Knowledge Management Readiness Score (KMRS)

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Organizations have evolved over time, starting from data processing era (the 1970’s). In this era, organizations concetrated on the capturing and storage of data, and data processing and storage was given great prominence. This was followed by the information age (the 1980s), in which many organizations concentrated on how to transform their data into useful information and consequently use it to make more informed decision-making activities. We now live in the knowledge age. Today, most organizations’ operations are centred on the knowledge held within. All information is processed in an attempt to identify new patterns, hidden meanings and even to extrapolate that information to predict future trends. This is indeed the creation and development of new organizations knowledge.

     Knowledge Management (KM) became very popular in the 1990’s, with many organizational executives touting the idea as great but unfortunately, it quickly ran out of favour, and was relegated to a very secondary in many organizations. One of the hypotheses that has been put forward to explain this was that many organizations took to fixing the famous millennium “bug” as the year 2000 approached. After several years of relative dormancy, interest in KM is gradually growing again with many organizations looking to embrace it.

     KM is a fairly old field but most organizations know very little of it, and again, very little or nothing has been done to capitalize and use it in business. It has become increasingly important for organizations to define ways through which they manage their intellectual and knowledge assets and make use of these to grow their market shares in all industries. Whilst many such organizations have different ways and procedures that govern their business processes, very limited formal approaches have been taken up and pursued in terms of how those intellectual and knowledge assets can be created, maintained and utilized.

     Many of the United Nations bodies have over the years taken to KM in a bid to streamline their worldwide operations. By having fully-fledged Knowledge Management systems, the different UN bodies envisage bringing about uniformity and efficient execution of their operations in many different parts of the world in which critical operations like procurement of goods and services, emergency evacuations in case of sudden human and environmental disasters. For instance, the United Nations Development Program is using different approaches to building organizational knowledge e.g. story-telling whereby personnel are encouraged to document and tell stories of how they go about solving different problems in their day-to-day activities. These stories are then codified and captured into their systems as a new knowledge. The United Nations Developemt Program has also published a document under its UNDP-GEF initiative. The material, published as Knowledge Management in support of the Global Environment:UNDP-GEF Initiatives (2004) aims of these materials is to extract lessons from past and on-going projects that can be applied, and to replicate successes. In practice, this is realized in four ways, through:

·          The development of information systems;

·          The analysis and codification of lessons learned;

·          The dissemination of materials;

·          The use and application of knowledge generated.

Using and applying lessons is particularly important to ensure that materials provide practical information and are improved or updated regulary. UNDP-GEF collaborates closely with other members of UNDP’s Energy and Environment Practice Group, as well as experts from other UNDP development practices, in carrying out activities related to the generation of knowledge materials. UNDP-GEF also participates in various knowledge management activites as part of the GEF partnership. Each organization puts emphasis upon different areas depending on a number of factors it deems important.

     The research framework presented and discussed in this report aims at exploring what different organizations have in place i.e. Information Systems, documented procedures and processes, organizational cultures, Human Resource policies etc. as a means of measuring how prepared the organizations  are towards embracing Knowledge Management and use it in their favour. The objective s to establish an index dubbed the Knowledge Management Readiness Score.

     The research framework used is hybrid, developed from other frameworks studied include the Chen & Che framework, the 8C’s framework, and the Baldrige Award Framework.

     Preliminary testing of the developed framework was done and using it a Knowledge Management Readiness Score was developed. This Knowledge Management Readiness Score was operationalised through the use of data tools. It yielded some results, which were both mixed and interacting

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