The Organic and the Mechanistic Form of Managing Knowledge in Software Development

  • Ralph Trittmann
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2176)


This paper presents a framework for knowledge management in software development. The dimensions of the framework are drawn from organization theory. Therefore, it allows for a systematic comparison of knowledge management activities in different companies. By applying established theories from various disciplines, two basic forms of knowledge management can be derived from this framework. The organic form is fitting when the primary intention of knowledge transfer is achieving innovation effects. The mechanistic form is suitable for companies mainly aiming at leveraging existing knowledge. The findings of a survey generally support the existence of the two forms of knowledge management in practice. However, both forms may coexist, when referred to distinct dimensions of knowledge like application domain, methodological, and technical knowledge.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Jones, C.: Patterns of Software Systems Failure and Success. International Thomson Computer Press, London (1996)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Anderson, C.: A World Gone Soft: A Survey of the Software Industry. IEEE Engineering Management Review, 24 (4) (1996), 21–36Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Basili, V.R., Caldiera, G., Rombach, H.D.: Experience Factory. In: Marciniak, J.J. (eds.): Encyclopedia of Software Engineering, John Wiley & Sons, New York (1994), 469–476Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Brössler, P.: Knowledge Management at a Software House: A Progress Report. In: Bomarius, F. (eds.): Proceedings of the Workshop on Learning Software Organizations, June 16th, Kaiserlautern (1999), 77–83Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Houdek, F., Kempter, H.: Quality patterns-An approach to packaging software engineering experience. ACM SIGSOFT Software Engineering Notes, 22(3) (1997), 81–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Johansson, C., Hall, P., Coquard, M.: Talk to Paula and Peter-They are Experienced. In: In: Bomarius, F. (eds.): Proceedings of the Workshop on Learning Software Organizations, June 16th, Kaiserlautern (1999), 69–76Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Davenport, T.H., Probst, G. (eds.): Knowledge Management Case Book: Siemens Best Practices, MCD, Munich (2001)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    American Productivity amp;Quality Center (eds.): Arthur Andersen. Tech. Report, APQC, Houston (1997)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Davenport, T.H., Prusak, L.: Working Knowledge: How Organizations Manage What They Know. Boston (1997)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Heppner, K.: Organisation des Wissenstransfers: Grundlagen, Barrieren und Instrumente. Gabler, Wiesbaden/Germany (1997)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Roehl, H.: Instrumente der Wissensorganisation. Gabler, Wiesbaden/Germany (2000)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Althoff, K.-D., Müller, W., Nick, M., Snoek, B.: KM-PEB: An Online Experience Base on Knowledge Management Technology. In: Blanzieri, E., Portinale, L. (eds.), Advances in Case-Based Reasoning-Proc. 5th European Workshop on Case-Based Reasoning, Springer, Berlin (2000), 335–347Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Probst, G., Raub, S., Romhardt, K.: Wissen Managen: Wie Unternehmen Ihre wertvollste Ressource optimal nutzen. 3rd ed., Gabler, Wiesbaden/Germany (1999)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    North, K.: Wissensorientierte Unternehmensführung: Wertschöpfung durch Wissen. 2nd ed., Gabler, Wiesbaden/Germany (1999)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Straub, D., Karahanna, E.: Knowledge Worker Communications and Recipient Availability: Toward a Task Closure Explanation of Media Choice. Organization Science, 9 (2) (1998), 160–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hansen, M.T., Nohira, N., Tierney, T.: What’s your Strategy for Managing Knowledge? Harvard Business Review, 77(2) (1999), 106–116Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Mintzberg, H. The Structuring of Organizations. A Synthesis of the Research. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs (1979)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Schindler, M.: Wissensmanagement in der Projektabwicklung: Grundlagen, Determinanten und Gestaltungskonzepte eines ganzheitlichen Projektwissensmanagements. Eul, Lohmar/Germany (2000)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Romhardt, K.: Die Organisation aus der Wissensperspektive: Möglichkeiten und Grenzen der Intervention. Gabler, Wiesbaden/Germany (1998)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Osterloh, M., Frey, B.S.: Motivation, Knowledge Transfer, and Organizational Forms. Organization Science, 11 (5) (2000), 538–550CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Roos, J., Von Krogh, G.: Figuring Out Your Competence Configuration. European Management Journal, 10 (4) (1992), 422–427CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Bendt, A.: Wissenstransfer in multinationalen Unternehmen. Gabler, Wiesbaden/Germany (2000)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Burns, T., Stalker, G.M.: The management of innovation. 3rd ed., London (1971)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Trittmann, R., Mellis, W.: Wissenstransfer in der Softwareentwicklung: Eine ökonomische Analyse. In: Oberweis, A., Sneed, H.M. (eds.): Software-Management, Proc. Fachtagung der Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (GI), Oktober 1999 in München, B.G. Teubner, Leipzig (1999), 27–44Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Högl, M.: Teamarbeit in innovativen Projekten: Einflußgrößen und Wirkungen. Gabler, Wiesbaden/Germany, 1998Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Nonaka, I., Takeuchi, H.: The Knowledge-Creating Company. Oxford University Press (1995)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Faraj, S, Sproull, L.: Coordinating Expertise in Software Development Teams. Management Science, 46 (12) (2000), 1554–1568CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Trittmann, R., Brössler, P.: Effizienter Wissenstransfer in der Softwareentwicklung: Der sd&m-Ansatz. In: Eppler, M., Sukowski, O. (eds.): Fallstudien zum Wissensmanagement: Lösungen aus der Praxis, Net Academy Press, St. Gallen (2001), 163–188Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Decker, B., Althoff, K.-D., Nick, M. amp; Tautz, C.: Integrating Business Process Descriptions and Lessons Learned with an Experience Factory. In: Schnurr, H.-P. et al. (eds.): Professionelles Wissensmanagement-Erfahrungen und Visionen, Shaker, Aachen (2001), 54–58Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Tautz, C.: Customizing Software Engineering Experience Management Systems to Organizational Needs. Fraunhofer IRB Verlag, Stuttgart (2000)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ralph Trittmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Information SystemsUniversity of CologneCologneGermany

Personalised recommendations