University of Twente Student Theses


Knowledge Management and Retention at Organon: The Case of Livial GVT

Chong, L.Y.D. (2007) Knowledge Management and Retention at Organon: The Case of Livial GVT.

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Abstract:Organon is confronted with an aging workforce. The average age of the workforce is now 40.3 years, a large group of which are scheduled to retire. In addition, the high mobility of the current generation of workers is an additional threat for Organon, because in both cases, people with critical knowledge are leaving the company. Organon has adopted a number of knowledge management policies and programs to address this problem of knowledge loss. To introduce Livial into the United States, Organon’s management decided to set up a Global Venture Team (GVT), which is primarily responsible for the registration and launch of Livial in the United States. This team will initially be dissolved at the end of 2006. The majority of the team’s effort and responsibilities will then be taken on by the local companies, global marketing and a continued support of departments like Regulatory Affairs and Drug Safety. Therefore, it is important to retain and transfer the crucial knowledge within this team to others. The purpose of this research is to analyze the retention of crucial knowledge within the Livial GVT. Based on the nature of the crucial knowledge, retention methods suitable for the organization will be recommended. The problem definition of this research is: Using Livial as a case study, in what ways can Organon organize the knowledge so that crucial knowledge is preserved? The first step of this research is a literature study that is needed in order to come to the evaluation criteria of knowledge retention methods. This literature review borrows primarily from theory and practice in the areas of knowledge management and organizational learning. From this review, a theoretical framework is derived. This framework is based on the concept of knowledge (as a resource) and knowing (the process of applying knowledge, in context) as two mutually constitutive approaches to knowledge. The second step is data collection. Open interviews with the Human Resource (HR) managers and the knowledge manager are conducted to collect data about the knowledge management initiatives and the enabling factors within Organon. Semi structured interviews are conducted with members of the Livial GVT in order to give insight of the team and its processes. Company documents and publicly available information are also used. The third step is to use the derived theoretical framework to analyze the knowledge management practices at Organon, and in particular for the Livial GVT. The purpose of this phase is to point out the strengths and weaknesses of their knowledge retention methods. The result of this analysis indicates that despite a large number of policies and initiatives, knowledge management is not ‘alive’ within Organon, due primarily to a lack of ‘knowledgefriendliness’ of the organization culture. Based on information obtained during interviews, people do not feel compelled to practice knowledge management. They believe that the current database system is sufficient to retain knowledge. The outcome of the analysis points out that the company only focuses on the knowledge (as a resource) aspect and significantly underserves the knowing (or more process-oriented) aspects of knowledge. Recommendations are for the creation of additional support for the processual aspects of knowledge management, so that it becomes a living part of the culture of the organization and so that Organon can maximize the benefit of the efforts and investments already underway.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Information Technology MSc (60025)
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