Excited to learn my abstract entitled ‘Value-added Knowledge Management (KM): Whose value anyway?’ was selected for submission as a research paper for the 20th European Conference on Knowledge Management (ECKM 2019) 5-6 September 2019 in Lisbon. The paper will use my PhD research from the University of Bath to contextualize two commonly referenced knowledge frameworks — SECI and DIKAR — in terms of value. I’d welcome having conversations on the subject of value with fellow knowledge researchers, academics, thought leaders, consultants and practitioners. Kindly email me at andrew.swan@columbia.edu. Vejo você em Lisboa! (See you in Lisbon!)

Paper Abstract: KM is strategic whenever it contributes organizational value. This paper will use an empirically tested conceptual framework, the Integrated Value Process (IVP), to identify the value-adding KM activities posited by two knowledge frameworks.


Paper description: Value is key to strategy. Value is the foundation of the value chain, i.e. the interconnected value activities within the firm. Value activities are the physically and technologically distinct activities the firm performs. They are the building blocks by which the firm creates a product/service valuable to its buyers, i.e. the firm’s value proposition.

Competitive strategy aims to increase the degree of strategic ‘fit’ between the firm’s interlinked value activities and its chosen competitive advantage. Numerous authors describe the process of ordering the firm’s internal and external activities, resources and actors to achieve such ‘fit’. KM participates in this process by aligning the firm’s knowledge activities with competitive strategy, i.e. the firm’s value discipline. “Lean supply” labels this process “value stream management” whereby value flows uninterrupted across the value stream when the customer receives what he or she considers valuable.

In his PhD thesis Swan (2003) documents interruptions in value flows across UK and US value streams labeling these blockages ‘value gaps’. He attributes these gaps to multiple alternative definitions of value found in the management literature. Swan (2003) advances the IVP (Integrated Value Process) framework to detect and prevent such gaps.

Contribution: This paper uses the IVP framework to assert KM’s strategic nature whenever KM contributes value (versus being merely necessary but not value-adding.) The paper demonstrates IVP’s usefulness to KM theory by contextualizing two knowledge frameworks, SECI and DIKAR, using the IVP concepts of ‘value alignment’ and ‘value translation.’

Source: Swan, Andrew J.  An Empirical Framework for Evaluating, Implementing and Managing a Value-based Supply Chain Strategy. University of Bath School of Management. (Approved PhD thesis).

Available online via ProQuest (order publication number 3121355). Copyright by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved.


PhD thesis abstract: Dr. Swan’s PhD thesis researches how firms manage value-based supply chain strategies. Four topic areas are explored:

• How “value” is defined and interpreted across a value chain.

• Whether the definition/interpretation of value changes based upon one’s assumed value chain perspective (i.e., customer- versus supplier-facing).

• Whether the definition or interpretation of value changes at different operating / management levels of the value chain.

• How firms might improve their management of value as evidenced by uninterrupted flows of value across their respective value chains.

In order to explore these topic areas Dr. Swan examines the set of management processes used by individuals to implement and achieve value-based strategies. He advances an empirical framework – the Integrated Value Process (IVP) – based upon (a) a conceptual model describing how value is conceptualized, configured and implemented across a triad of firms (i.e., the customer, the focal organization, and the supplier), (b) a high level “meta” definition of value and (c) a set of five value “first principles”, all of which are derived from the academic literature. He empirically tests the conceptual model quantitatively and qualitatively across firms in six UK and US supply chains.

The thesis advances the concept of “value gaps”, i.e. differing definitions/interpretations of value that lead to goal misalignment and conflict. The research documents instances of such value gaps. The findings suggest that Interruptions in value flows across a value chain arise when participants operate with an inadequate understanding of value. To help companies address these value gaps, the thesis advances an empirical framework for evaluating, implementing and managing a value-based supply chain strategy.

About the Author

Andrew Swan, PhD is a multidisciplinary and cross-functional integrator of strategy, processes, and information technology. His focus and expertise center on helping executives increase value creation and optimize value flows in business. Dr. Swan holds four degrees in Management, Accounting & Finance, Information & Knowledge Strategy, and Computer Science from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business,  the University of Bath School of Management, and Columbia University.

He frequently publishes articles on value chains, value streams / flows, and Integrative Value Management on his website www.andrewjswan.com. Dr. Swan created the Integrated Value Process (IVP) Framework to help companies optimize the flow of goods & services, funds, and information across their respective value chains for multiple stakeholders. He can be reached at andrew.swan@columbia.edu or at +1.773.633.7186.  He lives in Chicago.

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