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Assume that a firm has already implemented a KMS system, as a manager, how do you ensure that learning from in-person knowledge-sharing remains at the organization?  COINMEN’S POSITION ON KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS When Coinmen was established in 2010, the partners made an informed decision not to install any kind of KMS in their firm during the start-up period, choosing instead to focus on establishing a client list and building the company brand. Given the general trend in the business consulting industry, the implementation of a KMS would have been seen asthe expected choice for Coinmen once it started growing exponentially, but through his experience working with one of the leading organizations in the industry, Goel had also witnessed the negative side of the KMS coin, which turned him against the use of a KMS, even in the face of Coinmen’s exponential growth. Goel understood that while a KMS functioned as a comprehensive repository of information generated by projects throughout the organization, it could also serve as a ready-made platter of solutions for a firm’s new projects. In Goel’s previous position, he had seen employees develop a habit of simply using the KMSgenerated solutions without employing any innovation, creativity, or care in customizing the stored solutions to a particular client’s needs. Goel found that employees often pushed cookie-cutter projects and, in a few cases, seemed to be merely changing the particulars on the same set of presentations. While this approach had increased project delivery speeds, the over-reliance on technology sometimes detracted from the quality and context of a particular project and even duplicated previous mistakes. Managers at Goel’s former firm had access to a large online repository that stored documents containing disguised analyses, presentations, and information on various industries and projects. The purpose of this database was to provide the staff with a way to learn about past projects, but this system of knowledgesharing had a drawback: It alleviated the need for employees to communicate with the people who had actually performed the work. Simple files and documents could not deliver any richness of information or explain the reasoning process that had been applied to reach the solutions. Any efforts at collaboration failed in the face of time pressure and competition to hit completion targets. Goel realized that a typical KMS had the potential to give users a false sense of security about the knowledge they drew out, a situation that could, in turn, lead to significant depreciation of the firm’s key assets (i.e., its people). As a result, major side effects appeared in such organizations after a few years when, rather than using their own logic and reasoning abilities, employees developed the habit of simply copying Page 3 and pasting data. In Goel’s opinion, the people-to-documents system not only harmed employees’ professional growth and development but also affected the quality of their work and the application of a personal touch to clients’ projects. Such an approach to business could cause a firm to deviate from its focus on high-margin jobs and niche clientele, turning it instead into a service firm that undertook higher volumes of work with lower margins. ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE AT COINMEN In 2010, Coinmen started delivering projects, and its employees worked rigorously to maintain a high quality of work and a focus on the clients’ specific needs. The employees were almost all within the age range of 25 to 35 years old, making the company a young and vibrant place to work.

Question

Assume that a firm has already implemented a KMS system, as a manager, how do you ensure that learning from in-person knowledge-sharing remains at the organization? 

 

COINMEN’S POSITION ON KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS When Coinmen was established in 2010, the partners made an informed decision not to install any kind of KMS in their firm during the start-up period, choosing instead to focus on establishing a client list and building the company brand. Given the general trend in the business consulting industry, the implementation of a KMS would have been seen asthe expected choice for Coinmen once it started growing exponentially, but through his experience working with one of the leading organizations in the industry, Goel had also witnessed the negative side of the KMS coin, which turned him against the use of a KMS, even in the face of Coinmen’s exponential growth. Goel understood that while a KMS functioned as a comprehensive repository of information generated by projects throughout the organization, it could also serve as a ready-made platter of solutions for a firm’s new projects. In Goel’s previous position, he had seen employees develop a habit of simply using the KMSgenerated solutions without employing any innovation, creativity, or care in customizing the stored solutions to a particular client’s needs. Goel found that employees often pushed cookie-cutter projects and, in a few cases, seemed to be merely changing the particulars on the same set of presentations. While this approach had increased project delivery speeds, the over-reliance on technology sometimes detracted from the quality and context of a particular project and even duplicated previous mistakes. Managers at Goel’s former firm had access to a large online repository that stored documents containing disguised analyses, presentations, and information on various industries and projects. The purpose of this database was to provide the staff with a way to learn about past projects, but this system of knowledgesharing had a drawback: It alleviated the need for employees to communicate with the people who had actually performed the work. Simple files and documents could not deliver any richness of information or explain the reasoning process that had been applied to reach the solutions. Any efforts at collaboration failed in the face of time pressure and competition to hit completion targets. Goel realized that a typical KMS had the potential to give users a false sense of security about the knowledge they drew out, a situation that could, in turn, lead to significant depreciation of the firm’s key assets (i.e., its people). As a result, major side effects appeared in such organizations after a few years when, rather than using their own logic and reasoning abilities, employees developed the habit of simply copying Page 3 and pasting data. In Goel’s opinion, the people-to-documents system not only harmed employees’ professional growth and development but also affected the quality of their work and the application of a personal touch to clients’ projects. Such an approach to business could cause a firm to deviate from its focus on high-margin jobs and niche clientele, turning it instead into a service firm that undertook higher volumes of work with lower margins. ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE AT COINMEN In 2010, Coinmen started delivering projects, and its employees worked rigorously to maintain a high quality of work and a focus on the clients’ specific needs. The employees were almost all within the age range of 25 to 35 years old, making the company a young and vibrant place to work.

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Protecting knowledge of the organization is a typically an IP protection problem. From the case study it seems that the exposure of the internal knowledge assets of the organization is not the...

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