Hot Spots in Knowledge Management
J.UCS Special Issue
Klaus Tochtermann (Know-Center, Graz, Austria)
Abstract: The increasing complexity of both the environment in
which companies operate and of their internal workings combined with an
increasingly high pressure for innovation make knowledge and its efficient
management central to business success today. The management of knowledge
is more than directly managing knowledge as a resource. It is more concerned
with providing knowledge-friendly environments in which knowledge can flourish
and develop. The development of such environments can be addressed from
many different perspectives, which makes knowledge management a very interdisciplinary
field of research. It concerns human resources management, organizational
development and information technology management to mention just the three
most important fields.
This special issue on hot spots in knowledge management offers the reader
a broad overview of the leading edge developments, technologies and applications
in knowledge management. The issue serves two distinct purposes: (1) It
may help shaping the reader's thinking in the way required for a successful
implementation of knowledge management in an organization; (2) it may serve
as a stimulus for the reader's research in knowledge management. The following
13 papers fall in four categories:
- Knowledge Management in Business
- Knowledge Mining
- Knowledge Representation
- Convergence of Knowledge Management with other Domains
The first category - knowledge management in business
- addresses knowledge management from a more business-oriented perspective.
In more detail, the papers of this group address the following topics:
Peter Schütt from IBM Stuttgart (Germany) presents in his paper
The post-Nonaka Knowledge Management a new generation of knowledge
management that can be divided in three categories (1) processes, (2) organization
and culture, and (3) information technology. The objective of the paper
is to provide solutions for increasing the productivity of knowledge workers
through knowledge management.
He argues that in order to increase productivity we need to understand
the work environment of knowledge workers. To provide guidance, P. Schütt
identifies 11 factors which help understanding and improving a knowledge
worker's environment. This factors fall in the following three groups work
processes, organisation and culture, and information technology.
Klaus North and Tina Hornung from the University of Applied Sciences
in Wiesbaden (Germany) entitled their paper The Benefits of Knowledge
Management - Results from the German award "Knowledge Manager 2002".
Based on the evaluation of almost 40 companies the authors present which
added-value and benefit knowledge management can generate. The benefits
are grouped in the following five perspectives: learn and growth, business
processes, customer satisfaction, financial results, and employee satisfaction.
The results of the study revealed that knowledge management can generate
the highest benefit in business processes (e.g. acceleration and higher
transparency), customer satisfaction (e.g. better response times), and
employee satisfaction (e.g. improved team work and increased motivation).
The paper Managing Operation Knowledge for the Metal Industry
written by Sheng-Tun Li and Huang-Chih Hseih from the National Kaohsiung
First University of Science Technology (Taiwan) presents a three-stage
life cycle for the ontology design. The application of the resulting ontology
in a metal industry company proves the effectiveness and efficiency of
In their paper Filters in the Strategy Formulation Process Leena
Ilmola and Anna Kotsalo-Mustonen from Helsinki University of Technology
(Finland) present a new software tool supporting strategy formulation processes.
Based on three different types of filters that hinder effective knowledge
flows in companies a software tool is introduced that helps overcome these
Matteo Bonifacio and Alessandra Molani from University of Trento (Italy)
are the authors of the paper The Richness of Diversity in Knowledge
Creation: an Interdisciplinary Overview. They propose theoretical,
practical and technological arguments supporting a distributed approach
to knowledge management. Knowledge diversity in theory, practice, and technology
is considered an important source of value for the approach of the authors.
The last paper in this category has the title SCBS Social Capital
Benchmarking System Profiting from Social Capital when Building Network
Organisations. José María Viedma from Polytechnic University
of Catalonia (Spain) argues that the competitive advantage of a company
does not only rely on a company's internal intellectual capital but also
on the external intellectual capital of other companies, organisations
and institutions. The author presents a social capital benchmarking system
which serves as a new management method and a new management tool which
identifies, audits and benchmarks the resources and capabilities existing
in cluster organisations.
Knowledge mining including retrieval, classification and
discovery constitutes another main stream in knowledge management. The
papers of this second category address the following topics:
The paper Unified Access to Heterogeneous Audiovisual Archives
is written by Y. Avrithis, G. Stamou, and M. Wallace from National Technical
University of Athens (Greece), F. Marques, P. Salembier, X Giro from Technical
University of Catalonia (Spain) and W. Haas, H. Vallant, M. Zufferey from
Joanneum Research (Austria).
The authors present an integrated information system that offers enhanced
search and retrieval capabilities to users of heterogeneous digital audio-visual
archives. The idea is to extract semantic information from audio/video
and text data taking into account context information of a user.
Pruning-based Identification of Domain Ontologies is the title
of a paper co-authored by Raphael Volz, Rudi Studer, and Alexander Maedche
from FZI Research Center for Information Technologies (Germany) and Boris
Lauser from FAO of the UN (Italy). This paper introduces a new pruning-based
approach of extracting a domain ontology from large-scale thesauri. In
this context pruning presents a completely automatic bootstrapping approach
for ontology development. The aim of pruning is to automatically extract
from an existing vocabulary a subset of the conceptualization which is
relevant to the target domain. In a later stage, the automatically identified
initial domain ontology can easily be refined by experts.
Christian Biemann, Uwe Quasthoff, Karsten Böhm from University
of Leipzig (Germany) and Christian Wolff from Chemnitz University of Technology
(Germany) are the authors of the paper Automatic Discovery and Aggregation
of Compound Names for the Use in Knowledge Representations. They argue
that the treatment of multiword terms as single semantic entities is an
inherent problem of automatic acquisition of information structures (e.g.
Topic Maps). As a solution to this problem the authors present a method
for learning multiword terms from large text corpora.
The following two papers belong to an evergreen category in knowledge
management, namely knowledge representation.
Kai Mertins, Peter Heisig, and Kay Alwert from Fraunhofer IPK (Germany)
are the authors of the paper Process Oriented Knowledge Structuring.
The paper presents three different types of knowledge structures and
their visualization (e.g., Topic Maps, Knowledge Navigator) which support
the structuring and maintenance of complex knowledge bases.
Towards the Semantic Grid: Putting Knowledge to Work in Design Optimisation
is a paper authored by Fang Tao, Liming Chen, Nigel Shadbolt, Graeme Pound
and Simon Cox from the University of Southampton (UK). They present a knowledge-based
approach which uses existing sources to acquire knowledge needed for engineering
design search and optimization. In order to reuse this knowledge and to
provide guidance at knowledge intensive points, a knowledge advisor is
proposed. This advisor gives a context-aware critique to guide users through
effective operations of building domain workflows.
The last paper category - convergence of knowledge management
with other domains - reflects signals indicating that research
of other domains converges with research in knowledge management. Such
converging fields include problem solving, eLearning, linguistics etc.
The paper Knowledge Management for Computational Problem Solving
written by D.T. Lee, G.C. Lee and Y.W. Huang from Academia Sinica (Taiwan)
argues that algorithmic research is an established knowledge engineering
process allowing researchers to identify significant problems, to better
understand existing approaches and to obtain new, effective and efficient
solutions. To support researchers in this process a problem-centred collaborative
knowledge management architecture associated with computational problem
solving is presented.
Lilia Efimova and Janine Swaak from the Telematica Instituut (The Netherlands)
discuss in their paper entitled Converging Knowledge Management, Training
and e-Learning: Scenarios to Make it Work the added value of using
knowledge management methods to support human resource learning management
efforts and vice versa of using human resource training instruments to
support knowledge management. Examples for existing practices of joint
work include linking communities of practice and formal learning programmes
or fostering the cooperation between a Chief Knowledge Officer and Human
I hope that the broad variety of 13 contributions provides the reader
with a comprehensive overview of the most intriguing hot spots in knowledge
management in 2003.