تدوین و تاکتیک به عنوان استراتژی های مدیریت دانش: اکتشاف تجربی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|20012||2001||27 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||11720 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The Journal of High Technology Management Research, Volume 12, Issue 1, April 2001, Pages 139–165
This paper develops four categories of knowledge management strategies used by multinational corporations (MNCs). Codification strategies involve the transformation of tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge in order to facilitate flows of organizational knowledge. Tacitness strategies keep organizational knowledge tacit in order to prevent flows of knowledge to competitors. Focused knowledge management strategies regulate knowledge flows by controlling the degree to which knowledge is encoded in forms that match the information intensity and ambiguity of their knowledge. Unfocused knowledge management strategies attempt to regulate knowledge flows by controlling the overall level of codification of knowledge without special consideration of the capabilities of specific forms of codification. Empirical analyses of the effects of these strategies on subunit performance in a sample of US and Danish subsidiaries suggest that the focused strategies are superior to the other strategies. Our results also indicate that different kinds of organizational knowledge require matching forms of codification in order to increase performance. The results give rise to a nested contingency model of knowledge management.
The management of knowledge is increasingly considered as a main source of competitive advantage for corporations Grant, 1996, Hedlund & Nonaka, 1993, Prahalad & Hamel, 1990, Prusak, 1996, Roth, 1996, Spender & Grant, 1996 and Winter, 1987. It is argued that companies enjoy a competitive advantage if they know how to expand, disseminate, and exploit organizational knowledge internally Bierly & Chakrabarti, 1996 and Szulanski, 1996, if they know how to protect their knowledge from expropriation and imitation by competitors (Liebeskind, 1996), if they know how to effectively share with, transfer to, and receive knowledge from business partners Appleyard, 1996 and Mowery et al., 1996, and if they are able to effectively source knowledge from distant locations (Almeida, 1996). Although research in this field is still expanding, it appears that first attempts are being made to identify strategies, which help organizations to better manage their knowledge. Some researchers have emphasized organizational learning as a source of competitive advantage Bierly & Chakrabarti, 1996, Inkpen, 1995, Rahim, 1995, Spender, 1994 and Stata, 1989. Others have explored strategic implications of learning barriers Levinthal & March, 1993, Nordhaug, 1994 and Szulanski, 1996. Again, others have emphasized knowledge creation (e.g., Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995), and still others have emphasized replication and transfer of knowledge (e.g., Zander & Kogut, 1995). In this paper, we explore knowledge management strategies, which are used to derive competitive advantage from the control and coordination of organizational knowledge flows. Knowledge flows are strategically important to organizations for several reasons. First, knowledge flows transmit localized know-how, which is generated in one subunit to other locations in the organization. Second, knowledge flows facilitate the coordination of work flows linking multiple, geographically dispersed subunits. Third, knowledge flows can enable organizations to capitalize on business opportunities requiring the collaboration of several subunits. Knowledge flows are also crucial to the orchestrated execution of unified strategic responses to moves by competitors, customers, and suppliers. Finally, knowledge flows enable the recognition and exploitation of economies of scale and scope. The management of knowledge flows is especially important for multinational companies (MNCs) because they operate in geographically and culturally diverse environments. Differences between local markets require adaptation of products and operations to local conditions. Host country governments make incompatible demands on different parts of the company. Multipoint competition requires development of MNC-wide unified responses. Increasing global competition requires the exploitation of economies of scale on a global scale. To manage such contingencies, MNCs can derive great competitive advantage by managing knowledge flows between their subunits. An important means to effective management of knowledge flows is the codification of organizational knowledge. When organizations codify their knowledge, they package it into formats that facilitate knowledge transfer. Codification can be accomplished in a number of ways, such as encoding of organizational knowledge in formulas, codes, expert systems, “spec sheets,” or budget information; expressing knowledge in natural language formats, such as reports, memos, or policies; embedding knowledge in physical objects, such as prototypes or technologies, or even depositing it in employees who visit or rotate between different subunits. Codification can greatly facilitate flows of organizational knowledge between subsidiaries, and thereby help to identify new opportunities or emerging threats across markets and geographical regions. However, codification is no panacea. Codification has costs and benefits for organizations, and MNCs in particular. Codification can facilitate involuntary transfer of strategic know-how to competitors (e.g., leakage of databases, formulas, specifications, blue prints, etc., to competitors), and thereby hurt a MNC or its local operations in given markets. Codification involves considerable cost of creating and maintaining repositories of organizational knowledge (e.g., creating expert systems and updating web pages). From that perspective, organizations might abstain from codification and choose to keep their knowledge tacit. A priori, it is not clear if the costs or the benefits of codification prevail, and under which conditions they do so. It appears that knowledge management in MNCs involves difficult choices because the costs and benefits of codification most likely depend on the kind of knowledge to be codified, the forms of codification used, and on the strategic context of the MNC. Some knowledge is easier to codify in certain forms than others, some forms of codification facilitate flows of some knowledge more than flows of other knowledge, and some forms of codification might be more or less effective inhibitors of undesired knowledge transfers to competitors. In this paper, we attempt to understand (theoretically and empirically) the performance implications of organizational knowledge codification in MNCs. We explore if subunits of MNCs experience higher performance when they codify their knowledge, or when they abstain from codifying their knowledge, and if the performance implications of codification depend on specific matches between codification forms and types of knowledge. Since much of our theorizing is based on the effect of codification on knowledge flows, we start with a discussion of forms of codification, types of organizational knowledge, and knowledge flows in MNCs. Then, we derive two basic hypotheses from lines of thought related to strategic management and knowledge-based theories of the firm. Inspired by ideas related to contingency theories, we derive additionally two hypotheses, which emphasize the importance of particular combinations of codification forms and types of organizational knowledge. We explore our hypotheses with empirical data from a sample of subsidiaries located in the US and Denmark. Based on these analyses, we then develop a nested contingency model of knowledge management.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Overall, this paper adds to a current stream of research that emphasizes the importance of intangible resources of organizations. We have explored management of a specific organizational resource: organizational knowledge. Our results indicate that proper management of organizational knowledge is associated with enhanced performance. The main focus of this paper is on knowledge management strategies that regulate the mobility of organizational knowledge. It is frequently argued (e.g., Barney, 1986, Barney, 1991 and Dierickx & Cool, 1989) that immobile resources provide a source of competitive advantage for companies. Keeping organizational knowledge immobile is a very competitive strategy especially when the knowledge at hand helps to generate significant returns and when it is difficult to generate. Yet, it is also well known that companies need to keep knowledge resources sufficiently mobile to facilitate coordination between subunits (e.g., Egelhoff, 1991 and Van De Ven et al., 1976) and to replicate past success when they expand into new international environments (Simonin, 1999). In fact, the current interest about intranets, groupware (and related technologies) indicates that companies have great needs to disseminate knowledge accurately and effortlessly. Finding the appropriate level of mobility of organizational knowledge thus faces a trade-off between potentially beneficial intraorganizational knowledge flows and potentially detrimental interorganizational knowledge flows to competitors. The research reported in this paper suggests that there is no simple general solution to this trade-off. Our results indicate that simply enhancing the mobility of knowledge by encoding it in multiple forms does not help performance. Nor does the opposite strategy, a reduction of the mobility of knowledge by keeping it tacit. Yet, we find that more complex knowledge management strategies do have performance implications. Performance is enhanced when subunits focus on specific forms of codification instead of encoding their knowledge in all available forms. Specializing on single forms of codification has a number of benefits; among them are consistency of data and economies of scale of using the same or similar codification forms. The most important benefit of focused approaches to codification, however, stems from the differential ability of codification forms to facilitate knowledge flows. Some forms of codification are inadequate for some types of knowledge, whereas others are well matched to the information intensity and ambiguity of the knowledge at hand and thereby are able to greatly enhance its mobility. Our results suggest that knowledge flows are most facilitated when technical knowledge is codified in numbers and codes, marketing and sales knowledge is codified in text and language based forms, and when strategic knowledge regarding competitors is encoded in objects and people. Encoding knowledge in these combinations (i.e., a “focused codification strategy”) greatly facilitates knowledge flows and thereby can help to boost performance of companies that rely on strong knowledge flows. Conversely, avoiding codification in these combinations and instead codifying knowledge in forms that do not match its information intensity and ambiguity (i.e., pursuing a “focused tacitness strategy”) permits some intraorganizational knowledge flows, yet cripples the knowledge to a degree that makes it difficult to use by competitors. Apart from reconfirming the importance of knowledge resources for MNCs, this paper suggests that it might be worthwhile to integrate knowledge based views of the firm with contingency approaches (especially media theory). We believe that a “nested contingency model” is most appropriate for understanding the relationship between codification and performance. On a first level, subunits of MNCs (or firms in general) adopt a tacitness or codification strategy (potentially a different one for each of their different types of knowledge) consistent with their strategic context. On a second level, subunits match forms of codification to each kind of knowledge in a way that is consistent with the adopted knowledge management strategy. Although we have explored some of the main mechanisms of the nested contingency model, several of its parts would benefit from further research. One area concerns the match between strategic context and knowledge management strategy. Which dimensions of the strategic context are most relevant for a firm's knowledge management strategy? What are the factors that render codification beneficial or dangerous? On first thought, a number of factors come to mind, such as intensity of rivalry, industry position, industry fragmentation, personnel turnover, corporate culture, organizational structure, etc. However, more research is needed, especially how these factors affect the optimal level of codification for different types of organizational knowledge and for different forms of codification. More research is also needed to understand how codification strategies interact with processes of internationalization of companies. During international expansion, e.g., via strategic alliances or acquisition of foreign companies, codification strategies of the involved companies might not match up and result in severe communication problems. In those situations, it is probably even more important to develop a unified, focused codification strategy, i.e., to develop codification practices, which are uniform among participants. Clearly, the situation becomes exacerbated when the strategic contexts of participants diverge radically. Future research will hopefully help us to better understand how companies adjust their codification strategies in response to diverging strategic contexts and to dynamic challenges. Another set of questions stimulated by this paper concerns the relationship between codification and knowledge flows. We have argued in this paper that some forms of codification facilitate flows of some knowledge more than others. Direct tests of this idea would be highly desirable. Although prior work related to media theory provides a very good starting point for this line of inquiry, empirical research focusing on knowledge flows is largely absent. Knowledge can flow in many directions in organizations, e.g., upward, downward, horizontally, into and out of subunits, etc. We know surprisingly little about how codification facilitates these different kinds of knowledge flows, and more specifically, how different kinds of codification interact with different types of knowledge in facilitating directed knowledge flows. We hope future research in this area will help to gain a deeper understanding of the evolution, distribution, and performance implications of organizational knowledge.