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The Nature of Knowledge and its Sharing through Models Peter Bernus (Griffith University, Australia) Brane Kalpic (ETI, Slovenia) ICEIMT’ 04 Toronto October 9 -11, 2004
Overview • The role of models in enterprise integration – Capture knowledge and share it – Model-based control of processes • Models and knowledge sharing – – Knowledge categories – Knowledge-processes and knowledge resources – A knowledge life-cycle model – The role of enterprise models • Conclusion
The role of models in enterprise integration • During the course of enterprise engineering models are produced for analysis, design – and even execution (if model-based control is the intention) • Since models describe how processes are done, what resources and information they use and produce, etc it is often assumed (without much further thought) that enterprise models capture knowledge that can be used in the operation of the enterprise • If this is the case (which is desirable) then enterprise modelling is an important knowledge management tool!
Capture knowledge? • However, what do we mean by capturing knowledge? • Should this mean that models as artefacts contain (like a tin of preserves) the knowledge in question? • Can anyone produce, store, transfer / sell and someone else buy, and eventually open this container and have the captured knowledge – off the shelf and ready to use, just as a commodity?
To answer these questions we need a good understanding of different categories of knowledge and of the processes involved in creating, using and sharing knowledge
Categories of knowledge Baker et al (1997) (Journal of KM): (1) Knowledge = Information + [Skills + Experience + Personal Capability] howewer, is Knowledge a sum of the above? …
However, the intention is clearly to suggest that knowledge is an outcome of a process performed by an individual, i. e. knowledge is a function of the listed components (2) Knowledge = f (Information, Skills, Previous Experience, Personal Capability)
• Still, equation (2) is not clear about the role of preexisting knowledge in gaining new knowledge nor about the role of unlearning / transforming existing knowledge • Also neither of equation (1) or (2) explain what knowledge is – they only state that knowledge is created using these components We would at least expect an equation that would have the pattern as below (3) Knowledget 2= f (Information t
KM literature defines two main knowledge categories: explicit and tacit • Polanyi (1958, 1966): tacit knowledge as a personal form of knowledge, obtained from direct experience in a domain, held in a non-verbal form, and the holder cannot provide a useful verbal explanation to another individual • Skryme and Amidon (1997) explicit knowledge as formal, systematic and objective (written form, can be stored, transmitted, etc)
Several categorisations exist for knowledge processes E. g. Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) [see more in paper…] • Internalisation: an individual internalises explicit knowledge to create tacit knowledge • Externalisation: an individual turns their tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge through documentation, verbalisation, etc • Combination: create new explicit knowledge through the combination of other explicit knowledge • Socialisation: transferring tacit knowledge between individuals through observations and working with a mentor or a more skilled / knowledgeable individual
Formal awareness Informal awareness Formal explanations & models ct sele Internalise acq u i re Externalise Ability to act in situations; no awareness Tacit (unaware) Domains of knowledge Informal explanations & incomplete models Observable actions, demonstrations / recounts Formal (aware) Nonformalisable Awareness Formalisation Explicit Knowledge artefacts Not-formal Participant’s knowledge Formalisable Proposed knowledge categories (Bernus/Kalpic)
Knowledege life-cycle model (Bernus/Kalpic)
Outcome of the improved knowledge categorisation and the model of knowledge life-cycle processes We gained a • Better understanding of knowledge categories and of the types of processes that create or share knowledge (using external formal representations – models – or other forms of externalisations) • Better understanding of the conditions for these processes to work
Application • Corporate intranets to share business process models may support knowledge sharing if the prerequisite conditions are met – Model interpretation skills – Formalisation skills – Articulation and presentation skills – Motivation of discovery processes – Establishment of baseline (what can be considered culturally shared / situation knowledge in the given enterprise? )
Conclusion • Literature concentrates too much on the tools necessary to use explicit business process models for knowledge management • The conditions that make this possible are not analysed sufficiently • The authors attempted to – refine the available models of knowledge processes (which includes the model of knowledge sharing), and to – develop a more detailed knowledge categorisation then presently available in literature