2000 - Decision Support through Knowledge Management

Stockholm, Sweden, 9-11 July

Proceedings edited by S.A. Carlsson, P. Brézillon, P. Humphreys, B.G. Lundberg, A.M. McCosh & V. Rajkovič.

Title Pages
Abdat, S. and Pervan, G. P.

Selective Broadcast is defined as the distribution of information to specified members of a communication group. It is potentially one of the most significant requirements of technological support for groups engaged in the pre-meeting stage of strategy formulation. Groups are frequently used by organizations to deal with strategy formulation tasks. This paper presents RAPAT, a system that can be used during asynchronous pre-meeting stage of strategy formulation, as an example of a knowledge management project in a group setting. This paper also discusses the effect of Selective Broadcast on knowledge creation in the level of group memory during asynchronous pre-meetings.

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Adam, F. and Pomerol, J.-C.

The areas of knowledge management and decision making are tightly connected, hence the great interest of the IS community in the development of knowledge management systems that can support the decision making of managers. We studied an information intensive organisation having the publication of two newspaper titles as its core business in an attempt to analyse the process whereby organisational actors seek, gather, organise and disseminate the information and knowledge that make up the products of this organisation. The organisation studied had recently completed the implementation of computerised news collection and editorial systems and we were particularly interested in studying the effects of the application of IS and the contribution of IS staff to these vital processes. We found that the implementation of the new systems has revolutionised the process of creation of the newspapers and given more time and a much greater amount of control to the Editorial team.

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Berztiss, A. T.

In the management of information for a DSS it is necessary to consider the acquisition of information, its internal representation, and the accessing of the internally stored information by a DSS. Here we emphasize internal representation and access, taking a semiotic approach. In particular, pragmatics is to assist in the design of languages for defining the operation of information bases. The paper also contains a brief survey of general topics relating to information management in the context of DSSs.

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Bohanec, M., Leskošek, B., Rajkovič, V. and Kapus, V.

In this paper, a knowledge-based system called Talent is presented, whose basic aim is to bring the expertise of sport talent identification to physical education teachers, coaches, pupils and their parents. In the system, qualitative and quantitative knowledge management techniques were employed to acquire, represent and verify expert knowledge and use it for evaluation and explanation in advising process. Special emphasis is on knowledge understanding and interpretation of evaluation results in everyday practical situations in elementary and secondary schools.

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Bolloju, N. and Khalifa, M.

Managers in many decision making environments take independent decisions on recurring decision problems. In arriving at decisions, these decision makers combine their subjectivity with locally available information. Individual decision making processes also undergo changes with time because of the knowledge gained by decision makers through their own experience and learning from others. We present similarities and dependencies between decision support and knowledge management systems in supporting decision making activity in such environments. We propose an approach for integrating decision support and knowledge management. A framework is presented for organizational knowledge creation and exploitation activities in such decentralized decision making environments. This framework is expected to guide further research on the integration of decision support and knowledge management systems and on the application of information technology to the support of organizational memory.

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Ćećez-Kecmanović, D.

The paper investigates knowledge creation and sharing in an organisation-wide discussion supported by Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) as part of a university strategic decision-making process. Informed by Habermas's Theory of Communicative Action, the paper examines communicative practices and mechanisms accountable for knowledge sharing and identifies ways in which CMC lends support for or prevents knowledge sharing. Implications for the design and deployment of new technologies for knowledge management in support of organisational decision-making are discussed.

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Duffy, N. M.

The fundamental theme of the paper is to try to understand the relationship between the mature technology of decision support systems and the emerging technology of knowledge management and to consider the implications of this relationship for management. It concludes by venturing some recommendations for managers who are involved in these issues. The main conclusion is that both business tools are here to stay, but that DSS will have to extend its capabilities to accommodate some of the new requirements that KM has generated. In many ways a change in mindset is required if DSS is to prosper in the knowledge age.

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Eikemeier, C., Grütter, R. and Heitmann, K.

The controlled clinical trial is key to medical knowledge creation. Few systems for managing clinical trials have dealt with aspects other than the collection of trial data. We expect better control of the trial when communication is logged and evaluated. We present a theoretical approach to this field using simple communication structures that have been identified by observing the communication within the trial community. These observations can be classified and put into the knowledge base for reasoning. After the definition of a model of communication structures, we show examples of how to work with this formal information. Some remarks on a realisation are added in the subsequent part. A summary and future expectations will conclude the paper.

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Fennessy, G. and Burstein, F.

The importance of decision support in health care is widely acknowledged. There is a range of decision support systems (DSS) introduced and used to support clinical decision-making. However, less attention has been paid to supporting evidence-based practice. These kinds of decision situations require identification and integration of the best available evidence for effective care with decision support of the health care practitioners. Up to this point, most DSS have been computer reminders, which integrate clinical guidelines and protocols. These are excellent summaries of good quality evidence, making recommendations for practice, but are currently limited in scope and topic coverage, due to the high cost and amount of time involved in developing them. Knowledge management within the context of evidence based health care has yet to be defined. This paper addresses the issue of how knowledge management can facilitate decision support within an organisation that has a range of intermediaries answering evidence-based questions on behalf of decision-makers. Decision support within this context is based on communicating right knowledge to the right user.

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Huber, G. P.

This paper deals with events that gain the attention of an organization's upper level managers. It examines the organizational interpretation of such events and how these interpretations affect organizational decisions. It also considers how organizational interpretations might be improved, and deals particularly with the fact that different managers may have different interpretive schema. It extends our understanding of decision support and knowledge management by considering possible linkages between these two familiar concepts and two less familiar concepts, categorization theory and transactive memory.

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Humphreys, P., Lorac, C. and Ramella, M.

This paper examines requirements and possibilities for knowledge management in situations where participants typically face blocked decision making and social exclusion and where conventional decision analysis would indicate that the decision-makers have little chance of centralising the control of decision making about their own futures. It describes how creative knowledge for distributed innovative decision making can be generated and communicated through the interplay of modes of composing in multimedia (textual, audio- visual) and modes of language (observation, action). Through activities of the SaRA project, youngsters in 15 Peruvian communities generated and communicated knowledge for innovation through making and exchanging multimedia productions, thus building a network of trust through which new possibilities for creative understanding and action could be synthesised. The paper describes how an alternative approach to creative knowledge management was implemented in this context, focusing on building the infrastructure that facilitated its generation and communication. It shows how communicating in multimedia empowered local decision-makers to discover new resources and implement new pathways, realising satisfying lives in situations where conventional methods of decision analysis and decision support are constrained, by the kinds of knowledge they manage, to signal "no way, no hope".

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Legna Verna, C.

This paper is focused on knowledge management to improve the decision making processes related to strategic public decisions that take place at the highest levels in regional and local public sector organizations. A DSS that takes in account the bounded space of the possible decisions of the decision makers is proposed. An example of this bounded space and the DSS proposal for this class of decisions are described. The proposal is oriented toward the reduction of the bias that affects decision making processes.

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Linger, H., Burstein, F., Kelly, J., Ryan, C. and Gigliotti, P.

The work of a forecaster is complex, categorised by uncertainty, incomplete information, multiple sources and a great variety of data and strict timelines all overlaid by a legal regime. Forecasters are required to exercise judgement because science is often inadequate at the level of detail required by specific forecasts. In such an environment, work activity assumes not only task performance, construction of a forecast, but also the review and re-assessment of the work done in order to understand and learn from the experience. The exercise of judgement and review together represent 'knowledge work', which requires an enhanced decision support approach which we term Intelligent Decision Support (IDS). In this paper we present a knowledge management framework in the context of intelligent decision support for weather forecasting. We illustrate the implementation of our knowledge management framework with a system for collaborative weather forecasting. The system provides an environment in which the forecaster is able to explore all available data, manipulate it, access guidance material, construct a forecast and provide a rationale for the forecast. The system intelligently manages the data allowing the forecaster to exercise their judgement. The collaborative aspect involves forecasters being able to reconcile their individual forecasts with other forecasters’ work. This is achieved by making the forecast and its rationale, including the guidance used in the forecast, available to other forecasters. With these facilities we are also able to demonstrate how individual and organisational learning processes are supported. The Mandala project presents a unique environment to apply and extend our knowledge management approach. The Mandala Project represents the third wave of development of integrated support facilities for operational forecasters. It aims to provide on-line services that includes access to wide variety of data, data visualisation and graphical editors, historical forecast databases and automated forecast guidance amongst other services.

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Lundberg, B. G.

A literature study is presented on some of the founding literature on Knowledge Management and some properties and processes related to the management of knowledge in business organisations have been identified, such as the contributing, reviewing and distribution of knowledge. From these observations it proposes that a useful metaphor to be applied in the area Knowledge Management is that of the academic organisation as it has a long tradition of developing and managing knowledge. The potentials and problems of applying the properties and processes of the academic organisation to business organisations are discussed and some preliminary areas for research, as well from an organisational perspective as from a computer science perspective, are proposed.

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Mak, B. L., Blanning, R. W. and Ho, S. S.

This paper presents an approach to developing intelligent agents that assist users in document selection on the World Wide Web (WWW). In this approach the agents use demographic data describing their users, as well as specific search categories supplied by the users. The approach results in two types of agents, one for server-push (subscription) environments and one for client-pull (keyword search) environments. After describing our approach and its partial implementation, we report experiments conducted to determine how well the agents function under different conditions.

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Meredith, R. A., May, D. and Piorun, J.

Approaches to knowledge management have included the classification of knowledge along different dimensions. Such classifications are useful in acknowledging the varied nature of what we understand as ‘knowledge’. In this paper, we seek to explore additional dimensions along which knowledge can be described, inspired by views of human mental activity from psychology and neurology. Implications for the scope of decision problems and the tools and techniques we use to solve them in a knowledge management paradigm are explored.

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Mertens, P. and Meier, M.

In order to improve decision support through knowledge management it is becoming increasingly important to combine internal and external as well as quantitative and qualitative information. The Internet is already one of the most important media for accessing external data and it might continue to grow in significance. The paper describes the concept and prototype of an “Editorial Workbench” that helps to manage knowledge spread in internal and external sources in order to distribute the right information to the responsible manager in time. SAP decided to use the prototype for the development of their new product SAP Strategic Enterprise Management (SAP SEM)™.

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Moody, D. L. and Shanks, G.

There is an enormous amount of new medical knowledge generated every year as a result of research. To make a practical difference, this knowledge needs to be disseminated and used in everyday clinical practice. This paper describes a knowledge management project which provides medical staff with on-line ac- cess to the latest medical research at the point of care, in order to improve the quality of clinical decision making and support the objectives of evidence based medicine. The project has been highly successful, and a survey of medical staff using the system found that over 90% felt that it had improved the quality of patient care. We describe how the system was implemented, its organisational impact, success factors and barriers encountered. The theoretical significance of this work is that it is one of the first empirical studies of a knowledge management project in the public sector. The practical significance of this research is that it provides a model for other similar organisations to follow in implementing such a project.

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Zoltay-Paprika, Z.

Many of business decisions require logical, step-by-step analysis of the available information or knowledge. This rigorous analysis complements other steps in the decision making process, such as identifying the problem, working with affected parties to develop options, selling the idea to the stakeholders. In the past consultants or experts helped the decision makers in this process. By now these actors are replaced by knowledge managers in those applications where decision makers are supported by decision support systems that are built in knowledge base.

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Pasquier, L., Brézillon, P. and Pomerol, J.-C.

In various industrial fields, the operators use pre-designed procedures either to solve problems or for troubleshooting. In the Parisian subway, such procedures exist since 1900. However, these procedures are not always exactly suited to the case at hand, and the operators generally prefer to customize a solution than to rely on fixed procedures. A new generation of decision support systems, so- called “intelligent” assistant systems, offers more flexible possibilities of cooperation between the users and the system. SART is such a system, for its design, we have modeled operators’ activity to model the cooperation between the operators and the system. As a result, we introduce the contextual graph paradigm, which appears as a possible computer representation of schemes that are used in psychology to describe human activities.

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Škraba, A., Kljajić, M. and Bernik, I.

The production process in a turbulent business environment is associated with permanent decisions made at different levels of the organizational hierarchy. As in all processes, the information gathered by the decision-makers defines the quality of the decision. The main idea of the presented methodology is to support knowledge management through a simulation model, which enables decision makers to test their hypotheses on the model. The knowledge captured in the model structure and defined by scenarios involves transforming the group perception of the real process and its future behavior with respect to the knowledge base in the form of model and simulation scenarios. Understanding the model is dependent on the knowledge of all participants in the production process. Therefore group modeling and scenario testing represent one of the methods used to enhance the knowledge of the considered system. Interaction between all of the involved participants also enriches the information flow in the organization and therefore supports the development of shared views and strategies. We describe in this paper, the experiment, which proves the stated hypothesis and the implementation example.

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Standing, C. and Benson, S.

The success of knowledge management initiatives appears to depend on a conducive corporate culture. From this perspective in the literature it may be assumed by organisations that they must plan to make radical changes to the underlying organisational culture or climate. We use a study of a large University operating in a climate of rationalisation, corporatisation and marketisation. This is used to determine the key barriers and facilitators to knowledge management and whether changes in the culture or climate are required to improve knowledge sharing practices. Major themes that emerged from the case interviews revolved around the level of competition between staff and lack of trust acting as barriers to knowledge management. However, when the findings are analysed in the context of organisational and societal trends it is unlikely that a fundamental shift in corporate culture will take place to accommodate KM initiatives. Rather KM is likely to involve a series of techniques to enhance knowledge sharing but ones that still work within the prevailing cultural climate.

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Stanek, S. and Sroka, H.

The computer support for organizations is by definition used in solving problems where sufficient explicit knowledge is not available. The system architecture is therefore designed to provide for the processes of sense-making, intuitive cognition, and for the use of tacit knowledge by groups and individuals. Science and decision support system design methodology can only provide inspiration, explanation, and handy tools; while the actual system, its operational characteristics and technical infrastructure, emerge as the result of continued effort of interdisciplinary teams. Knowledge management in an organization is a wide area of organized activity. Support systems tend to become specialized, isolated sub-areas of such activity oriented on the acquisition and expansion of knowledge accumulated within the context of making non-programmable decisions. The paper presents the findings of research on how and to what extent different decision making paradigms and perspectives can capitalize on knowledge management.

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