A study of knowledge audit and intellectual capital reporting of the quality assurance process in a multinational electronics manufacturing company

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A study of knowledge audit and intellectual capital reporting of the quality assurance process in a multinational electronics manufacturing company

 

Author: Chan, Chi Wai
Title: A study of knowledge audit and intellectual capital reporting of the quality assurance process in a multinational electronics manufacturing company
Degree: Eng.D.
Year: 2013
Subject: Knowledge management.
Electronic industries -- Management
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Faculty of Engineering
Pages: xv, 282 leaves : ill. (some col.) ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2598755
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/6946
Abstract: According to Straker (2010), quality starts and ends with knowledge. Quality Management (QM) is often considered as only a supporting function in manufacturing. The change of quality management from the traditional control and inspection to managing instructional capability, competences and know-how calls for a better understanding and deployment of Knowledge Management (KM). An intensive literature review is conducted to summarize the trend in quality management, and its relationship between knowledge audit (KA) and intellectual capital reporting (ICR). This leads to the development of a proposed "Knowledge Audit and Intellectual Capital Reporting (KAICR) model" that is developed to integrate KA and ICR. The KAICR model tries to overcome the shortcomings of traditional approaches in the top down IC RatingTM reporting method. The knowledge base (KB) framework of such a process-oriented KAICR model is developed based on the five main perspectives; namely the (i) Business and Quality Perspective, (ii) the Technological Perspective, (iii) the Knowledge Assets Conceptualization, (iv) the Cognitive and Behavioral Perspective, together with (v) the relationship between the IC and KM process adopted. The Design Science Research Methodology (DSRM) in Information Systems (IS) is adopted in this thesis. The KAICR model was test run in six specified "Value Added Quality Management Process (VAQMP)" key processes in a Group Quality Assurance (GQA) Department of GP Batteries International Limited (GPBI). A knowledge cafe workshop was conducted to identify the six VAQMP key processes. One plant in Shenzhen, China was used as a pilot study and then another two plants, from two Strategic Business Units (SBU) in GPBI, China were chosen for the formal studies.
For the implementation of the KAICR model, more than seventy four staff, over four corporate functions and five departments in two manufacturing plants, from different work levels involving six quality management processes from each plant, participated in the knowledge audit. The knowledge inventory and knowledge mapping in each VAQMP key process were obtained. Data analysis and evaluation were then undertaken, which included the ratio of explicit and implicit knowledge in GPBI, stakeholder analysis, distribution of knowledge workers, distribution of knowledge in the quality tasks, distribution of explicit knowledge and social network analysis (SNA). The outcomes and effectiveness of the KAICR model were evaluated. In traditional IC assessment tools like IC RatingTM, the workflow of the business process and the specific knowledge needs are not taken into account. The KAICR method helps to identify critical organizational knowledge that needs to be captured and transferred for the healthy operation and sustainability of the quality management processes. Subsequently, after consolidation of the explicit and implicit knowledge inventories, eight IC indicators were identified, namely (i) professional knowledge, knowhow and skills, (ii) healthiness of sharing culture, (iii) documented procedures and quality records, (iv) design of IT infrastructure, (v) knowledge tasks intensity, (vi) staff development program, (vii) relations with external and internal stakeholders, and (viii) relations with regulatory/certification bodies. An IC value tree was then constructed, and an intellectual capital report together with the annual IC targets set among the two selected plants for the GQA Department was produced. A comparison of the IC indicators among the six VAQMP key processes and the two plants, DGCB and DGYF, in GPBI was made. Among the eight indentified IC indicators, the DGCB plant had IC indicator values higher than those of the DGYF plant in the six VAQMP key processes. The annual target settings of the eight IC indicators for the DGYF plant were directly benchmarked with the DGCB plant's IC performance. Strategic plans in terms of processes, people, content and technology are then proposed in order to enhance the continuous quality improvement of the knowledge and intellectual capital management in the company. Based on the IC comparison report between the two plants, recommendations on the protection of data security, knowledge assets and company brand name, as well as measures for talent retention, regulatory compliance and risk mitigation were made to the Company. This research links up KA and IC reporting from a process-oriented approach. Such approach is the first of its kind in IC studies. The advantages and uniqueness of the KA and IC combined method are (i) these IC indicators from the knowledge flow data can be used to reflect the "healthiness" of the studied KM processes, (ii) based on the IC reporting, the Group Quality Assurance (GQA) Department can conduct risk management and set IC annual targets for continuous quality improvement in the company. For future research, efforts should be made to improve the data collection in an automatic way, streamlining the knowledge elicitation process for capturing tacit knowledge. The method proposed in this study can be applied to other industries for developing common and generic IC indicators.

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