Report on Managing Communication, Knowledge and Information

Managing Communication, Knowledge and Information

Kurt Thomas Pereira


UNIT Unit 16 – Managing Communication Knowledge and Information
LECTURER Mr Amish Mathew VERIFIER Mr. M Azam
STUDENT Kurt Thomas Pereira TERM Sept’ 11
LEARNER NAME Kurt Thomas Pereira
ASSESSOR NAME Mr. Amish Mathew
QUALIFICATION Higher National Certificate
UNIT NUMBER AND TITLE 16 Managing Communication Knowledge and Information
TASK 2: 8th NOVEMBER 2012
TASK 3: 19th NOVEMBER 2012
TASK 4: 29th NOVEMBER 2012


This Assignment is designed to help you achieve a Merit or Distinction.
During your Structured Individual Study (SIS), you are required to answer each question above (Outcomes Assessment Criteria) which has been covered separately in respective Lessons.
In your answer, write about the key concepts highlighted by the Lesson (underpinning knowledge).
You can get an idea of the key concepts by referring to the Lesson’s handout, in the Overview section of the Lesson.
Look for real-life examples to apply your key concepts (applied knowledge).
Make use of the SIS time to research books.
During your SIS time, use the computer to research recommended websites and word process your Assignment.
Follow the guidelines given in your Handbook.
Study the Merit and Distinction Descriptors below to ensure that your work demonstrates compliance in order for it to be considered for their respective Awards.

It is important that the work you produce is carefully planned & written.
Your work should demonstrate (a) your understanding of the theory you have learned (underpinning knowledge) and (b) your ability to apply it to real life/contemporary situations/case study (applied knowledge).

Please follow the instructions below:
Start each answer from a new page
Highlight each question clearly
Avoid bullet points and restrict the use of numberings; remember that you are supposed to write an essay.
All work should be comprehensively referenced and all sources must be acknowledged fully, this includes books & journals used as well websites visited. Details such as page numbers, publishers and publication year should also be stated, in addition to the name of the author(s) and publication. Books, articles and journals should be the main sources; net sources are allowed up to 25% max.
Follow Harvard Referencing system.
Ensure that your work is within the stated word limit.
All work should be word-processed.
Pages should be numbered (bottom right hand corner)
Assignment sheet should be attached in the front.
Spell check the document and read thoroughly for grammatical errors.
1.5-line spacing is preferred but is not essential.
Bibliography at the end of the assignment.

The correct format to answer each question (Task) is as follows:
1. Introduction (analyse the question – which theory is it trying to ask you to demonstrate?)
2. Underpinning Knowledge (write about the relevant theory/points)
3. Applied Knowledge (apply the theory/points you have written about in your underpinning knowledge to your case study/real life example)
4. Conclusion (summarise what you have written in 2 & 3 above).


(FROM Outcomes Assessment Criteria) Learner’s Evidence Shows Tutor to Check COMMENTS/FEEDBACK
1 Assess information and knowledge needs internally and externally to improve decision making and taking
A – Identify the range of decisions to be taken

B – Review information and knowledge needed to ensure effective decision taking

C – Assess internal and external sources of information and understanding

D – Make recommendations for improvement

2 Create strategies to increase personal networking to widen involvement in the decision-making process
A – Identify personnel including customers, other stakeholders and other experts

B – Make contact with those identified and develop business relationships

C – Involve those identified in decision making as appropriate

D – suggest strategies for improvement

3 Develop communication processes to improve the gathering and dissemination of information and organizational knowledge
A – Evaluate existing processes of communication in an organization and look to ensure and improve appropriateness

B – Implement and justify improvements to ensure greater integration of systems of communication in that organization

C – On a personal level, identify weaknesses and develop a personal plan to improve communication skills

4 Design and improve appropriate systems for the collection, storage and dissemination of and access to the information and knowledge gathered
A – Evaluate existing approaches to the collection, formatting, storage, disseminating information and

B – Implement and justify appropriate changes to improve the collection, formatting, storage, disseminating information and knowledge

C – Implement a strategy to improve access to systems of information and knowledge to others as appropriate


Identify and apply strategies to find appropriate solution – Relevant theories and techniques have been applied

– Effective judgments have been made

– Complex problems with more than one variable have been explored

– An effective approach to study and research has been used.

2 Select/ design and apply appropriate methods/techniques – A range of sources of information used

– The selection methods and techniques/sources justified

– The design of methods/techniques justified

– Complex information/data have been synthesized and processed.

– Appropriate learning methods/techniques applied

3 Present and communicate appropriate findings – Appropriate structure and approach has been used

– Logical and coherent arguments have been presented

– Technical language accurately used

– A range of methods of presentation has been used

– Appropriate media used

– Familiar and unfamiliar contexts have been used

– It is appropriate for familiar and unfamiliar audiences

1 Use critical reflection to evaluate own work and justify valid conclusions – Synthesis has been used to generate and justify valid conclusions

– The validity of results has been judged

– Self criticism of approach has taken place

– Evaluation has taken place using defined criteria

– Realistic improvements have been proposed against characteristics for success

2 Take responsibility for managing and organizing activities – Autonomy/independence demonstrated

– Substantial activities/projects have been planned, managed and organized

– The unforeseen have been accommodated

– The importance of interdependence has been recognized

3 Demonstrate convergent, lateral and creative thinking – Ideas generated and decisions taken

– Self evaluation has taken place

– Convergent and lateral thinking have been applied

– Problems have been solved

– Capacity for innovation and creative thought has been used

– Receptiveness to new ideas have been demonstrated

– Unfamiliar contexts have been applied

Any Other Comments

Grade Given by Tutor:

Tutor Signature:…………………Date:……….
Pass 
Merit 
Distinction 

IV Grading Check:

IV Signature:……………… Date:…………..
Agree 
Disagree 

Student’s Response:

Student Signature: Date:


Student Name
Student ID
Unit Name
Date of submission

1st Draft Feedback Date:


Areas of Improvement:

2nd Draft Feedback Date:


Areas of Improvement:

Tutor’s Signature

Table of Contents
Introduction 15
Task 1: What role Information, Communication and knowledge play in gaining competitive advantage for the business? 16
Task 2: What managers are doing to improve decision making by using information and knowledge internally and externally to improve decision making and taking? 26
Task 3: What are the strategies to increase personal networking to widen Employees’ Involvement in the decision-making process? 28
Task 4: Develop a communication process to improve the decision making and organizational knowledge for your chosen organization. 32
Task 5: What role Knowledge Management plays in managing organization strategically? 36
Conclusion 39
Bibliography 41

Executive Summary

The assignment is based on Communication, Information and Knowledge Management by the management of Marks & Spencer. The assignment will cover the following topics: what role does information, knowledge and communication play in gaining competitive advantage, what role internal and external information and knowledge play in decision making and taking by the managers of Marks & Spencer, what strategies does Marks & Spencer use to widen personal networking to improve employees’ involvement in decision making, what role does communication play in improving decision making and organizational knowledge and what role does knowledge management play in managing the organization strategically.
The author has discussed the processes and systems used for communication, decision making, knowledge management and information in Marks & Spencer. The author has suggested how the firm can improve their knowledge, information and communication activities to gain competitive advantage, how to gather internal and external information effectively, improve decision making and taking, how to improve personal networking of employees, how to introduce new communication systems to improve performance and lastly how to improve knowledge management to manage organizational strategically. Thus the author has shown how Marks & Spencer can improve their business processes and maintain their position as a number one in retail industry in UK by making necessary changes in communication channels, information and knowledge management.

Marks & Spencer is the largest retailer in the United Kingdom, with more than 21 million people visit their retail outlets each week. Marks & Spencer offers stylish, trendy, high quality and great value clothing and home products, as well as outstanding food products, responsibly sourced from around 2,000 suppliers globally. The company employees over 75,000 people in the U.K. and abroad. Marks & Spencer has over 600 UK stores and an expanding international business.
Marks & Spencer has its head office in the Waterside House in the city of Westminster, London, England. The company is now expanding its business in home wares, furniture and technology. The company is the largest retailer of women wear and lingerie in the UK. The company is also rapidly expanding into menswear and kids wear. The growing online business has been very beneficial for Marks & Spencer. The company has its 49% of business in clothing and home products, the rest 51% is in food products (Marks and Spencer, 2014)

Marks & Spencer

Figure 1 Logo of Marks & Spencer

Task 1: What role Information, Communication and knowledge play in gaining competitive advantage for the business?


Role of Knowledge – Marks & Spencer
The HR department of Marks & Spencer is responsible in developing knowledge of their employees (Marks and Spencer, 2014). The HR department shows different ways to their employees how to process data into information and to absorb the right information as knowledge which will be useful to them in their tasks. The two types of Knowledge sharing methods present in the firm are Tacit to Explicit (experienced person shares his knowledge with the new staffs on how to make decision) and Explicit to Tacit (during actual work different outcomes helps the staffs to internalized the new experience as knowledge).

Figure 2 Types of Knowledge

Proper knowledge will help the employees to develop new skills and make them more efficient in their work. The staffs of Marks & Spencer are knowledgeable to the extent that most of the customers are rarely unsatisfied with their services. People Oriented Culture & Matrix Organizational Structure, i.e. the structure that foster horizontal flow of skills and knowledge, prevails in Marks & Spencer because of which the employees have a lot of responsibilities on their shoulders and they report on day to day basis to their managers. They have to be knowledgeable enough to avoid making bad decisions. Training of employees has really helped Marks & Spencer’s labour force in making precise decisions and making their firm number one in retail sector in UK.
Types of Information used in Marks & Spencer for Decision Making

Knowledge Communication
Knowledge communication refers to the transfer of knowledge by means of communication, whether interpersonal or group conversation (Gratton & Goshal, 2002).
Parcon (2006) defines Decision Making as the study of identifying and choosing alternatives based on the values and preferences of the decision maker. It is process of sufficiently reducing uncertainty and doubt about alternatives to allow a reasonable choice to be made from among them.
Types of Decision Making in Marks & Spencer
In a company like Marks and Spencer being a multinational firm and one of the largest retailers in the U.K., managers would have to make various types of decisions that would sustain and facilitate towards the growth of the company.Marks & Spencer has a People Oriented culture (helping people across the board) therefore the employees help the management in decision making, within Marks & Spencer different levels of authority make different types of decision. The decision-making can be categorized into three levels they are strategic, tactical and operational level of organizational activities.


Strategic Planning is done by the top-level managers. The managers decide on objectives of the firm, and they plan out how to gather resources to attain these objectives. For example Marks and Spencer have recently unveiled their latest strategy of new clothing strategy and ranges. Their strategy is better quality and style in women’s wear and to make shopping in its stores easier. (The Guardian Business Blog 2013)

Strategic Information: Strategic Information is gathered from internal & external sources; it is summarized at a high level, relevant to long-term & deals with whole organization. For Example: Information about Marks and Spencer’s competitors like new mergers and acquisitions, diversification and retrenchment would be the kind of strategic information that would be relevant in the decision-making process.

Tactical Planning is done by the middle level managers. The managers are responsible to ensure that the resources are obtained and used effectively and efficiently in the accomplishment of the firm’s objectives.

Tactical Information: The managers use tactical information to ensure that the resources are used effectively and efficiently For Example: Like Strategic the information required would be about Marks and Spencer’s competitors, but it would be about their new clothing lines, their trends and pricing strategies being implemented. This tactical information would be pertinent in the decision-making process.


Operational Control is done by the lower level manager (‘front line’ manager). They ensure that specific objectives are achieved effectively and efficiently. For example, it can involve the regular ordering of supplies, making invoices, or even accepting delivery of goods. It can also include the creation of Staff Rota/Database.

Operational Information: Operational Information is used by lower level mangers to make decisions regarding operational control. For Example: Information that can be gathered, summarized and analysed from customer’s feedback forms, which is how it is being practices at Marks and Spencer, where the survey forms are filled from the customers regarding the overall operations.

Assess Internal and External Sources of Knowledge
Marks & Spencer requires information for a range of business processes. The organization is composed of people, material, machines and money. The management requires information to convert these resources to complete the activities of the firm. The data is gathered through various internal and external sources.

Figure 3 Internal Sources of Knowledge

Internal Sources of Information: Marks & Spencer gather their internal information from various sources. For example:
1. Accounts department: They gather information from accounting ledgers and use it to predict future events, and maintain all details of all financial transactions, etc.
2. Production department: Information regarding raw material, wastage, work in progress, etc. However, the management can source this information from the production department.
3. Marketing department: Information regarding marketing is source through customer’s choice and other internal sources
4. Workers: Information regarding workers is sourced through feedback of the work environment and suggest changes if necessary, even some of the organization have research and development (R&D)department.

Figure 7: External sources of attaining information.

External Sources of Information: Marks & Spencer gather their external information from various sources. For example:
1. Suppliers: Suppliers provide relevant feedback on the quality of raw materials available and information about the shift in the demand curve
2. Government: The Governments provide information about the new rules and regulations that companies need to adhere to. They also provide the necessary guidelines required to implement them.
3. Stock market: The Market share or value of the company can be gathered from the stock market.
4. Annual reports of competitors: Information required to maintain a competitive advantage is gained from competitors Annual Reports and through the news.
The management has to process the gathered data and convert it into relevant information and provide it to the employees. Marks & Spencer has a dedicated Customer Insight Unit (CIU) which manages the information about the current market that they are targeting and helps produce products according that are suitable for the needs of different customers. Their role is to update the company about the latest trends and needs of the customers, according to which the company then updates their products. This, in the author’s opinion establishes a certain level of sophisticated dominance on the market. Marks & Spencer makes sure that the customer gets each and every product he/she needs and launches them before other competitors can. This has led Marks & Spencer to have a competitive advantage over other retailers in U. K. Moreover the marketing strategies have been so well placed that everybody in U.K prefers Marks & Spencer to buy everything, which has led M&S to become a household name in the country. The level of trust and quality, they have maintained over the years has almost made their market impenetrable for other competitive retailer, which acts as another advantage. This has been possible because of the information and knowledge gathered by the CIU and R&D team which has made it possible for Marks & Spencer to deliver service of the highest quality.

Recommendations for improvement
Marks & Spencer trains their managers and employees for better decision making and taking. The author has suggested the following methods on how the mangers at all level can improve their decision-making skills.
The top level managers can improve their decision-making through experience gained over time of work, they can gain information on how to utilize resources without any wastage and take calculated risks after analyzing all the data. The middle level managers have to focus only on two things in order to improve their decision making. The managers need to make proper decision to ensure efficiency (optimize the output) and effectiveness (resources are used to achieve the desired ends). The managers can improve their decision making with implicit knowledge sharing, i.e. the communication of knowledge to each of the cadres of management.
The CIU of M&S is one of the most crucial departments as they take care of eliminating the competitive advantages of other retailers and establishing theor own in the market. The employees in this department have to be properly trained and motivated in order to earn good profits. This unit and the R&D Department in Marks & Spencer should coordinate and form strategies in such a way that the products that are sold by other competitors should still be dominated by M&S. This could be accomplished by understanding the customer’s needs and taking care of it to the maximum extent possible.

Task 2: What managers are doing to improve decision making by using information and knowledge internally and externally to improve decision making and taking?

Strategies of decision making
In a major retail chain like Marks & Spencer, strategic decision making is extremely vital to understand and implement the viable steps in order to achieve the highest profits possible. In that manner, M&S has been implementing the best possible ways in various departments to guarantee success. M&S makes sure that the products that are launched are apt to the customer’s need and requirement through a CIU team which analyzes their target market and reports to the strategic department to make appropriate changes and decisions. Additionally, M&S has automated its supply chain processes and manages everything with the help of IT, which has eliminated the scenario of errors and has improved the quality of the outcome of the SCM department. This automation has also provided ways to generate reports and invoices in such a way that the managers can detect any discrepancy and eliminate it as soon as possible. One of the other major decisions that are undertaken in M&S are the pricing strategies. These prices vary, dependant on whether the market is local or global.Usually, the prices are extremely flexible considering all the factors that are taken into account while pricing. Being a multinational chain, Marks & Spencer covers a large target market, which is why all the promotional techniques carried out by them are mostly through social media like newspapers, television, internet and social networking websites. This way they cover almost all the outlet locations in their strategies. Apart from this, Marks & Spencer facilitates its employees with access totheor site so that they can take an active part in the decision making process. The employees are motivated in such a way by the management that they feel like they are personally involved with the company and think about the welfare of the company on a personal level. This has not only aided the management to get fresh opinions and information from various employees, but also to establish a social bond with them.

Available Aids for Efficient Decision Making
Since People Oriented Culture prevails in Marks & Spencer, the management motivates their staff to develop new skills to improve their decision-making skills. Their networking can also help them to influence individual decision makers, which will be beneficial for them and for the firm. Therefore Marks & Spencer’s HR department conduct training sections, which help the staffs, increase their Personal Networking and widen their involvement in decision-making. In addition to this, Marks & Spencer has applied SAP in their company which automates and manages information of almost all the departments and plans the resources efficiently. Social events and gatherings morivate the employees to participate in the decision making processes. Marks & Spencer has established itself as such a famous company and has built such a reputation that they have good connections and image with the media industry which works in their favor many times.Apart from this, Markes & Spencer prides itself at having one of the most efficient CIU and R&D department in the retail industry.

Strategies for improvement
The management needs to motivates the employees to increase their personal networking skills as this will help them to build alliances which will strengthen their work, stay in touch with developments in their area of work, get access to information which will help them in work & influence individual decision makers. The management needs to train the employees who are appointed in the CIU extensively in order to make them more capable of handling the decision making responsibilities. The management must train their staffs and introduce new systems & techniques to improve personal networking, such as the enterprise social networking hub, like Yammer, that keeps employees updated regarding the routine happenings as well as equips them to share their specific job related problems.

Task 3: What are the strategies to increase personal networking to widen Employees’ Involvement in the decision-making process?

Strategies to increase personal networking
The HR department teaches the employees on how to make use of their personal networking and benefit in their area of responsibility. The HR department trains everyone how to use different communication methods to receive the required knowledge.
The management has conducted many training sessions for their employees to improve their personal networking, such as effective interpersonal communication, emerging leadership program, and social networking skills. The people who are important for the employees to increase their personal networking are Professional Contacts (can help them to improve their decision making skills with proper advice), Information technology (can provide them with new updates in technology used in their area of work) and Customer (helps people in marketing department to know the need of their customers).
One more strategy used by Marks & Spencer is by creating many small groups of staffs known as quality circles that meet at regular intervals to discuss the work they do, this is similar to the concept community of practice, where employees belonging with similar fraternity meet and share their experience as well as tips and tricks to cater the routine operational problems. These meetings of quality circles suggest recommendations to the management on changes in their strategies or they have the authority to implement changes in specific tasks. Thus quality circles help employees of Marks & Spencer to increase their personal networking and improve their decision-making as well as problem solving skills. Therefore Increasing the Personal Networking has helped to widen the employees’ involvement in decision-making.

Stakeholder’s involvement in decision making
Following are the stakeholders, who are involved in decision making process:
The main stakeholders of Marks and Spencer are:

Figure 8: Logo of Marks & Spencer

Owners: The owners are the people at the top of the business; they are in control of all of M&S, they have an overall say in what happens with decisions regarding the business. They will also get any profits that the business makes so if the business makes more money then so will the owners. Considering the case of Marks and Spencer, the owners are involved in decision making process, for instance, any of the strategic level decision is taken with the due consideration and approval of the owners, these decision are pertaining to strategies of organization, business expansion, supplier selection etc.
Employees: This group of stakeholders, at Marks and Spencer, is also significantly involved in the decision making process, which is of routine nature, and is related to day to day business operations. In fact, the upper tier of management have due impact on the strategic decisions, yet are limited. Moreover, those of the lower level staff, does not have any role in strategic level, and thus manages the routine business operations. Marks & Spencer offer really good perks to their employees in the form of providing a good communicative environment, offering a learning curve to their job roles and by providing BIG (Business Involvement Groups) Groups to establish strong relationships with their employees. (Marks & Spencer, 2010)
Many businesses try to influence employees by offering:
* Training opportunities
* Promotion opportunities
* Profit sharing schemes and bonuses
* ‘Perks’ like discounts
* Social activities like trips
Customers: These stakeholders are vital to a business’s success because if they have no customers then they will have no money coming in and therefore the business would fail. The customers would by the products that the business make but if the products are cheaper elsewhere or better elsewhere then the customer may leave because another business does the job better. Businesses have to conduct market research to see whether the customers that they are aiming for will buy their products or the products won’t sell. Marks & Spencer have CIU (Customer Insight Unit) to conduct researches on the target audiences in order to provide customers with optimum quality and range of products.
Suppliers: They sell the business raw materials, components or services. All businesses need suppliers so that they can produce their products, without supplies the business can’t make any money leaving the business in free-fall. In case of Marks & Spencer, they have ties with over 3000 brand suppliers all over the world. This requires a lot of networking and proper communication channels, which lead to Marks and Spencer making the supply chain department automated with the help of SAP.
Government: The government affect the overall profit because they collect taxes from every business after all the costs have been taken away from the businesses income. Moreover, any kind of profit or loss that the company incurs, would affect the government in the form of economy, especially in the case of a big retailing chain like Marks & Spencer.

Task 4: Develop a communication process to improve the decision making and organizational knowledge for your chosen organization.

Role of Communication – Marks & Spencer
Liebler & McConnell (2004) defined communication as the exchange of ideas, thoughts, or emotions between or among two or more people. It may be literally described as the transfer of meaning, or in a somewhat broader sense, the development of mutual understanding. Communication has a verbal and nonverbal component, with both conscious and unconscious aspects in each.
Communication plays a vital role in Marks & Spencer to achieve all the tasks on time. The management, employees, managers and different departments all communicate with each other with different sources of communication.
Marks & Spencer’s management team is able to establish a good communication channel, which is vital for the efficient running of business. Marks & Spencer also has Matrix Organization Structure (the structure that foster horizontal flow of skills and knowledge) therefore the chain of communication has also shortened since the firm has lost many layers of authority due to delay. The different channels of communication in Marks & Spencer are vertical (when the manager communicates with his subordinate staff, which works in vertical hierarchical manner) and horizontal (when the departments communicate with each other, i.e. the span of control).

Figure 10: Types of Communication
The above process of communication happens at the organization level, for different reasons, such as that of events, occasions, decisions for a particular project etc. For instance, vertical communication happens between the managers and the employees who are working under him/her, which is hierarchical in nature. Additionally, for more complex tasks such as the events or other strategic decisions, the inter-departmental communication takes place, where one department contact with another, in a horizontal manner, which is often referred as span of control.

Figure 11: Communication in Marks & Spencer (fieldwork)
Communication is a complex, ongoing process that brings us into contact with the people in our world. Often communication is viewed as a straightforward exchange of messages between speaker and a listener, but this is a naïve view. As indicated in this chapter, communication is a symbolic process of sharing meaning.
Marks & Spencer has a good communication channel in its firm. The information in Marks & Spencer can be communicated in many mediums. Marks & Spencer also has internal and external communication. Internal communication takes place within the organization and external communication is when the firm communicates with people outside the firm. Marks & Spencer uses 3 main ways for internal communication they are verbal, written and electronic. The verbal communication is a face-to-face interaction, telephone and through voice mail.
Written communication is through paper documents, memos, formal letter and annual reports. Electronic communication is through e-mails via website and e-commerce. Marks & Spencer’s employees use many methods for external communication. They need to maintain the public image of the company therefore they choose the most appropriate method to communicate with the customer, shareholders, government, society, etc. The firm uses methods like telephone, business letters, interviews, electronic mails and web sites.
Good Communication helps the firm in following ways to gain competitive advantage it allows decisions by managers to be carried out by the employees, ensures that the action is constant, reduces cost because fewer mistakes are made, information from staffs help the management in decision making, it can also alert the managers of potential problems, Marks & Spencer’s People Oriented Culture grows with good communication, the management can quickly solve employee grievance problems and the management can improve the effectiveness of downward communication by proper feedbacks from staffs.

Personal plan to improve communication skills
The author hyas devised a personal plan to improve the communication skills. The author will improve the communication process by streamlining each of the business functional department under a single umbrella, from where the decision making as well as the communication will pass through. For instance, the internal as well as the external communication process works in alignment with each other, even will contribute towards each other’s processes. For instance, regarding the management of interviews, the internal communication will be done to know each of the concerned staff member to know who are going to be interviewed, while the external communication mechanism will link the candidate with the internal organizational staff. Additionally, the external communication messages, will ultimately becomes the part of internal communication database ,where the letters as well as the business documents can be retrieved at any future date for concerned correspondence.

Task 5: What role Knowledge Management plays in managing organization strategically?

Frappaolo (2006) defined knowledge management as the fast-track route to leveraging intellectual capital in your organization. It is a process that identifies knowledge in an organization to promoting and facilitating knowledge sharing and innovation.

Knowledge Management – Marks & Spencer
Marks and Spencer needs to train their staff to develop their knowledge and to cater to the customer’s needs and requirements. Since People Oriented Culture is present in the firm the management seeks advice from the staffs before they make their decisions. The most common approaches used by the HR Department are document management, information management, business intelligence, information systems management, innovation, competence management, intellectual asset management and business process design. Knowledge Management at Marks & Spencer has two distinct features. The two features of Knowledge Management are to facilitate the creation of knowledge and to manage the way people share and apply it (designing & installing techniques and processes to create, protect and use explicit knowledge).

Information Systems in Marks & Spencer that aid Knowledge Management
Marks & Spencer has many systems that aid Knowledge Management. The information systems present in Marks & Spencer are Office Automation Systems & Knowledge Work Systems. OAS are information systems used in Marks & Spencer to create, modify, store, display and communicate the correspondence of business, where the data of loyal as well as transactional customers is retained for future business opportunities. The knowledge workers within the organization perform many essential tasks on OAS which are keeping the firm up-to-date with new knowledge as it develops outside the company, in areas such as technology, science and the humanities, providing advice inside the firm on how to use the new knowledge and acting as charge agents by recommending and implementing changes with the organization. In fact, the system makes each of the employee to contribute into the system the vital information, for instance, it could be related towards process improvement, and in that case the employee fills the process improvement suggestions form, within the OAS, and if feasible will be adopted at the system level, and the employee who have contributed that information is recognized.
KWS are information systems within Marks & Spencer that facilitate the creation and integration of new knowledge into the firm. KWS provides the staffs with tools to gather information. The tools are analytical tools, powerful graphics facilities, communication tools, access to external database and a user-friendly interface. Moreover, the consistent update of customers as well as market data, keeps employees abreast with the competitive advantage that Marks and Spencer has culminated over the time.

Figure 12: Types of Knowledge Management Systems

These systems take care of all the information that is fed into the system of the company and the information that goes out of the organizations after processing. This causes the strategic decision making to improve considerably, as the information received is factual and devoid of errors. Once the data that is received or processes is managed by these systems, the management could focus on other strategic improvements that are to be brought in the form of product lines, pricing, promoting products and other such responsibilities.

Suggestions for Changes
Although the office automation system (OAS) and knowledge management system (KMS) covers the broad spectrum of knowledge and information management at Marks and Spencer, yet, there are certain areas of improvement that the organization must focus on. First and foremost is to create willingness and empowerment among the employees to contributed in the OAS or KMS systems. In fact, the systems does facilitate the sharing of knowledge, yet the motivation among the employees regarding this improvement is lagging behind, which can be considered from the fact, that only one or two improvements happen in a year. In that regard, the management must motivate employees either through moral support or through monetary compensation to contributed into the knowledge management system.
Secondly, process knowledge management systems as well as information communication system must be segregated at the departmental level, where each of the organizational domain can participate in their respective areas, for instance, there must be separate KMS and OAS for marketing, finance, sales, operations etc. this makes the organization more comprehensive and specific towards taking care of the employees working in different departments as well as the respective areas of improvement.

Marks & Spencer has proper processes to achieve success in communication, decision making, and developing personal networking plans for employees, information and knowledge management. The author has discussed how communication, information and knowledge are used in the firm to gain competitive advantage. The author has shown how information and knowledge is used by the managers to improve their decision-making and decision taking. The author then moves on to personal networking of employees and how it widens the employees’ involvement indecision making. The author then discussed the importance of communication channels in the firm. Lastly, the author discusses the role of knowledge management in managing the organization strategically.
In this Assignment the author has also suggested few changes for the firm on how to improve their decision-making, information and knowledge management, employees’ personal networking and communication channels. Thus the author has concluded that Marks & Spencer has good communication channels, information and knowledge management, decision-making and personal networking of employees.

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Research Journal
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March 7, 2018

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