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The EFQM Framework for Knowledge Management Assessing the Organisation’s Knowledge Management Capabilities

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (be this electronically, mechanically, through photocopy or recording or otherwise) without either the prior written permission of, or a licence permitting restricted copying and use for a third party, from the publisher. Š 2005 EFQM

The EFQM Framework for Knowledge Management has been jointly developed by CIBIT Consultants | Educators, PACEPerformance and EFQM. The intellectual property within the EFQM Framework for Risk Management as owned by CIBIT Consultants | Educators, PACEPerformance and EFQM is freely offered to EFQM for production and distribution to its partners and network. Š 2005 CIBIT Consultants | Educators BV. & PACEPerformance Ltd | EFQM



1. Introduction


2. Knowledge Management 2.1 The challenges 2.2 What is Knowledge Management? 2.3 Knowledge Management as a means to an end 2.4 Knowledge Management and Intellectual Capital 2.5 Critical success factors


3. The EFQM Excellence Model 3.1 Introduction to the EFQM Excellence Model 3.2 The RADAR logic 3.3 Applying RADAR logic 3.4 The RADAR Pathfinder card 3.5 Introduction to Organisational Self-Assessment 4. The Excellence Model, Self-Assessment and the Framework for Knowledge Management

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5. The EFQM Framework for Knowledge Management – Implementation 5.1 The Self-Assessment process 5.2 Choosing the ‘right’ Self-Assessment technique


6. The EFQM Framework for Knowledge Management – Detail


Appendix: The Pathfinder card


Partners behind the EFQM Framework for Knowledge Management


Glossary of Terms


Further Help and Associated Products




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1. Introduction

In 1997 the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM), in partnership with CIBIT and the American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC), undertook a Benchmarking Study Project searching for Good Practice in the area of Knowledge Management (KM). In the subsequent years many more organisations have come to recognise the importance of Knowledge Management as a key enabler for their future success, realising it is here to stay as a management issue rather than being the latest, here today, gone tomorrow fad. Based on feedback from its members, EFQM decided that the time was right to undertake another search for Good Practice in this challenging area and so, in late 2001, in collaboration with CIBIT Consultants | Educators, EFQM started a second project. Twenty-seven companies responded to the survey and they originated from the majority of industry sectors with a relatively strong contribution from telecommunications, software/ IT-services, fast moving consumer goods, consulting and automotive sectors. A more recent examination of the results of that study has led to the development of this EFQM Framework for Knowledge Management. The Framework is based on a number of principles: 1. Alignment with the EFQM Excellence Model will enable those organisations familiar with the Model to use the Framework easily and effectively and assess their KM practices against areas to address drawn from best practice in the field. 2. Experienced Knowledge Management professionals can benefit from an approach that will help them align their activities to the continuous improvement of the business. 3. Organisations new to Knowledge Management can assess their current priorities and judge where their initial efforts should be targeted. 4. Knowledge Management is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. Hence, a clear focus in this Framework on the Enablers criteria. KM must contribute to enhanced performance and using this Framework invites organisations to consider which specific aspects of the Results sections of the Excellence Model it wants to see the benefit appearing of its KM efforts. In fact, KM is a key process in increasing the intellectual capital (IC) of the organisation (see section 2.4 on KM and IC). 5. KM is most effective when it is approached holistically. This is achieved through a series of integrated initiatives aligning human resource issues, ICT infrastructures and informal learning interventions that enable the organisation to improve the quality of the knowledge it holds, enhance access to and the retrieval of the knowledge

2. Knowledge Management

2.1 The challenges Most organisations face challenges as they experience one or more of the following issues: Costly mistakes are duplicated because earlier ones were not recorded or analysed. Work is often re-done because people are not aware of previous activities, projects in the past or their outcomes. Customer relationships are sometimes damaged because knowledge is not available at the point of action. Good ideas and best practices are most often not shared, which raises overall costs. Only one or two employees hold crucial knowledge. Organisations learn too slowly which results in delayed product development or missed opportunities. Employees are frustrated because knowledge resources are not available. Knowledge Management has emerged in recent years as a means to improve business performance and can help to address all of these issues.

2.2 What is Knowledge Management? There are two apparently divergent tracks within the field that can have major implications for both an understanding and the implementation of Knowledge Management. The two perspectives are: (1) information technology-centric and (2) people-centric. The information technology perspective focuses on the construction of information systems and tends to involve researchers and practitioners with a background in computer and information sciences. The approach implies that knowledge is an object, or product, to be identified, classified, stored and distributed independently of its source. From this perspective there are many ways in which products and artefacts can represent knowledge. These may often be documents, yet can also be symbols, maps, images or icons. Alternatively, the people perspective focuses on the assessment and development of a ‘complex set of dynamic skills and know-how that is changing’. Researchers and practitioners within this track tend to have a background in management or the social sciences. These backgrounds support an emphasis on knowledge as a process. This focus seeks ways to motivate, broker and animate the exchange of knowledge through an emphasis on communications and collaboration tools and sees knowledge as dependent upon its source – people. What has emerged from the experience and the best practice studies upon which this Framework has been drawn, is that it is not a choice between the two perspectives. Leading practitioners seem to manage an effective fusion of the two seemingly divergent views. In this instance both the product and process-based approaches can support the maximum leverage of knowledge in any organisation. The former will help to codify knowledge and make it accessible, whilst the latter helps to make a connection between items of knowledge, their sources and others who may find value in the application of that knowledge.


EFQM Framework for Knowledge Management