A glossary of the terms that are used to discuss this issue will first be presented:
Davenport and Prusak define knowledge as a fluid mix of framed experiences, values, contextual information, and expert insights that provides a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information (Davenport & Prusak, 1995). According to Grudzewski and Hejduk, knowledge is the application of information in practice (Grudzewski & Hejduk, 2002).
Bender and Fish claim that knowledge originates in the head of an individual (the mental state of having ideas, facts, concepts, data, and techniques recorded in an individual's memory) and builds on information that is transformed and enriched by personal experiences, beliefs, and values with decision and action-relevant meanings. The knowledge formed by an individual could therefore differ from the knowledge possessed by another person who received the same initial information (Bender & Fish, 2000).
According to Baker et al., knowledge is present in ideas, judgments, talents, root causes, relationships, perspectives, and concepts. Knowledge can be related to customers, products, processes, culture, skills, experiences, and expertise (Baker et al., 1997).
Knowledge is currently perceived as a strategic enterprise resource; therefore, it should be subject to constant identification, measurement, acquisition, development, utilization, and protection.
This refers to a deliberate and systematic approach to ensure the full utilization of the knowledge base of an organization. Many knowledge management efforts of organizations have primarily been concerned with pursuing strategic competitiveness by capturing, codifying, storing, and disseminating the knowledge that is possessed by individuals within those organizations (Han & Park, 2009).
According to Bukowitz and Williams, knowledge management is a process that helps the organization generate wealth from its intellectual or knowledge-based assets (Bukowitz & Williams, 1999). Hejduk defines knowledge management as an approach to grow or create value by more actively supporting the experiences related to expertise and judgment that exist both within and outside an organization (Hejduk, 2005).
If an organization is truly committed to sustaining its competitive advantage, then all issues related to knowledge management and innovation should be integrated into its organizational knowledge strategy (Ordóñez de Pablos, 2010).
Richter-von Hagen and Stucky define a business process as a sequence of activities that seeks to create one or more products or services of value to the customer. It is started and finished by one or more events (Richter-von Hagen & Stucky, 2004). Furthermore, business process activities typically require one or more resources (such as people, processors, data, or software, for instance) that belong to predefined resource classes (Richter-von Hagen et al., 2005b).
- Knowledge-Intensive Process
According to Richter-von Hagen et al., a process is knowledge-intensive if its value can only be created through fulfilling the knowledge requirements of the process participants. (Richter-von Hagen et al., 2005b).
Business processes can be structured, semistructured, or unstructured. There are unchangeable rules for the execution of every activity of structured processes, and a structured process is repeatable as often as needed (Richter-von Hagen et al., 2005a). Semistructured processes contain both structured and nonstructured aspects.
Unstructured processes are completely unpredictable. Unstructured processes are not suitable for any level of automation but provide plenty of freedom to users (Richter-von Hagen et al., 2005a).
An unstructured process that has not been modeled can be reconstructed after its execution. The decision can then be made regarding whether the process in question should continue to be an unstructured process or whether it should become either a semistructured process involving certain established process components or a structured process that can be improved after each iteration of process execution.
Knowledge-intensive business processes are only partially mapped by the process model because these processes involve unpredictable decisions and tasks that are guided by creativity. Typically, knowledge flows and knowledge transfers between individuals and the media are necessary for the successful completion of this type of process (Gronau & Weber, 2004).
- Business Process Management (BPM)
BPM is “a systemic, structured approach to analyze, improve, control, and manage processes with the aim of improving the quality of products and services” (Elzinga et al., 1995).
- Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)
The concept of Process Maturity Levels was developed at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) of Carnegie Mellon University in the 1990s, based on quality work that was originally performed by Watts Humphrey. This concept was originally developed to support the analysis of the Capability Maturity Model (CMM); its latest version, Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), has been generalized to be applicable to any of a wide variety of processes in diverse organizations. CMMI defines the following five separate levels of process maturity: Level 1: Nonorganized Processes; Level 2: Some Organized Processes; Level 3: Most Processes Are Organized; Level 4: Processes Are Managed; and Level 5: Processes Are Continuously Improved.