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Young-Gul Kim is a professor at the Graduate School of Management, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Seoul. He received his BS and MS degree in Industrial Engineering from the Seoul National University, Korea and PhD in MIS from the University of Minnesota. His active research areas are: knowledge management, IT innovation, and customer relationship management. His publications have appeared in various journals such as Communications of the ACM, Journal of MIS, Journal of Strategic Information Systems, Decision Support Systems, Information & Management, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, and others. He has also presented several papers at ICIS, HICSS, and DSI conferences. E-mail: email@example.com
Heeseok Lee is a professor of MIS at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Seoul. He received his BS degree in Industrial Engineering from the Seoul National University, Korea, his MS degree in Industrial Engineering from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Korea, and his PhD in Management Information Systems from the University of Arizona, USA. He taught MIS at the University of Nebraska, Omaha from 1992-1994. His research interests include knowledge management, databases and information strategy. His papers have been published in Journal of Management Information System, Journal of Database Management, Information and Management, Omega, Information Systems, Journal of Systems and Software, Information Processing and Management, and Annals of Operations Research. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ingoo Han is a professor at the Graduate School of Management, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Seoul. He received his BS degree in International Economics from the Seoul National University, Korea, his MS degree in Industrial Engineering from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Korea, and his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champain. His research interests are information systems audit and security, information system evaluation, and AI applications in accounting and finance. His recent research issues include the audit and control under EC, prediction of stock price using neural network, and integration of AI techniques. E-mail: email@example.com
Over the past decade, understanding, identifying, and strategic management of organizational knowledge resource has become a competitive necessity. Microsoft, whose asset value is one fifth of General Motors, commands a market value ten times as big as that of General Motors. Knowledge-based organizations such as Microsoft and Intel are fast replacing the giant asset-based organizations of the past as the front-runner for the 21C knowledge-based economy.
From a conceptual point of view, knowledge management can be interpreted in two ways: knowledge-based management and knowledge resource management. Knowledge-based management is a strategy to achieve the vision of becoming a knowledge-based organization. It triggers a series of changes in its business processes, organizations, people, and business practices. Functional units with iron walls change to cross-unit communities of practice. Decision making changes from intuition-based to analysis-based. Not-invented-here (NIH) syndrome turns into a boundaryless knowledge echo system with suppliers, customers, and outside experts.
Knowledge resource management, which frequently has been the focus of organizational knowledge management initiatives, involves the implementation of various architectures, methods and tools to support knowledge-based management. Just as information strategy planning helps development and management of enterprise-wide information resources, knowledge strategy planning helps organizations in creating and managing their knowledge resources. Knowledge management systems as well as knowledge maps, repositories, search engines, analytic models, video conferencing, etc. comprise the toolbox for effective and efficient knowledge sharing and utilization over the time and space constraints, owing to geographical dispersion of knowledge resources. In addition to tools, successful knowledge resource management also requires a set of diverse policies and processes regarding evaluation, incentives, role design, and resource allocation.
In this special issue on knowledge management, we received 19 papers from all over the world: six from the USA, six from Europe, five from Asia, and two from Australia. Of the 19 submissions, we selected seven papers, based on their academic rigor, industry relevance, and potential to ignite a new stream of future studies in knowledge management research and practices.
The paper by Nilmini Wickramasinghe, “Do we practice what we preach: are knowledge management systems in practice truly reflective of knowledge management systems in theory?” challenges the purpose, role, and capability of the currently implemented knowledge management systems through in-depth case studies in the consulting industry. The author not only identifies the limitations of the current KMSs but also suggests a future direction and strategies to overcome such limitations.
The paper by Stephen Smoliar, “Interaction management: the next (and necessary) step beyond knowledge management” argues that knowledge management needs to move beyond simplistic models of information exchange, to more challenging problems of leveraging social interaction to the advantage of the enterprise. To illustrate its argument, the author examines a case study of crisis management practices and suggests implications for technological support.
The paper by Intae Kang, Yongtae Park, and Yeongho Kim, “A framework for designing a workflow-based knowledge map” introduces a framework for developing a workflow-based knowledge map in order to integrate process management and contents management, two areas of crucial importance to enterprise-wide knowledge management. The authors also developed a prototype and applied it to the car seat design process of the automobile industry.
The paper by Stefan Smolnik and Ingo Erdmann, “Visual navigation of distributed knowledge structures in groupware-based organizational memories” introduces the topic map as a tool for semantically structuring link networks to organize and navigate large and continuously growing organizational memories.
The paper by Hyun-Soo Lee and Yung-Ho Suh, “Knowledge conversion with information technology of Korean companies” discusses the viability of “extended knowledge enterprise” where, through using information technologies, not only internal units, but also external knowledge sources such as customers, suppliers, public institutions, and even competitors can participate.
The paper by Dimitris Apostolou and Gregoris Mentzas, “Experiences from knowledge management implementations in companies of the software sector” provides a useful knowledge management solution, called Know-Net, that includes a theoretical framework, a consulting method and a software tool. It outlines how specific business areas such as R&D, the bid management process, collaboration between geographically dispersed teams, can benefit from knowledge management
Finally, the paper by Joseph R. Muscatello (“The potential use of knowledge management for training”) discusses the use of knowledge management to serve the training needs of firms. This study combines the powerful competitive traits of a learning organization with knowledge of management traits to potentially increase the positive effects of both.
We hope that the audience of this special issue can grasp the theoretical underpinnings, implementation pitfalls, and available methods and tools for successful knowledge management. We also expect that, unlike the fleeting management techniques, knowledge management will survive the test of time to become one of the most important management paradigms for the twenty-first century.
Young-Gul Kim, Heeseok Lee, Ingoo Han