Knowledge Unplugged

The McKinsey and Company Global Survey on Knowledge Management

Thomas Licht, Wolfram Stein, Alexandra Bendler, Jens Elzenheimer, Susanne Hauschild, Uwe Heckert, Jan Krönig, André Stoffels, Jürgen Kluge

Publisher: Palgrave, 2001, 213 pages

ISBN: 0-333-96376-8

Keywords: Knowledge Management

Last modified: Sept. 22, 2007, 1:02 p.m.

This book is a result of a two-year survey encompassing 40 companies in the US, Europe and Japan by McKinsey & Company. The survey yielded insights into how top managers can bring the full force of their company's knowledge to bear on overall corporate performance. The authors take a broad approach to knowledge management, pinpointing improvement steps that span the corporate landscape from human resources to IT systems. Going beyond the hype, they focus upon practical management techniques that have the greatest potential for achieving bottom-line impact.

The authors approach the challenge of knowledge manaement by examining the six characteristics of knowledge that set it apart from the traditional corporate assets of land, labor and capital. Along with addressing each of these characteristics in detail, they look at the need to create an overall corporate culture that encourages the use and sharing of knowledge.

  1. Why Knowledge is Important
    • Knowledge management makes the difference
    • A handle on knowledge management
    • In search of leading-edge knowledge management
    • Framework for action
    • The Survey
  2. Knowledge Pull Required
    • The database that couldn't
    • Push is easy, so work on pull
    • Dismantle individual barriers
    • Aligning individual motivation with corporate goals
    • Constructing a new scenario

    • The corporate prisoners' dilemma
    • Case Study 2.1 Buckman Labs
    • Case Study 2.2 John Deere
  3. Knowledge Character Building
    • Application creates value quickly
    • Distribution unleashes everyone's potential
    • Cultivation generates long-term options
    • Knowledge shows character
    • Tying it all together
  4. Subjectivity: Reading from the Same Page
    • Build common experiences
    • Generate an open knowledge flow across hierarchies
    • Break the status barrier
    • Get the experts together
    • Synchronize high-level goals
    • Turning traditional techniques to greater advantage
    • Case Study 4.1 Oticon
  5. Transferability: Knowledge on the Move
    • Benchmarking knowledge under your nose
    • Exploring the world
    • Partner for knowledge
    • Know your customer
    • Discover the land of new opportunities
    • Case Study 5.1 AISIN AW
  6. Embeddedness: Mining a Rich Vein
    • IT can help
    • But choose carefully
    • Personal contact is key
    • Case Study 6.1 Outokumpu
  7. Self-Reinforcement: Starting the Chain Reaction
    • Connecting the critical mass
    • Exploiting the network
    • Building networks with externals
    • Building IT networks
    • Training with internal and external experts
    • Case Study 7.1 SAP
  8. Perishability: Capturing Value Quickly
    • Facing the three value destroyers
    • The need for speed
    • Enjoy the ride up while it lasts
    • Case Study 8.1 Intel
  9. Spontaneity: Sparking Profits
    • Harnessing the beast
    • Search for new ideas
    • Forcing ideas to collide
    • Selecting the winners
    • Building business
    • Case Study 9.1 Fuji Xerox
  10. Kicking Off a Knowledge Management Program
    • Be precise about the objectives
    • Assess the status of your company
    • Concentrate on getting results
  11. Coming to Terms with the Knowledge Economy
    • If we all agree, what is the problem?
    • Charting the new ground
    • Where to start
    • Conducting the orchestra
    • All CKOs, please raise your hands
    • The knowledge era


Knowledge Unplugged

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Good ******* (7 out of 10)

Last modified: May 21, 2007, 3:09 a.m.

Trust McKinsey to try its hand at KM. In fact, they do a well researched survey of the state-of-the-art of the field. Lacks a bit in depth, as it is purely based upon opinions and no practicalities.


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