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The development of a just-in-time (JIT) knowledge management model for an enterprise

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dc.contributor.advisor Professor A.S.A. du Toit en
dc.contributor.author Steyn, Pieter Dirk
dc.date.accessioned 2009-05-04T09:51:01Z
dc.date.available 2009-05-04T09:51:01Z
dc.date.issued 2009-05-04T09:51:01Z
dc.date.submitted 2007-11
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/2477
dc.description D.Litt. et Phil. en
dc.description.abstract There have been numerous approaches to Knowledge Management (KM) over the past number of years. In addition there is also confusion amongst enterprises and enterprise management as to the role and contribution of KM, the differences between information management, information technology and KM. There has been an overflow of information and “knowledge” in large enterprises and this situation will only worsen if not managed appropriately. Knowledge is now universally accepted as a factor of production and similar to other factors of production viewed as being scarce and expensive. The knowledge inventory of an enterprise should thus be managed in a similar manner as physical inventory – kept at the essential minimum level and to be provided at the time that it is required. The challenge to creating a successful knowledge enterprise is more reliant on the people aspects than technology per se and this view is supported by recent research. This situation is exacerbated by the diversity of participation amongst knowledge workers who as a “grouping” speaks a different language based on their perspectives of issues within and external to the enterprise. Because knowledge is not synonymous with information, information technology cannot deliver knowledge management, yet a large proportion of managements view information technology as the panacea for their failure at implementing successful KM or what they consider to be KM. Another concern of management is that current management approaches cannot handle imperfect information with certainty. Enterprises are thus faced with the situation of not being able to deliver the right information to the right person at the right time because enterprises are unable to predict what is the right information to distribute, who the right recipients of that information should be and all of this may take place under conditions of uncertainty – as found in today’s dynamic business environment. Defining knowledge from an enterprise management perspective or in terms of an organisational context present a number of issues. The most important being that there is no single all encompassing definition of KM. However, in terms of the objectives of this research a definition which relate the dimensions of time, delivery, the right information and the right recipient is applied. KM varies from the perspective of controlling knowledge processes within the enterprise to methods applied to the extraction of knowledge from the flow of information, internal and external to the enterprise. Recent thinking on KM distinguishes between demand-side KM and supply-side KM. The supply-side of KM is associated with the “delivery-oriented” assumptions that valuable knowledge exists within the enterprise and that it is the task of management to find it, codify it and place it into a repository. This is then followed by an approach which “decrees” and determine how it is to be distributed, e.g. via learning, databases, documents, etc. and to whom. Demand-side KM is initiated with an approach requiring a view of where does valuable knowledge exist within the enterprise, is what is required in existence, does it support the enterprise's strategies and how can the use thereof benefit the enterprise's competitive advantage? Obviously the proponents of both of these sides do see the need for closing the gap between supply and demand and that they are in fact complimentary activities. A view is taken on the KM approach / practices undertaken by the enterprise. There are a number of KM taxonomy approaches based upon the process applied in the enterprise to extract knowledge. An understanding of the different approaches employed is necessary to locate the role of the knowledge worker in the overall KM value chain. The knowledge processes approach is considered to be a factor of production where the person is central to the process as the carrier or owner of knowledge. Communication amongst individuals is of primary importance, especially in respect of the management of the enterprise and its outputs. This approach also considers an enabling culture in the enterprise to be a pre-requisite to the successful management of knowledge. The focus of this approach is on knowledge transfer through human interaction. Technology is recognised as playing a supporting role in this approach. Knowledge is more than information and also considers experience, skills, competencies and attitudes as part of knowledge created in the process of human interaction. The term Just-in-Time (JIT) can be defined as a production or inventory scheduling technique found within the more complex production logistics disciplines. JIT is more appropriately thought of as a philosophy as it is more than a mere set of management and production principles. KM JIT is an endeavour to provide the right knowledge at the right time to the right person. This requires an insight into the knowledge demand and supply process as well as the time horizon applicable to the knowledge required. Over the longer term business forecasts, environmental scans, strategic planning, etc. can be applied to close the gap between these variables. However, it is in the short term and immediate requirements that the present systems fail and management concerns are emphasised. To summarise the relationship: JIT KM searches for an optimisation of the matching process between demand and knowledge supply within enterprises, i.e. it endeavours to translate the logistic concept of JIT to the knowledge management field. In addition to JIT KM the concept of real-time KM is introduced as an alternative since present research indicates that the implementation of JIT KM presents major issues in terms of cost and development effort, restricting its use to mission critical applications. A more generic application for JIT KM need to be developed and it is contended that real-time KM fits the requirements of enabling the enterprise to be agile in respect of its ability to respond to present and future knowledge demands. The major difference between JIT KM and real-time KM being the latency of information concept which applies to the latter. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Knowledge management en
dc.subject Just-in-time systems en
dc.subject Knowledge workers en
dc.title The development of a just-in-time (JIT) knowledge management model for an enterprise en
dc.type Thesis en

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