Digital library of construction informatics
and information technology in civil engineering and construction


Paper w78-2002-55:
The emergence of second generation knowledge management in engineering consulting

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Koch C

The emergence of second generation knowledge management in engineering consulting

Abstract: Knowledge Management (KM) has matured in the sense that there is a widespread consensus that KM is much more than information systems. This contribution discusses how engineering consulting can transcend the first generation of relatively technical oriented support for knowledge management into integrating information systems and soft management tools such as organisation, training and office design. Utilising their respective strength in enabling knowledge production. Results from a study of an engineering consulting company, which has adopted a KM-strategy, are analysed. The first activities had a strong focus on IT. Later efforts however integrate the IT-component with a set of other tools. The experiences are discussed and two main conclusions drawn: First KM is enabled by a bundle of information systems as well as soft management tools. Second there is, in the bundled KM-strategies, still a relative overemphasis on "circumstantial" frames for knowledge production and too little focus on dynamics in knowledge producing processes, which in the engineering consulting company predominantly runs, in customer oriented projects, relatively decoupled from corporate management. The information system architecture might possibly need to continue to be bundled in a kind of forced best of breed strategy, since the construction industry operates with a strong element of temporary cooperation. Moreover it is characteristic that basic tools, such as spreadsheets, prove to be relatively powerful in supporting specific knowledge production. It is recom-mended to shape the second generation of knowledge management by focusing on communities of practices and their intersection in project pro-cesses. IT continues to play a balanced and synchronised role with other tools.



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Series: w78:2002 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.communication (0.017720) class.strategies (0.014695) class.software development (0.012093)
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by the Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark. The assistnace of the editor, Prof. Kristian Agger, is gratefully aprecciated.


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