A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Knowledge Management

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Knowledge Management ('KM') comprises a range of practices used by organizations to identify, create, represent, and distribute knowledge. Knowledge Management programs are typically tied to organisational objectives such as improved performance, competitive advantage, innovation, developmental processes, lessons learnt transfer (for example between projects) and the general development of collaborative practices.



Accomplishing Knowledge: A Framework for Investigating Knowing in Organizations   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article proposes a shift in how researchers study knowledge and knowing in organizations. Responding to a pronounced lack of methodological guidance from existing research, this work develops a framework for analyzing situated organizational problem solving. This framework, rooted in social practice theory, focuses on communicative knowledge-accomplishing activities, which frame and respond to various problematic situations. Vignettes drawn from a call center demonstrate the value of the framework, which can advance practice-oriented research on knowledge and knowing by helping it break with dubious assumptions about knowledge homogeneity within groups, examine knowing as instrumental action and involvement in a struggle over meaning, and display how patterns of knowledge-accomplishing activities can generate unintended organizational consequences.

Kuhn, Timothy and Michele H. Jackson. Management Communication Quarterly (2008). Articles>Knowledge Management>Organizational Communication


Best Practices in Managing Knowledge: Benchmarking Knowledge Management Within and Between Organizations

Benchmarking comprises prioritisation of strategic improvement need (the why), measurement (the what) and practices (the how). Re-measure tracks performance improvement.

Searles, Bruce and Fiona Stewart. APQC (2006). Presentations>Knowledge Management>Assessment


Breaking News!   (PDF)

This panel explores what corporate leaders in the Technical Communications field consider the hottest topics in the industry today.

Conklin, John James, Judith L. 'Judy' Glick-Smith, George Hayhoe, Thomas B. Hoyt and Deborah Rosenquist. STC Proceedings (1998). Careers>TC>Knowledge Management>Localization


Bridging the Back-Office/Front-Office Gap   (members only)

With 75% of your organization's information contained in unstructured formats, can you transform it into 'usable content?' The problem that e-business exposes most often is inadequate integration.

Gross, Mitchell. KMworld (2001). Articles>Knowledge Management>Content Management


Building Knowledge Assets for the Advancement of Science

As I read more and more about knowledge management, I came to realize that it is a new name for what the science community has been doing for a long, long time. In fact, a working definition of science might be, simply, the management of knowledge resulting from observational and experimental evidence. One could well argue that the science community has been doing knowledge management for centuries.

Warnick, Walter L. OSTI (2000). Articles>Knowledge Management


Cadence Design Systems, Inc., Knowledge Transfer Plan Benchmarking   (PDF)

Describes the motivation behind a Knowledge Transfer Plan benchmarking study conducted by JoAnn Hackos and Comtech. Bradbury wanted to compare Cadence’s publications and training organizations to other organizations’. She has integrated the findings into plans for the new year. JoAnn Hackos describes the benefits of participating in benchmarking activities. They include: peer and professional contact, the exchange of best practices within the field, understanding how other groups deal with the similar issues, and so on. Dr. Hackos introduces her partnerbased model of benchmarking in which companies cosponsor the studies, bringing increased participation at less costs.

Bradbury, Julie and JoAnn T. Hackos. STC Proceedings (1999). Articles>Knowledge Management>Usability


Catalyzing Innovation and Knowledge Sharing   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Generation Y are the first generation to fully put the process of ‘prosumption’ into practice. Individuals are proactively seeking to generate and share creative outputs as a result of their online activities, and this produces a set of fundamental questions for business librarians, information management specialists and consultants: does our profession adhere to a logic of service-delivery, which is rapidly becoming obsolete in the context of service-innovation. Suggestions for how information specialists (called librarian 2.0 in this article) can participate in the creation of value for users are offered.

Cullen, John T. Business Information Review (2008). Articles>Management>Knowledge Management>Information Design


Collaborative Knowledge Gardening

With Flickr and del.icio.us, social networking goes beyond sharing contacts and connections.

Udell, Jon. InfoWorld (2004). Articles>Knowledge Management>Metadata>Social Networking


Communities of Practice: Optimizing Internal Knowledge Sharing

The key to intranet success is to provide value to employees and give them a reason to visit the site repeatedly. One of the primary ways to achieve this is to connect employees with the people and groups with whom they need to collaborate. Workgroups, or communities of practice, provide the basis for a living, growing, vibrant space in which people can access the information they need, share best practices, and contribute to a shared knowledge base. This article discusses the role of communities of practice within organizations and provides a framework for planning research and design activities to maximize their effectiveness.

Hawley, Michael. UXmatters (2009). Articles>Knowledge Management>Intranets>Organizational Communication


Competitive Advantage and its Conceptual Development   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article explores the competitive advantage of businesses. Current understanding of competitive advantage arises from the strategic management paradigm. However, the early theory that underpins this comes from optimising economic theory, the inadequacy of which led to the resource-based view. The next development came from knowledge management, which sees knowledge as a valuable strategic resource recognizing the need to look more inside the organization qualitatively. However, a new paradigm has arisen that couples knowledge processes with cybernetics. This recognizes that achieving competitive advantage requires that an organization’s pathologies must be recognized and addressed.

Yolles, Maurice. Business Information Review (2009). Articles>Management>Knowledge Management


Competitive Intelligence: How and Where to Find It

Competitive intelligence is both a product and a process. The product is actionable information -- can be used to take specific actions (e.g. prepare a winning sales proposal). The process is the systematic means of acquiring, analyzing, and evaluating it.

Montague Institute Review (1993). Articles>Knowledge Management>Journalism


A Computing Research Repository: Why Not Solve the Problems First?

The Computing Research Repository (CoRR) described by Halpern is potentially a powerful tool for researchers in computing science. In its current form, however, shortcomings exist that restrict its value and that, in the long term, might strongly undermine its usefulness. Important aspects that have insufficiently been taken care of are (1) the quality and consequently the reliability of the material stored, (2) the still restricted submission of material,which implies that other sources have to be consulted by researchers as well, (3) the still unsound financial basis of the project, and (4) the confusion that may easily arise when a preliminary version is stored in the CoRR, while a different final version is published in a journal.

van Loon, A.J. Journal of Computer Documentation (2000). Articles>Knowledge Management>Research>Online


The Contemporary Library and Information Services Manager   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The contemporary Library and Information Services (LIS) environment employs a multifaceted group of employees who are better educated and more expensive to recruit than in previous times. In order to maximize these talents and resources available, this modern setting requires managers — at all levels — who are versatile and fitted out with the right skills and knowledge to maintain group cohesion and to propel this dynamic environment to continuously move in unison with the society. This article identifies and discusses the required skills and knowledge of the contemporary manager. In doing so, the concepts of skill and knowledge are defined and their interrelationship is highlighted.

Knight, Jeannine. Business Information Review (2009). Careers>Knowledge Management


Corporate Size and Knowledge Management

The more knowledge is hoarded, the less productive we were able to become. It’s difficult to get beyond that “sharing for the benefit of the whole” stigma, but when you can it can be a wonderful thing.

Hauser, Lisa. STC NJIT Student Chapter (2005). Articles>Knowledge Management>Workplace


Creating Effective Decision Aids for Complex Tasks   (peer-reviewed)

Engineering design tasks require designers to continually compare, weigh, and choose among many complex alternatives. The quality of these selection decisions directly impacts the quality, cost, and safety of the final product. Because of the high degree of uncertainty in predicting the performance of alternatives while they are still just sketches on the drawing board, and the high cost of poor choices, mathematical decision methods incorporating uncertainty have long held much appeal for product designers, at least from a theoretical standpoint.

Clarke Hayes, Caroline and Farnaz Akhavi. Journal of Usability Studies (2008). Articles>Usability>Knowledge Management>EPSS


Creating Science and Technology Information Databases for Developing and Sustaining Sub-Saharan Africa's Indigenous Knowledge   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

In this article, indigenous knowledge is defined as holistic of all forms of knowledge emanating from an indigenous community. The critical relevance of local science and technology information (STI) databases in the development and sustainability of Africa's indigenous knowledge is discussed. It is advocated that local African STI databases should be considered required development infrastructures because they will provide information resources that are more adequate for national planning and management than their international counterparts. Furthermore, the various stakeholders and their roles are identified and the policy environment of STI databases in Africa examined. Constraints notwithstanding, local databases for African STI resources are envisaged to enhance global distribution and sharing of Africa's indigenous knowledge.

Ezinwa Nwagwu, Williams. Journal of Information Science (2007). Articles>Knowledge Management>Scientific Communication>Africa


Defining a TC Body of Knowledge

First of all, a profession cannot be recognized as a profession until it is defined as such. Engineers, for instance, have a body of knowledge they must master before they can practice as engineers, whether structural, electrical, or mechanical. Although technical communicators may not yet want such a highly codified and subdivided set of skills and practices, we do need an authoritative place to find answers to that eternal question: "What do technical communicators do, anyway?"

Hart, Hillary. Between the Lines (2008). Articles>TC>Knowledge Management>Body of Knowledge


Demystifying Chinese Guanxi Networks: Cultivating and Sharing of Knowledge for Business Benefit   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Guanxi referrals help identify potential business partners. Through guanxi networks, businesses can establish favourable and mutually beneficial relationships vital to business success. Guanxi carries assumed knowledge of trust and facilitates business references. It is the construct of `face' that underpins this trust. The high degree of trust in guanxi networks facilitates the flow of strategic information and knowledge, further adding value to business. This article illustrates through case studies how guanxi relationships are formed and how knowledge in guanxi networks can benefit business. The case studies are drawn from experiences of three Europe-based Chinese business directors.

Chan, Ben. Business Information Review (2008). Articles>Business Communication>Knowledge Management>Collaboration


Design Partners: Passing on the Knowledge of UX

The two main drivers for a successful relationship were to respect each other’s opinion and to use active listening to understand what the other was saying.

Richkus, Rebecca. Designing the User Experience at Autodesk (2009). Articles>Knowledge Management>User Experience>Collaboration


Developing an Information Management Strategy: The Foundation Stone for an EDRMS   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

All too often organizations have a fragmented approach to Information Management Documents/data is duplicated in many places and users are expected to enter the same information many times. Developing an Information Management Strategy is the foundation stone that should be in place before considering cost justifying or implementing Electronic Document and Records Management System (EDRMS).

Waldron, Martin. Business Information Review (2008). Articles>Knowledge Management>Information Design>Databases


Development of a Model For Managing Organizational Knowledge   (PDF)

The proliferation of interest in “knowledge management” in the last few years is a reflection that information has finally gained visibility as a major corporate asset. Furthermore, sharing information across the organization to support greater learning and competitiveness has resulted in moving to the next level of information management (IM)—knowledge management. Those of us who have been in the information business for a while have to contain our amusement as we have seen a society preoccupied first with data (anything that is observed, measured, counted, or collected), then information (organized data), now knowledge (selected information), and, perhaps next, wisdom (integrated knowledge).y´ As Thomas Stewart defines it in Intellectual Capital: The New Wealth of Organizations, “Intelligence becomes an asset when some useful order is created out of free-floating brainpower—that is, when it is given coherent form (a mailing list, a database, an agenda for a meeting, a description of a process); when it is captured in a way that allows it to be described, shared, and exploited; and when it can be deployed to do something that could not be done if it remained scattered around like so many coins in a gutter. Intellectual capital is packaged, useful knowledge.”

Ashdown, Barbara and Kathy Smith. OSTI (1999). Articles>Knowledge Management>Workflow


Digital Workflow: Managing the Process Electronically   (peer-reviewed)

Between the invention of the printing press and that of the computer, developments in printing and publishing technology occurred in small increments over long periods of time. In those intervening centuries, the process of preparing manuscripts for publication remained fairly static. In the last half-century, however, the pace of change in printing and publishing technology has become dynamic. Now changes in technology come about in a matter of years, sometimes even months. And with those changes, the steps in the process of publication may now be controlled, tracked, and subsumed into one continuous electronic system often called digital workflow.

Beebe, Linda and Barbara Meyers. Journal of Electronic Publishing (2000). Design>Knowledge Management>Prepress>Printing


Do Groups Know What They Don't Know? Dealing With Missing Information in Decision-Making Groups   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Although scholars have examined how individuals deal with information that is unavailable on decision-making tasks, little research has explored how groups deal with missing information. The present study proposes two ways groups can address information that is unavailable: by employing a diminished information set or by inferring the value of missing information. Both of these approaches are tested using an information sharing task. Groups are compared with information unavailable to any member, available but unshared among group members (i.e., hidden profile), and available and shared among all group members. Evidence indicates that group members may utilize both strategies to deal with missing information.

Henningsen, David Dryden and Mary Lynn Miller Henningsen. Visual Communication (2007). Articles>Knowledge Management>Collaboration


Drinking or Drowning in the Information Confluence

Data given context is information, and information put to use is knowledge. With that definition, the idea that more and better access to all forms of information does not necessarily mean we are getting more and better knowledge to help us through our daily lives. With real knowledge as the goal, independent information sources need to be united to provide better comprehension of the world around us. Knowledge that instills a higher level of organization and understanding of topics relevant to our lives is the ultimate goal. It’s not the quantity of information, but the quality of the knowledge that we need.

Mashstream (2007). Articles>Knowledge Management>Information Design


The DuPont Experience: Strategic Planning for Information Design and Development Organizations   (PDF)

This is a reprint of an article first published in Technical Communication. It explains the strategic planning experience of the Information Design and Development organization in DuPont's External Affairs division. The author describes why they undertook a strategic planning initiative, the process used, the logistics involved in preparing for and carrying out the process, and the results of their work. Their experience can be applied by technical communication work groups seeking to define and communicate their mission and value proposition within their organization. Original publication: Breuninger, Charles L. 1997. “The DuPont Experience: Strategic Planning for Information Design and Development Organizations.” Technical communication 44:394–400.

Breuninger, Charles L. ComTech Services (1997). Articles>Knowledge Management>Organizations>Case Studies



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