Date of Award

1-1-2004

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration

School

School of Management

Faculty

Faculty of Business and Public Management

First Advisor

Associate Professor Dr Dieter Fink

Abstract

The knowledge, skills and experience possessed by employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders are major components of an organization's Intellectual Capital, the effective management of which has been found to be critical for business success. In order to manage knowledge at an organizational level however, it is necessary to be able to define it in the context of the organization, measure its existence and, more importantly, assess how its creation, use, dissemination, evaluation and management impacts business performance and learning. Whilst the term "Knowledge Management" has evolved since the early nineties into a generally recognisable management discipline in its own right, significant literature over the past eight years has focussed on the management of knowledge as a more generic organizational competence making Knowledge Management Initiatives difficult to identify and define and even more difficult to evaluate. Despite the challenges, the subjects of knowledge management and intellectual capital are gaining strategic management exposure particularly in relation to how investment in, and outputs from, these initiatives can or should be evaluated. Knowledge management and intellectual capital are inextricably related, and whilst some previous research has gone into evaluating knowledge as an extension or derivative of information and into intellectual capital as a discrete item on the balance sheet, little has been done to analyse the development of models that attempt to evaluate the impact of knowledge management as an organizational process or capability. A comprehensive meta-analysis by literature review of international articles dealing with knowledge management and intellectual capital evaluation from a broad range of business and scientific journals was undertaken to identify precisely what has been measured by public and private sector organizations within the Knowledge Management, Intellectual Capital and other closely related domains between the years 1996 to 2002. By the end of 2002, human capital based measures were found to be the most frequently quoted in KM literature. Financial, human capital, internal infrastructure and composite measures such as the Balanced Scorecard have grown in varying degrees in frequency of use, whilst customer, process, intellectual property, innovation and quality related measures have gradually lost ground compared to other metrics between 1996 and 2002. Significant differences occur in the evaluation and reporting of KM initiatives amongst the main geographic regions of North America, Europe, Scandinavia and Japan, but these differences seem to be more related to public policy differences and to management style than to a result of any definitive or deliberate differences in formal evaluation plans and methodologies. Generally, KM evaluation between 1996 and 2002 has focussed on explicit (rather than tacit), internal (rather than external) and outcome (rather than process) oriented measurement processes. Inadequate accounting systems, lack of measurement and reporting standards, lack of long-term vision and poor understanding of the contribution of knowledge to competitive advantage have been and remain major constraints to the future development of KM.

Included in

Business Commons

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