Ethics, HRM, and IS

Ethics, Knowledge Management Systems, and Information Systems can be used together to improve Organizational Performance. Most of the time, it can go unnoticed of what concepts are combined to improve organizational performance. Deconstructing three articles that discuss knowledge management systems, mobile cloud computing, and ethics will help to identify three concepts that can be used together to positively influence organizational performance. A case study on General Electric is used to show the application of the three concepts to improve employee performance.

Theory– Article Deconstruction

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Linking Knowledge Management Orientation to Balanced Scorecard Outcomes

Main points. Lin (2015) asserts that the balanced scorecard (BS) approach can be used to determine comprehensively, the effectiveness of knowledge management orientation (KMO) on organizational performance. Measuring how various dimensions of KMO influence organization performance helps in the implementation of KMO in the organization. In order to succeed, organizations need to build up on the existing knowledge continuously using knowledge acquired from external sources to create a sustainable competitive advantage. Knowledge management is one of the assets that competitors cannot imitate, and good knowledge management practices help in creating a sustainable competitive advantage. Besides, knowledge management helps organizations to identify and quickly take advantage of emerging business opportunities before competitors.

Evidence. Traditionally, organizations used to employ financial related indicators and innovation performance to determine the effectiveness of their knowledge management systems. However, the two tangible and intangible methodologies fail to give a holistic picture of how the systems perform. The author makes use of secondary sources to support the evidence.

Analysis. Lin (2015) uses a structural equation modeling approach to determine how the dimensions of KMO, (which include organizational memory, knowledge sharing, knowledge absorption, and knowledge receptivity)influence the outcomes of the BS approach. The outcomes include learning & growth, internal process, customer satisfaction, and financial performance. With the use of flowcharts, hypotheses are tested on how each dimension influences each outcome using a sample of 244 knowledge management managers working in Taiwan.

Linking. The author has gathered evidence from secondary sources to create awareness about the implementation of knowledge management systems because performance is not measured effectively. Lin (2015) conducted a qualitative study to test the applicability and effectiveness of the balanced scorecard approach in filling the gap. From the study, the author has established how the dimensions relate with the BS outcomes, which motivates organizations on applying the four dimensions of KMO to increase organizational performance.

A Survey on Mobile Cloud Computing with Embedded Security Considerations

Main points. Victor et al. (2014) discuss the possibilities of employing mobile cloud computing, for mobile devices deficient in applications to access resources in the cloud. According to the author, even though the new development might help the weak mobile devices, the creation, and adoption of mobile cloud computing has certain challenges that must be addressed. Some of the challenges include the technical issues that emerge when integrating cloud computing with mobile networks. Ideally, not all mobile networks will be strong enough to perform in cloud computing. In addition, not all applications are accessible everywhere. Moreover, mobile cloud computing may pose security threats to the mobile devices, the users and data, and to the cloud platform. There are also privacy concerns that emerge in the anticipated new developments.  

Evidence. The authors highlighted some of the resources that constrain mobile devices when trying to run an application. For instance, some mobile devices have small storage spaces and mobile devices need to have updated versions to run the applications well among other elements. The evidence used is factual and obtained from related research works.

Analysis. Victor, et al. (2014) employ the principles of cloud computing to understand better how mobile cloud computing can be developed. A survey on existing literature discussing related projects, is done within the context of cloud computing principles

Linking. Cloud computing technology and the technology that supports the functions of mobile devices attracts the use of technical language to make explanations. However, Victoria et al. (2014) have used minimal technical terms to express their main ideas. Besides, the authors have used examples familiar to every user of smart mobile devices. Only a few technical parts are not easily understood to nonprofessionals.

Steps to strengthen ethics in organizations: Research findings, ethics placebos, and what works

Main points. Pope (2015) discusses the different ways in which organizations fail to strengthen organizational ethics by overlooking the need, as well as, the opportunities. Various barriers hinder  efforts to strengthen organizational ethics, such as upholding the culture of remaining silent and making wrong use of ethics code of conduct among others. To address these barriers, there are important steps that organizations can take to make a successful change. Some of these steps include conducting a survey on how the current leadership enforces ethics code of conduct and ethical behavior in the organization, the organizational culture, and stakeholders to determine the approaches to implement a better change.

Evidence. Several news headlines have been used to illustrate how certain organizations betrayed their ethics and the costs they incurred. For example, General Motors choose to sell defected cars knowingly for more than a decade, which led to increased rates of injuries and deaths through road accidents. The authors make use of secondary sources such as the one above to present factual evidence to support the article’s main ideas. 

Analysis. The article reviews related research works and the steps needed to make the required changes.

Linking. By reviewing the different cases where organizations such as Enron made wrong use of ethics code of conduct, the authors have made it clear how barriers such as the habit of choosing to remain silent hinders the efforts of strengthening organizational ethics. Based on the logical flow of the discussion, proper selection, and use of evidence presented, it is clear on the steps that should be taken to strengthen organizational ethics in relation to the barriers mentioned.

Case Study Application: General Electric

At General Electric, the management decided to make an important change from the way it used to command its employees, and instead, adopted annual performance reviews to control their performance. The company expected employees to improve their performance continually and those that failed to make significant improvements risked losing their jobs. In this case, performance reviews were used to force employees to improve their performance with no room for negotiations for those who failed to make improvements. Recently, the management has realized that the use of annual performance reviews did not bring any organizational progress and was only used as a ritual to command and control workers. The proposed change is the use of a mobile application, which enables the management to connect with the employees and inspire them to work harder. Even though the traditional performance reviews will continue, the use of mobile application will enable employees to get quick feedback on their performance and in return motivate them to work hard (Nisen, 2015; Sarar, 2016).

Relating General Electric’s case with the concepts gathered from the three articles, it is evident that General Electric is making proper use of its knowledge management systems, and the new knowledge obtained from workers/management is used to improve the existing knowledge. More so, knowledge is shared from consultations made frequently using the mobile app and applied to improve performance. On the other hand, employees are required to have a positive attitude towards the feedback they receive and accept it to improve their performance. In regards to mobile cloud computing, the new technology may benefit General Electric by enhancing the use of mobile applications to encourage its employees to perform better. The use of annual performance reviews to encourage employees or terminate their job contracts by General Electric was unethical. Performance reviews can be biased and they may misguide HRs on what actually motivates people to work hard. In the past, the firm ignored the needs and the opportunities to strengthen its ethics, which resulted in huge losses of talented employees, and this affected its organizational performance. However, adopting the concept of ethical leadership, General Electric’s management has considered the interest of the employees, as well as, the importance of consultations and conversations in inspire and motivate workers.

Conclusion

The three concepts – knowledge management systems, ethics, and information systems can be used together to influence organizational performance. At General Electric, the knowledge about employees’ weaknesses and its impact on performance is what the company needs to determine how to address this barrier using the knowledge obtained with the help of the mobile app. The change demanded ethical leadership that takes into consideration the interests of the employees.

References

Lin, H-F. (2015). Linking knowledge management orientation to balanced score outcomes. Journal of Knowledge Management, 19(6), 1224–1249.

Nisen, M. (2015). Why GE had to kill its annual performance reviews after more than three decades. Retrieved https://qz.com/428813/ge-performance-review-strategy-shift/.

Pope, K. S. (2015). Steps to strengthen ethics in organizations: Research findings, ethics placebos, and what works. Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, 16(2), 139-152.

Sarar, H. (2016). Implications of performance appraisal at General Electric Company. Archives of Business Research, 4(4), 82-93.

Victor, W., Abah, J., Adewalwe, O., Abdullahi, M., & Ume, A. (2014). A survey of mobile cloud computing with embedded security considerations. International Journal of Cloud Computing and Services Science, 3(1), 53–66.

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