Special issue: Knowledge management, knowledge networks

Vol. 62, n° 7-8, July-August 2007
Content available on Springerlink

Guest editors
Valérie Fernandez, Télécom Paris, France
Suzanne Rivard, HEC Montréal, Canada


Valérie Fernandez, Suzanne Rivard

Managing networks of communities of practice for organizational knowledge creation, a Knowledge Management imperative in the era of globalization


Graduate School of Business, Osaka City University, Sugimoto 3-3-138, Sumiyoshi-Ku, Osaka, 558-8585, Japan.

Abstract This article explores some imperatives of Knowledge Management for organizational knowledge creation in the era of globalization. As the transformation of Knowledge Management practices of Japanese firms in 1990s shows, Nonaka and Takeuchi’s original model of organizational knowledge creation needs to be expanded by incorporating the concept of “community of practice” as the “engine” of knowledge creation. As an attempt for such expansion, it proposes a model of knowledge-creating organization as a self-organizing network of interactive, overlapping, and self-managing communities of practice. This article also explores some organizational conditions and managerial implications to prevent “malfunction” of communities of practice in the threats of globalization and to facilitate their dynamic evolution. Knowledge-creating organizations and their managers need to give due recognition to and support for “differences” that exist not only among diverse communities of practices but also within each communities. At a micro level approach, they need to “empower” community members by encouraging “story-telling” or “narrative” of members’lives in the communities and by assuring “transparency” of activities and resources to the members. As a macro level approach, they need to develop a “communitarian” organizational structure that fits to organizational knowledge creation in “multiculturalization” of societies.

Keywords Knowledge Management, Globalization, Organization sociology, Japan, Theory of action, Industrial accident, Health, Firm.

Communities of inquiry and knowledge creation in organizations: the process model in management

Philippe LORINO

Essec – Avenue Bernard Hirsch, BP 50105, 95021 Cergy Pontoise Cedex, France.

Abstract Organization sciences are interested in the “community” concept, particularly to overcome the opposition between “methodological individualism” focused upon the subject and “methodological holism” focused upon the organization. “Communities of practice”, based upon practices common to a group of actors, provide a useful frame to study professional craft communities. They are not so useful to study the cooperation between actors who are involved in a “conjoint activity” – an activity which is not characterized by similar practices, but by their heterogeneous complementarity -, for which we propose to recur to the concept of « community of inquiry » owed to the pragmatist philosophers Peirce and Dewey. First we examine the “community of inquiry” concept and its specificities in studying collective activity: heterogeneity and complementarity of activities and knowledge, dialogical sense making in the interactions between actors, need for mutual intelligibility in a context which makes it difficult, key role of semiotic and instrumental mediations of activity, cooperativeness/ reflexivity coupling in the inquiry frame. Then we describe how communities of inquiry work as a group committed to create knowledge to achieve conjoint actions with shared practical purposes. The inquiry articulates exploratory abduction-deduction-induction cycles, with a structure of roles, exploration instruments which stress abductive reasoning and collective agreement upon some process to validate results. Finally we shall mention communities of project and process as examples of communities of inquiry in firms. In one case study, we shall see that situations of change may require the simultaneous construction of communities of practice and communities of inquiry so that actors can take the control of their own collective activity.

Keywords Knowledge management, ERP, Organization sociology, Inquiry, Cooperation, Learning, Supply, Knowledge acquisition, Theory of action.

What kind of knowledge sharing network for a consultant profile?


IAE de Nantes, Sciences Economiques et Sociales – Chemin de la Censive du Tertre, BP 52231, 44322 Nantes Cedex 3, France.

Abstract Management consultants appear to be particular knowledge workers that are characterised by an expert and self-sufficient profile. The aim of this research is to understand whether their professional characteristics still allow them to share knowledge and lead them to use a formal network (through a knowledge management system, KMS) or an informal one (person- to-person). To study their KMS using and sharing behaviour, a qualitative case study methodology was adopted, based on observation and multi-hierarchical ranking, multi-site, partly-structured interviews among consultants within the same consulting firm. The results firstly show that use and knowledge-sharing behaviours are differently influenced by practical and social characteristics; moreover, the social professional context of these self-sufficient experts encourages most of them to share knowledge within a more informal network.

Keywords Knowledge management, Consultant, Organization sociology, Cooperation, Knowledge base, Human communication.

Knowledge management and cognitive maps: a study about interorganizational collaboration


* Département d’administration de la santé, Université de Montréal – C.P. 6128, succ. Centre-ville, Montréal (Québec) H3C 3J7 Canada.
** École des sciences de la gestion, Université du Québec à Montréal – C.P. 6192, succ. Centre-ville, Montréal (Québec) H3C 4R2 Canada.

Abstract The examination of individual cognitive maps can help those concerned to get a shared view of a problem. This exercise could be especially helpful for people who take part in an interorganizational collaboration (IC) given the complexity of this kind of partnership. However, very few researches have focused on the way participants conceptualize the success of their IC. The aim of this study is to demonstrate how the cognitive map can be used as a knowledge management tool to improve our understanding of IC success (ICS). More specifically, we will show how the cognitive map can be useful to reveal similarities and differences between cognitive maps about ICS. Eight professionals who work in two different organizations within the field of work rehabilitation have constructed their cognitive map about the success of their collaboration with the other organization concerned. A guide has been developed to allow participants to construct the map without the assistance of the researcher. A comparative analysis of individual maps with Decision Explorer software has focused on relative importance of concepts, on the examination of factors that are considered either important explanations or consequences, and on cluster analysis. Results have shown among other things a significant difference between representations of success of IC, not only at an interorganizational level, but also at an intraorganizational one. Despite this difference, participants tend to consider communication between partners and successful clinical intervention as key elements in their understanding of ICS. This research has also contributed to the development of cognitive maps by allowing participants to elaborate their maps without intensive assistance from the researcher, which is a first in the field of cognitive mapping.

Keywords Knowledge Management, Cooperation, Partnership, Knowledge representation, Graphic method, Methodology, Mental representation, Psychosociology.

The management of medical knowledge: between non-structured documents and ontologies

Jean CHARLET*,**

* Centre des Cordeliers, INSERM, UMR S 872, Éq. 20, Paris, F-75006 France ; Université Pierre et Marie Curie – Paris 6, UMR S 872, Paris, F-75006 France ; Université Paris Descartes, UMR S 872, Paris, F-75006 France.
** AP-HP, DSI/STIM, Paris, F-75004 France.

Abstract In this paper, we study the ways of representing medical knowledge in an information system. We argue that the data-processing support is not neutral and conditions the representations that are built. In addition, the requirements of medical activity – work with the computerized record, needs for indexing, constraints of coding, etc. – have consequences for modelling and for applications which each correspond to different assumptions about the handling of information and knowledge. In particular, the diversity of the activity is such that the question of the documents and their supports has to be considered, as they generally provide poorly structured information; formal models of knowledge as ontologies also have to be addressed. We propose to model the exchange and the production of information and knowledge within care units of the hospital in the context of the knowledge management, so as to account for these diversities of modelling and to direct future research and development. In addition, we consider the organisational training made possible by this type of analysis grid. These proposals are illustrated by research and medical applications developed in a hospital context.

Keywords Knowledge Management, Medicine, Computer aid, Electronic document, Indexing, Modeling, Formal method.

Open Topics

Non-cooperative game theory applied to telecommunication networks

Eitan ALTMAN*, Rachid EL-AZOUZI**

* INRIA, B.P. 93, 2004 Route des Lucioles, 06902 Sophia-Antipolis Cedex, France
** LIA, University of Avignon, Agroparc BP 1228, 84911 Avignon, France

Abstract In this paper, we present various tools originating from non-cooperative Game Theory, which allow us to study competition situations in telecommunication networks. We describe the mathematical tools while providing examples from a variety of areas in telecommunication networks.

Keywords Game theory, Telecommunication network, Competition, Mathematical model, Equilibrium, Optimization, Evolution, Network routing.

Constraint-Based Model for Network Service Provisioning

Rudy DECA*, Omar CHERKAOUI*, Yvon SAVARIA**, Doug SLONE***

* Université du Québec à Montréal – Pavillon Sherbrooke, SH-5715, 200 Rue Sherbrooke O., Montréal, QC H2X 3P2, Canada.
** École Polytechnique de Montréal – Pavillon Mackay-Lassonde, M-5117, 2700 Chemin de Polytechnique, Montréal, QC, H3T 1J4, Canada
*** Cisco Systems Canada Co., 3000 Innovation Dr., Kanata, ON, K2K 3E8, Canada;

Abstract As the network services deployed over the Internet become more complex, their configurations are more difficult to manage. The constraints that exist among the network service configuration parameters are an important source of complexity in the configuration, validation and fault management processes. Existing solutions do not provide adequate high-level models to capture and integrate various types of configuration constraints. It is therefore necessary to adopt a structured approach in order to solve this problem. Thus, in this paper, we propose a structured and integrated constraint-based model for network service configuration, validation and fault management.

Key words Telecommunication network, Bearer service, Constraint, Taxonomy, Internet, Modeling, Structural model, Network management.

Application of wavelet packet based multicarrier modulation to wireless transmissions


GIPSA-Lab, Département Images et Signal, ENSIEG/INPG, 961 rue de la Houille Blanche, BP 46, 38402 Saint Martin d’Hères.

Abstract Based on the good time-frequency characteristics of the pulse shaping, it is possible to build a multicarrier modulation that reduces wireless interferences. In this paper, the Wavelet Packet Modulation (WPM) is applied to wireless communications and a new wavelet based multicarrier modulation is proposed which used complex wavelets. Simulations show that WPM outperforms the useful OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) modulation for a transmission with strong narrowband interferences. For a multipath channel transmission, the use of complex wavelet outperforms the use of the real one and outperforms OFDM modulation when the cyclic prefix is not used.

Keywords Signal theory, Radiocommunication, OFDM, Multicarrier modulation, Orthogonal signal,Wavelets, Radio channel, Signal interference, Dispersive channel, Frequency time representation.

Induced lightning disturbances in a network of aerial shielded cables


* Laboratoire d’Étude et de Modélisation en Électrotechnique, Université de Jijel – BP 98 – 18000 Jijel, Algérie
** LASMEA, Université Blaise Pascal – 24, avenue des Landais, 63177 Aubière, France

Abstract In this work we study the coupling of a lightning wave with an overhead shielded cables network. The study is led directly in the time domain with hold in account of the loads nonlinear character, and the effect of a finite conductivity of the shield and soil. After discretization by the method so-called FDTD (Finite Difference Time Domain) of the lines equations excited by a lightning wave and the application in every node of the network of the Kirchhoff’s laws in current and voltage, we deduct a equations system linear or no, of which the resolution permits us to deduct the induced electric quantities in every node of the network. In this study we propose a concept for the coupling analysis of a lightning wave with a shielded cable without use of the least FFT; the shielded cables are treated in a single stage. In this work we also put in evidence the disadvantages of the coupling analysis in the frequency domain.

Keywords Overhead line, Lightning, Electromagnetic disturbance, Shielded cable, Electromagnetic coupling, Meshed network, Time domain method, Electrical conductivity, Non linear load, Finite difference method, Multiconductor line, Matrix method.

Multi-wavelength conversion at 10 Gb/s and 40 GHz based on nonlinear effects in HNLF

Miroslav KARASEK*, Jiri KANKA*, Pavel HONZATKO*, Josef VOJTECH**, Jan RADIL**

* Institute of Radio Engineering and Electronics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic – Chaberska 27, 182 51 Prague, Czech Republic; karasek at ure.cas.cz
** CESNET a.l.e. – Zikova 4, 160 00 Prague 6, Czech Republic

Abstract We present experimental results and numerical simulations of multiple-wavelength conversion of 10 Gb/s non-return-to-zero (NRZ) signals based on 2-pumps four-wave mixing and of 40Gb/s return-to-zero (RZ) signals through supercontinuum (SC) generation in a highly nonlinear fiber (HNLF). Two pumps with a 100 GHz separation located in the region of anomalous dispersion of the HNLF were combined to form a beat signal. The 10 Gb/s NRZ signal anchored on ITU grid was converted with gain into 6 new signals and 6 idlers with 100 GHz separation. High quality SC with bandwidth exceeding 50 nm was generated when the HNLF was pumped with 25 dBm average power. Sliced SC can be used as a source for all-optical multicasting.

Key words Optical telecommunication, Frequency conversion, Non linear effect, Optical fiber, Parametric amplifier, Wavelength division multiplexing, All optical technology, Multicasting, Four wave mixing.