Document Type

Theses, Ph.D

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This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only

Publication Details

Thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD.)

Abstract

Knowledge is the currency of the global economy, the foundation of wealth creation, and the sole antecedent of sustainable competitive advantage in today’s markets. In the current business environment, success of organisations is dependent upon their ability to develop and implement resilient Knowledge Management (KM) strategies to leverage and exploit their knowledge assets. Yet, knowledge is intrinsically linked to individuals and their exclusive abilities to create, share and apply knowledge thereby creating value for their organisations. Knowledge holders are without doubt the valuable assets which lead the increasing velocity of organisational transformation in order to cope with market pressures and confront uncertainty. Effectual KM thus implicates knowledge assessment capability that enables the identification of knowledge holders within the firm and accordingly optimises the allocation of knowledge assets.

Identifying and retaining knowledge holders requires a systematic KM initiative to help managers assess the individual knowledge of their employees and hence formulate and evaluate knowledge management and retention strategies. This research therefore attempts to focus on knowledge assessment practice and explores the underlying constructs of individual knowledge in the organisational context. In light of the knowledge-based view of the firm[1][2][3], a comprehensive theoretical model highlights the crucial role of individuals in organisational knowledge dynamics based on seminal KM theories of Stocks and Flows of Knowledge[4], Intellectual Capital[5] [6] [7], and the SECI Model of Knowledge Creation[8]. Evolving from this conceptual foundation, the MinK framework is proposed as an innovative framework that endows organisations in delineating knowledge stocks and visualising knowledge flows by providing an integrated assessment platform for decision makers. The presented framework ensures that individual knowledge is accurately assessed from a number of perspectives using a well-defined set of theoretically grounded and industry validated indicators stemming from a multi-dimensional scorecard. Flexibility is embedded in the MinK framework, allowing managers to customise the key measures according to the firm’s specific context. Adopting the 360-degree approach, the assessment process uses self evaluations and multi-source knowledge appraisals to provide rich and insightful results.

An Individual Knowledge Index (IK-Index) that denotes the overall knowledge rating of each employee is another research outcome spanning out of a unique formula that combines a number of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) techniques to consolidate assessment results into a single reflective numeral. The incorporation of technology enables the complete automation of the assessment process and helps to address parametric multiplicity and arithmetic complexity. Armed with advances in Information Technology, the MinK Web System offers a user-friendly interface supported by a sophisticated computational module and a smart deep learning algorithm to ensure the efficiency, security, and accuracy of the assessment process. Companies that used MinK in the pilot study have described the framework as an accurate assessment solution which can enable managers to make informed decisions, particularly in human capital planning. Such an approach balances the art and science of KM while taking into account the culture and dynamics of the organisation. Ultimately, this research advocates a people-centric KM approach that places the individual knowledge holder at the core of KM activity, and suggests that effective KM is essentially effective management of knowledge workers.

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