Knowledge mapping techniques within the construction industry: An exploratory study

Suresh, S and Egbu, CO 2008, Knowledge mapping techniques within the construction industry: An exploratory study , in: CIB W102-Information and knowledge management in Buildings, 3th - 4th June 2008, Finland.

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The last 15 years has seen the transitioning of the industrial economy to a knowledge economy. Knowledge is now considered as the new value proposition of the post-industrial economy, which is embedded in staff and workers in the organization; and can and should be considered a key resource for competitiveness and performance. Organisations intending to effectively exploit their knowledge assets might need to effectively identify where their knowledge resides. This is the underlying principle of “knowledge mapping”. Knowledge mapping techniques aim to track the acquisition and loss of information and knowledge. It explores personal and group competencies and illustrates how knowledge flows throughout an organisation or ‘network’. This paper reports some of the findings from an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), UK, funded project entitled “Knowledge mapping and bringing about change for the sustainable urban environment”. This research project investigated the different types of knowledge mapping techniques that are used to bring about change from a sustainable urban environment (SUE) perspective. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with fourteen (14) construction industry actors (architects, developers, and main contractors) and four (4) developers of knowledge mapping software tools to identify current and ‘successful’ knowledge mapping tools. The semistructured interviews investigated the mechanisms by which the construction industry actors learn (both from their experiences and from external sources of knowledge), capture knowledge and know-how and diffuse it across organisations. The interviews with software developers investigated the types of knowledge mapping tools on the market, focusing on their dynamism and potential effects for the users. Of particular interest were the capture and diffusion of knowledge and know-how related to sustainability, which was defined broadly in terms of the triple bottom line (Economic, Social and Environmental). The paper concludes that the construction industry stakeholders interviewed accept that knowledge mapping is important and have initiated or improved mechanisms (tools/techniques) to capture and diffuse information, particularly with respect to sustainability. However, generally speaking, they have not adopted off-the peg knowledge mapping software solutions. The market solutions are not seen to be cost effective, do not offer the firms added value and organisations prefer instead to invest in inhouse development of intranets and other IT enabled tools. They also rely on techniques long established in the firm (e.g. meetings, briefing notes, seminars, coaching schemes, and newsletters). This study revealed that the industry actively uses different combinations of nine out of the seventeen knowledge mapping tools identified.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Themes: Subjects / Themes > T Technology > TH Building construction
Built and Human Environment
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment > Centre for Urban Processes, Resilient Infrastructures & Sustainable Environments
Journal or Publication Title: CIB W102-Information and knowledge management in Buildings
Refereed: Yes
Depositing User: IN Mohd Zin
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2011 11:14
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 11:03

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