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Can PA Consulting Group harness their human and technological assets to make knowledge-sharing a reality?

Knowledge-Sharing Activities Dissertation – The sharing of knowledge within a multi-disciplinary consultancy is an ominous task with many obstacles. Key factors including bonus schemes, the business model, staff motivation and technology are central to the successful adoption of knowledge-sharing activities and it was the examination of these factors and their influence within PA Consulting Group that provided the basis for this dissertation. The business problem identified within the company was split into two areas namely the misuse and inefficiency of PA’s corporate Intranet site and accompanying search engine, as well as the resistance of consultants to share knowledge with their peers.

A combined methodology consisting of primary and secondary data together with participant observations provided the research base to investigate the business problem and test some of the theories put forward by prominent academics in the knowledge-sharing arena. The findings highlighted three distinct factors, which influenced the staff member’s motivation and their willingness to share, namely the sales focussed bonus scheme, a lack of management recognition and lack of incentive through annual objectives. Results also found a large number of consultants who were dissatisfied with the lack of uniform procedure for uploading documents onto KnowledgeNet (KNet) as well as the inaccuracies that plagued the search engine functionality.

In conclusion, the factors inhibiting knowledge-sharing were primarily human based (soft) including trust, motivation and culture and are largely a result of PA’s business model. It was recognised that technology should only facilitate sharing, not be the driver behind sharing activity, something that PA were found to be guilty of. However effective a Knowledge-sharing initiative may be, it must first fit in with a company’s business model. But what happens when a business model is focused mainly on tangible benefit and is structured in a way that offers little reward or recognition for intangible knowledge-sharing activities? How are knowledge-sharing initiatives and more importantly staff members, affected when the rewards scheme focuses solely on performance related?

The dissertation will look at the rewards and incentives dictated by the business model and investigate their affect on knowledge-sharing within the company. Through primary data as well as academic models, my investigation will address the following questions:

  • Can a consulting environment facilitate sharing
  • Do people really share knowledge and if not why
  • What challenges do PA face when trying to encourage a sharing culture
  • Can these issues be addresses purely by technology

  • 15,000 words – 132 pages
  • Excellent use of literature
  • Many Business and IT models used
  • Good analysis of subject area
  • Ideal for business IT and HRM students

1: Introduction
Business Problem
Aims and Objectives

2: An Industrial Analysis
Who is PA?
Internal Analysis
Analysis Method – Mckinsey’s 7 S Framework
Structure
Corporate Arm
Consultancy Arm
Strategy
Systems
HR Systems
Global Sales System
Knowledge System
Reward and recognition systems
Style
Skills
Staff
Motivation
Shared values
Client focused
Selfless and team orientated
Ethical
Commercially Driven
Seeking to Excel
Conclusion
External Analysis
Analysis Method – SWOT Analysis
Current environment – Opportunities and Threats
Adaptive steps
The threat of competition
Market share – Opportunity
Summary

3: Theoretical Framework
Introduction to the Concept of knowledge Management
Data, Information and Knowledge
Data
Information
Knowledge
Types of Knowledge
Explicit Knowledge
Tacit Knowledge
Knowledge Conversion
The four modes of Knowledge Conversion
Dynamic Systems
The Environment
Technical Assets
Intranets
KnowledgeNet
Distributive Application
Collaborative Application
What are human assets?
Knowledge-sharing
Hierarchy
Culture
The knowledge market
The knowledge Community
Game Theory
Summary

4: Analysis of Technical Problems
Uploading and Searching
The Problems with SiteServer
Summary

5: Research Methods and Source of Data
Introduction
Research Aims
Data Sources
Overview of Selected Research Methods
Triangulation
Types of Data – Primary and Secondary
Quantitative Methods
Questionnaires
Qualitative Methods
Semi structure qualitative interviews
Research Limitations

6 Results and Findings
Qualitative Managerial Responses (Managerial Interviews)
Knowledge Management Initiative at PA Consulting Group
Knowledge-sharing Theory Vs Practice
Incentives for sharing
PA’s Technology
Searching for a Solution
Questionnaire Responses
KNet popularity
KNet efficiency / Technical capabilities
The Process of Acquisition
Staff Epistemology
PA Culture for Sharing
Summary

7: Analysis and Discussion
Overview
Contributing explicit knowledge
Structural Components
Process Components
Motivation and inhibitors towards sharing explicit and tacit knowledge
Business Model
Summary

8: Conclusions
Can a Consulting Environment Facilitate Sharing?
Do People Really Share Knowledge and If Not Why?
Can PA Encourage a Sharing Culture?
What Role Should Technology Play?
Future Direction of PA
Future Research
Larger Sample
Rank

References

Appendices

Knowledge-Sharing Activities Dissertation
Knowledge-Sharing Activities Dissertation

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