PurposeDespite the fact that schools should be places where learning occurs, most schools have overlooked the importance of knowledge. In contrast, commercial firms have recognized knowledge as a strategic intangible asset and a key resource of the enterprises. Therefore, enterprises have already harnessed knowledge to a great extent with wide practice of knowledge management (KM). The purpose of this paper is to show that KM could be applied to the education sector similar to the practice in the business world for leveraging intellectual assets. This paper examines how schools can kick off the process of KM implementation. This paper also reports what have been done and what should be done in KM implementation better in a school. This can give insights for schools which will try KM in near future.Design/methodology/approachThe paper uses a case study in a secondary school to explore how KM can be kicked off and sustained in a school setting. A KM system called knowledge base and a document management system called Digital Archive were developed to serve as the infrastructure for knowledge sharing. Lesson study and communities of practice (CoPs) were adopted to be the platforms for knowledge sharing among teachers in the school. A case study of the processes and lesson learned was done in this paper. Multiple sources of data, including observations, questionnaires and interviews, have been collected for evaluation.FindingsIn this paper, KM implementation was found to be effective through dual approaches: information-based and people-/interaction-based approaches. A knowledge base and a Digital Archive as knowledge repositories and lesson study and CoPs as platforms for knowledge sharing have been successfully established to facilitate sharing information/knowledge and nurturing a sharing culture and trust. Challenges faced and the related coping strategies during the process of implementation were shared and reflected. It was also found that building sharing culture is the critical turning point of the process of KM implementation. Breaking through the barrier of sharing was found to be very essential to KM implementation.Research limitations/implicationsThis paper adopts case study methodology to report the process of KM implementation in a school. Although these results of the study conducted in one school may not be generalized to other school contexts, the lessons learned in the study will be a strong empirical evidence of research of KM implementation, especially in schools. Because of the limited number of prior studies and the importance of the pioneering work of launching KM implementation, this paper tries to address the research gap by using theory building from cases as a research strategy rather than theory testing research, especially in “how”and“why” in the steps of kicking off KM implementation in an unexplored research area.Practical implicationsThis paper shows a case of KM implementation in a school with thoughtful procedures of implementing information-based and people-/interaction-based approaches. The paper is a showcase that will shed light on the processes and lessons learned and also helps to provide a model for schools who are interested in applying KM in their schools.Social implicationsMost people might think that KM can be applied only in commercial sector. This paper shows that KM can also be adopted in schools as well as other sectors.Originality/valueThis paper represents one of the pioneering work of implementing KM in a school. It hopes to make contributions for KM implementation also in the public sector within which are non-profit-making organizations.
Journal of Knowledge Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 4, 2016
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