Global Knowledge Management Report (2nd edition)

Juran Benchmarking Knowledge Management Observatory 2015 Report

  1. 1. Page 1 of 25 All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” The 2015 Global Knowledge Management Observatory© Report David Griffiths, PhD with Abi Jenkins and Zoe Kingston-Griffiths Second Edition by alkAme “the Knowledge Capability people”
  2. 2. Page 2 of 25 All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” The 2015 Global Knowledge Management Observatory Report by David Griffiths is licensed under a Creative CommonsAttribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike4.0 International License. 3 4 5 6 8 9 11 12 17 18 20 22 23 25 Introduction The state of KM in 2015: Headlines General information about respondents Exploring parameters for KM activity Is Knowledge Management activity important? Is Knowledge Management integrated? A lack of focus? Are people satisfied with Knowledge Management? Is value important? Is Knowledge Management professional enough? Conclusion and Recommendations About the research About the authors Contact information Cover picture: The Swansea Observatory at Marina Towers www.panoramio.com Contents
  3. 3. Page 3 of 25 All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Introduction This is the second edition of the Global Knowledge Management Observatory© Survey. The survey was first launched by a research group led by David Griffiths in 2011, as part of a Knowledge Management (KM) project at the University of Edinburgh, and was designed to explore perceptions around the function of Knowledge Management in organisations. The survey is now conducted under the auspices of K3-Cubed Ltd, a University of Edinburgh start-up company formed in 2009. In 2011 we received 354 responses from 53 countries. This year we received 729 responses from 56 countries, which is a significant increase in participation; we would like to thank all those who contributed for taking the time to help improve Knowledge Management performance in organisations. This year we excluded consultants from the data set, which we believe increases the credibility and value of the findings to organisations – academics and students were removed in 2011 and this remains the case for 2015. Based on feedback from the first edition of this survey, questions were refined to improve outputs in this edition. The findings detailed in this year’s report are presented with 99% certainty at +/- 5% – and an overview of the research method can be found on p. 21. All findings are taken from respondents who asserted that Knowledge Management activity formally existed in their organisation, which was a prerequisite for participation in the survey. The findings detailed in this report are deeply concerning and require action if Knowledge Management is to continue to exist as a value adding function within organisations. Some will rightly want to explore the causality further and we welcome discussion with organisations who wish to discuss the findings in more detail. This report is provided free-to-use, in the hope that the findings can improve the impact and results of your Knowledge Management program. This report is a companion to our white paper, “Business2020: thriving on knowledge capability,” which can be obtained at no cost by contacting the authors. Note: We recognise that the interpretation of KM practice is inevitably influenced by the bias of the research team, from the questions asked, through to data analysis and the presentation of findings. We have attempted to do all we can to remove personal bias from this report (see p. 22), which has been a challenging endeavour. We hope that our efforts provide a valuable organisational snapshot that reflects the variable state of KM practice from a global pool of respondents. We also accept that a little of our bias will always remain, never mind how rigorous the method. In 2011 we received 354 responses from 53 countries. This year we received 729responses from 56 countries
  4. 4. All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Page 4 of 25 The state of KM in 2015: headlines • The Knowledge Management function in many organisations is in a state of general decline. • Satisfaction in Knowledge Management’s contribution to strategic and operational objectives within organisations is often poor. • Knowledge Management lacks maturity and integration within the vast majority of organisations. • Knowledge Management continues to be predominantly seen as a technology-led function. • Satisfaction with technology-led Knowledge Management solutions is not improving. • Many Knowledge Management professionals do not appear to have the necessary awareness and/or permissions required to respond to unmet demand for KM activities in organisations. • Knowledge Management, as a field or area of practice, is argued to be suffering from a lack of specialist practitioners. • The value and/or significance of Knowledge Management activities is still not being appropriately recognised or reported within most organisations.
  5. 5. All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Page 5 of 25 General information about respondents • 41% identified themselves as Knowledge Managers • 36% identified themselves as executives or similar • 36% were from the public sector, 52% from the private sector and 12% from the third sector • 60% of respondents were from multi-national organisations • 55% of respondents stated that their organisation had a designated Knowledge Management person or team • 26% stated that they use SECI/Nonaka as their preferred approach to KM, the only other significant mention was Cynefin at 12%
  6. 6. All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Page 6 of 25 Exploring parameters for Knowledge Management activity In the 1st edition of the Knowledge Management Observatory© survey we found that only 46% of responding organisations formally defined what Knowledge Management meant to them, with 22% stating that they did not know if they did or not. This has to be of concern, where in 2011 54% of re s p o n d e n t s c o u l d n o t attribute meaning to the activities undertaken by their Knowledge Management (KM) function – scope and scale therefore being undefined and seemingly ambiguous. The 2015 data does not make for better reading, with 58% of respondents unable to report the existence of a definition for what Knowledge Management means in the context of their organisation. In 2011 we reported that 55% of organisations failed to communicate internally the meaning of Knowledge M a n a g e m e n t f o r t h e i r organisation. In 2015 we found that this has now increased to 58%. Those that claimed to define the meaning of the KM function often resorted to what could be described as vague statements, such as: “Knowledge Management is about taking what is in people’s heads and sharing it through networks and communities.” We would argue that statements such as this limit the perceived boundaries of Knowledge Management activities to “sharing, “missing critical aspects of the Organisations are still not communicating internally what Knowledge Management actually means to them
  7. 7. All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Page 7 of 25 function, such as the “storage & acquisition,” “deployment (use)” and “development” of knowledge. There were, however, some seemingly more coherent definitions from respondents, such as: “Knowledge management is the business discipline that engages in resolving an organization’s challenges regarding the acquisition, processing, development, dissemination and application of knowledge relevant for the organization to achieve its objectives.” (It is noted that this definition still has deficiencies – e.g. it only focuses on the organisation achieving its objectives, missing equally important considerations for the individual, team or unit) In all, synthesising 818 responses across both editions of the survey, only 4% of definitions acknowledge the four key areas of Knowledge Management activity: storage & acquisition; sharing; deployment; and development of knowledge resources. In 2011 we commented on the importance of defining what it is that Knowledge Management is actually setting out to manage. This, coupled with a definition of the function itself, helps to set parameters and expectations for the function in organisations. In 2011 we found that only 39% of respondents were aware of an effort to define knowledge as a resource within their organisations. Worryingly, this has decreased to only 33% in 2015. The first edition of this survey found that only 37% of respondents communicated their definition of what knowledge meant to them. There has In 2011 we found that only 39% of respondents were aware of an effort to define knowledge as a resource within their organisations. Worryingly, this has decreased to only 33% in 2015.
  8. 8. All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Page 8 of 25 been a 1% decrease in 2015, with only 36% organisations communicating meaning in this area. If an organisation does not set out the parameters of the function, it is reasonable to assume that this could lead to a lack of clarity as to the purpose of the function, which, coupled with a lack of clear definition of concepts associated with the function (i.e. “knowledge”), could produce high levels of ambiguity, uncertainty and dissatisfaction. Is Knowledge Management activity important? To be successful, Knowledge Management needs to be embedded within the organisation, where it should not be seen as an addition to existing workloads, but instead part of the day- to-day life of the organisation. In 2011 56% of responding organisations stated that Knowledge Management was mentioned in strategic plans. In the latest report this has dropped marginally to 51%. A more striking problem is that in 2011 48% of respondents reported the absence of a specific Knowledge Management strategic plan in their organisation, with the gap widening to 58% in 2015; it should be noted that only 31% of respondents confirmed that a KM strategic plan existed, down 10% on our 2011 findings. *www.bain.com This is worrying, as it appears to resonate with a trend noted by Bain & Associates (2013)*, where Knowledge Management is seen to be diminishing in value as a strategic management tool. Some, especially those interested in selling Knowledge Management tools, will state that the function is as popular than ever, but this year’s In 2011 we found that only 39% of respondents were aware of an effort to define knowledge as a resource within their organisations. Worryingly, this has decreased to only 33% in 2015.
  9. 9. All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Page 9 of 25 *Business2020: thriving on Knowledge Capability (2015) **Are we stuck with Knowledge Management? Griffiths, 2011 Journal of knowledge Systems science respondents would seem to disagree. There is also an argument from some that Knowledge Management no longer needs to appear in strategic plans, as the function is already successfully embedded within the day-to-day operations of the business. As you will come to see, the findings of this report refute this argument. Compared with 2011, there is relatively little change in the visibility of Knowledge Management needs within unit level operational plans – 23% reported KM to be visible in 2015, compared with 22% in 2011. This is troubling, given the acceleration of the Talent Economy and the need to manage not only knowledge, but Knowledge Capability* – amplified with the growing need for organisations to anticipate and innovate quicker than ever before. Is Knowledge Management integrated? A common view is that Knowledge Management is an emerging function that suffers from challenges associated with its immaturity. This is an excuse for poor performance and can no longer be accepted as a valid response to the problems surfaced in this report. Knowledge Management, in its current form, has been discussed in organisations, depending on your beliefs, for the last 25-40 years**. With this being the case, it seems fair to expect that the function will now be showing signs of integration across complimentary functions such as Human Resource Management (HR) – HR being the vehicle for the development and deployment of commonly accepted policy and practice in organisations. Knowledge Management is not maturing within organisations and is in danger of becoming fatally isolated
  10. 10. All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Page 10 of 25 In 2011 we found that only 26% of organisations reported Knowledge Management needs were considered in the organisation’s HR policies. This has decreased slightly to 24%. While this is a marginal decrease, the real concern is that this year 61% have reported that Knowledge Management needs are certainly not represented in HR policy. It has to be asked, if knowledge resources need to be activated (acquired, shared, used and developed) by people, how can KM claim to be optimising knowledge flows if the function is not working in partnership with HR? Knowledge Managers f requently speak about challenges related to incentivising knowledge sharing activities in their organisations, but, just as important, there also need to be consequences for not contributing to the needs of the community. It is clear that without HR support, via commonly accepted HR policy and practice, KM activities cannot be fully optimised and will not be prioritised by middle line managers, being the key partners in KM adoption. Where people did report Knowledge Management needs to be evident in HR policy, the examples given were not always encouraging: “Basic blanket HR spiel that says since you are an employee, you will share and collaborate with others. Pretty lame” The problem is amplified when respondents were asked to consider whether KM needs were incentivised via the organisation’s pay and rewards mechanisms. In 2011 68% of respondents said “no” and that has not changed in 2015, with 69% of respondents making the same statement. Drilling further into integrated practice we were encouraged in 2011 to find that 34% of organisation reported that Knowledge Management activities were In 2011 we were encouraged to find that 34% of organisations reported that Knowledge Management activities were discussed as part of the annual/ periodic appraisal process. Disappointingly this has dropped to 24% according to this year’s respondents.
  11. 11. All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Page 11 of 25 discussed as part of the annual/periodic appraisal process. Disappointingly this has dropped to 24% according to this year’s respondents. Without this key element of HR practice, delivered by Middle Line Managers, KM will struggle to become part of commonly accepted organisational practice. We asked about whether KM needs were taken into account during the recruitment and selection process – it seems fair to assume that a knowledge or talent driven economy requires organisations to select people who have heightened knowledge acquisition, sharing, deployment and development capabilities. Here we found that 22% of organisations gave consideration for these needs, which is exceptionally low and up only 1% on 2011. Respondents provided examples of statements from their recruitment and selection strategy, which we would describe as a variable in terms of their effectiveness: “In our job descriptions, there is a line on Knowledge Management responsibilities: • Proactively engage in [XYZ Company] knowledge and learning activities in line with the organization’s objective of becoming a learning organization ([XYZ] academy, mentorship program, learning days, knowledge sharing workshops, support staff field visits, etc). • Set at least one individual operating plan (IOP) to contribute to accountability and knowledge management in [XYZ].” For Knowledge Management to become embedded as part of the day-to-day “way of doing things around here,” the function must partner with HR. Without this type of integration Knowledge Management activities will continue to be seen as being “in addition to” existing work packages. It is our opinion that Knowledge Management will continue to be marginalised in organisations until there is wider, commonly accepted policy and practice, and HR is the key organisational partner to enable this is to happen. A lack of focus? This year’s respondents were once again asked to describe the focus for Knowledge Management activities in their organisations, 51% stated the focus to be either “only” or “mostly” technology-centric. This suggests that people are still seen as being secondary within knowledge-based
  12. 12. All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Page 12 of 25 activities in the majority of the organisations that responded. Of interest, this gap increased when looking at North American organisations, with 57% having a techno-centric focus. All respondents were asked if there was an established link between Knowledge Management and the development of competitive advantage for the organisation. Our analysis, demonstrated that 61% of this year’s respondents had negative comments relating to Knowledge Management’s contribution to competitive advantage, for example: “Not yet established” “Should, but does not at the moment” “Not yet agreed” “We struggle with this” Respondents were also asked, “what are the strategic drivers for Knowledge Management in your organisation?” The responses mirrored the findings above, where 60% of respondents expressed negative statements in relation to the question, such as: “none.” (stated by 144 respondents) These findings provide an interesting backdrop to this year’s satisfaction scores, where a lack of perceived contribution to an organisation’s competitive advantage or strategic aims could lead to high levels of dissatisfaction being associated with the KM function. Are people satisfied with Knowledge Management? This section of the report explores strength of feelings toward Knowledge Management activities. It is important to note that strong feelings of satisfaction remain low and are in decline, with the vast majority of respondents, in all questions, only expressing a weak sense of satisfaction (“somewhat satisfied”). There continue to be issues of unmet demand, which we consider to be highly significant, as these are generally being reported by executives outside of the Knowledge Management function itself. It is also important to note that the sense of overall satisfaction around specific KM activities reported in this section, could be misleading, as responses to
  13. 13. All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Page 13 of 25 these questions are generally from Knowledge Managers and therefore high levels of overall satisfaction are perhaps to be expected. In 2011 75% of respondents were either “ satisfied,” “mostly satisfied” or “highly s a t i s f i e d ” w i t h t h e i r organisation’s knowledge sh a rin g a ct i vit i e s . T h is number has decreased to 68% in 2015; though it could be argued that this is still a strong indication that work in this area has been successful. However, only 34% were either “mostly satisfied” or “highly satisfied” in 2011, which has dropped to 32% in 2015. Of interest, 18% of 2015 respondents stated there to be no work being carried out in this area and, within that group, 91% indicated that work was needed. Decline is more apparent when respondents were asked about KM driven innovation or knowledge development activities. In 2011 80% expressed satisfaction in this area, but this has dropped sharply to 61% in 2015. However, only 35% were either “mostly satisfied” or “highly satisfied” in 2011, which has dropped to 30% in 2015. A significant finding being that 37% of 2015 respondents stated there to be no work being carried out in this area and, within that group, 73% indicated that work was needed. This trend continues where respondents were asked about knowledge acquisition and storage activities. In …Decline is more apparent when respondents were asked about KM driven innovation or knowledge development activities. In 2011 80% expressed satisfaction in this area, but this has dropped sharply to 61% in 2015.
  14. 14. All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Page 14 of 25 2015 the overall satisfaction decreased by 13%, where 76% satisfaction in 2011 has slipped to 63%. However, only 37% were either “mostly satisfied” or “highly satisfied” in 2011, which has dropped to 22% in 2015. In this area of KM activity 20% of 2015 respondents stated there to be no work being carried out and, within that group, 60% indicated that work was needed. In 2011 79% of respondents expressed satisfaction with Knowledge Management’s k n o w l e d g e r e – u s e o r deployment activities, which has only marginally decreased to 75% in 2015. However, only 39% were either “mostly satisfied” or “highly satisfied” in 2011, which has dropped to 35% in 2015. The latent demand for this activity is again evident, where 18% of 2015 respondents stated there to be no work being carried out in this area and within that group 66% indicated that work was needed. Respondents were then asked to rate the strategic performance of Knowledge Management activities. In 2011 only 26% were “highly” or “mostly” satisfied and 21% were “highly” or “mostly” dissatisfied. It is concerning that in 2015 only 22% are “highly” or “mostly” satisfied and 33% are “highly” or “mostly” dissatisfied. The overall satisfaction gap has decreased from 58% in 2011 to 55% in 2015. The decline in satisfaction is more pronounced when looking at Knowledge Management’s tactical or operational performance. In 2011 only 24% were “highly” or “mostly” satisfied and 27% were “highly” or “mostly” dissatisfied. In 2015 only 10% are “highly” or “mostly” sat isfied and 30 % are “highly” or “mostly” dissatisfied. The overall satisfaction gap has also decreased from 48% in 2011 to 55% in 2015. The overall satisfaction gap has decreased from 58% in 2011 to 55% in 2015.
  15. 15. All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Page 15 of 25 It needs to be acknowledged that there is an obvious disconnect between the perception of individual Knowledge Management activities, which could be seen as relatively high, when compared with the the general strategic and operational performance of the function. Regardless, the overall trend is one of declining levels of satisfaction and even considering that Knowledge Managers could skew the findings around the perceived satisfaction of the activities they manage, there is significant agreement around the relatively low levels of satisfaction associated with overall performance. Respondents were asked to provide the top 5 actions that could improved satisfaction in their organisation. Responses were coded and analysed, with the following being the top 5 requirements for improved satisfaction: 1. Senior Management buy-in/sponsorship (31%) 2. Having a skilled/professional Knowledge Manager (22%) 3. Staff understanding the importance of KM (15%) 4. Training and development of staff (14%) 5. Improved culture (6%) When asked about the top 5 contributors to current dissatisfaction, respondents gave the following reasons in rank order: 1. Lack of KM awareness at a senior management level (21%) 2. Technology(20%) 3. Knowledge management increases workload (18%) 4. Lack of integration across the business – operating in silos (12%) 5. Poor communication of benefits (11%) We also explored the level of satisfaction associated with Knowledge Management technology solutions. Only 28% stated that they were either “highly” or “mostly” satisfied with their KM technology platform(s). This in comparison with 19% who stated they were either “mostly” or “highly” dissatisfied. However, in general, satisfaction remained relatively high at 62%, down 5% on 2011. Only 28% of respondents stated that they were either “highly” or “mostly” satisfied with their KM technology platform(s).
  16. 16. All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Page 16 of 25 Exploring the factors influencing dissatisfaction (up 5% i n 2015), 43% o f respondents cited out of date platforms that failed to address the search and/or social needs of the workforce. As with 2011, Microsoft Sharepoint remains the most popular Knowledge Management platform, with 33% of respondents citing Sharepoint as the core of their “KM system”. The levels of dissatisfaction reported in this section, especially when considering Knowledge Management’s strategic and tactical performance, cannot be surprising considering that 58% of responding organisations could not identify Knowledge Management activities within their strategic plans and 77% failed to identify activities in unit level plans. Is it therefore any wonder then that the top action required to improve satisfaction is “Senior Management buy-in/sponsorship” and the top reason for dissatisfaction is “Lack of KM awareness at a senior management level.” Perhaps it is time to ask whether organisations are employing the right people within Knowledge Management positions, especially given a bias toward a techno-centric view of KM activity? This argument is revisited later in this report. As important, is the level of unmet demand being expressed by the respondents. Here we found that the vast majority of respondents who expressed a lack of activity and also the need for the given activity described themselves as “Executive or similar” – all of which, without exception, were associated with either medium or large size organisations. Of equal significance was the lack of responses in this area from respondents who see themselves as “Knowledge Manager or similar.” This suggests that a good number of professionals charged with Knowledge Management activities do not seem have the necessary awareness and/or permissions to take action in their organisations. Regardless, given the level of unmet demand, we view this as an important finding. People charged with Knowledge Management activities either do not have the awarenessor permissions to take action
  17. 17. All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Page 17 of 25 Is value important? There has been a long standing argument surrounding the measurement of outputs from Knowledge Management activity. Many have argued that KM outputs cannot be quantified in the traditional sense. There is also a view that Knowledge Management should just be accepted as a “good thing.” However, with emerging financial reporting frameworks, such as the International Integrated Reporting Framework (www.theiirc.org), requiring, for example, an assessment of the contribution of “tacit knowledge systems” to intellectual, social and human capital development, it is logical to assume that this will become increasingly important over the coming years. It also seems fair to state that the reporting of value needs to be addressed if the decline in Knowledge Management satisfaction, outlined in this report, is to be arrested. It is also our contention that the value of Knowledge Management to organisations can no longer rely on the good-will of executives, where organisational efficiency/effectiveness outputs are tenuously linked to formalised KM activities. Here the unanswered question is the significance of the Knowledge Management contribution to organisational outputs and without evidence, without a method for determining significance, Knowledge Management is in a vulnerable position. In th e f i r s t e d i t i o n o f t h i s report, only 18% of respondents stated that the measurement of KM outputs was not important to their organisation, which has risen marginally to 22% in this edition of the report. It is interesting to note that respondents with Knowledge Management in their job title placed less importance on the reporting of KM’s value than other respondents. In the first edition of this report, only 18% of respondents stated that the measurement of KM outputs was not important to their organisation, which has risen marginally to 22% in this edition of the report.
  18. 18. All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Page 18 of 25 In 2011 46% stated that the organisation attempted to measure the Return On Investment (ROI) from KM activities, this has dropped to 42% in 2015. Reinforcing our commentary around perceived levels of satisfaction, related to the performance of individual KM activities, 57% of 2011 respondents did not attempt to measure levels of satisfaction, which rose to 61% in 2015. Of concern were the many respondents who stated that their organisation did not yet measure or report on the value of KM activities, but “hoped” to do so in the future. Of interest, the survey responses did not allow us to point toward a commonly adopted value reporting framework for KM. Instead the most popular form of value assessment was described as “success stories.” This is problematic. It is widely accepted that Knowledge Management is generally struggling to demonstrate a contribution to organisational value. Given the afore mentioned statements around the value of tacit knowledge systems, linked to the increasingly popular organisational sustainability agenda, such as Integrated Reporting, Knowledge Management needs to become more aware of its environment if it is to accurately report its significance to the organisation’s bottom line. More importantly, Knowledge Managers obviously need assistance in achieving this, which should be recognised and addressed by Senior Management Teams. The gaps in this report, whether a lack of value reporting, the absence of Knowledge Management in strategic statements, unit work programmes or HR policy and practice points to a need to better understand the people employed within the function. Is Knowledge Management professional enough? In 2011 we found that only 39% of respondents, who claimed a responsibility for Knowledge Management in their organisation, held a specialist Knowledge Management qualification. This situation has not improved in 2015, with only 38% respondents claiming to hold a Knowledge Management specific
  19. 19. All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Page 19 of 25 qualification – we could not determine the focus of these qualifications (i.e. whether they were mainly techno-centric), which would have been interesting and has been noted for the next edition of this report. Of those claiming to hold a specialist qualification, 9% are Doctorates, 50% hold a postgraduate qualification, 29% an undergraduate qualification and 12% have obtained a KM “accreditation” certificate from a private provider. Of concern, in relation to the ongoing professional development of the field, is that within the 62% of respondents who do not hold a specialist Knowledge Management qualification, only 16% are currently working toward a qualification – down 1% on 2011. Of this 16% only 5% are working toward an “accreditation” certificate, which appears to demonstrate that those looking to gain Knowledge Management qualifications still value traditional Higher Education Institutions over private, non- accredited providers. This is supported where respondents were asked whether they had been offered professional development, in the form of a Knowledge Management certification course, by their current organisation, where only 11% stated this to be the case. Unsurprisingly, 64% of respondents stated that the only professional development they had participated in was informal or self-directed. The findings of this report, especially when reflecting upon issues of satisfaction and value creation, could be related to a lack of what we consider to be professionalism within the KM field. However, while this seems to be a fair assumption to make, we cannot assert this to be true at this time. This said, the findings contained in this report make a compelling case for greater consideration to be given to this area. It has been argued that the diversity of practice that falls under the auspices of the title “Knowledge Management” in organisations means that the field cannot be formed into a profession. We find little evidence to argue against this position and the wider discussion falls outside the scope of this report. However, what is clear is that Higher Education Institutions need to assist in developing people within and entering the field for the future. To not do so will 62% of respondents who do not hold a specialist Knowledge Management qualification, only 16% are currently working toward a qualification
  20. 20. All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Page 20 of 25 leave the development of the field to the interests of private enterprise, where the “solutions” offered can be inadequate, both in terms of credibility and appropriate breadth/depth of theoretical/practical grounding. Conclusion and Recommendations Are you satisfied with your Knowledge management function and if not, why not? Knowledge Management cannot be said to be in a healthy state. Dissatisfaction is increasing across key areas within the KM Observatory© survey. This is worrying. The need for Knowledge Management in organisations is increasing, as set out in our companion white paper, and yet the function that should be leading the development of organisational intellectual, social and human capital appears to be undervalued and under threat. Have you thought about whether your KM program is as effective as it should be? Knowledge Management professionals and Senior Management Teams in organisations need to do a better job of defining and communicating the scope/scale of Knowledge Management activity; this is essential if wider integration and strategic/operational alignment is to be achieved. This could also impact the significance attributed to organisational Knowledge Management activities. Does your KM team have the necessary awareness and/or permissions to take action? This year’s report has highlighted a significant amount of unmet demand relating to KM activity in organisations. There is an unanswered question about whether Knowledge Managers have the necessary awareness and/or permissions to respond to this demand, but, linked with the low levels of communication surfaced in this report, there is a critical issue here that organisations need to address. Do you have the know-how to report value? The value and significance of Knowledge Management activities is not adequately reported. Knowledge Managers simply must move beyond “success stories” if they are to become a significant business partner within the organisation. More than this, Senior Management Teams should demand that
  21. 21. All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Page 21 of 25 value be reported, from satisfaction through to impact, results and Return On Investment; this can and must be achieved. Without evidence as to the significance of the function to organisational outputs Knowledge Management will become increasingly vulnerable to further dissatisfaction. It then has to be asked at what point does dissatisfaction become resentment or irrelevance? Is your KM team receiving the right professional development support? Knowledge Management requires professional practitioners who can operate and integrate across the breadth of the organisation. The function is limited by the capability of the person responsible for the day-to-day operations to respond to and anticipate stakeholder needs. This needs to be recognised and addressed as a matter of urgency. Action needs to be taken by those charged with appointing professionals to Knowledge Management positions, but there is a duty of care to those already in role; here it falls to Line Managers/organisational Learning and Development professionals to ensure that an appropriate diet of professional development is made available to support those already within post.
  22. 22. All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Page 22 of 25 About the research The data was collected between November 2014 and January 2015. 1173 people associated with Knowledge Management and networked with the research team were invited to take part in this survey via email, and a link was published via social media outlets as part of a self-selection approach to participation. All findings are taken from respondents who asserted that Knowledge Management activity formally existed in their organisation, which was a prerequisite for participation in the survey. All respondents were required to submit a working company email address, with a random sample being selected for testing to ensure that the email was live and linked to the person participating in the survey. As a result of this process 26 responses were removed from the final data analysis, along with 139 partially completed survey responses. As with the first edition, respondents commented on the length of the survey, but, as set out in the survey’s introduction, the research was focused on developing a depth of understanding across critical areas of practice. This year respondents were able to save a partial survey, where they could then return to complete it at a later time – this could also have contributed to this year’s increased response rate. A random sample of the final data analysis, comprising 20% of the total, was sent to an independent researcher for secondary analysis with an error rate of 0.8% being identified, which, though negligible, resulted in further analysis by the core research team. A further 10% of respondents were contacted via email and/or telephone by an independent researcher to discuss individual survey responses, in order to validate the survey tool and the quality of the data collected. There were no significant issues to report as a result of this process. The survey utilised two non-standard Likert Scale questions (e.g. when looking at the strength of feeling associated with the importance of reporting ROI); these questions were tested (a-b testing with an alternate question) prior to launching the survey tool and we found that the non-standard Likert scale used best reflected the feelings being described by the respondents. It is noted that a refinement of the questions used in this year’s survey could have contributed to the variation in findings between 2011 and 2015; this was one of a number of considerations, such as the impact of a larger sample pool (the law of large numbers). However, the refinement of questions only impacted 40% of the content and the trends discussed within the report appear to remain steady, regardless of whether the question had been refined or not. Thanks to Dr. Serge Koukpaki and staff at Swansea Business School for their support with this project.
  23. 23. All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Page 23 of 25 About the authors David Griffiths is a popular international speaker, award-winning solutions provider, advisor and founder of alkAme by K3-Cubed Limited (K3). K3 is a University of Edinburgh start-up company, focused on consulting and education solutions for those facing challenges to develop dynamic individuals, agile teams and resilient, smart and sustainable organisations. David holds a PhD in Knowledge Management and an MSc in the Management of Training and Development, both from the University of Edinburgh. David has been widely published in professional journals, with his practice- focused work on Knowledge Management models winning an Emerald Literati Network Award for Excellence in 2012. In 2014 he published a guidebook to CPA Excellence (available via the AICPA), focused on a values-based competency approach to the CPA profession in the US. In December 2011 he was recognised in a German report, “Visionary Knowledge Management: Trends and Strategies” as one of four key worldwide influencers in the Knowledge Management field. And in April 2013, Mindtouch, based in the United States, listed him as one of the top 30 Knowledge Management influencers in the world (“Top 100 names to know in KM”). Abi Jenkins is a mentor, coach and solutions consultant, with over 10 years’ experience in sales and marketing and in developing resilient and agile teams. Abi is also currently completing an MBA, focusing on research around leadership and specifically the area around women in leadership. Abi has provided a range of business solutions to small and medium sized enterprises, most often in recruitment and training of sales teams. Her passion is people and Abi firmly believes that organizations have the best chance of success when they support their people to be the best version of themselves. With a passion for problem solving Abi makes things happen and is dedicated to helping individuals and organizations to make their goals a reality by taking them through planning, and decision making processes. ‘If you can conceive it then it is achievable’. Having spent the last 6 years working in and around the Higher Education sector, Abi is also a board member on a number of HE and FE governing bodies as well as being involved in Women’s campaign committees.
  24. 24. All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Page 24 of 25 Zoe Kingston-Griffiths is an Observational Research Specialist with one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies. Her experience in managing global research projects has helped to shape the research approach taken in the development of this report. Zoe is currently assisting on our decision-making and problem solving experiments involving the “Clarity Cube.”
  25. 25. All content © David Griffiths, 2015 K3-Cubed “the Knowledge Capital people” Page 25 of 25 Contact information David Griffiths: Web: www.k3cubed.com Email: david@k3cubed.com or abi@k3cubed.com Skype: davidalkame or abi alkame Twitter: KMSkunkWorks LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/davidgriffithsk3cubed Telephone: +44 (0)7500 966998 “a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation or combination” Contact information for Juran Global: Web: juranbenchmarking.com Email: benchmarking@juran.com LinkedIn: Juran Benchmarking Telephone: +44 (0)131 564 0610 Address: Lochleven Mills, Kinross, KY13 8DH, United Kingdom

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