Major Assignment: Knowledge Management

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Major Assignment: Knowledge Management

This assessment item relates to the unit learning outcomes as in the unit descriptor. This assessment is designed to assess the knowledge of implementation of a knowledge management solution utilizing emerging tools for stages of knowledge management.

This assessment covers the following LOs.

LO3: Conduct research on emerging tools and techniques for the stages of knowledge creation, acquisition, transfer and management of knowledge and recommend the most appropriate choice based on expert judgement on the practical needs.

LO4: Apply and integrate appropriate KM components to develop effective knowledge management solutions.

LO5: Independently design a usable knowledge management strategy by application of key elements of a good knowledge management framework and by incorporating industry best practices and state of the art tools such as OpenKM or other emerging technologies.


These instructions apply to Major Assignment only.

Answer the following question based on a case study given overleaf

Give your views on failure of implementation of knowledge management at a global company based on five distinct stages of knowledge management:

Stage 1: Advocate and learn

Stage 2: Develop strategy

Stage 3: Design and launch KM initiatives

Stage 4: Expand and support initiatives

Stage 5: Institutionalize knowledge management

Also, discuss about the failure and your views with respect to implementation of KM components and knowledge management framework.

Major Assignment: Knowledge Management

Case study: A pharmaceutical company (Source: Chua, A. and Lam, W., “Why KM projects fail: a multi-case analysis”, Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 9, no. 3 (2005).)

An American-owned global pharmaceutical company which specialised in high margin ‘‘lifestyle’’ drugs aimed to accelerate its internal drug development processes through overt knowledge management initiatives. The management committed a substantial amount of political and financial resources to implement three forms of KM projects, namely, ‘‘lessons learned’’, ‘‘warehouse’’ and ‘‘electronic cafe’’ (McKinlay, 2002).




‘‘Lessons’’ was a highly structured debriefing exercise conducted by each workgroup at the end of a major drug development process. It was intended as a method to archive corporate lessons and to prevent the loss of operational knowledge in the drug development process.

‘‘Warehouse’’ was an organisation-wide groupware populated with content based on the ‘‘lessons learned’’ debriefings. Its objective was to capture not only problems and solutions but the details of administrative and decision-making processes. It had features such as common repositories and discussion forums that supported coordination and collaboration across workgroups.

‘‘Cafe’’ was a set of linked web sites based on the anecdotes of individuals involved to the drug development programmes. It was intended as a platform for self-reflection and sharing of personal experiences among a small group who had been identified as organisational innovators. Within ‘‘cafe’’, individuals were liberated to digress from reality and to discuss hypothetical issues or explore radical alternatives.

‘‘Lessons’’ yielded uneven results within three years of its implementation. ‘‘Warehouse’’ could not be adapted to the specific context of each workgroup, while ‘‘cafe’’ was perceived to be exclusive, impractical and remote from reality. None of these KM projects had an effective mechanism to encourage participation or measure outcomes.

The main reasons for the failure of KM at the pharmaceutical company were as follows:

  • In ‘‘lessons’’, there was no mechanism to sift through the lessons compiled. Neither were there any opportunities to extend the scope of the exercise beyond existing procedures.

In addition, the output from ‘‘lessons’’ was a list of dissatisfaction with how standard operating procedures were applied rather than critical reflections on the procedures themselves. Thus, instead of fostering organisational innovation, ‘‘lessons’’ became a ritualised reinforcement of routines.

  • ‘‘Warehouse’’ could not be adapted to the specific context of each workgroup. It was thus deemed to be irrelevant to day-to-day operational processes.
  • Contributing to ‘‘warehouse’’ was perceived as a loss in personal expertise while accessing ‘‘warehouse’’ was perceived as a sign of inadequacy. Hence, ‘‘warehouse’’ did not attract spontaneous contribution and access.
  • The open-ended nature of ‘‘cafe’’ had inadvertently made its relevance and practicality questionable. Furthermore, the exclusive access to ‘‘cafe’’ limited its potential for expansion.

Major Assignment: Knowledge Management