Building Knowledge Assets for Competitive Advantage
Edited by Vlad Vaiman and Charles M. Vance
Chapter 3: Talent Staffing Systems for Effective Knowledge Management
3. Talent staﬃng systems for eﬀective knowledge management Mark L. Lengnick-Hall and Leticia S. Andrade While it may sound like a new idea, management and staﬃng systems designed to utilize knowledge in organizations can be traced back to antiquity. Neilson (2001: 35) describes how knowledge management and human resource management (HRM) were (probably) combined to build the pyramids in Egypt: Referring to his papyrus blueprints and sand table model, the chief architect begins: ‘we are going to build a pyramid that is 756 feet square in plane and 481 feet high. The angle of inclination of the triangular faces will be 51.5 degrees. The base will cover about 13 acres and I estimate this pyramid will consist of 2,300,000 dressed stones averaging 2.5 tons each.’ After much trial and error trying to pull 2.5-ton blocks of sandstone over the desert sands, you learn that putting logs underneath the stone blocks and using ramps saves on the back muscles. This knowledge is passed on to other work crews. As crew members are transferred to other jobs or recruited to ﬁght in the Pharaoh’s army, this ‘know-how’ becomes a generally accepted practice in the pyramid and military construction business. After several decades of hard work, you and your compatriots ﬁnish construction ahead of schedule and below cost estimates. Few people would disagree that knowledge is becoming an increasingly important factor in ﬁrm success (Grant, 1996; Liebeskind, 1996; Teece, 1998; McFadyen & Cannella, 2004). As illustrated in the example...
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