INTRODUCTION TO KNOWLEDGE AUDIT
Currently all the organisations are adapting to knowledge management system and knowledge audit methodologies for the effective usage of knowledge in the growth of organisation. It also helps in effective decision making at the time of need. A knowledge audit is a process which is used for identifying and accessing the knowledge. Along with this, its availability, structure, flow, use, needs and importance to the organisation can be known. Knowledge audit is a planning document which provides structural view of organisational knowledge (Debenham & Clark, 1994). It will also help in examining the culture and capabilities of the organisation. Careful usage of knowledge audit will help in managing the organisation’s knowledge as well as helps in achieving the target objectives and goals.
The main purpose of this paper is to critically evaluate the knowledge audit methodology that is implemented in National School of government. The key concepts that are specified in this report are the knowledge management system and the knowledge audit methodologies. This report includes the objective of the article, background of the organisation and the knowledge audit approach it has followed along with this, it also discusses about the major findings in the study, recommendations and comparison to the similar studies.
MAIN OBJECTIVES OF THE ARTICLE
The main objective of this article is to analyse the knowledge Audit Methodology (KAM) that is being followed in the National school of Government. Along with this, the authors aim to provide the comparison between already existing knowledge audit methodologies along with the KA used in this case study. The authors aim to share the outcome of their case study and also to engage the fellow knowledge management practitioners on their experiences on knowledge audit methodologies in different organisations. The different stages in the knowledge audit methodology is also mentioned in this article.
BACKGROUND OF THE ORGANISATION
National School of Government (NSG) is a government institution which primarily focuses on providing training to the public servants. In order to deliver enhanced knowledge managements services to its users, the organization ahs decided to incorporate a knowledge management system which would assist them in achieving their targeted goal. This implies that the organization is hugely reliant on knowledge for achieving its ultimate objectives. It is equally important to manage and utilize the knowledge that is being generated in an effective way to achieve the desired targets. To achieve these, Knowledge management systems along with Knowledge audit methodologies must be employed. The knowledge management system helps in storing the knowledge that is being generated and also helps in retrieving the data when needed. Whereas the knowledge audit is a process for identifying the need of knowledge, its availability and its mere significance to the organisation. This will also help in improving the operational efficiency as well as in making informed decisions.
KNOWLEDGE AUDIT APPROACH FOLLOWED IN THIS RESEARCH PAPER
Conducting a knowledge audit is an important step in establishing Knowledge management initiative. Knowledge audit will help in identifying, sharing, acquiring and accessing the knowledge that will be required for the growth of the organisation. The aim of knowledge audit approach followed in this study is to bridge the gap between current and future knowledge requirements of all the business processes and operations in the organisation. In order to study and analyse the knowledge audit methodology in National school of government, a qualitative approach has been followed in the provided study. There are mainly five stages in the methodology which incorporates- knowledge needs analysis, inventory analysis, flow analysis, mapping and audit reporting.
The first and foremost step to be followed in the knowledge audit methodology is to determine the key requirements of the knowledge required. This step will help in determining the knowledge needs in the organisation by considering the viewpoint of all the employees in the organization. To accomplish this, a survey was conducted with the NSF staff employees so as to analyse their views and perspectives. Not just this, additional comments sections were also provided to the staff so as to share their views on the additional knowledge requirements that are needed. It was found that the response rate was about sixty-nine percent (69%).
After analysing the knowledge needs from the staff members and employees of the organization, the next task is to conduct inventory analysis. Further, it is imperative to perform knowledge inventory analysis. For this, it is important to consider the sources of knowledge that needs to be considered which can be done either explicitly or tacitly. Explicit sources of information include corporate intranet, internet, library, HR directory, Statistical analysis, emails, hard drives, electronic systems and many more. Tacit source of knowledge includes experienced employees, competencies and information about the organisation. The key participants that are to be included in this process include- Strategist, senior management, HR manager, Marketer, Information technologist, knowledge analyst and operations department.
The next step in knowledge audit methodology is to understand the knowledge flow analysis. In this step, the required inputs will be procured from the employees and staff members of the organization. For this, various group discussions were held at different organisational levels. Employees were grouped together depending upon their job and designation levels. This helped in identifying the knowledge gaps and improving the overall efficiency of business processes. The results were documented so that these can be utilized as a valuable resource while formulating refined knowledge management strategies.
The fourth stage of knowledge Audit methodology is knowledge mapping. This step involves visual representation of the knowledge flow that is being followed in the organisation along with their corresponding knowledge resources and assets. This will aid the organisation in easy determination of the knowledge flow at certain period of time. Along with this, the knowledge gaps could also be identified through this.
The last phase of knowledge audit process is KA reporting which involves the process of detailed reporting of the assessment to its staff. This could be done either through emails or it is uploaded in the organisation’s knowledge hub. This step not only gives final report to the staff but also creates sense of ownership to the staff by acknowledging their contribution of knowledge in achieving the organisational goals and objectives.
MAJOR FINDINGS OF THE STUDY
The knowledge audit methodology along with the knowledge management system is implemented in the national school of government. This provides the efficient management and utilization of the available knowledge in the organisation. Along with this, it will help in bridging the knowledge gaps in the organisation. Thereby, improving the overall business processes and will also help in decision making purposes. The knowledge audit methodology that is adapted in national school of government has five stages. It was observed that there are primarily five stages which initiate from the requirements analysis to the understanding of knowledge in organisation to the knowledge audit reporting to its staff. These will help in acquiring the knowledge and views from staff across different organisational levels. Further, it will also play an integral role in boosting up the morale of the employee. In addition to this, it will also help in building a sense of ownership to the staff by acknowledging their contribution of knowledge in achieving the organisational goals and objectives. Through the literature review provided in the research paper, it can be understood that although there are differences and similarities between different types of knowledge audit methodologies, yet most of the activities that are involved are alike. Careful usage of knowledge audit will not just help in managing the organisation’s knowledge but will also help in achieving the target objectives and goals. Further, it can eb comprehended that the usage of knowledge management framework will not only helps in achieving the targets by usage of knowledge but will also help in examining the culture and capabilities of the organisation for the successful implementation of knowledge management. The knowledge audit will help in setting business goals and will also provide insights to the bigger picture of the business goals and ultimate objectives to be achieved. Substantially, it will help in bridging the gap between present and future scenarios of business by implementing refined business strategies. Knowledge audit will not only help in identifying the knowledge needs but it will also help in identifying the obstacles and duplications in knowledge flow of the organisation. From this analysis, it could be understood that it is important to conduct knowledge audits frequently in an organisation. So, that the goals and objectives could be achieved in response to the changing knowledge needs in the organisation. It is important to clearly define the audit objectives before implementation of KA. All the staff members of the different levels of organisation must be involved so that more views and data could be gathered. In essence, there are many types of knowledge audit methodologies, however, a suitable approach for the organisation must be selected in order to meet business goals. In order to achieve this, the selected model can even be moulded as per business needs or culture followed in the business organization.
RECOMMENDATIONS MADE IN THE STUDY
The type of knowledge audit methodology that is to be incorporated must solely depend upon the culture of the organisation. There are few recommendations that are made in this research paper for conducting knowledge audit in public sector organisation. These are mentioned below
- As per discussion made by the author, it is important to conduct knowledge audit regularly in order to respond to the ever changing knowledge needs in the organisation.
- The author of this research paper has mentioned, that it is important to define the objectives of knowledge audit at the initial stages and inform these with to all the staff members in the organisation so as to set clear goals and objectives of the organization to be achieved.
- The authors have recommended that involving the staff members from different levels in the organisation will certainly help them in gathering required knowledge for conducting the audit process.
- The authors of this paper mentioned that involvement of all the staff members will help in promoting a sense of ownership and their commitment in the KA process.
- It is also recommended that a suitable methodology must be implemented in the organisation which can also be customised depending upon the culture of the organisation.
COMPARISON TO SIMILAR STUDIES
The comparative analysis of the knowledge audit methodology of national school of government is discussed against various KA methodologies in KM literature of the research paper. Each type of knowledge audit methodology might differ from each other in the number of stages involved but the overall activities would be same.
(Henczel, 2000) has given a knowledge audit framework which majorly involves seven stages which incorporates- planning, data collection, data analysis, data evaluation, Communication and recommendations, implementing recommendations and knowledge audit as a continuum. As compared to the KA methodology implemented in the NSG, the only difference is between the number of stages that are followed by the two. But the activities that are performed for acquiring and managing the knowledge are almost similar. (Choy, Lee and Cheung,2014) has proposed a framework which involves three stages namely pre-audit preparation, audit process and Audit analysis. The difference between this methodology and the KA methodology in NSG is the emphasis placed on cultural assessment and some other difference is in terms of the activities performed. Knowledge analysis is the second stage in the KA methodology of NSG but it is the third stage in (Choy, Lee and Cheung,2014) methodology. On the contrary there are total five stages in NSG’s KA methodology. (Gourova, Antonova and Todorova, 2009) has proposed a knowledge audit methodology with emphasis on core processes. The stages involved in this methodology are identifying organisational and core processes, prioritizing processes, identify and meeting key people, knowledge inventory, knowledge flow, knowledge mapping, audit reporting and knowledge re-auditing. The first five stages in (Gourova, Antonova and Todorova, 2009) methodology functions are accomplished in first stage of NSG’s KA methodology i.e; knowledge need analysis. Another difference between both methodologies is a new step known as knowledge re-auditing is involved. (Ganasan & Dominic P, 2011) has proposed a 6 stage KA methodology. The phases and activities are much similar when compared to the NSG’s KA methodology. The only difference is that the NSG’s KA methodology doesn’t contain KA re-auditing phase but it conducts knowledge audits regularly. (Kumar,2013) has proposed the knowledge audit framework which is very similar to the NSG’s KA methodology. But the difference is that (Kumar,2013) methodology doesn’t include KA reporting and the last stage is KA mapping. KA reporting involves sharing the detailed report of the knowledge audit with all the staff members in the organisation.
- Henczel, S. (2000). The information audit as a first step towards effective knowledge management: an opportunity for the special librarian. Inspel, 34(3/4), 210-226.
- Choy, S. Y., Lee, W. B., & Cheung, C. F. (2004). A Systematic Approach for Knowledge Audit Analysis: Integration of Knowledge Inventory, Mapping and Knowledge Flow Analysis. J. UCS, 10(6), 674-682.
- Gourova, E., Antonova, A., & Todorova, Y. (2009). Knowledge audit concepts, processes and practice. Wseas transactions on business and economics, 6(12), 605-619.
- Ganasan, A., & Dominic P, D. (2011). Knowledge audit made comprehensive thru 6 stages. 2011 International Conference On Research And Innovation In Information Systems. doi: 10.1109/icriis.2011.6125730
- Kumar, A. (2013). Knowledge Audit: Its Learning Lessons. LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing.
- Debenham, J., & Clark, J. (1994). The knowledge audit. Robotics And Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, 11(3), 201-211. doi: 10.1016/0736-5845(94)90035-3