July 9 – 14 , 2000, Dagstuhl Seminar 00281

Knowledge Management: An Interdisciplinary Approach


M. Jarke (Aachen), D. E. O'Leary (Los Angeles), R. Studer (Karlsruhe)

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Dagstuhl's Impact: Documents available
Dagstuhl Seminar Report 281


Knowledge Management (KM) can be a critical success factor for enterprises. Lean management structures rely on decision making on all organizational levels of an enterprise so that knowledge must be available and managed at all levels of an organization. Downsizing companies must capture the knowledge of the employees that they lose or their knowledge is forever lost. Short product development schedules require the tight integration and management of knowledge of different departments in an enterprise.

KM is inherently an interdisciplinary issue involving aspects of human resource management, enterprise organization and supporting and enabling information technology (IT) methods and techniques. KM can result in an improvement of the enterprise competitiveness only if these technologies are integrated and fully leveraged.

The proposed Dagstuhl seminar aims at bringing together people from different disciplines, i.e. Information Systems, Management Sciences and Computer Science, to address these issues. A majority of persons will be invited from the Computer Science area, especially from areas like Business Process Modeling, Intelligent Information Systems, Knowledge Engineering, Data Mining, Case-based Reasoning, Information Retrieval, Computer Supported Cooperative Work, and Reference Models for Enterprises.

Among others, the following topics will be discussed at this seminar:

  • What are knowledge-intensive business processes that may be supported and improved by a KM approach?

This aspect includes an analysis of the information flow between different subtasks of a process as well as an analysis of the required kind of knowledge to perform these subtasks.

  • What kind of knowledge has to be stored in an Organizational Memory?

This aspect addresses the diversity of knowledge being stored in an Organizational Memory, like e.g. Best Practices, project experiences, competence descriptions of employees, or formal knowledge to solve a specific task. Relevant in this context are also approaches to structure knowledge, e.g. by ontologies, and to provide meta-level descriptions of the contents of the Organizational Memory. On the other hand, one also has to consider what basic technologies are most appropriate for implementing Organizational Memories.

  • How is the knowledge made available to the employees?

This includes pull and push techniques as well as intelligent filtering techniques. Human factors are also relevant in this context.

  • What are the best and most economical approaches for generating and keeping the contents of the Organizational Memory up-to-date?

An important issue for the acceptance of a KM system is to provide mechanisms for getting rid of outdated information, for systematically updating the contents and for evaluating the quality of the stored knowledge. Knowledge Engineering as well as data and text mining approaches provide relevant methods for handling some of the involved problems.

  • What kind of knowledge is provided by reference models and how can these reference models be adapted to the specific enterprise environment?

Reference models come with a large collection of different types of knowledge, among others domain concepts or standardized business processes. A careful analysis of the provided knowledge would also provide a basis for customizing reference models as part of an organizational learning process.

  • How can the cooperation and coordination between different employees or different departments be enhanced by supporting IT techniques?

This aspect includes the problem of how to make available individual expertise to a group of people and of how to decide which knowledge should be shared among people. These problems are especially relevant in geographically distributed enterprises that do not easily allow the creation of people networks. The usage of CSCW as well as of intra and internet technologies for connecting employees to the Organizational Memory are of importance in this context.

  • What enterprise organization and culture is needed to make KM feasible?

Issues to be considered in this context are e.g. organizational structures which support knowledge sharing, incentive systems as part of a human resource management strategy, or empowerment of employees on all management levels.

  • What are approaches to evaluate the (economic) value of a KM strategy?

Building up a KM system requires a lot of resources. A critical aspect from a management point of view is the question of how to determine the economic value of a KM approach, e.g. with respect to enhanced product quality, shorter product development times or improved customer satisfaction.

The goal of this seminar is to bring together people from universities and industry in order improve the exchange of ideas and experiences between scientists and practical persons working in a variety of areas which are relevant for Knowledge Management.


In the series Dagstuhl Reports each Dagstuhl Seminar and Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop is documented. The seminar organizers, in cooperation with the collector, prepare a report that includes contributions from the participants' talks together with a summary of the seminar.


Download overview leaflet (PDF).

Dagstuhl's Impact

Please inform us when a publication was published as a result from your seminar. These publications are listed in the category Dagstuhl's Impact and are presented on a special shelf on the ground floor of the library.


Furthermore, a comprehensive peer-reviewed collection of research papers can be published in the series Dagstuhl Follow-Ups.