Information same industry do not follow similar management

Information and knowledge management is
a way for organizations to create, share, use, and manage intelligence for
business operations. IKM ensures that competitive and differentiation advantage
is maintained. The presence of IKM allows companies to use data, turning it
into something beneficial and innovative. However, managing knowledge is not straightforward
as no single process works for everyone. There is also no basis for which
management process is the most effective. Aside from this, IKM involves many
individuals, causing its transformation into a unified process impossible. The
following narrative explains the requirements of IKM by considering industries from
finance and oil to health and airlines. It will be evident that even companies
under the same industry do not follow similar management style and that IKM is
customized for every organization based on different conditions. In this essay,
I used: (1) NHS and Novartis to explain the information resource management
processes in organization in a professional context; (2) Amazon to describe and
evaluate the relationships between information, users, and systems in a social
context; (3) Bank of England and Goldman Sachs to evaluate the characteristics
and roles of information as a concept and commodity on an economic context; (4)
British Petroleum to demonstrate an awareness of the various aspects of the use
of subject specific information resources on an ethical context, and; (5)
Virgin Group and Emirates to assess information flows in organizational
processes on a personal context. Also, I incorporated some examples from my
previous position as an airline employee to show real-world applications of IKM.
Information and knowledge management is an essential process employed by
organizations and it can create significant social, professional, ethical,
economic, and personal changes.

I learned that organizations are
required to use and manage information resource professionally. Such processes
ensure that both internal and external information are optimally controlled.
According to Choo (1996, 1998) there are three categories of information use:
(1) knowledge creating; (2) decision making, and; (3) sense making. Looking at
Swiss healthcare company Novartis, they create knowledge to improve and widen
business profitability. Decisions are made through enhanced information sharing
and collaboration across the organization. As for sense making, Novartis
promote competition between different departments to see whom can use
information effectively (Novartis, 2018). The operations of Novartis are
integrated with how they use their information resources. For managing internal
information, this can be done by establishing company strategies. Information
strategy is the engine for maintaining, using, managing, and supporting
essential knowledge bases (Taylor & Farrell, 1994). The UK’s National
Health Service (NHS), for example, revolves around protecting information and
data in healthcare, identifying critical systems and technology, upgrading
outdated computer software, and monitoring NHS networks 24/7, all-year round
(NHS, 2018). Successful management of internal information allows NHS to
operate at a professional standard. On the other hand, NHS is also effectual
with external information. Choo (2001) presents four environmental scanning
strategies that NHS seemed to master. First, NHS uses patients for undirected
viewing of new medical treatment and new drug information. Second, it partners
with external organizations to enact healthcare agreements with different
countries. Third, NHS analyze internal data sets for conditional viewing of
drug influences on patient’s wellbeing. And lastly, NHS specializes in
researches to search for new treatment methods and insights (NHS, 2018). This
organization continuously enhance their information management process to
preserve both internal and external resources. While working for an airlines
company, information was constantly analyzed to reduce flight delays, shorten
flying routes, and improve flight turnarounds. Constant examination of aviation
data was conducted to introduce a flying route that is manageable by the plane
and pilots, and is comfortable for the passengers. Aviation data are compiled
in a handbook and is collaboratively updated by airlines who suffered and
successfully recovered from sky incidents.

            I
observed that in every organization, there is a strong social relationship
between information, users, and systems. The connection between information and
users is modeled by Nonaka & Takeuchi’s (1995) SECI: (a) Socialization –
acquisition of knowledge through sharing; (b) Externalization – the conversion
of knowledge through preservation; (c) Combination – using various sources to
develop new knowledge, and; (d) Internalization – taking knowledge and using it
into the current knowledge base. Using Amazon as an example, they develop
knowledge through conducting market research and delivering new offerings to
satisfy customer needs. Giving product training to employees and sales reps and
keeping track of sales records to determine profitable products are Amazon’s
way of preserving knowledge. For Amazon, using knowledge is analyzing collected
data to develop market strategies to maintain high standards against
competition while sharing knowledge is evident through social media, innovation
workshops, and TV advertisements (Amazon, 2018). Users and systems make up the
formal communication system of an organization. Information flow occurs
vertically or horizontally. Vertical flow, either downward or upward, is
directive, aids coordination and control but lacks feedback. Horizontal flow is
often informal and between peers at all levels (Lambert & Peppard, 1993). Amazon
uses vertical flow to transmit information on the things that needs to be done.
Managers tell ground staff how items should be processed, packaged, and how it
should leave the warehouse. Horizontal flow forces Amazon employees to
communicate via service interface calls over the network. This results in
faster communication as employees collaborate more and solve problems within
the business (Amazon, 2018). Information communication technologies (ICT) are
present to deliver information within the system. This usually includes, email,
messaging apps, intranet, and social media. Examples of ICT at Amazon are: (1)
email – used for organizational updates and group projects; (2) internal
internet – sends out news and information required by employees; (3) Microsoft
Lync – for informal employee communication, and; (4) Amazon Chime – own
development software for online meetings and conferencing. These ICT’s makes
way for Amazon’s seamless communication and promotes participation at all
organizational levels (Amazon Inc, 2018). Communication is the biggest reason
of Amazon’s success and this prevents the fallout of social relationship
between users, information, and the system.

            I
realized that information is interpreted by organizations as one of two things;
either as a concept or as a commodity. As a concept, information is prone to
overload and risk. Lyman et al. (2000) concluded that “the world’s total
production of information amounts to about 250 megabytes for each man, woman,
and child on earth……we are all drowning in a sea of information”. The global
economy encounters information overload on a regular basis. Bank of England
(BoE) deals with countless product disclosure sheets, endless stock trading
prices, and overwhelming annual reports and tax filings. These can be
off-putting for both workers and document users. Furthermore, masses of
quantitative presentations and emails are being circulated which add to the
confusion of readers (Bank of England, 2018). Information also has attached
risk to them. According to Martin White (2017), the four origins of risk are
inability to find information, inability to identify information, disability to
validate information, and incomplete information. At Goldman Sachs’ Risk
Division, their main difficulties are identifying acceptable levels of credit
exposures and the amount of debt underwritten. Controlling the effects of risk
on capitals and earnings and validating firms’ risks to market changes are also
challenging (Goldman Sachs, 2018). As a commodity, digital information is not
properly secured. “Most symbolic languages used by computers and sent over the
Internet are readable by any computer when intercepted” (Corfield, 2017). As an
airline staff, I had to constantly send airline reports to the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA). However, the transmission of delicate data was done
through email and the receiver had no specific identity. Emails are sent to one
department of the agency and accountability of receiver cannot be validated.
Information are vulnerable to hackers and the receiver can be anyone.
Information is always commodified, and the original source is untraceable. Risk
and overload are two characteristics of information that are always deemed
impossible to eliminate. However, these should be mitigated for banks and
businesses to stabilize economic conditions.

            I
found that organizations must be
aware of the ethical aspects of information use and needs: What is the
acceptable design of information? How to legally access information? What is
the correct valuation of information? The oil industry can be used to examine
the ethical industry standards when it comes to information access, design, and
valuation. First, designing energy information needs is difficult as it is
often confused with information wants. Nicholas (1996) define information needs
as information that furthers research or a job and identifies eleven
characteristics of information needs. British Petroleum designs their needs on
four characteristics (a) Subject – latest drilling process and technologies;
(b) Format – catalogues and drilling manuals; (c) Quality – based on live
implementation and peer-reviewed literature, and; (d) Delivery – speed to
maintain competitive advantage (British Petroleum, 2018). Second, gaining
access to essential information pushes organizations to cross ethical
boundaries. Information seeking is legally accessing information to purposely
satisfy a goal (Wilson, 2000) and information seeking has eight features:
starting, browsing, chaining, monitoring, differentiating, extracting,
verifying, and ending (Ellis, 1989). Removing starting and ending, British
Petroleum browse information through websites and journals, monitor latest
industry drilling trends, and chaining them with current drilling manuals and
reports. The difficulties lie on differentiating reliable drilling tools and
recommendations, extracting information to create new tools, and verifying new
products to oil experts (British Petroleum, 2018). Such method ensures BP to
minimize unethical activities. Third, valuation of information is overestimated.
Pricing information is complex since the demand for specific information is
hard to define. Information must be experienced first before it can be valued.
However, the basic principles of valuation incorporate the value added through
the production cycle, scarcity as a function of creativity, timeliness of
measurement and delivery, and marginal pricing when copying costs are low (Corfield,
2017). As a previous airline employee, I found it hard to put a price on safety
aviation information, air crew health protocols, and the information learned
from air incidents. The main difficulty of valuing aviation information is that
airlines collaboratively improves the collective industry standards. A single
information can be traced and linked to multiple airlines and determining who
gets the credits and how much is impossible.

            I
concluded that the flow of information within the organizations is dependent on
the layout of communication methods. “Communication is the exchange of
information between a sender and a receiver and the perception of meaning
between them” (Shannon & Weaver, 1949). Messages are sent through different
mediums and misinterpretation may occur upon arrival. As mentioned earlier,
formal communication flows are either vertical or horizontal. From a personal
perspective, in a vertical information flow, advantages include reducing
uncertainty, determining employees’ position, and employee participation in
decision making. The disadvantages are it often discourages employee
initiatives and lengthy due to the intermediaries involved. A horizontal flow
increases attachment and cohesion between peers, and improves collaboration,
efficiency and productivity. The downsides are creation of conflict and more
time consuming due to confirmation from the upper management (Lambert &
Peppard, 1993). Group communication process is a significant indicator of
information flow. For Virgin Group, due to their organizational structure, it
follows a wheel communication pattern, where the central member is connected to
the other member (Bavelas, 1950). The Virgin central management is connected to
the different brand franchise. Structure also plays an important role in every
company. To achieve organizational goals, employees and departments are
arranged by function, process, geographic, or product. Organizations also
employs division groups and projects encompassed across these, referred as
matrix organization (Knight, 1976). The Virgin Group can be described as having
a hybrid structure that is further broken down into two categories: brand
franchising operation and keiretsu structure. Groups are operational by
franchise and keiretsu means that these businesses take part with one another
due to close business relationships. For example, Virgin Atlantic operate a
traditional hierarchy structure, while Virgin Rail is organized on a
decentralized regional structure (Virgin Group, 2018). For Emirates Group,
upper management works altogether, and no one is higher than the others. These
leaders then supervise the rest of the group, which is broken down by function
(Emirates, 2018). Organizational processes are controlled by structure, group
communication, and communication flow. Strategies and policies must be created
relating back to these to ensure that organizational goals are successfully
met.

            In conclusion, first, I am confident to explain
the information resource management processes in organizations. Novartis uses
information for creating knowledge, decision making, and sense making. NHS
manage internal information by protecting healthcare data and monitoring NHS
networks. Also, NHS manage external information through undirected viewing,
enacting, conditional viewing, and searching. In a professional context, NHS has
multiple approaches when it comes to managing internal and external
information. Second, I am comfortable to describe and evaluate the
relationships between information, users, and systems. Information and users
are linked by the SECI model and Amazon uses this in developing, preserving,
using, and sharing knowledge. For users and system, they make up the formal communication
system of an organization. This is either vertical, where Amazon management
push down command to employees, or horizontal, where Amazon enhances collaboration
between peers. Also, information and system are required to build ICT’s and
some of these technologies Amazon uses are email, internal internet, and Amazon
Chime. On a social context, relationships between information, users, and
system must be maintained for information to be put into good use. Third, I am capable
to evaluate the characteristics and roles of information as a concept and a
commodity. As a concept, information is vulnerable to overload and risk. Bank of
England is overwhelmed by countless numerical reports while Goldman Sachs deals
with various risks regarding debt, credit, capital, and earnings. As a
commodity, information is readily accessible and readable when intercepted over
the internet. From an economic perspective, overload and risk must be mitigated
and information must be secured to promote stable market conditions. Fourth, I
am knowledgeable to demonstrate awareness of various aspects of the use of
subject specific information resources. British Petroleum design their
information needs on subject, quality, delivery, and format. The Ellis model of
information seeking allows British Petroleum to minimize unethical seeking
strategies. Valuation is difficult but marginal pricing, timeliness, scarcity,
and value added must be considered. On an ethical context, information design
must be acceptable, access should be legal, and valuation should be
justifiable. Fifth, I am competent to assess information flows in
organizational processes. Shannon and Weaver model shows the simple process of
information transfer and both vertical and horizontal information flow has both
its ups and downs. The Virgin Group’s keiretsu and by brand franchising structure
allows them to work alongside each department. Emirates Group forces management
staff to work altogether while categorizing the rest of the group by function.
On a personal context, organizational structure and information flow affects the
harmony and work environment of every employees. Information and knowledge
management is an important part of every organization. With this, I am happy to
share personal experiences to set the management of aviation information in a
personal, ethical, social, professional, and economic context.