Call for papers: Challenges and opportunities in measuring KM results and development impact

The KM4D Journal is currently inviting papers for an upcoming special issue on Challenges and opportunities in measuring and evaluating KM results and impact to be published in September 2018. The Guest Editors for this issue are: Helen Gillman and Chris Zielinski (co-lead editors), Charles Dhewa, Juergen Hagmann and Kim Martins, with Sarah Cummings. The full call for papers is available here: Call for Papers on Measuring KM, September 2018

 

Rationale

As a discipline, KM is subject to the immense pressures produced by radical information technology developments. The value of knowledge itself is being severely tested by such present-day phenomena as fake news and the rise of social media platforms. These factors make it all the more vital to develop a defensible and objective approach to knowledge management (KM). In the private sector, KM and organizational learning are enjoying something of a resurgence but the public sector may be lagging behind, partly because knowledge as a core asset is still not fully recognized. Without a clear and convincing way of assessing the impact of KM, it is difficult to justify the activity in the face of shifting organizational, societal and development priorities. Unless there are recognized methods and indicators for making such assessments, the value of KM can be easily challenged. It is also through assessing KM impact that KM principles and knowledge life cycles can be made visible.

 

Why is it important to measure and evaluate the results and impact of KM? In organizations that invest in KM strategies and initiatives, the bottom line is that knowledge managers must be able to demonstrate the relevance and impact of their work – the return on investment. In an organizational context, KM is a distributed activity and can impact diverse groups, programmes and initiatives, making it difficult to establish cause and effect (Henley Business School, 2013). Some KM activities are obvious and easy to measure – typically process indicators such as the number of knowledge products or the number of downloads of a particular document – while subtler KM activities often defy measurement.  This includes, for example, measuring the influence or impact of knowledge activities on policy makers, demonstrating the improved skills of employees, and assessing the successful retention of knowledge despite retirements and other staff departures. Also challenging is measuring links between KM activities and improved effectiveness, and efficiency and value for money. Moreover, how can it be shown that changes in any of these areas can be attributed to KM? KM performance measurement is a challenge largely because most knowledge is tacit in nature (i.e. a person’s expertise and experience; accumulated specialist knowledge that is difficult to codify and so on). While it is easy to argue that there is a link between knowledge, learning and organizational or development effectiveness, it is far more difficult to demonstrate it. This is just as relevant in the management of knowledge outside the walls of organizations. In society, knowledge and its application are catalysts for any development and progress (Brander and Cummings 2017). What are the theoretical and practical considerations and opportunities of taking a more systemic approach to KM, applying it to sectors and other broader concepts, such as ‘knowledge cities’, ‘the information society’ and ‘the knowledge economy’?


This issue

In this Special Issue, we want to encompass the challenges and opportunities in tracking and demonstrating the impact of managing knowledge both inside the walls (in organizations) and outside the walls (in the broader development context).

Schedule

Submission deadline for the title and abstract

30 January 2018

Acceptance/rejection of proposal

15 February 2018

Full contribution due

30 March 2018

Peer review completed

15 May 2018

Final versions submitted

15 June 2018

Publication of the issue

September 2018

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