The triad of paradigms in globalization: ICT, and knowledge management interplay
Authors: M.S. Mohamed
Publication Year: 2007
Journal: Journal of Information and Knowledge Management
Categories: Information Management
Purpose – The paper aims to investigate the synergetic effects of knowledge management (KM) and information and communication technologies (ICT) on globalization progression. Then the article seeks to portray how this synergy can be employed in various KM activities and processes to transubstantiate a national company into an effective boundaryless global knowledge-based enterprise (GKBE). Design/methodology/approach – The article reviews and interprets the relevant literature on both globalization and knowledge management technology. The resultant insights are used to reveal the synergy and to develop a butterfly model that shows the interconnectedness and the domino effects of KM activities on globalization advancement. Findings – Owing to the significant differences between the national and the global-based enterprise (GKBE) the butterfly framework has been proposed, utilizing the benefits from the synergy of the major globalization components. The call for implementing KM practices to improve globalization efficiency came as a result of the unknown parameters within the new global market competition. Practical implications – Globalization has become increasingly complex and challenging for many multinational companies. This article will help these companies to solve the problem using KM strategy as facilitated by ICT and human cognitive efforts. to the complexity of the issue, the solution is in turn multifaceted and can only be achieved through a consistent system thinking. Originality/value – The model presents a road-map for multinational global operations managers KM practitioners when developing their strategy for competitive advantage.
What Mohamed describes is in essence a recipe for successful adaption to a disruptive shift in the conditions for large companies. This is a Though many aspects of the analysis, which Mohamed brings to the field are very useful in understanding how firms can adapt to a global, knowledge-based economy, the article as a whole has some problems. I will try to detail these here. The first problem is in the level of analysis, as it shifts between macro and micro levels of analysis. At some points the analysis is very broad, employing somewhat vague notions such as learning organization. At other times the article shift to advise at a micro level, e.g. the talk of the possibilities offered by XML. In my view what a technology as specific as XML can do for an organization is besides the point, and should be left out of the analysis. It ruins the logical progression and Another problem is that the analysis is not always properly supported, and seems to build on assumptions, which are not stated. As an example of this, the author argues that modern ICT can help exchange tacit knowledge is not supported in the text. On p. 112 the author list a number of technologies, which he states can help in exchanging tacit knowledge, but as to how they can do that, there is no mention, and neither are there any references to support this point. Also on p. 112 the author refers to Polanyi (1958), in saying that “tacit knowledge … is expressed mainly through social networks” (Mohamed, 2007, p. 13). In this use of Polanyi, it is not clear what kind of social network the author is referring to. In the present day, when speaking of social networks, what is most often referred to are social networking websites (e.g. facebook), and as the author often refers to the use of ICT for the purposes of knowledge works, this is what comes to mind. But it is not very likely that Polanyi would have written about social network sites in 1958. The last point of criticism is that while the article has some very useful analyses, the overall form of the article is as mentioned above more like a recipe, a “do this and you get a Global Knowledge-Based Enterprise”. While suggestions based on thorough analysis are always a good idea, such a major “recipe” should in my opinion, not be offered in a text of such limited scale.