an airline who works as manager of the
Crew Service Centre addresses the challenge to seize and distribute the knowledge of airline crews and
the feedback of customers (Shift-work without a desk of one’s own). Other projects are inquiring the
specific demands of very small or medium sized companies, Museums and Schools.
Both a specific dimension of KM as well as a certain type of organisation or user group has been focused
on in the projects
- Knowledge networking and evaluation of the national intellectual capital of developing countries
- Virtual knowledge communities in freelance translating
9. Conclusion
Based on these findings, we may say that the concept of this course succeeded in general in imparting the
participants the multi-disciplinarity of Knowledge and comprehensive KM and to give an insight in the
spectrum of different methods, tools and practices for designing a learning organisation. The multi-
dimensional characteristics of the subject as well as the heterogeneous composition of the group have
predominantly been regarded as an enrichment. Nevertheless for many participants it was not easy to cope
with the (necessary, useful) confusion which appeared after the confrontation of their initially homogenous
image of KM with the comprehensive approach of the course. For some participants also the dynamic and
unconsolidated scientific status in the field has been difficult to handle. At the moment it actually is too early
to evaluate the results of their practical projects.
for future courses are to put a stronger emphasis on transformation of the practical aspects of the
lessons to the context and experiences of each participant by means of
- more parts of action learning in order to visualise the connections of KM to problems appearing in
day-to-day work,
- essays on this subject and
- supervision on the personal role model as a future expert for KM.

Danube University Krems:
The Danube University Krems is Europe's only university exclusively specialized on postgraduate
education. Although it receives public funds, it is financed largely by student fees, commissioned research
and consultancy. It was started as an experiment in 1995 and has meanwhile become a European model
project. The Danube University Krems combines high-quality teaching, research and consulting with an
outstanding record in customer orientation, profitability and service. With its obligation to the principle of
lifelong learning and its international orientation the Danube University Krems, has set new standards.
The fast developments of information technology and worldwide communication networks call for political
initiative on a national and supranational level. Due to the changes in basic conditions, the areas of
information, communication, technology and media, up to now regarded as separate fields, require an
institutional interface for mutual networking.
Our department meets this requirement by offering teaching, research and consulting.

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