Managing knowledge in a service provider: a network structure based model
May 1, 2014 Editor 0
Purpose – The idea that knowledge is the main organizational resource has established itself in recent years, and knowledge has become more valuable in service organizations. Managing knowledge is therefore a central activity for organizations and organizational structure must assist in this process. Thus, the main objective of this paper is to analyze aspects of a network structure that promotes the practice of the knowledge management (KM) process in a service organization.Design/methodology/approach – The research strategy used is the simple case study, applied in a large multinational company in its unit established in Brazil.Findings – The paper points out that the network structure has more flexible characteristics regarding formalization, centralization and integration. In our case study, this structure encourages the flow of knowledge through the interaction between individuals, and also across sectors of the organization, with the aid of a department coordinating the KM process, responsible for the storage and distribution of the best practices for future use in sites of service.Research limitations/implications – The first point that should be highlighted is that the organization selected for the study is highly advanced in terms of KM, producing excessively positive results. Another negative aspect is related to the single case methodology. It does not allow extrapolation of the results to a larger population.Practical implications – Within the context of industrial services highlights the organization of activities on sites. The sites correspond to the service provider company frontline. In the sites occur the process of providing service, contact with the customer, improvement activities, and essentially where knowledge is put in practice. In order to facilitate the storage and distribution of knowledge, the network structure presents a sector called center of excellence. The center of excellence aims to centralize repository of knowledge, enabling the transfer of knowledge between different sites.
Originality/value – The main contribution is aimed at describing the characteristics of a network structure that stimulates the KM process in a service organization. This network of sites facilitates the flow of knowledge and the creative process.
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