Friday, November 11, 2016
Knowledge Elicitation Techniques in a Knowledge Management Context
This journal article discussed and confronted the use of knowledge elicitation techniques in its application toward the knowledge management context of organizational practices. The authors mostly used a qualitative informative standpoint in this paper with a bit of a quantitative background due to the study being run by one of the authors in a "Knowledge Engineering" course who had 20 years of experience. Beginning it all the authors first described the situation that much of the knowledge in a business is in the individual employees, and the issue is that organizations have trouble eliciting such information to the organizational level to gain competitive advantages. The knowledge that employees know but do not recognize that a business could benefit from is termed in the paper as tacit knowledge.
- The authors then reviewed current literature and moved into the differences between Knowledge Management (KM) and Knowledge Engineering (KE). KM is the managing of knowledge in an organization, but most of the research delves into the organizational level, and not the individual level. Where the individual level is where much of the tacit knowledge is located. While KE is a multidisciplinary domain (i.e. cognitive science, knowledge elicitation, structuring, and formalization) that is a subfield in intelligent system development research, which offers methods to increase and process elicitation of knowledge from people(i.e. employees). Lastly, the authors state the two biggest reasons for knowledge gaps in not sharing is the lack of motivation of individuals to share, and organizations not providing opportunities or resources to share in businesses.
- After discussing the differences between KE and KM and the shortfalls of each, the authors/researchers then put in their development to intermix KM and KE to cover the shortfalls of KM by mixing it with KE. Through this process the authors put forth the input that through the use of expert(s) and analyst(s) an organization (business) can decrease the information gap between tacit knowledge and sharing it. By using an analyst(s), whose job is to elicit information from the expert(s) (i.e. employees). The reason one must combine KE and KM is because KM does not use an analyst to bring out the tacit information, and an analyst can use elicitation methods to get at the tacit knowledge that could aid in giving an organization the upper hand.
- A graphic picture chart depicting the types of methods an analyst can use to access the tacit knowledge of the expert is shown below. Each method has their own strengths and limitations, but the strongest one to note the researchers found was the use of the verbal protocol of “thinking aloud,” which allows the analyst to see the logic process an expert is going through. Therefore, it comes down to making sure the right method is selected for the right scenario at hand, so the analyst can get at the tacit knowledge of the expert that can aid the organizations competitive advantage.
In conclusion, the scientists acknowledge that the first step before using and selecting a method is to identify the distinctions between tacit verse explicit, and individual verse collective knowledge. This applied with the KE and KM techniques with the usage of an analyst and expert, will reduce the knowledge gap between sharing and tacit information that isn’t used. In the 21st century knowledge assets are a fundamental issue when it comes to competitive scenarios and advantages, thus the development and deployment of such assets is a critical strategic factor for organizations.
I think the authors did a good job expressing the shortcoming organizations have when it comes to people not wanting to share information. I myself have seen it first hand, particularly when certain things that may cost very little can save a labor forces time in completing an objective, and yet nothing is done because people don’t want to put themselves out there just to ask for something. One shortcoming was the fact that when the researchers applied their intermix of KE and KM, it was in house; meaning one of the researchers took twenty years of experience they had and mixed it with practitioners who took the authors course and gave input for it in order to develop their data. They didn’t list any numbers of subjects or other quantitative figures to give their study more robustness. Therefore I think to improve the paper the authors should have included information regarding this.
Gavrilova, T., & Andreeva, T. (2012). Knowledge elicitation techniques in a knowledge management context. Journal of Knowledge Management, 16(4),523-537.<http://eprints.maynoothuniversity.ie/7052/1/TA-Knowledge- elicitation.pdf>