Tag Archives: reviews

Organizational knowledge and knowing – paper reviews

Organizational learning and communities-of-practice: Toward a unified view of working, learning, and innovation

Brown, J.S., and Duguid P.


This paper builds on ethnographic studies and reports in order to draw attention on the differences existing between the way people actually work and the way organizations describe that work. Manuals, training programs, job descriptions and organizational charts describe canonical work practices but as the ethnographic studies have shown people more than often face circumstances that these practices cannot be applied. Storytelling, collaboration and social construction are prescribed by non-canonical practices that people mobilize for confronting everyday situations in their work. All these being social mediated facilitate the formation of groups of people that according to researchers foster a non formal transfer of knowledge between participants. Within these small, self-constituting communities the non-canonical practices are continually developing new interpretations of the working environment leading to innovation in the form of altering the practice. Authors conclude that there is a gap between the assumptions and the beliefs of what working, learning and innovating seem to be and what actually are. In order to close that gap organization must look beyond canonical abstractions of practice and identify itself as community-of-communities. Also must legitimize and support the enacting activities perpetrated by its members. Authors overall objective was to show where constrains and resources lie in this research developing the argument that there must be a more closer, realistic and reflective linking of working, learning and innovating that was at the moment that this paper was published.


Bridging epistemologies: The generative dance between organizational knowledge and organizational knowing

Cook S.D.N., Brown J.S.


Authors’ main objective in this chapter was to broaden the existing understanding of what and how people know. They identify four categories of knowledge inherent in the explicit-tacit and individual-group distinctions arguing by the use of illustrative examples that each form of knowledge does work the others cannot; can often be used as an aid in acquiring the others; and no one of them can be derived from or changed into one of the others. They make clear the distinction between knowledge and knowing defining knowledge as something that is possessed such as rules, procedures, equations, etc. and the knowing as the epistemic work (i.e. the work that people must do in order to acquire what they need to know for doing what they do) that is done as part of action or of practice. The research related to knowing is enriched by these distinct kinds of knowledge, productive inquiry, dynamic affordance and the generative character of knowledge; notions that has been provided and described in the lines of this chapter by the authors. Using three cases (i.e. bread-making machine design, flute-making companies and Xerox blank paper handling) they make clearer some of the implications of their perspective. Concluding, authors suggest the need for further theoretical and empirical work in the form of cases studies of knowledge-creating organization, knowledge work and knowledge management.


A dynamic theory of organizational knowledge creation

Nonaka I.


The objective of this paper is to develop a theory dealing with the dynamic aspects of the organizational knowledge creation process. Basic concepts and models of organizational knowledge creation indicate that a continual dialog between tacit and explicit knowledge drives the creation of new ideas and concepts. Also, although information and knowledge are distinct notions the first is a necessary medium for initiating and formalizing the latter. To this end, information is conceptualized as a flow of messages while knowledge is created and organized by the very flow of information. While the prime movers in the knowledge creation are the individual members; there are three basic factors that induce the individual commitment in an organizational setting: (a) intention, which has to do with the fact that individuals form their approach to the world and try to make sense of their environment, (b) autonomy, as every individual within an organization may have different intentions and (c) fluctuation, as knowledge creation at the individual level involves continuous interaction with the external world. Author forms a “spiral” model bridging the epistemological and ontological dimensions of knowledge creation, identifying the existence of four patterns of interaction that represent ways in which existing knowledge can be converted in new knowledge. The knowledge is creating through these four conversion processes that is, from tacit to tacit (i.e. socialization), from tacit to explicit (i.e. externalization), from explicit to explicit (i.e. combination) and from explicit to tacit (i.e. internalization). Enlarging individual knowledge, sharing tacit knowledge, crystallization, justification and networking knowledge are the five organizational knowledge creation processes. Author proposed two management models namely, middle-up-down management and hypertext organization. Middle-up-down management is suitable for promoting the efficient creation of knowledge in business organization while the hypertext organization links related concepts and areas of knowledge allowing a problem to be viewed from many angles.

Customer relationship management – paper reviews

The CRM imperative – Practice vs theory in the telecommunications industry

Wright L.T., Stone M., and Abbot J.

The main objective of this paper is to examine how businesses were enabled to focus on the customer taking advantage of the Information Technology. Using three case studies based on three different telecommunication companies, authors made an attempt to understand what affects Customer Relationship Management (CRM) when it is actually applied. Two traditionally telephony companies and a new-entrant cable firm applied CRM technologies in order to retain and win costumers in the telephony market but each company dealt with the introduction of its CRM in a different way. Without intentions of providing prescriptions for building CRM, authors identify some key points showing areas where the adoption of CRM could enhance organizational practices such as: market orientation, improvement of collaboration, people management and commitment, knowledge acquisition and management, management and proliferation of data, efficiency and effectiveness, and finally, speedy solutions and profitability. What the case studies have shown was that when companies faced with the dilemma of investing in new technologies, new products etc they could also invest simultaneously in improving their customer relationship skill.

CRM systems: Necessary, but not sufficient. REAP the benefits of customer management

Starkey M., Woodcock N.

Spending on Customer Relationship Management not always benefits the expected for a company. Furthermore investing in CRM sometimes can waste opportunities for a company and destroy economic value. The lack of senior executive ownership and leadership, the unnecessarily complexity in designing CRM, the dysfunctional approaches from the perspective of customer, the lack in knowledge of good customer management techniques, the poor implementations of CRM systems, etc are some of the reasons that authors identified as what makes customer management performance disappointing. Of course, there are examples of effective practices in companies. Authors believe that it is of great importance the investment to be in the ‘right things’ so customer management must include planning for Retention, Efficiency, Acquisition and Penetration. According to measurements in the case studies of this paper such a planning can provide four to one return on investment for well-managed programmes.

 Corridors of Influence in the Dissemination of Customer-Oriented Strategy to Customer Contact Service Employees

Hartline D.M., Maxham G.J., and McKee O.D.

Customer contact employees are responsible for carrying out the customer-oriented strategy of a company to end customers in the form of quality services. In this paper a model has been proposed explaining how a company can disseminate a customer-oriented strategy in order to increase commitment and shared values of its customer contact employees. The proposed model supports that important role in such dissemination plays the organizational structure, the empowerment, the behavior-based employee evaluation, the socialization and the organizational commitment. Authors validate their hypotheses conducting a questionnaire-based research including in their samplings nine hotel chains. Authors’ findings reveal the existence of three “corridors of influence” between customer-oriented strategy and the shared employee value. The first corridor emphasizes the importance of work group socialization and organizational commitment, the second corridor focuses on formalization and behavior-based evaluation whilst the last corridor focuses on the empowerment of costumer contact employees.

 Understanding why marketing does not use the corporate data warehouse for CRM applications

Payton C.F., Zahay D.

This paper tries to answer why marketing does not use the corporate data warehouse for customer relationship management implementations. Conducting a series of focus group interviews with functional marketing and information systems managers in one large regional health care payer, authors identify factors that prevent the adoption of corporate data warehouse in the organization. Marketing needs, data quality issues and training were the most important factors according to the findings of their analysis. Authors found that marketing managers have special data needs and these additional data cannot always be found in the data warehouse. Furthermore, the quality of data kept in the data warehouse may not be acceptable by the marketing managers and finally, the data analysis tools of data warehouse may be difficult to use.

A short synthesis

Customer Relationship Management is a process that allows organizations to gather and analyze customer data in an efficient way improving the customer retention. Therefore, it is very important for organizations to invest simultaneously in improving their customer relationship skill while investing in new products or technologies. Unfortunately, a great number of CRM applications are failing and this is due to the fact that the investment made by the companies for such applications is not enough or even worse, is not well targeted and designed. Organizations can use data that can be found in the corporate data warehouses in order to create and sustain their customer relationship management but to have such ability several issues must be resolved. From the other hand, customer-contact employees – which are responsible for translating a customer-oriented strategy into quality service – must be managed in a way seeking in achieving the employees’ desired performance. To this end, organizations need to invest in the ‘right things’ in order to establish a successful customer relationship management.