Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - School of Business and Economics

Knowledge Management (KM)

Knowledge management mainly deals with the connection of individuals and organizational knowledge under the umbrella of modern information technologies (IT). It is a basic problem that concerns every organization. KM is a genuine area for interdisciplinary research and activities. Namely it is composed of varying subsections of computer science, information systems, managerial sciences, psychology, pedagogy and library sciences.

To operationalize the concept of knowledge, it is assumed, that knowledge is characterized by structured relations of content (data and information) and context (a perspective that gives meaning to the content). Knowledge management deals with the knowledge of an organization, its generation, acquisition, storage, distribution and use on both an individual and collective level. A knowledge management system (KMS) is a software based system that helps solve abstract knowledge management tasks by computational and technological means.

In our research projects, we approach the area of KM from a very broad perspective. We also examine relatively open systems like information systems based on the internet and online shops which have all kinds of knowledge constructions. These refer to descriptions about the offered product and related services etc. There are typically two main problems that are discussed when it comes to KM. On the one hand available knowledge may not be used or insufficiently used. On the other hand the information may just not be automatically available in order to meet the organization's needs. Often it is unclear whether the knowledge required exists at all. Knowledge sharing is considered a central problem.

Considering both these problems results in a multitude of relevant questions with regard to IT and the organization. The appropriate things to ask at the very beginning are suitable presentation and ways of interaction in order to support knowledge construction and knowledge sharing. Cognitive aspects need also be considered like the question regarding suitable incentive systems that have been shown to motivate participation. This contains visible presentation codes for the user language and language/picture combinations like information architecture and medial interaction with the conceptual background of knowledge management systems.

Which way of presenting knowledge is most suited to knowledge management? Due to increase in quantity and heterogeneity of document collection on the one hand coupled with greater efficiency of algorithms and software agents on the other, the obvious question that arises; "what is the semantic fundament of the concrete documents". Semantic fundamentals are of interest here i.e. the formal knowledge representation of the semantic web.

The questions discussed till now referred completely to representation- assumed to be explicable- of knowledge about the object domain of KM systems. However this is only one aspect of a functioning KMS. The other aspect refers to whether it can be guaranteed that such a system will really be used. We investigate the possibility to explicate these occurrences of utilization ( e.g. by utilization of the "history of utilization", of an uploaded document). How they support an individual or a group to understand the knowledge construction processes? How do they support other dependent working processes? There are also inter-linkages with data mining and web mining. Investigations regarding the use of KM systems that are web based can ideally combine mining methods with other methods e.g. data collection by way of questionnaires. For instance we are interested in the impact that different languages could have on the behavior of internet users. Thus the study makes an analysis of search and information processes in a multi-lingual internet environment. In addition we examine the effects of a website in a foreign language, e.g. German including the purchase behavior of a user and the perception of purchase risk. We further investigated the effect of agent supported sales processes on E-commerce and the extent to which consumers trust automated knowledge technologies in the online purchase process.

The analysis of the use of KM system serves not only towards the improvement of working processes but also the analysis of economic viability of projects. A KM system means a considerable human and financial investment. Thus efficiency and effectiveness should be constantly monitored. Data mining methods are very useful here. The participants of a KM system must not only be motivated to share and externalize their knowledge but also to independently observe it.(I don't really get this sentence but have translated it to what I think it means!) Technical, like organizational, conditions must be developed so that the private sphere of the user is protected at all times. Additionally users should be in control, to the utmost extent, over the provision of their explicit knowledge and what can be implicitly derived from usage patterns.

This raises the question of how to join technology and enterprise culture in an effort to create an incentive system for knowledge sharing. In creating incentive systems, one must also take in to account that new ideas, especially if they deviate from norms, should be recognized and respected in their novelty and incompleteness. How can enterprise culture be created, maintained, and communicated such that it (a) tolerates and welcomes diversity, in order to create incentives for organization members to also share norm-deviating knowledge, and (b) respects the non-sharing of certain knowledge?

Another part of KM deals with various efforts in the sphere of system dynamics. Here we deal with the dynamic modeling of feedback systems of economic and social processes as well as the interfaces between data and models. To model economic processes the simulation process "Vensim" is used. One of the applications concerns pension development in Germany during the next 50 years taking in to account the pension reform that took place in 2000 as well as possible "shock scenarios". The interfaces between simulation software and databases are examined with respect to the simulation package SEM, from the software range of SAP.

Researchers involved in the project

Prof. Dr. Hans-Knud Arndt
Prof. Dr. Bettina Berendt
Prof. Oliver Günther, Ph.D.
Anett Kralisch, M.A.
Dr. Sarah Spiekermann
Dr. Gerrit Tamm
PD Dr. Bernd Viehweger

Selected Publications

Arndt, H.-K., Günther, O.: Betriebliche Umweltinformationssysteme als Knowledge Managementsysteme im Umweltmanagement, in: UmweltWirtschaftsForum, 9. Jg., Heft 1, S. 64-67, 2001.

Berendt, B., Hotho, A., & Stumme, G.: Towards Semantic Web Mining. In I. Horrocks & J. Hendler (Eds.), The Semantic Web - ISWC 2002, Proceedings of the 1st International Semantic Web Conference, June 9-12th, 2002, Sardinia, Italy (pp. 264-278). LNCS, Heidelberg, Germany: Springer, 2002

Kralisch, A.: Business-Language-Strategien im Internet. Regensburg: Haus des Buches, 2003

Viehweger, B., Andresen, K., Motzkau, M.: An Intelligent Software Agent for a Management Game. - In: CCCT 2003 - International Conference on Computer, Communication and Control Technologies. - Orlando, USA (2003). - Proceedings, Vol. V, p. 10-14.

Viehweger, B., Jagalski, T.: The Reformed Pension System in Germany - a System Dynamics Model for the next 50 years (2003). - In: Proceedings of the 21st International Conference of the System Dynamics Society, p. 128 (and CD-ROM) - New York City, USA (2003)

Kontakt   © Institut für Wirtschaftsinformatik der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin 2004 - 2005