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Expert Systems with Applications 38 (2011) 1441714427

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Expert Systems with Applications


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/eswa

Developing strategies for overcoming barriers to knowledge sharing based on conversational knowledge management: A case study of a nancial company
Daegeun Hong a,, Euiho Suh a, Choonghyo Koo b
a b

POSMIT Lab., Dept. of Industrial & Management Engineering, Pohang University of Science & Technology, San 31, Hyoja-dong, Nam-gu, Pohang, Kyungbuk 790-784, Republic of Korea KFTC Bundang Center, Korea Financial Telecommunications & Clearings Institute, 10-3, Jeongja-dong, Bundang-gu, Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do 463-811, Republic of Korea

a r t i c l e

i n f o

a b s t r a c t
Knowledge management involves the systematic management of vital knowledge resources and the associated processes of creating, gathering, organizing, diffusion, utilizing and exploiting information. A key challenge emerging for organizations is how to encourage knowledge sharing within an organization because knowledge is an organizations intellectual capital and is of increasing importance in gaining a competitive business advantage. Isolated initiatives for promoting knowledge sharing and team collaboration without taking into consideration the limitations and constraints of knowledge sharing can halt any further development in the KM culture of an operation. This article investigates knowledge sharing bottlenecks and proposes the use of conversational knowledge sharing as an effective instrument for knowledge sharing. And to develop strategies, this paper determines the causes and effects of knowledge barriers and proposes solutions by using HOQ. The article introduces a nancial company case study as a best practice example of conversational knowledge sharing. Then, the paper analyzes the case study to provide evidence for the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed approach. 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Knowledge sharing Barriers of knowledge sharing Conversational knowledge management Community of practice Web 2.0

1. Introduction Knowledge management involves a myriad of procedures and techniques used to get the most from an organizations explicit and tacit know-how (Teece, 2000). While dened in many different ways, knowledge management generally refers to how organizations create, share, and retain knowledge (Argote, McEvily, & Reagans, 2003). A key challenge emerging for such organizations is how to encourage knowledge sharing because knowledge is the organizations intellectual capital, and is of increasing importance in establishing the competitive advantage of an organization. In order for such a model to exist, individual members of the organization must make this knowledge available by sharing their knowledge with co-workers. Knowledge sharing is the most important critical success factor of all knowledge management strategies. Effective knowledge sharing practices allow individuals to reuse and regenerate knowledge at the individual and organizational level (Chaudhry, 2005). However, at the heart of knowledge sharing, two types of bottlenecks exist; individual and organizational barriers. Individual barriers include internal resistance (Barson, 2000), trust (Barson, Foster, Struck, Ratchev, & Pawar, 2000), motivation (Disterer,
Corresponding author. Tel.: +82 54 279 5920; fax: +82 54 279 2870.
E-mail addresses: dghong@postech.ac.kr (D. Hong), ehsuh@postech.ac.kr (E. Suh), sonny9@kftc.or.kr (C. Koo). 0957-4174/$ - see front matter 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.eswa.2011.04.072

2001) and a gap in awareness and knowledge (Bure, 2003). Organizational barriers consist of language (Bure, 2003), conict avoidance (Bure, 2003), bureaucracy (Disterer, 2001) and distance (Nonaka, 1991). Effective knowledge sharing occurs when appropriate solutions are built into an organization. Despite the wide agreement that knowledge sharing occurs within a social context, current attempts at effective knowledge sharing continue to put a heavy emphasis on knowledge delivery and technology (Hong, Koo, & Suh, 2009). However, knowledge sharing is basically about peoples interaction and its byproduct. This requires a change in focus from a technology-driven approach to a people-driven approach in the area of knowledge management. In other words, with the evolution of technology, the paradigm of knowledge management is shifting from a conventional approach to a conversational approach. With technology as the medium, new conversational based knowledge management is characterized by a combination of formal and informal knowledge sharing within a social context. As the focus is put on human factors, the main limitations for effective knowledge sharing such as collaboration are related to human nature and the lack of an adequate motivation policy (Hong et al., 2009). In this context, conversational knowledge sharing appears to be an instrument which can overcome behavior constraints and help to manifest the emergence of a new organizational culture. For these reasons, we noticed not only the need for causal connections and guidelines to overcome barriers to

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knowledge sharing in organizations but also the need for improvement in conversational knowledge sharing approaches to overcome barriers to knowledge sharing in organizations. The main objective of this paper is to investigate knowledge sharing barriers and to propose the use of conversational knowledge sharing based on CoP (community of practice) and Web 2.0 to remove barriers. The article demonstrates the opportunity for more effective knowledge sharing through the use of HOQ (house of quality). Also, this study empirically analyzes an integrated operation and a maintenance community as a case study to provide evidence for the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed approach. In order to provide a deep understanding of conversational knowledge sharing, the means to breakdown the barriers to knowledge sharing will be discussed in more detail via a case study. In order to seeking a solution to the problems of organizational knowledge sharing, this paper makes the following argument. Section 2 gives an overview of knowledge sharing in organizations including two types of knowledge sharing barrier and some of the previous approaches taken to overcome knowledge sharing barriers. Then, Section 2 investigates the knowledge management paradigm in conversational knowledge sharing and examines in involvement of CoPs and Web 2.0. Section 3 proposes a methodology for overcoming the barriers to knowledge sharing based on conversational knowledge management in an organization. In order to solve the problems mentioned in Section 3, we will attempt to nd the causes and effects of knowledge barriers by using HOQ. Section 4 explains the integrated operation and maintenance of a conversational knowledge management system as a case study. Section 5 discusses solutions to ease knowledge sharing bottlenecks. Also we will attempt to validate the strategies by applying it to a sample company.

absorbed and used by other individuals. Knowledge ow is concerned with the development of channels or networks between knowledge providers and seekers (Shin, Holden, & Schmidt, 2001). Knowledge ow in an organization is fundamentally driven by communication processes and information ows. Knowledge sharing between individuals is also a process that contributes to both individual and organizational learning (Nidumolu, Subramani, & Aldirch, 2001). Huber (1991) identied four further knowledge concepts that contribute to organizational learning; knowledge acquisition, information distribution, information interpretation and organizational memory. The concept of knowledge sharing presented in this article is linked to both knowledge distribution and knowledge acquisition. The voluntary act of sharing knowledge by an individual contributes to knowledge distribution. The process of sharing may also result in knowledge acquisition by other individuals within the organization. Knowledge sharing between individuals thus results in individuals learning, which in turn may contribute to organizational learning.

2.2. Barriers to knowledge sharing in an organization Knowledge management systems have become easier to use recently with higher productivity and effectiveness due to the support of technology. However technology has often been confronted with a problem sometimes called the cultural wall (McDermott & ODell, 2001) in an organization. Cultural factors are considered to intrinsically inhibit knowledge transfer. They include a lack of trust, different cultures and vocabularies, a lack of time and meeting places, a lack of absorptive capacity from recipients and the belief that knowledge is the prerogative of particular groups (Davenport & Prusak, 1998). The main problems come from of cultural restrictions that can be divided into individual and social barriers (Bure, 2003). We can regard internal resistance, trust, motivation and a gap in awareness and knowledge as the main individual barriers. Passing on knowledge to colleagues or putting work results into a knowledge database may be felt and considered as a revelation, because it announces that this knowledge has a certain value and is uncommon. Also, trust is an inuence on both the receipt and the propagation of knowledge. If an individual does not trust the information or knowledge that they receive, they are clearly unlikely to make full use of it (Barson et al., 2000). At the same time, some employees do not anticipate reciprocal benets from transferring their knowledge since they do not accept these benets or they do not experience it (Disterer, 2001). In addition, some workers have largely only an awareness of problems but they do not know anything more. It has an inuence in that they do not want to listen to things again that they already know (Bure, 2003). On the other hand, we can identify language, conict avoidance, bureaucracy (Disterer, 2001) and distance as the main social barriers. Sometimes certain languages are used only in one section, department or division so it is unintelligible for others (Bure, 2003). The result is that in some companies the lack of a primary language is a perceptible problem (Krogh, 1998). And sometimes we can observe the effort people make to avoid change and to not risk too much. This can inuence knowledge and approaches that have new ideas and innovative points of view can be lost (Bure, 2003). Also, high levels of bureaucracy from organizational institutions often result in the use of procedures and approaches that have a negative effect on knowledge sharing. In addition geographical separation may also result in the companies working in different cultural, legislative or linguistic environments. Faceto-face communication is the most efcient method of communication, but the geographical location of the organizations may mean that this is not possible (Nonaka, 1991).

2. Literature review 2.1. Knowledge sharing in an organization According to Nonaka and Takeouchi (1995), knowledge creation should be viewed as a process whereby knowledge held by individuals is amplied and internalized as part of an organizations knowledge base. From this point of view, a lot of organizational knowledge is accumulated and managed at the individual level (Staples & Jarvenpaa, 2001). Members in the organization capture, store, use, and modify the knowledge that they use in their daily activities at work (Lam, 2000). Thus, knowledge is created and shared through interaction between individuals at various levels in the organization. In other words, organizations cannot create knowledge without individuals and a group, and the knowledge is likely to have a limited impact on organizational effectiveness unless individual knowledge is shared with other individuals and the group. Ackerman, Pipek, and Wulf (2003) considered the following three types of knowledge sharing within organizations; knowledge retrieval, knowledge exchange and knowledge creation. Knowledge retrieval means that the main feature of knowledge sharing between organizations and individuals is the means to retrieve existing organizational knowledge. Knowledge exchange explains that the purpose of knowledge sharing between individuals is to exchange existing personal knowledge. Finally, knowledge creation explains that the main goal of knowledge sharing between individuals is to generate new knowledge, resulting in new combinations of existing individual, shared or organizational knowledge. Knowledge sharing is basically the act of making knowledge available to others within the organization. Knowledge sharing between individuals is the process by which knowledge held by an individual is converted into a form that can be understood,

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To overcome the knowledge sharing barriers that existed for individuals and organizations in Table 1, several papers have suggested methods. McDermott and ODell (2001) identied culture as one of the key inhibitors of effective knowledge sharing. So he proposes a link between sharing knowledge and solving business problems; builds a framework on the existing networks people use in their daily work. However, this approach just focuses on links and the collection of knowledge in a centralized repository and its accessibility. On the topic of the transfer problems in knowledge management, Cantoni, Bello, and Frigerio (2001) focused on culture and localization. He argued that Web technologies and using a variety of organizational structure systems can lower the barriers to knowledge transfer. However his research just focused on technology and did not explain the use of causal connections to overcome barriers. Rosen, Frust, and Blackburn (2007) did research on how assigned constraints in building trusting relationships can be a barrier to knowledge sharing; e.g. technology constraints on knowledge sharing or failure to develop a memory system. As a best practice solution for overcoming barriers, he mentioned the need to adapt technology to what a virtual team needs by building a memory system. Yet it is a notional approach and it just focuses on the collection of knowledge technology and does not focus on conversational knowledge management. In research by Disterer (2001), he described various individual and social barriers that hinder people from sharing and transferring their knowledge. From analysis he drew up some suggestions on how to overcome these impediments. He detailed how organizations need to strive for a culture of accepting mistakes and not to penalize errors and to develop a common set of patterns and values for an organization to solve their trust problems. Informal and face-to-face communication reduces the distances between workers and executives. However this was just a conceptual approach and there is a need to explain the causal connection to overcome barriers and apply the principals to a real case to gure out how to share and use knowledge between members of an organization Table 1. 2.3. Paradigm shift from conventional KM to conversational KM With the evolution of technology, the paradigm of knowledge management is shifting from a conventional approach to a conversational approach. Traditional knowledge management focuses on the collection of knowledge in a centralized repository and making it accessible. In other words, a knowledge network in an organization is the key enabler for knowledge workers to communicate
Table 1 Two types of barrier to knowledge sharing in an organization. Type Individual barriers Barrier Internal resistance Trust Motivation A gap in Awareness and knowledge Organizational barriers Language Conict avoidance Bureaucracy Distance Description

with each other (Stewart, 2001). An organization is capable of linking valuable knowledge that resides in business competencies into a shared domain based using information and communication technology. Also, Lan and Unhelkar (2005) explained that the knowledge sources of an organization should originate from both intra and inter organizational sources. In contrast, conversational knowledge management focuses on the knowledge network infrastructure and collaboration for knowledge creation among knowledge workers. Wagner (2006) identied knowledge acquisition bottlenecks and proposed the use of collaborative conversational knowledge management to remove them. Iverson and Mcphee (2002) described the new approach to knowledge management as a community of practice (CoP). A CoP is a group of people who have worked together over a period of time and through extensive communication have developed a common sense of purpose and a desire to share work-related knowledge and experience. Members of a CoP may not stay in the same geographical location, share the same time zone or use the same operating systems but should be on the same knowledge network (Lee & Lan, 2007). The knowledge network is a powerful driver for knowledge sharing between the members of an organization. Furthermore, CoP has been identied as effective loci for the creation and sharing of knowledge (Lave & Wenger, 1991). CoP pursues the idea of a human based conversational approach. It is presented in Table 2. However, CoP has limitations. One of the problems is the fading back or withdrawing of individuals, traditionally known as being absent (Haythornthwaite, Kazmer, Robins, & Shoemaker, 2000). LeBaron, Pulkkinen, and Scollin (2000) point out that cultural difference among individual participants can act as barriers to communication. Different cultures can hinder the cultural development of the community of practice itself (Wenger & Snyder, 2000). Also Oliver and Herrington (2000) note that content of asynchronous discussion can become poor and supercial without coaching and scaffolding. Furthermore Oliver, Omari, and Herrington (1998) found that collaboration was richer among participants who knew each other. In order to overcome CoPs limitation, it needs to dynamic and evolving knowledge within a real-time process (Sharratt & Usoro, 2003). And communication tool, creation of social networks, shared organizational goals and objectives, learning entities, create a knowledge structure for the organization, incubators for the stimulation of innovation, ensure collaboration across geographical boundaries are strongly needed. The CoP along with the Internet and Web connectivity has greatly increased the popularity of these conversational technologies in recent years. Major types of technology now facilitate the sharing of conversational knowledge

Author Barson et al. (2000) Barson et al. (2000) Disterer (2001) Bure (2003) Bure (2003) Bure (2003) Disterer (2001) Nonaka (1991)

Passing on knowledge to colleagues or putting working results into a knowledge database may be felt to be and considered as a revelation If an individual does not trust the knowledge that they receive they are clearly unlikely to make full use of it Some employees do not anticipate reciprocal benets from transferring their knowledge Some workers have largely only awareness of problems, but they do not know anything more They do not want to listen to things again that they already know Certain languages are used only in one section, department or division, so it is unintelligible for others The effort to avoid change and do not risk too much High level of bureaucracy often use procedures and approaches that result in worse knowledge sharing Geographical separation may result in the companies working in different cultural environments Face-toface communication as the most efcient method of communication

14420 Table 2 Community of practice characteristics. Author Gherardi and Nicolini (2000) Wenger and Snyder (2000) Bielaczyc and Collins (1999) Powers and Guan (2000) Bielaczyc and Collins (1999) Soden and Halliday (2000) Grisham, Bergeron, and Brink (1999)

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CoP characteristic The sum of this community knowledge is greater than sum of individual participant knowledge Learning communities produce artifacts and histories that aid in the transfer of knowledge and the increase of understanding Knowledge is expanded through discussion Self-motivating factors and enabling self direction of participants is essential Peer interaction enables negotiation and co-construction of the community of practice Expert-to-apprentice relationships are a key concept in communities of practice Safety and trust within a community of practice are important

through knowledge networks include discussion forums and instant messenger clients. From the available state-of-the-art KM techniques, Web 2.0 has emerged as the key to enable more advanced technological support for a users knowledge work (Wagner, 2004). The term was ofcially coined in 2004 by Dale Dougherty, a vice-president of OReilly Media during an internal team discussion while planning a future Web conference. Following its conception by OReilly Media, Web 2.0 has taken on an important roll in the KM eld. Web 2.0 utilizes the idea of an open source environment and its aim is to share goals, share the work and share the results (Goetz, 2003). So Web 2.0 opens the possibility of a two-way interactive method to enable knowledge providers to contribute knowledge content to a shared domain. Moreover, knowledge content can be edited and ne tuned to maintain its up-to-date status at any time (Lee & Lan, 2007). Also Web 2.0 applications can maximize the enormous collective intelligence of a user community while also providing a benet to each individual user (Hoegg, Martignoni, Meckel, & Stanoevska-Slabeva, 2006). In addition Web 2.0 has resulted in a paradigm shift from the Web as a submissive information resource to the Web as a platform for the delivery of attractive services and experiences (Kelly, 2006). A summary of Web 2.0 technology is presented in Table 3. But, due to Web 2.0s openness and ease of use it can be problematic to gauge the reliability and accuracy in organization (Boulos, Maramba, & Wheeler, 2006). And Web 2.0 has been observed mainly in the use of the Internet by consumers, the trend of utilizing the Web 2.0 technology in-house are recently emerging among private enterprises (Yukihiro, 2007). 3. Research methodology 3.1. Methodology overview The overall framework of this research is shown in Fig. 1 and the framework consists of six phases. In this study, the house of quality (HOQ) is used to nd the solutions to overcome the barriers to knowledge sharing outlined in Phase 1 to Phase 3. As with ordinary HOQ processes, the What and How variables are established in Phase 1 and Phase 2, respectively. The relationship between the What and How variables is identied in Phase 3. Based on the result of HOQ, applicable strategies to yield participation,

Fig. 1. Framework of the methodology.

sharing and openness between employees will be developed in Phase 4. In Phase 5, the strategies developed in Phase 4 will be applied to a company K which has an existing KMS. In Phase 6, to validate the usefulness of the strategies developed in this study, a user-survey is performed.

3.2. Phase #1: list of customer requirements The basic concept of QFD is to translate the desires of customers into product design or engineering characteristics, and subsequently into characteristic parts, process plans and production requirements. Each translation uses a matrix, called the HOQ, for identifying customer requirements (CRs) and establishing the priorities of design requirements (DRs) to satisfy the CRs (Hauser & Clausing, 1988). The HOQ offers casual connection between customers requirements and engineering characteristics. So in this study, the typical HOQ processes used in various applications are customized to solve the problems of knowledge sharing. The barriers to knowledge sharing can be the problems that individuals or organizations need to solve and both the KM tool and the technologies based on conversational knowledge

Table 3 Web 2.0 technologies. Technology AJAX RSS Wikis Blogs RIA Description IT stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML and it is a group of inter-related web development techniques used for creating interactive web application IT stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS is currently being widely used in media companies on a subscription-basis to deliver real-time news as feeds to users A Wiki is a software program that allows users to collaboratively create, edit, link, and organize the content of a website, usually for reference material IT is a Web journal or Web log, which is a specialized Web service that allows an individual or group of individuals to share a running log of events and personal insights with online audiences IT stands for Rich Internet Application, where a more responsive, interactive and richer user experience is enabled by using a thick client

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Fig. 2. Application of HOQ.

sharing can be considered as engineering characteristics. The proposed application of HOQ is to examine the choices of KM tools and techniques against the requirements and objectives of Knowledge sharing. The attempted approach is to select the appropriate KM tools and technologies and then propose the type of KMS for the particular case. Fig. 2 represents the elements of HOQ for this application. There are methods which evaluate each choice of Knowledge sharing approach to help choose the appropriate KM tools or technologies. The requirements and objectives of knowledge sharing adoption are considered to be input parameters; whereas the prioritized KM approaches are considered as output parameters. This application highlights the consideration of different approaches to see which are best suited to each diverse organization. The different contexts and knowledge sharing objectives of each organization requires a customized application of KM. By using HOQ in this application, the organization needs to consider the actual objectives and requirements of KM and then, match the best suited KM approach. As mentioned above, barriers to knowledge sharing, which are analogous to customer requirements are set to be the what variables. The variables relating to barriers against knowledge sharing are Internal resistance, trust, motivation, a gap in awareness and knowledge, language, conict avoidance, bureaucracy and distance which are as shown in our literature review.

Table 4 Use of KM tools or technical terms to apply HOQ. Author Tan, Xie, and Chia (1998) Description Use of graphics, Integrate links into text Provide download information with links Adequate and updated links Decrease size of page to increase loading speed Speed of computer and communication Integrated databases, Intelligent agents Larger bandwidth, Global IT infrastructure Consistent suite of email and web products Fast retrieval , Security of data Real-time communication, video conference Bulletin board system, e-learning system Discussion forum, e-mail, e-paper

Alavi (1999)

Chen, Yang, Lin, and Yeh (2007)

3.4. Phase #3: developing the relationship Phase 3 is a step which establishes the cause and effect relationship for the variables found in Phase 1 and Phase 2. To nd the relationship, the importance and customer satisfaction of barriers to knowledge sharing are surveyed from users of KMS in a 5 point likert-scale. Then, by using an interview and meetings with a knowledge management operator, and KMS developer, the correlation between barriers, KM tools, and techniques is examined. The purpose of the interview and meeting is to examine the existing applicable technologies for KMS. A strong correlation, semi-strong correlation, weak correlation and no correlation are assigned to the scare as 9, 3, 1, and 0 points, respectively. The next step is to have a meeting with a KMS developer and knowledge management manager to reect the rst correlation found in the survey. The purpose of this meeting is to examine time, human resources, development difculty and company conditions and include these in the correlation matrix. Based on the HOQ calculation results, the priorities of required technologies, actual existing barriers to the success of knowledge sharing and parts that need improvements in KMS are analyzed. 3.5. Phase #4: developing strategies Phase 4 is a step to develop strategies to facilitate an employees participation, in a shared and open way, based the derived correlation and data analysis from Phase 3. To develop the strategies the following requirements must be embraced. First, a new communication channel which uses KM tools and techniques to induce easy and convenient knowledge sharing among employees should be constructed. Second, the existing KMS system should be upgraded to reduce knowledge sharing barriers among employees. A survey should be performed to examine the employees satisfaction on the

3.3. Phase #2: list of technical terms Phase 2 is a step which derives the engineering characteristics to overcome the barriers to knowledge sharing. The engineering characteristic of this problem is the conversational knowledge sharing approach. To derive engineering characteristics, previous literature reviews about improving KMS through the used of HOQ were extensively searched. The engineering characteristics found in the literature are set as the how variables. The How variables are further modied to include the characteristics of CoP and Web 2.0 technology in order to nd a KM tool that shares conversational knowledge. Previous literature reviews about the application of KM tools or technical terms in HOQ are presented in Table 4. Integration, link, speed, bandwidth, security, real-time communication, video conference, bulletin board, e-learning, discussion forum and e-paper are also mentioned in the literature review. Variables relating to CoP and Web 2.0 will be established from the results of the literature review and presented in Section 2.4. The characteristics of CoP are informal space, interaction, best practice, self motivation and learning. These CoP characteristics are used as variables. The characteristics of Web 2.0 technologies are AJAX, RSS, Wikis and Blogs. These characteristics of Web 2.0 are set as how variables. The results of step 1 and step 2 are presented in Fig. 3.

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new channel, and on the new upgraded KMS system to validate how much the developed strategies has contributed to the reduction of knowledge sharing barriers. 4. Case study Company K is an institution in charge of operating diversied easy-to-use payment services for member banks and customers through the establishment of a payment system serving as the core infrastructure for the Korean nancial industry. It was established in 1986, and it has about 800 employees. A knowledge management project in company K started in 2001. The knowledge management system for company K was constructed in 2002 and converted into a portal service system in 2004. Recently the core knowledge management of the company was carried out based on the CoPs activities. The CoPs activities were launched in 2006. It consists of job practice CoPs, project CoPs, learning & research CoPs and special interest groups. To illustrate the applicability of this research, a survey was conducted on company Ks KMS based on this research methodology. 4.1. Developing the relationship For steps 1 and 2, as explained earlier, two stages are already dened for the survey in Sections 3.2 and 3.3. For the step 3 activities, we composed a questionnaire based on an activity check list as specied in Fig. 3. The survey for this study consists of 26 questions asking the relative importance of each measure based on Fig. 3 and 8 questions asking about customer satisfaction. Relative importance was asked for on a 9 point likert-Scale, and customer satisfaction was asked for on a 5 point likert-scale. The survey questionnaires were distributed to the employees of company K who actually used KMS between Oct. 12, 2009 and Oct. 16, 2009 through e-mails and interviews. Forty out of the total of 60 distributed surveys were collected and analyzed. The 8 factors about barriers to knowledge sharing were analyzed to nd the relative importance of each factor by using the AHP parallelism comparison technique. For parallel comparison, the Consistency Index was checked using the Expert 2000 software. Nine datasets with a condence index greater than 0.2 were excluded from the analysis. Customer satisfaction about the existing KMSs barriers to knowledge sharing was analyzed in a 5 point Scale. The score was calculated by using the arithmetic mean of each factor as shown in Table

5. Scores for customer importance and satisfaction are presented in Table 5. The analysis results indicate that motivation, internal resistance and bureaucracy exhibit a high relative importance to overcome barriers to knowledge sharing. The result also implies that conict avoidance, bureaucracy and language factors in the existing system needs to be improved in the existing system. After conducting a survey of KMS users, interviews and meetings with KMS operators and developers were held in order to nd the correlation between conversational knowledge sharing based KM tools and technologies. The result of the rst interview and meeting is shown in Fig. 4. Then, as shown in the Phase 3 methodology, a second set of meetings and interviews with KM managers and operators was held to identify the practical and applicable KM tools and technology which reect the companys current conditions. Using the calculation method from Phases 3 and 4, the HOQ was constructed. The nalized HOQ is as shown in Fig. 5.

4.2. Developing strategies Based on the HOQ analysis result, strategies to facilitate the participation of employees in a shared and open knowledge management system can be developed. First, an online communication site is constructed as one of the strategies. The online communication site will provide an informal space through a Q&A board and free discussion board which allows anonymity and reply functions. Moreover, in a change to normal procedure, an innovation mind channel is created to spread the organizations vision and strategies to organization members more effectively and to provide a place for employees and administrative managers to communicate with each other. A complimentary channel is also created to enhance the employees connectivity to each other. The construction of online communication sites not only provides a new function but also provides improvements to the existing system through this upgrade. In comparison to the current existing system, this KMS helps members of company K to more easily access the KMS system and to participate and share knowledge through the system. The KMS also improves the pop-up functions and adds a personal knowledge management system, and embraces a exible knowledge management function. The system also enhances the privacy and security of individuals by allowing users to set the sharing range of their knowledge. All of

Fig. 3. Results of steps 1 and 2.

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Fig. 4. Developing the relationship.

Fig. 5. Developing the relationship nal version.

Fig. 6. Online communication channel.

the features in the KMS increases the exibility of knowledge sharing and provides opportunities to members to access the broad knowledge available in KMS. At the same time, the KMS would have a best quality knowledge marking function which helps users to

identify high quality knowledge more easily in the knowledge bank and would have a Wiki function that allows users to edit their own messages more conveniently and to manage knowledge more efciently.

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Fig. 7. Open-management discussion channel.

Fig. 8. Open-management discussion channel.

Table 5 Relative importance and customer satisfaction. Barriers of knowledge sharing Type Individual barriers Barrier Internal resistance Trust Motivation A gap in awareness and knowledge Language Conict avoidance Bureaucracy Distance Relative importance 0.152 0.117 0.194 0.120 0.103 0.108 0.133 0.072 Customer satisfaction 2.903 3.161 3.097 3.032 2.452 2.774 2.452 3.645

Organizational barriers

4.3. Implementation of conversational knowledge sharing 4.3.1. On-line communication channel The on-line communication channel has sub-menus which improve the accessibility of the site. The sub-menus include openmanagement discussion, a change-innovation mind channel, a compliment channel and Q&A. The new online communication channel is shown in Fig. 6. Open-management discussion is shown in Fig. 7. One can suggest new discussion topics in an open-management discussion. If the suggested topic is selected, the provider of a topic will be rewarded with KM points and gift certicates to facilitate the motivation of open-management discussion.

Also as shown in Fig. 8, anonymity in discussions is guaranteed to induce more members to participate in discussions. The system also offers real time feedback on the original messages or replays. Also the system adds the recommendation function for the posted reply. If the reply receives multiple recommendations from KMS users, the author of the reply and original post receives km points or gift certicates. A compliment channel is shown in Fig. 9. Through the compliment channel, an exemplary team or employee can be praised. A compliment article can be written by any employee of the company. Every operation division selects and rewards the best member of their team who contributes to the growth and development of company culture every quarter. A Q&A channel is shown in Fig. 10. In the Q&A channel, participants can pose questions and get answers about business related topics as well as non-business related topics. Participants in a Q&A channel will be rewarded with knowledge mileage. To improve the quality of questions and answers in Q&A, a satisfaction indicator is used to mark good knowledge.

4.3.2. KMS system upgrade By upgrading the existing KM system, conversational knowledge sharing has been improved. First, a tagging function was added. The tagging function allows users to search for messages written by themselves and other knowledge more easily. Also users can put a tag on their favorite knowledge or the most useful knowledge. Second, a user can set the sharing range of data

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Fig. 9. Compliment channel.

Fig. 10. Q&A channel.

and selectively share knowledge with selected members. Third, an alarm function for newly registered articles or knowledge is added. The user can send an alarm pop-up about new knowledge to selected users. Forth, from the KMS upgrade, non-members can request to access permission to member-only knowledge. If the permission is granted, a non-member can get access to knowledge. Fifth, KMS enhances the individual knowledge management function. The user can extensively manage their personal accounts and messages. Also users can search for data based on community title, author or tag. Sixth, data in the sharing board can be moved when needed. It allows more efcient knowledge sharing with other users. The user can also improve the efciency the data moving operation by using a pop-up function. Seventh, the best knowledge mark as determined by recommendations by the CoP manager is introduced to the KMS. The knowledge is stored in a knowledge bank and is open to every member of company K once the knowledge is selected as a best knowledge entry. Lastly, a Wiki function is added so that the author of a post and others can easily edit and update messages. 5. Validation To validate the effectiveness of the strategies proposed in this research, this paper used a questionnaire. The validation survey

scrutinized how strategies affect customer satisfaction to overcome the barriers to knowledge sharing. The survey used a 5 point likert-scale model. To compare the before and after results, the same respondents performed the survey twice. The survey was distributed between Nov. 10, 2009 to Nov. 13, 2009 through e-mail and interviews. The survey results are presented in Table 6. To visualize this result, Fig. 11 shows the result of the questionnaire in a radiated diagram. The survey result indicates that the developed strategies signicantly reduce the problems of

Table 6 Relative importance and customer satisfaction. Barriers of knowledge sharing Type Individual barriers Barrier Internal resistance Trust Motivation A gap in Awareness and knowledge Language Conict avoidance Bureaucracy Distance Customer satisfaction Before 2.903 3.161 3.097 3.032 2.452 2.774 2.452 3.645 After 3.484 3.839 4.000 3.710 3.161 3.677 3.452 3.839

Organizational barriers

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Fig. 11. Questionnaire results.

bureaucracy and conict avoidance. The HOQ result implies that company Ks most urgent problem, i.e. informal space, could be solved by the proposed strategies. However, the result indicates shows only slight improvement for the distance factor. Because the existing KMS system is hosted on the Web, the distance factor is not heavily affected by the upgrade process.

6. Conclusions and future works The knowledge management theoretical and practical literature review emphasized the need to overcome barriers to knowledge sharing as a major factor for the potential success of KM within an organization. Individual and social barriers often prevent effective knowledge sharing. It is therefore necessary to identify and eliminate or minimize as many of these barriers as possible. To combat the individual and social barriers we proposed the use of conversational knowledge sharing to address the problems. Furthermore, we identied that knowledge management shifted from a conventional approach to conversational approach. So we examined the characteristics and limitations of CoP and Web 2.0, which are parts of a people-driven approach to knowledge management. Based on a case study, and by using HOQ, we identied the cause and effect relationship for knowledge barriers and developed strategies to overcome them. Then, the developed strategies were applied to Company K and the effectiveness of the strategies was validated by a survey. With respect to all of the above information, this paper contributes as follows. Firstly, the developed strategies eliminated the knowledge sharing barriers based on the use of conversational knowledge sharing. As a result of the employees participation, in a sharing and open manner, efcient and effective knowledge sharing became possible. Secondly, this research provided a causal connection to overcome the barriers to knowledge sharing in an organization. Also, the study matched Knowledge barriers with methods to overcome each matched barrier. Lastly, the research provided guidelines and methodology for successful conversational knowledge sharing. Based on this researchs guidelines and methodology, other industry and organizations knowledge sharing problems can be solved. However, the strategy of this study was only implemented for one nancial company, so it is difcult to generalize to other industry and organizations. Thus, further study is needed to develop

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