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Fostering knowledge management deployment in R&D workspaces: a five-stage approach

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In recent years, R&D institutes have encountered various intensified challenges. New instruments are needed to manage knowledge-related activities more effectively and efficiently. This paper presents and discusses the lessons learned from a case study in fostering knowledge management (KM) initiatives and systems in a research-oriented institute serving the metal industry, specifically the Metal Industries Research and Development Centre (MIRDC) in Taiwan. We perform a comparative review of the experience of embarking on KM among Taiwanese R&D institutes, a very rarely performed job. Following this, we investigate, by conducting the primary and secondary researches, how MIRDC has adopted a five-stage approach to develop a deliberate framework of KM deployment in order to manipulate the KM operations in the context of a Chinese R&D institute. The MIRDC case demonstrates a sophisticated KM process that provides an activity-based perspective of the plan, control, coordination and evaluation framework in an R&D workspace. This paper argues that well-defined deployment frameworks embody qualities of goal pursuing that are important to KM activities and compel managers to examine more closely how to realize the KM initiatives. This paper also reveals that a rigid hierarchical R&D structure inhibits the dynamics of the knowledge cycle due to technology segmentation. A parallel R&D structure supported by mission offices and a ‘pioneer and innovation program’ that is cross-departmental and industry-focused can positively motivate horizontal ‘coopertition’ networking so as to better exploit and leverage knowledge assets. The practices applied in these elemental KM activities are useful to other R&D organizations by suggesting how each of the KM activities can be configured and implemented.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9310.2007.00484.x

Affiliations: Department of Industrial and Information Management, National Cheng Kung University, No.1, Ta-Hsueh Road, Tainan 701, Taiwan ROC., Email: achang@mail.mirdc.org.tw

Publication date: November 1, 2007

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