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ITO.008: Knowledge Management and IT

Department: Graduate Management School NCF Level: FHEQ/QCF/NQF7//RQF7
Study Level: Postgraduate (Masters level) Credit Points: 10
Start Date: 06-10-2014 End Date: 12-12-2014
Available for Online Enrolment?: Y Enrolment Restriction: Fully available to all students
Module Convenor: Dr JE Deville

Syllabus Rules and Pre-requisites

CMod description

  • Many organisations are now portrayed as becoming increasingly dependent on the exercise of specialist resources and on workers that ply their trade through their cognitive abilities and their specialist knowledge. Knowledge intensive firms (KIF's) are characterised as comprising of a high proportion of qualified staff, who command high rewards, and who trade in knowledge itself through peer-to-peer collaboration. KIF's are also portrayed as being highly communication intensive, making extensive use of ubiquitous information technologies such as groupware and intranet technologies. This module will consider what knowledge management may be, how knowledge is generated and transferred, how we can manage knowledge and the role that technology can play in this.

Curriculum Design: Outline Syllabus

  • Lecture Programme

    There will be a two-hour lecture each week. Lectures take place on Wednesday, in Lecture Theatre 1 in the Management School, between 9.30 to 11.30. However some sessions may run on until 12.00. Please make sure that you arrive at least 5 minutes before the lecture is due to start. The schedule of lecture topics is outlined below:

    WK 1: What is Knowledge Management and why IT? - Dr. Niall Hayes

    This introductory lecture will investigate what knowledge management is, and why many contemporary organisations have sought to embrace it. We will also introduce some fundamental concepts and developments related to knowledge management. This introductory session will outline and locate many of different ICT applications associated with knowledge management initiatives.

    Indicative references

    Laudon, K. & Laudon, J. (2000) Management Information Systems: Organizations & Technology in the Networked Enterprise, 6th Edition. Prentice-Hall.

    Little, S., Quintas, P. and Ray, T. (2002) Managing Knowledge: An Essential Reader. London: Sage Publications.

    Newell, S., Robertson, M., Scarbrough, H. & Swan, J. (2002) Managing Knowledge Work. London: Palgrave.

    WK 2: Why Manage Knowledge? ? Prof. Theo Vurdubakis

    ** Note this lecture will run until 12.00

    There can be little doubt that the widespread use of ICTs in contemporary organisations is generating unprecedented amounts of information (or at least data). At the same time there are many reasons to believe that the abundance of data has not always resulted in ?better' knowledge, as had been originally envisaged. Information technology is therefore often accused of producing both too much (data) and too little (knowledge). In order to better understand the uses and limitations of KM we need to look a little more closely at why an organisation might want to ?manage' knowledge. The focus of this week's session is on understanding KM as a response to specific practical problems faced by contemporary organisations.

    Indicative references

    Knowledge Management & Information Technology 2006/7 2

    Brown, J. S. Duguid P. The Social Life of Information, Chapter One: ?Limits to Information' in First Monday Volume 5, Number 4, April 2000

    Salaman G. and Storey J. "Knowing Business: The Business Knowledge of Senior Managers" EBK Working Paper

    EBK 2004/3, available at

    Newell, S. Robertson, M. Scarborough, H. & Swan, J. (2002) Managing Knowledge. London: Palgrave.

    WK 3: Sharing Knowledge - Dr. Niall Hayes

    This lecture will introduce some ideas and concepts pertaining to knowledge sharing. Drawing on Nonaka and Takeuchi's seminal (1994) work, we will distinguish between tacit and explicit knowledge, and consider how knowledge may be shared in the light of this. Further will consider some different typologies of knowledge. The second half of the lecture will introduce and distinguish between two different perspectives of knowledge that have emerged in the literature, the cognitive and the situated perspectives.

    Indicative references

    Nonaka, I. and Takeuchi, H. (1994) The Knowledge Creating Company: How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Newell, S., Robertson, M., Scarbrough, H. & Swan, J. (2002) Managing Knowledge Work. London: Palgrave.

    Also see:

    WKs 4 & 5: Situating Knowledge Management and IT - Dr. Niall Hayes

    The fourth and fifth lectures will continue the discussion of managing and sharing knowledge. Specifically, this session will introduce knowledge as being a situated activity. This perspective has gained increased attention in recent times. We will explore several concepts such as communities of practice that help us consider the use of ICTs in knowledge management initiatives. We will outline what situated knowledge is and explore how it has been applied to the study of information technology and knowledge working. Specifically we will

    Knowledge Management & Information Technology 2006/7 3

    discuss computer supported co-operative work (CSCW) technologies and their use within specific organisational contexts.

    Indicative references

    Boland, R. and Tenkasi R.V. (1995) Perspective Making and Perspective Taking in Communities of Knowing. Organization Science, 6 (4), 350-372.

    Brown, J. S. & Duguid, P. (2000) The social life of information. Harvard Business School Press.

    Lave, J. and Wenger, E. (1991) Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Hayes, N. and Walsham, G. (2001) Participation in groupware-mediated communities of practice: a socio-political analysis of knowledge working. Information and Organization. 11 (4), p. 263- 288.

    ? WK 6: Knowledge Management and ICT ? Opportunities and Challenges - Prof. Edward Truch

    The decisions that managers have to make in relation to knowledge management and the supporting ICT systems are increasing in complexity. The concept of strategic alignment is introduced, whereby the KM design is developed to best meet the organisation's current and future objectives and strategies. The importance of getting right the balance between people, process and technology is explored. The preparation of a business case for new KM and ICT systems may need to include evaluation frameworks, and subsequently the success of implementation may need to be monitored through value scorecards. The lecture will explore what ICT-related business issues and opportunities all managers are likely to face in the future in the context of accelerating technological development and an ever-changing business environment.

    Indicative references

    Marchand, D. A., W. J. Kettinger, et al. (2001). Information Orientation - The Link to Business Performance. New York, Oxford University Press.

    Truch, E. (2002). Knowledge alignment improves bottom line, Knowledge Management, BizMedia, Jun 2002

    Truch, E. (2004). Knowledge Orientation in Organizations. London, Ashgate Publishing.

    Knowledge Management & Information Technology 2006/7 4

    WK 7: Knowledge and Human Expertise - The Limits of the Computer - Prof. Brian Bloomfield

    Many claims have been made about the potential to capture knowledge and even human expertise in a computer program. This session will refer to the debate surrounding Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the limitations of machines in substituting for human expertise. In particular it will consider the technology of expert systems and knowledge engineering; including some of the techniques that aim to elicit knowledge from experts and represent it in the form of rules in a computer program (an expert system). In this context special attention will be paid to matters such as the encultured nature of knowledge, the embodiment of human decision makers and the contributions of rationality and emotion in expert problem solving.

    Indicative References

    Collins, H. M. (1987) Expert Systems, Artificial Intelligence and the Behavioural Co-ordinates of Skill. In Bloomfield, B.P. (Ed.), The Question of Artificial Intelligence: Philosophical and sociological perspectives. London: Croom Helm.

    Dreyfus, H. L. & Dreyfus, S. E. (1986) Mind Over Machine. New York: The Free Press.

    Laudon, K. & Laudon, J. (2000) Management Information Systems: Organizations & Technology in the Networked Enterprise, 6th Edition. Prentice-Hall.

    Weizenbaum, J. (1984) Computer Power and Human Reason. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

    WK 8 Guest Speakers - Dr. Niall Hayes

    ** Note this lecture will run until 12.00

    This lecture slot consists of two invited speakers. Both are involved in knowledge management consulting and practice. One from a management perspective and the other from a technical perspective. Each session will be followed by a question and answer session.

    (i) Mr Mark Woodward. Mark has extensive experience in project management in a number of different industries. He recently joined Lancaster University as Director of Change Projects. He will talk about his experiences and views of knowledge management inside and outside of the university.

    (ii) Dr Steve Childs. Steve is an IT expert who develops ICTs that many would refer to as "knowledge repositories." He will demonstrate

    Knowledge Management & Information Technology 2006/7 5

    some of the applications he has developed and discuss his experiences with the development and use of such systems.

    WK9: Knowledge Fair - Dr. Niall Hayes and Prof. Theo Vurdubakis

    ** Note this lecture will run until 12.00

    In week 9 student groups will produce and present a poster about a topic / theme. The topic or theme will be provided in week 3. This will take the form of a statement which each group will need to come up with a response to. Two groups will discuss the same topic. We will provide each group with one or two academic papers to base their response upon. If you would prefer to come up with your own topic then that is permissible. Please come and see Niall or Theo to discuss it first though. The aim is for you to gain an understanding about one particular issue pertinent to the module, and will also provide a good summary / revision session in preparation for the exam.

    Please work in your ITMOC and HRKM assigned groups

    Each group will have five minutes to present their poster and five minutes for general discussion. Note that all group members must be present at the poster session. In order for the presentations and discussions to run for the maximum benefit of all groups, we will have to enforce time limits on each presentation so do prepare your presentation to last no more than 5 minutes.

    Students are encouraged to circulate during the poster session and discuss posters with other groups. By the end of the session you should have discussed a selection of papers with other course members and advanced your knowledge of issues introduced on the Knowledge Management & IT module.

    WK 10: So What is This ?Thing' Called Knowledge? Concluding Thoughts and Revision - Dr. Niall Hayes

    This final lecture will review the module by taking stock of what knowledge and knowledge management may be taken to be. We will summarise some of the key themes that have emerged over the duration of the module. We will also discuss the exam format, distribute some practice exam questions and respond to any questions and concerns students may have.

  • 100% Exam

Learning Outcomes: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • On completion of this course, students should be able to:

    ? Appreciate the history and development of knowledge management and knowledge management systems;

    ? Developed an understanding of some of the key themes that have arisen in relation to several technological developments;

    ? Understand several approaches to conceptualising knowledge management and information technology;

    ? Have developed critical insights into the opportunities and challenges that information systems present to knowledge management initiatives in specific contexts.

Contact Information

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