MITS5505 Knowledge Management

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MITS5505 Knowledge Management


Final Assessment (Individual Work) –  50%.                                                       Time allowed 2 hours

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MITS5505 Knowledge Management

 Study the following scenario of failure in implementation of Knowledge Management initiative and then attempt the question that follows: –

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

A European manufacturing company that had more than 60 production units in some 30 countries implemented three distinct KM projects, namely, ‘Production Project’, ‘Supply Chain Project’ and ‘Design Project’.

The focus of ‘Production’ was on capturing, documenting and sharing knowledge about production methods such as machine maintenance methods and safety prevention. The main aim was to cut production costs.

‘Supply’ was intended to improve and distribute knowledge about offered products in downstream supply chain. The aim was to enhance product functionality and better understand the effects of product design on the economics of transport and warehousing.

The objective of ‘Design’ was to improve structural product design so that designers could construct prototypes with minimal raw materials.

Two years after implementation, ‘Production’ was able to capture and transfer knowledge to the plant that needed it, but its aim to promote the application of the new knowledge resulted in a mixed level of success. ‘Supply’ was a codification of knowledge culled from customers, warehouse delivery centres, transporters and end-consumers. However, it was under-utilised. ‘Design’ was a highly sophisticated software system, but it was largely neglected by designers and became obsolete after a while.

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

  • In ‘Production’, out of 40 plants studied, ten plants did not apply the new knowledge largely because they did not perceive a production performance gap in their plants. They were unconvinced of the value created from applying the new knowledge. It was later discovered that the rest of the plants which applied the new knowledge actually saw a significant improvement in their production performance.
  • When ‘Supply’ was launched, it was under-utilised because users found that the software merely provided them with information they already possessed. Moreover, ‘Supply’ neither resulted in increased sales volume for sales staff nor helped create better products for designers.
  • ‘Design’ was perceived to be too cumbersome and difficult to be understood. In addition, it did not reduce the raw material costs or the amounts of prototypes as intended. Since ‘design’ was largely neglected by designers, it was not updated and after a while became obsolete.


Please make and state necessary assumption wherever needed while giving the answers.

Question 1                                                                                                                     (Total 50 Marks)

Being an experienced Chief Knowledge Officer, what is your suggestion / recommendation on following:

  1. Evaluate the above-mentioned scenario and give your arguments on failure of implementation of knowledge management. (3 Marks)
  2. If you were implementing the Production Project, then how you will motivate the employees and what strategy you will implement before and after the implementation of Production Project so that you won’t face the problem of plants not applying the new knowledge? (7 Marks)
  3. Assume that you got the contract of implementation of knowledge management then discuss about what strategy you will apply and how would you implement the KM projects, ‘Production Project’, ‘Supply Chain Project’ and ‘Design Project’ by applying relevant capturing , codification and sharing techniques. Also, discuss and suggest which latest tools and techniques you would apply for the successfully doing the capturing, codification and sharing of the knowledge.(15 Marks)
  4. Discuss about the steps and actions you would accomplish for a successful implementation of knowledge management projects, ‘Production Project’, ‘Supply Chain Project’ and ‘Design Project’ with respect to different stages of knowledge management as given below:
  • 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                                                (20 Marks)

5. After the successful implementation of ‘Production Project’ by you in above scenario, is it ethical to       use the same plans, strategies and steps in implementing ‘Production Project’ in other similar                 companies? Give your answer with enough justification.                                          (5 Marks)


MITS5505 Knowledge Management