The Application of a Knowledge Management Framework to Automotive Original Component Manufacturers

Andre Calitz, Margaret Cullen
Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge, and Management  •  Volume 12  •  2017  •  pp. 337-365

This paper aims to present an example of the application of a Knowledge Man-agement (KM) framework to automotive original component manufacturers (OEMs). The objective is to explore KM according to the four pillars of a selected KM framework.

This research demonstrates how a framework, namely the George Washington University’s Four Pillar Framework, can be used to determine the KM status of the automotive OEM industry, where knowledge is complex and can influence the complexity of the KM system (KMS) used.

An empirical study was undertaken using a questionnaire to gather quantitative data. There were 38 respondents from the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM) and suppliers from three major automotive OEMs. The respondents were required to be familiar with the company’s KMS.

Currently there is a limited body of research available on the KM implementation frameworks for the automotive industry. This study presents a novel approach to the use of a KM framework to reveal the status of KM in automotive OEMs. At the time of writing, the relationship between the four pillars and the complexity of KMS had not yet been determined.

The results indicate that there is a need to improve KM in the automotive OEM industry. According to the relationships investigated, the four pillars, namely leadership, organization, technology and learning, are considered important for KM, regardless of the level of KMS complexity,

Automotive OEMs need to ensure that the KM aspects are established and should be periodically evaluated by using a KM framework such as the George Washington University’s Four Pillar Framework to identify KM weaknesses.

The establishment and upkeep of a successful KM environment is challenging due to the complexity involved with various influencing aspects. To ensure that all aspects are considered in KM environments, comprehensive KM frameworks, such as the George Washington University’s Four Pillar Framework, need to be applied.

The status of KM management and accessibility of knowledge in organizations needs to be periodically examined, in order to improve supplier and OEM knowledge sharing.

Although the framework used provides a process for KM status determination, this study could be extended by investigating a methodology that includes KMS best practice and tools. This study could be repeated at a national and international level to provide an indication of KM practice within the entire automotive industry.

knowledge management, knowledge management system, framework, automotive industry
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