One Company – Two: Outcomes Knowledge Integration vs. Corporate Disintegration in the Absence of Knowledge Management

VINE: The Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems, Vol. 39, No. 3, pp. 242-258, 2009

17 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2011  

William P. Hall

University of Melbourne - Melbourne School of Engineering; Kororoit Institute

Susu Nousala

Aalto University; University of Melbourne

Bill Kilpatrick

Monash University - Faculty of Engineering

Date Written: July 1, 2009

Abstract

Purpose – To learn to avoid pitfalls there is need to accept and understand failures. This anonymous case study aims to report a major organisational failure due to the absence of effective knowledge management, where both the reasons for, and organisational consequences of, the failure are fairly
clear.

Design/Methodology/Approach – Within a theoretical framework of organisational autopoiesis, the case study compares knowledge management styles from two eras in the history of one engineering project management company: as it grew from an acquired site with a single project to a multi-divisional leader in its regional market, and then as it failed in its original line of business to the point where it divested most of its assets.

Findings – In the first era, the executive and line managers were permissive, allowing project teams to work out local solutions for business problems as they arose producing successful and profitable solutions. The decline began and accelerated when management strengthened hierarchical command and control that stifled knowledge sharing and solution development at the work face and exceeded line managers’ limits of rationality.

Research limitations/implications – This study has the limitations of any historical study of a single case, exacerbated by a need to maintain the anonymity of the surviving company.

Originality/value – Few studies so clearly highlight the critical importance of personal knowledge and its sharing in knowledge intensive organisations for maintaining successful operations. Success may have many parents, but in this case the internal comparisons identify specific factors that caused a successful organisation to disintegrate.

Keywords: Knowledge Transfer, Project Management, Knowledge Management, Business Failures, Case Study

JEL Classification: D23, D70, L20, L69, M12, M51, M54, O33

Suggested Citation

Hall, William P. and Nousala, Susu and Kilpatrick, Bill, One Company – Two: Outcomes Knowledge Integration vs. Corporate Disintegration in the Absence of Knowledge Management (July 1, 2009). VINE: The Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems, Vol. 39, No. 3, pp. 242-258, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1757260

William P. Hall (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Melbourne School of Engineering ( email )

185 Pelham Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053
Melbourne, Victoria 3010
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.orgs-evolution-knowledge.net

Kororoit Institute ( email )

127 Power Street
St Albans, Vic. 3021
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://kororoit.org

Susu Nousala

Aalto University ( email )

P.O. Box 21210
Aalto, FI-00076
Finland

University of Melbourne ( email )

Parkville
Melbourne, 3000
Australia

Bill Kilpatrick

Monash University - Faculty of Engineering ( email )

Wellington Road
Victoria, Roodepoort 3145
Australia
0412520572 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://bill.kilpatrick@monash.edu

Paper statistics

Downloads
82
Rank
250,084
Abstract Views
802