According to Saini (2012), knowledge plays a significant role in making organizations to meet their goals. Although some companies may wish to take various decisions which impact employees, retaining knowledge remains critical in all decisions. Downsizing without considering knowledge can make an organization to experience different challenges which may lead to its closure. Utilizing the right strategies while downsizing is fundamental.
After realizing the company was experiencing challenges especially after the end of cold war, northern gate (NG) senior management took the decision of downsizing while retaining knowledge and expertise. The company understood that Knowledge management (KM) and expertise would play a significant role in preventing massive brain drain (McFarlane, 2012). The company under the leadership of smith utilized various strategies including coming up with KM council and conducting knowledge audit to ensure the goal of downsizing while maintaining knowledge and expertise was attained.
Case Study Analysis and KM Objectives Identification and Justification
Initially, the company did not analyse the employees to know whether they were sharing knowledge. The management took a creditable move to come up with a strategy of identifying if the employees were sharing knowledge. The decision to analyse if employees where aware about the value of sharing knowledge means the management had started realizing that something was wrong because the company was experiencing difficulties in meeting its goals.
The end of cold war would make this company to experience various challenges because most of the products which the company produced were used during that time. Based on this factor, and bearing in mind that some of the employees had started quitting the organization, it meant the company was experiencing various problems which would be threat to the success of the organization. According to Huang (2014), failing to address some issues especially those which impact workforce can make an organization to close down. The great success which smith and his team attained will benefit the company in various ways, including coming up with innovative products.
The company has different autonomous business units which include information and services, electronics, aerospace and ships. The fact that the company was trying to down size, maintaining knowledge and expertise was important for this units to remain in operation (Ologbo, 2015). After identifying that the organization was experiencing problems, the senior management to down size while retaining knowledge and expertise.
The objective of undertaking this process was to ensure the company remains with few employees but with proper knowledge and skills. The company was aware that with the end of cold war and other factors that would provide it with market opportunities, the large number of employees would have no purpose. The company also wanted to retain knowledge because it wanted to have a team that would effectively contribute in production of products which the company was producing.
One of NG’s main object for knowledge management was to ensure skills and expertise were well utilized to make the company to continue performing better. Great number of employees who were leaving the organization after would significantly impact its performance, bearing in mind that some of them were those who had technical knowledge in some areas that were critical based of the products that the company was producing.
Critical Success Factors
The ACS’s strategy of downsizing while maintaining knowledge succeeded because smith ensured the right procedures were used. Because it is fundamental for employees to understand that knowledge sharing is critical for good performance of an organization, smith considered surveys to find out if the staff members were aware about the importance of sharing know-how with their colleagues (Goel, 2010). The fact that the largest number of them reported to know the value of knowledge sharing means KM would be effective in this company.
The fact that the employees understands the value of sharing knowledge will make them to work as teams and improve quality and quantity (Meharabani, 2012). When employees with good knowledge team up while undertaking task, they share ideas, skills and experiences which in turn makes the company to realize success. Understanding the importance of sharing knowledge with their counterparts will also make the employees to assist the company to come up with innovative products.
Georgieff (2013) argues that downsizing without retaining knowledge can make a company to experience challenges which can lead to its closure. The fact that ACS succeeded in retaining knowledge and reducing the number of employees, it will remain in operation and save the money which would be used to pay salaries.
According to Petter (2014), critical thinking assists organizations to overcome problems which can impact knowledge management. John smith’s idea of requesting ACS to implement appropriate KM initiative was right because it would assist in preventing further loss of knowledge and expertise in the organization.
Huang (2014) states that before addressing any problem which impact an organization, it is always advisable to first consider what triggers the problem. Before launching the KM initiative, Smith and his team considered to identify the best strategies to identify the barriers which prevented the staff members from sharing information with their colleagues. Alongside the end of cold war which provided the company with opportunities to sell their products, lack of sharing knowledge among the employees could be one of the factor that was making the company to experience challenges. Having identified that employees were aware that sharing information with their counterparts was important, it would be simple for the management to manage knowledge and expertise.
NG’s decision to analyse the level of knowledge sharing among the employees was fundamental because it assisted the company to understand whether the employees were aware about the importance of knowledge sharing or not (Malgeri, 2013). It was a surprise after the audit was conducted to realize that the employees were aware about the value of sharing knowledge with their counterparts. This means utilization of proper strategies to retain knowledge would make the company to realize great success.
According to Goel (2010), organizations only succeed in knowledge management if employees understand the importance of knowledge in workplace. Appointing KM council which emphasized mostly emphasized on knowledge assisted smith to identify that the employees were aware about the value of sharing knowledge with their counterparts. The step by step analysis and good audit process were also significant contributors to the success of that process.
Before thinking of the strategies which can effectively manage knowledge in an organization, it is advisable to first consider the factors which can make the staff members think of leaving the company (Omotayo, 2010). Smith was keen in incorporating this factor in the strategies for knowledge management because he advised the KM council to identify the subject matter.
The good leadership of smith, assisted the process of downsizing while maintaining knowledge and expertise to be deemed successful. After conducting the whole process, the management managed to reduce workforce from 8000 to 6000 and adapted KM. this means the company will have the right number of employees based on the tasks available. In addition to that, it will also benefit by having employees who can utilize their skills effectively for the success of the organization
Having successfully downsized while maintaining knowledge and expertise, this company will be able to realize less cost when it comes to salaries. It will also realize high quality work and great production. Maintaining knowledge will also make it to be more innovative. Having the right number of employees with good knowledge helps an organization to remain successful.
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