The Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management publishes original articles on topics relevant to studying, implementing, measuring and managing knowledge management and intellectual capital.

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Journal Article

The Concept of Knowledge in KM: a Relational Model  pp145-154

Colin Reilly

© Apr 2009 Volume 7 Issue 1, ECKM 2008, Editor: Roy Williams, pp1 - 198

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This paper reports progress in research into the applicability of the knowledge management (KM) paradigm to third sector organizations. Case studies and an action research project are described. Although KM techniques are in use, resource priorities, program funding, and dispersed authority inhibit KM in these organizations. There is little intentional consideration of the relationships between the values held by these organizations and the data gathered from experience. A relational knowledge domain model is proposed that shows how knowledge is derived from observing real or imagined universes, is stored in knowledge artifacts, and is operated on by natural and designed processes to realise future states of the universe being observed. This model is intended to promote a more holistic approach to knowledge and its management in values driven organizations but can be applied in any organization or community of practice.


Keywords: knowledge, organizational knowledge, knowledge management frameworks, nonprofit organizations, third sector organizations, case study, action research


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Journal Article

Building a Knowledge Management Model at Brazil's Embrapa (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation): Towards a Knowledge‑Based View of Organizations  pp85-97

Rivadavia Correa Drummond de Alvarenga Neto, Job Lucio Gomes Vieira

© Apr 2011 Volume 9 Issue 2, ICICKM 2010 special issue, Editor: W.B. Lee, pp85 - 180

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This paper investigates and analyses the process of building a knowledge management (KM) model at Brazil’s Embrapa (The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation). Embrapa is a world class knowledge organization whose mission is to provide feasible solutions for the sustainable development of Brazilian agribusiness through knowledge and technology generation and transfer. The qualitative research strategy used was the study of a single case with incorporated units of analysis and two criteria were observed for the judgment of the quality of the research project: validity of the construct and reliability. Multiple sources of evidence were used and data analysis consisted of three flows of activities: data reduction, data displays and conclusion drawing/verification. The results revealed a robust KM model made of four dynamic axes: (i) strategy (a strategic conception of information and knowledge use), (ii) environment ‑ four different groups of enabling conditions (social‑behavioral, information/communication, cognitive/epistemic and business/managerial), sine qua non conditions for successful implementation, (iii) tool box – sets of IT tools and managerial practices and (iv) results – in terms of outputs, being both tangible and intangible assets. The conclusions suggest that a collaborative building of a KM model in a diverse and geographically dispersed organization is more likely to succeed than one that is build and implemented from the top‑down perspective. Embrapa’s KM Model is more inclined to be a knowledge‑based view of organization than merely a KM model. Limitations of the study and suggestions for future research are also discussed.


Keywords: knowledge management, enabling contexts, knowledge-based view of organizations, the SET KM model, BA, Embrapa


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Journal Article

Social Capital Management in Iranian Knowledge‑Based Organizations  pp204-210

Khodayar Abili

© Sep 2011 Volume 9 Issue 3, ECIC 2011, Editor: Geoff Turner and Clemente Minonne, pp181 - 295

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The importance of social capital and its effective management approach in organizations, particularly knowledge‑based organizations, for assuring their ongoing and sustainable development and competitive advantage has been a matter of serious discussion in recent years. Considering the ongoing expansion and growth of knowledge‑based organizations in Iran and the role and importance of their social capital in further development of Iranian society, an effective system of management of their social capital is a matter of concern of their top managers. Therefore, a blend (quantitative and qualitative) multiple case study was conducted with a selected number of knowledge‑based organizations with different sizes to assess their existing social capital, to identify factors which might have positive or negative impacts on the promotion of their social capital and to propose an effective approach for its management. To conduct the study, a purposive sample of fifteen large organizations and sixteen SMEs was selected. To collect the data, a stratified random sample of 528 knowledge workers (336 from large and 192 from MEs) and their HRM managers were given a 24‑item questionnaire which was designed based on three dimensions (structural, relational and cognitive) of Organizational Social Capital Model used by Nahapiet and Ghoshal in their study. This was followed by semi‑structured interviews with a selected number of research participants for completion and further clarification of collected data. Findings indicated that the selected knowledge‑based organizations are not benefiting from a desirable social capital. It is even worse in large organizations. Therefore, some measures need to be taken to improve the situation. Based on the findings of this study, suggestions were provided for the promotion of their social capitals and their more effective management


Keywords: social capital, organizational social capital, knowledge-based organizations, SMEs, structural capital, relational capital, cognitive capital


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Journal Article

Making Sense of the Intangibles ‑ A Co‑Word Analysis of the most Important Perspective of Analysis  pp251-260

Eduardo Tomé, Miguel Gonzalez-Loureiro

© Jul 2014 Volume 12 Issue 4, ECIC 2014, Editor: Dagmar Caganova, pp187 - 272

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Scholars have approached to managing intangible elements from several perspectives throughout the literature. This field of research is still young, with no more than two decades of more intensive empirical research, which has confirmed the relevance of i ntangible‑based elements on achieving a competitive edge in virtually every industry. Taxonomy and classifications of intangible elements have been built from either deductive or inductive methods. And also practitioners are more concerned and convinced t hat intangible elements are a key in the today⠒s competition, more than ever before. However, a categorization of approaches followed by scholars is still missed. The categorization proposed in this article will allow a more in‑depth understanding of ho w intangible elements may help to achieve a competitive advantage, either from a theoretical or an empirical perspective. In addition, it will provide further information on how the different intertwined approaches relate to each other and, hence, it will help scholars and practitioners to gain a further understanding of how to implement intangible‑based strategies more successfully. With these goals in mind, a search on the main databases was conducted (namely, ISI‑Web of Knowledge and Scopus). Up to 4 ,308 different articles dealing somehow with intangible assets were found. In this paper, the title and keywords are analyzed and the content is categorized in six different themes: Knowledge Management refers to IA and its consequences in the Knowledge c ycle; Intellectual Capital refers to IAs as mainly the knowledge‑based economic value, divided into Human Capital, Relational Capital and Structural Capital; Human Resource Development refers to IAs as organizational learning; Economics deals with the mic ro and macroeconomic consequences of IAs and with the market of IAs; by Social Policy we mean IAs investment considered as a commodity which have social benefits and which are managed by social operators; and finally the Management and Accountability, whe re the quite old fashioned view is addressed a


Keywords: Keywords: intangible assets, organizations, value, perspectives, intangible management


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Journal Article

Authentic Leadership and Psychological Capital: The Impact on Egyptian Employees' Work Well Being  pp204-212

Aya Maher, Heba Samir Mahmoud, Salma El Hefny

© Oct 2017 Volume 15 Issue 3, Linking Theory and Practice in Intellectual Capital, Editor: Dr. Ilídio Tomás Lopes and Dr. Rogério Marques Serrasqueiro, pp145 - 212

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The objective of this exploratory paper is to discuss the impact of psychological capital on Egyptian employees’ work well‑being. Some scholars defined positive psychological capital as the individual’s positive psychological state that has four components which are efficacy, optimism, hope, and resilience. Positive psychological capacities are states rather than fixed traits and they can be developed through the authentic leadership and trust. On the other hand, work wellbeing; is concerned with human potential power and happiness‑oriented. The significance of this study lies in the fact that positive psychological capital should be an issue of concern to leaders of public organizations in Egypt due to its effect on employees’ work well being. The significance of the study is also due to the increasing deterioration in public employees’ job performance and productivity, which is reflected in the poor quality of services rendered to citizens and their dissatisfaction with many public services offered by these organizations. The research question will then focus on what is the impact of psychological capital on Egyptian employees’ work well being. The analysis of this study was drawn from different academic literature and in‑depth interviews with three senior employees and leaders in different public organizations. Recommendations revealed that leaders of public organizations should give more attention to the importance of positive psychological resources as core psychological factors that affect their employees’ performance, satisfaction, turnover rate and employees’ work well being.


Keywords: Psychological capital, authentic leadership, trust, work well-being, efficacy, optimism, hope, resilience & Egyptian public organizations.


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Journal Article

Engaging Layers of Intangibles Across Intelligent Learning Ecosystems for Competitive Advantage  pp36-47

Helen Rothberg, Scott Erickson

© Mar 2018 Volume 16 Issue 1, Editor: John Dumay, pp1 - 72

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The Intelligent Learning Ecosystem (ILE) integrates all forms of intangible assets, recognizing not only tacit and explicit knowledge, but also big data and analytics/intelligence within and across organizations. The ILE structure provides a system for dynamic learning through the synthesis and analysis of intangible assets, creating decision‑impacting intelligence across the organization and its partners. Here we extend our understanding of how this ecosystem works by also considering the learning dynamics of individuals and teams. As such, the ILE not only facilitates organizational and partner learning but also leverages the positive impact of intangibles management on employee development, team sophistication and company competitiveness. Consequently, this paper studies the place of knowledge assets in a wider conceptual framework. By managing that wider range of intangible inputs with a structure designed not only to exchange existing knowledge or data but also to create new learning and insights, decision‑makers can accomplish several things. Initially, the range of potentially valuable inputs is increased, bringing in a more diverse set of intangibles that might have more relevance in specific industries or companies. Secondly, the structures can be designed not only to exchange knowledge or big data but to bring it all together, along with all other available intangibles, for analysis. As a result, new learning can take place as cross‑functional teams derive insights from the inputs. Finally, such a structure can work not only within a single enterprise but across its wider network of collaborators. The resulting intelligence learning ecosystems bring an even wider range of inputs, diverse perspectives, and opportunities for new learning to all the partners. By looking more widely at these possibilities, knowledge assets can be employed even more productively than when considered only in traditional knowledge management systems.


Keywords: knowledge management, big data, intelligence, learning organizations, intelligent learning ecosystem, teams


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Journal Article

Knowledge Management and the Effectiveness of Innovation Outcomes: The Role of Cultural Barriers  pp62-71

Antonio Leal-Rodríguez, Antonio Leal-Millán, José Luis Roldán-Salgueiro, Jaime Ortega-Gutiérrez

© Jan 2013 Volume 11 Issue 1, ECKM 2012, Editor: Dr Juan Gabriel Cegarra and Dr María Eugenia Sánchez, pp1 - 115

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In this paper we propose a conceptual model to test the moderating effect of cultural barriers on the link between knowledge strategies and innovation using healthcare organizations. In order to study the tie (knowledge‑innovation) and the effects of the


Keywords: knowledge base, innovation outcome, cultural barriers, healthcare organizations


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Journal Issue

Volume 7 Issue 1, ECKM 2008 / Apr 2009  pp1‑198

Editor: Roy Williams

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This special edition of the journal is a selection of the best papers from the recent European Conference on Knowledge Management, held at Southampton Solent University in 2008. Several of the papers addressed the shift to what is increasingly being called knowledge ecologies, within the more general field of digital ecologies (see IEEE 2009)

Vanessa Lawrence's keynote speech on Ordnance Survey: underpinning Great Britain with geographic information set the tone for the conference, and set the standard for key aspects of knowledge management and knowledge ecologies. The Ordnance Survey (OS) is an exemplary case study of how to create well mapped data and maximise its use in today's digital ecologies. This case study combines the best aspects of interoperability at the level of data with the best aspects of dynamic, complex and even open systems at the level of information and knowledge creation and exchange. Intelligently mapped data is at the heart of the OS topological information system, creating uniquely identified data objects which are the building blocks for the four layers of the Master Map: topography, address, integrated transport, and imagery.

More importantly from a knowledge management point of view, this integrated Master Map crosses seamlessly from data base management, to information systems, to traditional knowledge management and into knowledge ecologies. A range of commercial and community organisations can build on the Master Map, using elements from it, to create their own maps from their own perspectives, such as housing, health care, flood management, or policing. These different, user‑generated derivative maps create a knowledge ecology, which is a dynamic, flexible, and adaptable set of meta‑mappings (literally and figuratively) or what might be called 'map‑ups', which people can read, write and contribute to, link to, and mash‑up with their own data.

The intelligent data is itself dynamic and changing, and in a ""mobile, transient society and economy where location is a dynamic resource within business"" (Lawrence op. cit.), the data has to be accurate and constantly updated. The figures are impressive: 460M data fields, 1.8M changes per annum, 0.5M updates per annum, of which 99.9% are updated or added within 6 months of completion on the ground, and a potential resolution of 20mm for information on reticulation.

The Open Space initiative, for non‑commercial use only, provides a base and a framework for social mapping or map‑ups. In the first year it involved 900 developers and 156k visitors. The Explore programme allows people to create routes, tag points of interest, and share pictures, news and events.

Lawrence summed up the Ordnance Survey approach as the challenge to ""establish principles to make information sources accessible and connectable"", an elegantly simple framework for knowledge management in the service of knowledge ecologies.

Maracine et al describe knowledge ecosystems (KE) as a new kind of digital ecosystem which is an ""active and dynamic process, that … helps the building, growth, sharing and forgetting of knowledge"". They explore this in healthcare systems for home rehabilitation, which differ from other KEs because of the role and importance of the patient: in practice the entire ""life"" of the ecosystem gravitates around the patient and their personal rehabilitation chain.

Managing Intellectual Capital is now central to the EU strategy, so small and medium sized companies (SME's) must play their part in this. Mertins, Wang and Will's study analyses the different rankings of IC factors across 5 major economic sectors, and leads to some interesting conclusions, for instance that ""the traditional distinction between Industry and Services is improper for researching the strategic impact of IC. Rather companies should be classified by comparing the actual business models"".

Third sector organisations are also applying KM. In this case study, Reilly describes the way resource priorities, programme funding and dispersed Authority inhibit successful KM. There is widespread support for the discovery of knowledge, but it is subject to diverse interpretation, and consensus on how to apply it is difficult to achieve. Reilly proposes a relational knowledge domain to promote a more holistic approach in value driven organisations, to integrate and optimise KM. There seems to be similar issues in the corporate sector too, as Brännström and Giuliani have found, namely that one of the difficulties in IC reporting is that ""goodwill is substantially based not on particular components of IC, but on the synergies between them"". Another problem with IC reporting, and with FRS IFRS3 in particular is that some firms deliberately ""want to continue to use goodwill as a 'blackbox' to avoid disclosing some items to analytic scrutiny by outsiders"".

The link between descriptions and analyses of real business situations and personal experience can be used to build a real consensus. The Socratic Dialogue (Remenyi & Griffiths) involves much more than a simple verbal agreement. Participants try to clarify the meaning of what has just been said by testing it against their own experiences. In this way the limitations of individual experience which stand in the way of a clear understanding can be made conscious, and these limitations can hopefully be transcended.

Garcia‑Perez & Ayres's paper outlines an approach where elicitation and transfer, and possibly also creation, are carried out in one process. This involves identifying key experts and stakeholders, who then work together to develop a representation of the experts' domain knowledge. They conclude that ""communicational problems are minimised because the main interaction will take place between domain experts and their stakeholders. Also, discussion of their own experience with colleagues through a process of modelling their expertise significantly increases experts' motivation to share knowledge"".

Begley et al outline their 'new' theory of the firm, its relationship to networked society, and to other theories of the firm, within KM. They see the firm as a 'connected temporary coalition' perspective (based on Taylor, 1999; 2006), within an interactive model of the firm, containing diverse types of relationships, collections of both closely coupled and loosely coupled systems that configure, dissolve and reconfigure over time, forming a distinct capability in leveraging collective knowledge assets.

A new approach to systems development for KM is presented by Moteleb & Woodman, which is based in action research and Grounded Theory, using a number of business problems experienced by organizations. The KMSD approach is highly participatory, requiring full involvement of members of an organization, in three interacting aspects: envisioning knowledge work behaviour, design of knowledge management system (KMS), and identifying technology options. The KMS design integrates organizational, social and technological aspects of the system.

Landwitch et al have developed a more interactive and dynamic process for Information Retrieval in which the IR systems explicitly support the user's query requirements, but also their cognitive abilities, to realize a dynamic dialogue between the user and the system. This is aimed at satisfying both the information needs of the users, and the innovation‑process. Smith deals with the specifically human elements of what could also be called knowledge ecology, integrating cultural and process issues, and ""issues of organisational adaptation, survival and competence in and increasingly discontinuous environment. Rather than being a process problem, poor knowledge emergence from a new system is more likely to be a communication and learning problem where there is a failure to engage with the individuals who are within the system"".

Vedteramo & de Carolis advocate a community‑based approach to KM in the growing sector of project‑based organizations. Projects are typically temporary, and much learning may be lost when they disband, the storage of lessons learned is not effective, the databases are not widely used and the people are too engaged in their projects to share knowledge or help other people cope with similar problems. Vedteramo suggests the adoption of McDermott (1999)'s ""double knit organisation"", integrating project teams and communities of practice.

Webb uses open ended diaries and strategically resourced reflection on the diaries, and provides material on management and complexity theory for managers to use, to reflect on and make sense of their practice and learn from it. This provides ""multiple first person accounts and opened up new avenues of exploration and … [suggests that is could also be used for] the stimulation, initiation and development of knowledge transfer activities on particular themes.

Koolmees et al have developed and tested a new Knowledge Management Scan which assesses six basic KM abilities in an organisation , based on a survey of 15 statements per ability, and is based on work on value based KM, and different organisational learning types. The abilities are: to produce, anticipate, respond, learn, create and to last. The Scan produces an understanding of the organisation's overall learning ability, in terms of single, double and triple loop learning.

Harorimana's case studies describe how knowledge gatekeepers contribute to the benefits of the firm's internal capabilities, without being paid for their role. However, the informal nature of people's roles as gatekeepers makes their job difficult to recognize, and therefore requires some form or rewards.

Evans and Wensley's research on network structure and trust explores the extent to which network principles determine the level of trust in Communities of Practice. They provide a detailed analysis of the how trust is established and how it functions in CoP: in self‑directed teams, mutual trust takes the place of supervision, and this has a positive impact on knowledge sharing and on innovation.

Rees and Protheroe recommend the joint development of KM and kaizen practices (continuous improvement), embedded into the redevelopment of an existing strategy set, to facilitate the development of knowledge value, and show how this is implemented in the higher education sector.

Aidemark points out the ongoing confusion in the theoretical base of KM, and specifically highlights the complexity and paradoxes that arise between knowledge as information on the one hand, and as competence (or know‑how) on the other hand, and provides models which should improve our awareness of these problems, and help us in developing strategy.

And finally, Devane and Wison, in their paper on Non‑managed Knowledge, provide an interesting critique of traditional approaches to knowledge 'management' and knowledge transfer, and suggests that Coverdale's focus on the development of skills is a better foundation for a company's success. They argue that knowledge should not be seen as something extrinsic, and external that can be managed 'for' individuals, but rather as something intrinsic, in which case the best approach is to allow individuals to manage it themselves.


The papers in this special edition provide new ideas, new critiques, and new research on KM. Most of them in some way also address the very welcome shift from 'management' to 'ecologies', which adds more emphasis on personal roles and at the same time, more emphasis on networking, content and knowledge creation beyond the confines of the traditional Weberian institution. Lawrence's approach is an interesting exemplar of how this can be done, as it integrates well mapped data and basic information structures with flexible, customisable and personalisable knowledge creation and sharing. Perhaps this could be called 'connectable interoperability'?


Keywords: action research, agency, assessment, learning organisation, brokerage, case study, certification, closure, communities of practice, cultural memes, culture, digital ecosystem, dynamic knowledge, enterprise renewal, financial accounting, flows of knowledge, goodwill, grounded theory, groups design, healthcare knowledge ecosystem, home health rehabilitation, homophily, information retrieval, information visualisation, innovation intellectual capital, innovation-process, intellectual capital statement audit, interactive systems, kaizen, knowledge audit, knowledge communities, knowledge creation, knowledge elicitation, knowledge gatekeeper, knowledge management frameworks, knowledge management in higher education, knowledge management scan, knowledge management systems, knowledge management systems development, knowledge sharing, knowledge strategy, knowledge transfer, leading firms, network structure, nonprofit organizations, organisational form, organisational learning knowledge, organiz


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