Knowledge Management Emerging Perspectives

and Number Step Two’s approach to knowledge management was to involve the company and its staff throughout the lifetime of the project. Nothing was hidden and all decision making, design, implementation, and feedback involved everyone. Step Two and the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) believed that "Working as a team ensured that everyone understood the issues and resolutionsall had valuable contributions to makeeach member brought different knowledge and experience," as reported in the Knowledge management project for the Roads and Traffic Authority (2001). In contrast, Frito-Lay took a more "private" approach with upper management and certain decision makers making the decisions and implementing the changes and improvements.
Frito-Lay and Step Two had the same definition or concept of knowledge management as both wanted to capture knowledge into a system that was easily accessible for those who needed it especially the end users. Wikipedia (2006) defines knowledge management as "the ways organizations gather, manage, and use the knowledge that they acquirean approach to improving organizational outcomes and organizational learning by introducing into an organization a range of specific processes and practices for identifying and capturing knowledge, know-how, expertise and other intellectual capital, and for making such knowledge assets available for transfer and reuse across the organization." Both companies also wanted
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their staff to be able to access information quickly with ease in order to train properly, learn about clients, to locate the right person who had the necessary information, share and gather information locally and globally, etc. Both companies had information and resources that were scattered sporadically and neither could access, retrieve, share, and organize the information. Each had information and knowledge yet no systematic order in which to manage it. Bellinger (2004) states, "what is the real value of information and knowledge, and what does it mean to manage it Without associations we have little chance of understanding anything. We understand things based on the associations we are able to discern."
The problems that RTA faced included developing a knowledge management system that would help in the training of its new staff, assisting new staff in their knowledge of the company’s policies, and to reduce training costs. Because the information had to be available to the newly-hired staff and to those who were training the new people, the knowledge and information needed to be published for all to view and access quickly and efficiently. They faced the issues of presenting to new staff and appealing to upper management and all in between.
Frito-Lay’s problem was that there was no centralized system for finding and consolidating corporate and customer sales account information. The company was geographically dispersed as were each department. (Shein, 2001.) Frito-Lay needed a knowledge management portal on the corporate intranet. Unlike RTA, the company had to also keep client information confidential so security within the company was a big issue.
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Both companies found solutions in handling their knowledge information in different ways. RTA incorporated representatives from every department and staff members throughout the company. They needed a way to train new staff and give new staff access to information readily. Those involved in training needed to be able to train efficiently and management also needed to be pleased with the solution RTA chose. Involving the entire staff members in the decision making, implementation, and entire process of the new system, along with the publishing of the knowledge system in order that it may be accessible and user friendly to all was an excellent way to solve their initial problems.
Frito-Lay chose the solution that involved only key members to make the decisions and then implement and train staff as client information had to remain confidential. Their solution involved was more technological and appears to be successful as sales have increased. Perhaps incorporating more "front line" staff in decision making as RTA did will be beneficial. Regardless, both company seemed to meet the need of the end users and as Santosus (2004) reports, "It’s meeting those end-user needsthat’s the greatest challenge in the KM (knowledge management) space."

References

Bellinger, G. (2004). "Knowledge Management-Emerging Perspectives." 28 May 2006 &lt.

http://www.systems-thinking.org/kmgmt/kmgmt.htm&gt..

Knowledge management project for the Roads and Traffic Authority (2001). Page 8. Step Two

Designs Pty Ltd: 2001. 28 May 2006 &lt. http://www.steptwo.com.au&gt..

Santosus, M. (2004). "In the Know." 28 May 2006 http://www.cio.com/knowledge/edit/k091304_users.html&gt..

Shein, E. (2001). "The Knowledge Crunch." CIO Magazine 01 May 2001.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2006). 28 May 2006 &lt. http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_management&gt..