Making Sense of the Organisation?s Knowledge: Does Systematisation of the Knowledge Base Have a Positive or Negative Effect on Organizational Culture?
36th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2003. Proceedings of the (2003)
Big Island, Hawaii
Jan. 6, 2003 to Jan. 9, 2003
Ivor Perry , De Montfort University
<p>This paper considers the impact on organisational culture of systematized knowledge management, as expressed through workflow management systems and through XML content management systems.</p> <p>Workflow management systems have been used, principally in the banking and finance industry, since the late 1980s. They are frequently associated with downsizing or with productivity initiatives, but a body of evidence also exists to show that they are (in the UK, at least) closely linked to customer service programmes, and to espoused corporate values that underpin those programmes. XML content management systems have frequently been associated with applications as varied as supply chain management and ad hoc enquiries, but are now increasingly being used in UK government, and particularly in Electronic Patient Record systems in the health service.</p> <p>The focus of this study has been on the way in which these technologies have been used to gather the organization?s knowledge from many disparate sources, and then to deliver, track and guide users. They act as ?expert assistants?, providing information, creating new knowledge, and controlling processes. What effect will they have on the organisation?s culture? Is such ?guidance? essentially empowering or constricting? Finally, if there is a cultural shift as a result of implementing these technologies, can it and should it be used consciously in the pursuit of further organizational benefit?</p> <p>The paper will show that both technologies represent ways of encapsulating both business processes and business knowledge, and mediating them to users. In so doing, the technology itself creates organizational and cultural change, irrespective of whether BPR or other initiatives are present. The research uses case study and interview material from the UK National Health Service and from the finance industry, together with examples drawn from the academic and practitioner literature.</p>
I. Perry, "Making Sense of the Organisation?s Knowledge: Does Systematisation of the Knowledge Base Have a Positive or Negative Effect on Organizational Culture?," 36th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2003. Proceedings of the(HICSS), Big Island, Hawaii, 2003, pp. 119b.