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Topic: How does a company use Knowledge Management to create strategic


Harry Hartfield was looking over some recent travel brochures while consulting his recent Google search. Retirement is only five days away and he could not wait to see the Fiji Islands. He and his wife thought they would start with a restful break before they started their travels in earnest. Harry Hartfield is the head aero engineer at GDD and has been in charge of purchasing the planes and maintenance for the last 15 years after being an employee with GDD for the previous 25 years. Harry had progressed in the company to his current position and has seen a lot of initiatives come and go when it came to eco-friendly flying machines. In the last four weeks Harry has been breaking in his replacement, Imogine Farthing a woman in her forty's who is coming from their London branch. Harry likes the young woman and thinks that she will do well. However, she is keen to purchase the new Boeing 777 cargo plane. She thinks it will go a long way to improving their fuel consumption and air emissions on the long-run between Chicago and Singapore. The cost of the new plane is three times more than the Lockheed, which Harry thinks will save fuel costs over the old cargo plane they are using now. However, it will not have the same air pollutant emission reduction. While Harry thinks air pollution is an important concern for GDD, he also knows that in the past these controls often make the cost of the plan high and the fuel consumption lower than the company predicts. Ms. Farthing does not agree. Harry knows it will be her call but wishes he could access all those old reports he made when he was making a similar decision earlier in his career. With that information as a base maybe with update figures he may be able to persuade Ms. Farthing to change her mind. During his retirement party Harry decides to tell Mr. Rockfish about this point in the hopes that he may know how to locate the reports. Harry thought it was worth the try. Mr. Rockfish said he would look into it but wasn't sure what he could do.

Oddly after his encounter with Harry Hartfield at the party, Mr. Rockfish began a short conversation with one of his sales managers, Amid Jordan. Amid Jordan had been with the company only three years and Mr. Rockfish was shocked to hear that he was leaving. Amid Jordan said that he sorry to have to go but he was offered a job in Orlando with UPS, one of GDD's biggest competitors. In fact UPS had been poaching many of his managers lately and he was concerned about proprietary information and good talent leaving the company.

How could he stop people from leaving the company and taking their knowledge with them?

Harry's retirement party was beginning to be depressing for Mr. Rockfish and not festive. The feeling was brought home when Harry began a conversation with a visiting shipping department head from their Asian branch. It turned out that she was here to try to rectify a major glitch in the process used to get letter packages to Malaysia. It seems that despite communications between the branches the packages were consistently running a day late. They found out that the problem was in the driver pick up times here in the United States. The Asian branch has been asking that the time difference be adjusted by three hours rather than the one hour as it currently was set. The change somehow was not being communicated to the drivers. It needed to be fixed because he had a lot of unhappy customers with claims of late packages to deal with on his arrival home.

Mr. Rockfish began to think about the fact that all these stories were dealing with knowledge and its usefulness to the company. This point is one he has been hearing a lot about recently from Ms. Jane Clive. Plus if you consider the Helmut and Jesse cases earlier I guess my mind is made up. Mr. Rockfish approaches Jane Clive and says, "Okay I think you are right about your idea of setting knowledge management processes in place, but you will have to explain it to the Board of Directors. They need to see how it creates strategic value for the company before they will buy into the plan."

In the next three weeks Jane Clive (you) and your team will make a transcript for the video PowerPoint presentation Jane Clive will make to the Board. Each week you will address two knowledge management issues illustrated in the scenario and how KM solutions will bring value to the company.


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