Unleashing knowledge in oil retailing : integrated knowledge sharing within the Japan Energy Corporation, retail marketing group
Author(s)Oka, Daisuke, 1971-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Management of Technology Program.
Wanda J. Orlikowski.
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Several major differences in managerial philosophy and methodology can be seen between Western firms and Japanese firms nowadays. The importance of "Knowledge Management" is one example. As systematized and practiced in many Western firms, knowledge management is known as "management based on knowledge assets" and includes the skillful use of cutting-edge information technology to facilitate externalizing and sharing employees' tacit knowledge, thereby successfully increasing their intangible assets and corporate value. In spite of possessing traditional knowledge exchange systems characterized by face-to-face interactions in local communities, majority of Japanese organizations have been unaware of the significance of their knowledge assets. Today, most Japanese firms have suffered through at least ten years of extended recession, and thus have experienced a significant outflow of their knowledge as a result of cost-reduction and restructuring programs. The Japanese oil industry in which I work is one such lamentable example. Rather than focusing on a broad discussion of ideal knowledge management systems, I have focused on designing a practical knowledge sharing process for Japan Energy Corporation and its franchised dealers who run a network of more than 5,000 gas stations. Specifically, I have designed a framework of vertical-and-horizontal knowledge sharing within Japan Energy Corporation and its recently reorganized 11 retail subsidiary dealers named JOMO NETs. I discuss the issue from the perspective of the key knowledge players, design a supportive IT system, and identify other effective enablers such as a new incentive system and remodeling of routines, all focused on creating a system that will blend with the traditional Japanese organizational culture and understand the disciplines of past studies and practices, yet ultimately succeed by retaining valuable knowledge in a technologically advanced knowledge system that is accessible to all who need it. In addition, I propose a path for transforming Japan Energy's entire oil retail group into a true knowledge organization by transferring accumulated knowledge within its subsidiaries to its independent dealers as substitutes for monetary resources. This will serve to reinforce JEC's partnerships, and ultimately feed back to end consumers at gas stations to enhance the company's brand value and overall competitiveness.
Thesis (S.M.M.O.T.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management, Management of Technology Program, 2001.Includes bibliographical references (leaf 78).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Management of Technology Program.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Management of Technology Program.