Human resources policies and knowledge management

Knowledge direction has been one of the subjects that most involvement has arisen in the field of survey of organisations in recent old ages. The aim of this research is to analyse the acceptance of cognition direction patterns and their relation to human resources policies. The studyA takes placeA in companies runing in Valencia ( Spain ) from a qualitative.


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In recent decennaries, concern organisations find themselves in an ever-changing environment that requires them to undergo profound alterations. These alterations have been brought about by the development of societal, economic, and political systems that are progressively unstable. Businesss have had to radically modify their planning manners or schemes, as greater capriciousness has made it progressively hard to imitate and fix for future scenarios. In this new context, companies must do attempts to go more and more competitory. Presently, one of the chief resources for set uping a competitory advantage is knowledge. For this ground, many companies now engage in what is frequently called “ cognition direction. ”

In many concerns, cognition direction is limited to the employment of proficient tools based on the usage of communications and information engineering. The tools are cardinal to the creative activity, transportation, and airing of cognition. However, in order for this procedure to be effectual, the people take parting in the procedure must be motivated and committed. Herein lies the challenge for human resources sections.

In a similar vena, the most recent literature on these subjects indicates that cognition direction should travel towards a more human aspect. Several writers agree with this place ( Afiouni, 2007 ; Haesli and Boxall, 2005 ; Alvesson and Karreman, 2001 ) . Harmonizing to the research of others ( Collins and Smith, 2006 ; Oltra, 2005 ) , greater attending should be paid to the nexus between cognition direction and the patterns of human resources in order to accomplish effectual cognition direction in the concern organisation.

However, the literature indicates that this subject has yet to be explored. Presently, there is a famine of empirical surveies that reveal which are the human resources policies that are in any manner influential in the cognition direction procedure ( Therious and Chatzoglou, 2008 ) .

With the purpose of lending to this attempt, we orient our research towards the analysis of the relationship between human resources policies and knowledge direction.

Looking to lend to the above intent, we oriented the research to analyse the relationship between the acceptance of cognition direction patterns and their relation to human resource policies.

The work is divided into three parts. The first portion stablish the theoretical foundations on which supports the survey, it describes briefly the analyzed methodological analysis and empirical analysis. Finally, it closes with decisions, future lines of research and restrictions.


Both research workers and experts in direction agree that human resources involve intangible elements that contribute to cardinal differences among concern organisations. These elements bring forth the cognition, abilities, and accomplishments that, when combined with other touchable and intangible elements, create sustainable competitory advantages. Consequently, Bonache and Cabrera ( 2002 ) province that, in the competitory kingdom, the prevailing concerns are those that are best able to capture and do usage of their employees ‘ actions. The cognition of each person is the edifice block upon which organisations can introduce in order to make new merchandises, procedures, or services, or better bing 1s so that they become more effectual or efficient ( Nonaka, Toyama and Nagata, 2000 Y Moffett, McAdams and Parkinson, 2002 ) .

In visible radiation of the fact that cognition comes from persons, the company direction should plan equal mechanisms that provide persons with the necessary tools that will let them to interact amongst each other and with their surrounding environment. After all, even though cognition belongs to persons, organisational cognition is non the simple amount of the cognition held by each person, but instead the battle of persons with engineerings, techniques, procedures, etc. There are multiple plants that recognize cognition to be the cardinal strategic resource ( Grant, 1996 ; Teece, 1998 ; Von Krogh, 1998 ) . For this ground, cognition direction has notably gained importance in recent old ages.

At present, the literature on cognition direction offers legion definitions of this phenomenon ( Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995 ) , among which we highlight the definition put forth by Moreno-Luzon et Al ( 2001 ) , harmonizing to which knowledge direction is the group of managerial policies and determinations that aim to bring forth procedures of single, group, and organisation acquisition in order to make cognition that serves the organisation ‘s aims.

When an organisation does non prosecute in the direction of cognition it may neglect to achieve valuable cognition, chorus from continued employment of good patterns, and incur in past mistakes. In this context, Gorelick and Tantawy-Monsou ( 2005 ) affirm that cognition direction may be a agency for consistently helping persons, groups, squads, and the full organisation in larning what the single knows, placing what the person and the organisation demand to larn, forming and circulating this cognition in a simple and effectual mode, using this cognition to new undertakings, and making new cognition. In 1988, Zuboff states that “ acquisition is the bosom of productive activity… . The new manner to work. ”

There are different ways to understand cognition. There are those who consider it to be slightly similar to information and therefore seek to increase it through communications and information engineering. However, this is an unequal manner of understanding cognition, for a big part of cognition comes from employees ( Fahey and Prusak, 1998 ) .

It is deserving foregrounding that, in the context of those who have been referred to as “ cognition workers ” ( Drucker, 1989, 1999 ) , people are categorized harmonizing to their professionalism. The rating of them can non be separated from their cognition, peculiarly silent cognition ( Polanyi, 1966 ; Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995 ) . It seems a spot self-contradictory that silent cognition, while difficult to copy, tends to be explicitly discussed by concern organisations. But, in this vena, Damarest ( 1997 ) states that sustainable competitory advantages do non originate from the ownership of single specialised cognition, but instead from the organisation ‘s ability to pull off this cognition and transform it into organisational cognition. These are of import challenges for company direction. On one manus, the direction must advance an equal environment in which the organisation provides knowledge workers with the tools they need, therefore leting these cognition workers to efficaciously utilize their cognition and ability. At the same clip, the direction must make a context for constructing squads and alining cognition to the strategic aims of the concern.

In many instances, companies, as portion of their cognition direction, supply employees with information engineering and communications tools. This is promising, but accent must be placed on more human cultural facets. This will let for successful integrating of people into cognition direction processes. Research workers such as Oltra ( 2005 ) confirm that a big figure of plants have pointed out the deficiency of attending that the literature covering with cognition direction pays to cultural and human affairs.

In order to ease efficient cognition direction, we consider that company forces should follow a series of patterns, stimulations, actions, and policies that shall let for the engagement of human forces in the procedures being developed.


The research design orients us to the informations aggregation processs and undertaking analysis. One research design is the logic that lists the information that shall be collected for the initial inquiry of survey. Each empirical survey has both an implicit and expressed research design ( Yin 1994 ) .

Empirical research must be consistent with the aims of the survey being conducted. In our instance, two of these aims are:

– What are the human resources patterns that best support cognition direction enterprises?

– How do human resources patterns affect the effectivity of cognition direction enterprises?

With this methodological analysis, it is preferred to transport out in-depth interviews with those who can outdo uncover the phenomenon under survey. The interviewer must inquire open-ended inquiries, for they are better suited to leting the interviewee to portion his or her true experience ( Bonache, 1999 ) . Writers such as Eisenhardt ( 1989 ) and Yin ( 1994 ) specify the instance surveies as a research scheme that helps to derive a deep apprehension of the kineticss within single scenarios and to understand new constructs and relationships within this stage of survey.

Many writers agree that a case-based analysis should get down with a theoretical model that consists of an initial literature reappraisal that helps analyse the current province of the affair every bit good as a theoretical account that will let us to explicate the phenomenon under survey. Yin ( 1989 ) states that, when we find ourselves before inquiries get downing with “ Why? ” or “ How? “ , instance surveies are the most equal signifier of research. Furthermore, Yin ( 1989 ) recommends and even insists upon get downing with a preliminary theoretical model.

However, in a case-based analysis, to the extent we discover new facts, we can alter the initial theoretical premises and develop new 1s. We can therefore asseverate that there is flexibleness in the procedure of transporting out the research ( Bonache, 1999 ) . Along these same lines, Sutton ( 1997 ) claims that, in the procedure of developing and refinement theories, this flexibleness proves to be rather valuable, for it provides greater chances to obtain information that neither derives from nor struggles with bing theories. For this survey in peculiar, we consider that, prior to the empirical survey, no kind of hypothesis or proposition should be formulated as a point of contrast ( Eisenhard, 1989 ) . After all, the survey ‘s intent is to make a theory instead than use a theory to a given population, for which there are already quantitative methods.

In order to near the subject to be researched, choice members of the companies being surveies were capable to assorted interviews. These interviews were supplemented by relevant internal and external certification and direct observation.

In the three select instances, we worked with companies that are consistently incorporating invention and new engineerings. The people interviewed were those who are in charge of human resources and those who are responsible for knowledge direction issues.

Case 1. An car company:

In this first instance, the specific organisational unit being studied is an car company. Approximately 6,500 employees work at the company ‘s works located in Valencia. The company hopes to bring forth over 400,000 vehicles during this twelvemonth. In the car sector, invention and new engineerings are necessary in order to successfully vie and fulfill client demands.

In 1995, a corporate place was created for cognition direction, the Chief Knowledge Officer, who is responsible for conveying best patterns to the company. The Chief Knowledge Officer searches amidst the company ‘s planetary operations for first-class thoughts on how to put to death a specific undertaking and portion it with any other company member. This procedure begins with the intent of consolidating and incorporating information. Knowledge is shared through electronic mail, intranet, databases, etc.

In order to vouch the success of the plan, we place accent on human elements:

– We aim to circulate our aims and beef up a collaborative civilization ; otherwise, we may lose sight of our ends.

– We favor engagement and integrating in meetings and in preparation plans, and we have even begun to form athleticss activities after the working day.

– The subject of leading is non developed, although they are cognizant that leading influences employees ‘ behaviour and engagement.

They maintain a level organisational construction so that information can go efficaciously. They have motive plans so that employees come up with new thoughts and impart them efficaciously. A 6th of the company ‘s nest eggs are allotted to invention. Every twelvemonth, the employee with the best thought receives a vehicle and six thousand euros. There is a really high grade of common trust among employees. The company enhances these feelings of trust by making a system through which employees can offer suggestions.

The company is cognizant that it is really hard to happen employees who both trained and able to accommodate to the company ‘s demands. The company therefore has a well-structured preparation course of study and lasting preparation plans.

In order to fix the forces to the company ‘s demands, the company uses public presentation ratings, accomplishment profiles, and 360-degree feedback. The company divides employees into groups of 12 in order to implement this method.

Case 2. A shipyard company:

The 2nd instance we analyze is a company that owns several of the universe ‘s most advanced shipyards in which hi-tech and effectual jerk boats are docked. The company has a staff of 126 employees and between 350 and 4000 subcontracted workers in Valencia. This company does non hold a formal cognition direction policy. However, we found grounds demoing that the company does hold multiplex procedures through which cognition is efficaciously created and shared. In the short term, the company does non be after on prosecuting in a cognition direction procedure, as the company is presently reconstituting its staff. Many procedures will be outsourced, and therefore more of the staff will hired through subcontracting. Furthermore, the company is non spread outing.

Considerable attending has been paid to civilization. At the minute, nevertheless, this attending has been reduced because the company is presently cut downing the size of its staff. Still, the company actively promotes engagement and trust. Since many operations are outsourced, the company needs to use mechanisms that surrogate integrating.

There is a level organisational construction. Communication channels are good established, so communicating is effectual.

The company ‘s preparation plan is tailored to extremely specific concrete necessities, therefore leting employees to be up-to-date on really peculiar demands.

Leadership is non developed. An accent is placed on teamwork. Given that many procedures and services are outsourced, teamwork is necessary for the interest of forming and organizing assorted responsibilities.

The company used to utilize variable wage, but this mechanism did non adequately react to the demand for improved public presentation. The variable constituent was therefore distributed proportionately such that every wage remained fixed.

The company conducts public presentation ratings, and has even expeditiously developed polivalence and, in many instances, plurivalence.

Case 3. A railroad company:

This 3rd instance is a survey of a concern unit belonging to a subordinate of a German transnational transit and energy corporation. This company has 600 employees in Valencia. The company has developed multiple advanced direction plans, such as quality control in order to ever guarantee first-class merchandises.

At foremost, the company ‘s cognition direction undertaking was based on an incorporate system of ICT direction. Today, the system has been reinforced in order to advance cognition sharing, and it has been extended throughout the organisation with really good consequences.

In order to reenforce cognition direction, the human resources section is doing attempts to guarantee that the company ‘s aims are loosely disseminated and human resources policies are in conformity with established protocols and processs. Attempts are being made to advance engagement, cooperation, and assurance.

The company has a level organisational construction in which there are merely three distinguishable hierarchal degrees.

The work merchandise follows certain regulations and protocols, which have arisen from the company ‘s cumulative experience and from relevant professional criterions and codifications of behavior.

The communications system is good structured. For illustration, the company computing machines have screensavers that inform employees of new corporate events. These screensavers are updated every month. Likewise, the company uses bulletin boards to maintain employees informed. Furthermore, supervisors are invariably discoursing undertakings and measuring their advancement in tandem with the employees.

The company relies on preparation as the chief tool for maintaining employees informed as to current patterns and bettering their accomplishments.

Attention is paid to leading. The company is analysing possible directives for the hereafter. Given the ample usage of engineering, the company resorts to teamwork in order to run and organize the designs of big systems. The company relies on the hypertext construction ( Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995 ) . This construction involves the formation of multidisciplinary undertaking squads, which shall carry on hunts for clients and for advanced solutions for the company. Through this procedure, the undertaking squad shall derive experience and cognition. Once the undertaking is finalized, the squad members return to their usual places in the concern systems tier of the company. From so on, they shall be available to get down another undertaking.

The compensation system is aimed at advancing and making inducements for well-functioning work groups.

The company evaluates public presentation utilizing accomplishments profiles.


The company ‘s motives are relevant to the beginning of any cognition direction procedure. In two of the instances that have been studied, the car company and the railroad company prosecute in a cognition direction undertaking because they wish to consolidate and portion cognition, therefore leting current cognition to give manner to the creative activity of new cognition. As for the shipyard company, it does non be after to get down a cognition direction procedure. However, it is doing attempts to make an environment that implicitly favors cognition sharing.

Engagement is another cardinal facet, as it leads to greater integrating, synergism, and complementarity. In all three instances, the companies create environments that favor multidisciplinary and interfunctional squads, as they are ever taking to advance the sharing of cognition. In the instances we have studied, the employees actively take part in the direction processes that are created. The companies try to maintain their employees informed and with entree to available media.

Culture is a variable that we can non disregard. Any organisation that undertakes new procedures needs a strong civilization that leads employees to follow the behaviour and attitude that the company requires. De Long and Fahey ( 2000 ) find that organisational civilization plays a cardinal function in the creative activity, sharing, and usage of cognition. The organisation ‘s civilization can act upon the transportation of cognition in two ways: the transportation of cognition may depend upon the creative activity of a favourable environment and powerful societal norms that emphasize the importance of sharing cognition ( Cabrera and Cabrera, 2005 ) . In the three instances we have studied, the direction disseminates beliefs, values, aims, ends, direction plans, schemes, and human resources policies in order to make an equal work environment in which people feel comfy with each other and with their milieus and, moreover, enhance creativeness and invention.

Throughout the analysis of the instances, we found that the companies did non do important alterations to the human resources construction, yet they did do great attempts so that the human resources system would be optimum for the effectual creative activity and airing of cognition. The different human resources sections were in charge of promoting employees to accept and use cognition direction tools. We found systematic spiels in the relationship between cognition direction and human resources direction.

The companies view developing as an of import tool that prepares employees so that they can fulfill the company ‘s demands. Two of the companies have long-run preparation plans that are aligned with their corporate schemes. Although the shipyard company does non hold programs for establishing a long-run preparation course of study, the company does value preparation as a mechanism for updating cognition, using uninterrupted betterments, integrating new employees, bettering the work environment, reenforcing the organisational civilization, etc. One of the cardinal demands in order for employees to perpetrate themselves to knowledge direction is that they have the accomplishments and willingness to make so. An employee ‘s abilities and accomplishments are often the merchandise of a choice procedure through which those accomplishments were favored along with a preparation and professional development plan ( Kelloway and Barling, 2000 ) .

Furthermore, in all three instances there is a system for advancing teamwork. When organisations need specialized cognition, they must hold a mechanism for integrating through which persons portion and unite different and complementary accomplishments in order to accomplish successful procedures ( Grant, 1996 ) .

With regard to leading, we find that in two of the instances analyzed there is no formal plan to develop leading. However, the companies have been working implicitly on the subject of leading. In the railroad company, there is a formal plan for leading development. In companies that are invariably introducing in order to accommodate to the demands of their clients, leaders are indispensable in advancing teamwork, maintaining squads motivated, reassigning cognition, explicating aims, irrespective of how complex they may be, in simple footings, suggesting solutions, and developing the capablenesss of their followings ( Warren, 1997 ; Byrne and Cropanzano, 2001 ) .

As for communicating, in the instances we have studied, we found that the communicating channels are good structured. These channels are designed so that information arrives in a timely manner and is accessible to the members of the company. On this subject, writers such as Slater and Naver ( 1995 ) agree that, in order for a concern organisation to guarantee that all information be given consideration, it must supply forums in which information can be shared, discussed, and debated. Upon geting a piece of information, the organisation must administer it among all of its members who shall necessitate that information. This guarantees an effectual acquisition procedure ( Tippins and Sohi, 2003 ) .

As for compensation, merely the railroad company has a variable wage system. The car company is presently engaged in dialogues with the trade brotherhoods. These are long-run dialogues, so the company is already get downing to cover with the issue of employee compensation. It would be worthwhile to reexamine this subject in greater deepness. Harmonizing to the relevant literature, in companies dedicated to new engineerings, the usage of system of compensation for good public presentation is cardinal to advancing creativeness and invention. Companies in chase of these aims must do good usage of such compensation strategies. In one of the instances we analyzed ( the shipyard company ) , the company shifted from a really important variable wage system to a fixed wage system that guarantees flexibleness and security. These instances, nevertheless, do non match to the by and large accepted position on the incentive-building and commanding effects that are frequently attributed to compensation strategies. These companies are now positive that it is indispensable that they deal with this affair, and now they are get downing to take the necessary actions.

By and large, compensation and inducement systems play a cardinal function in organisations, as they are tools for pulling and retaining good employees, actuating the company forces, easing the accomplishment of the organisation ‘s strategic aims, and advancing both single and corporate acquisition processes that contribute to the accomplishment of sustainable competitory advantages ( Boyd, Salamin, 2001 ; Lazarraga, 2002 ) .

Finally, another human resources pattern that favours employee motive is public presentation rating, for it offers feedback that serves to better the quality of work. In the three instances we have studied, public presentation rating is good structured. It is deserving foregrounding that public presentation rating is designed non for control, but instead for professional development and employee motive. The public presentation ratings therefore foster a willingness to portion thoughts and cognition, for they create tolerant and safe work environments characterized by common trust ( Cabrera and Cabrera, 2005 ; Yahya and Goch, 2002 ) .

Although we did non mensurate the effectivity of cognition direction, we implicitly observed that the three companies are invariably introducing, going more flexible, and accommodating to new state of affairss. To a certain extent, these inclinations depend on the creative activity and transportation of cognition, a procedure that we have been able to acknowledge throughout this survey.

Based on our reading of the grounds we have collected, we designed a theoretical account, which we propose and present below:

Based on the foregoing information, we put forth the undermentioned propositions:

Proposition 1: Human resources patterns centered on preparation, leading, communicating, teamwork, compensation, and public presentation rating are positively correlated with effectual cognition direction.

Proposition 2: A set of four indispensable cognition direction features ( a civilization oriented towards knowledge direction, strategic publicity of cognition direction, participatory cognition direction, incorporation of ICTs ) has a positive impact on effectual cognition direction.


The instance surveies carried out in this research unmistakably show the demand for the current links among human facets, indispensable cognition direction features, and knowledge direction ‘s effectivity.

This exploratory survey has allowed us to make a solid theoretical model that has lead us to an induced theoretical account and to propositions that we can supervise in the undermentioned stage.

Similarly, the fact that the companies are trusting on public presentation ratings is relevant, for it indicates that they are genuinely looking for specific human capital and doing attempts to excite the originative and advanced capacity of their employees.

Besides deserving serious consideration is the fact that the company that did non officially implement a cognition direction plan is, in fact, really good at pull offing cognition.

Furthermore, it is worthwhile to speculate that human resources patterns oriented towards knowledge direction are straight correlated to effectual cognition direction. In the companies we analyzed, the consequences reveal the importance of strategic determinations and the turning attempt to make and portion cognition. For this ground, it could be said that we have confirmed that human resources patterns have a important influence upon the actions that conveying approximately effectual cognition direction.

Finally, we are cognizant of the survey ‘s restrictions. It would be worthwhile to broaden the sample and see carry oning quantitative research on straight competitory companies in order to do cross-sector comparings.

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