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Tell us a little about yourself.
I am highly interested in teamwork activities. My favourite pursuits include working in training industries and social organizations which challenge me in various ways, such as how to communicate effectively. I have established and managed more than 200 training workshops in managerial subjects. I also follow a wide range of social activities at university, continued membership of sport teams and worked in different businesses, all of which support my capability to make and sustain communication with people and communities. Additionally, I am interested in improving my knowledge in philosophy, epistemology, history, and politics. My long term goal is improving my innate skills to make a contribution to world development processes; in particular, by applying the knowledge and experiences I gained from studying and working in a developed country like the UK in organizations which are located in developing countries.
What got you interested in this subject?
Being involved in different fields in management consulting projects and a wide range of social activities, I developed the view that organizations who manage knowledge effectively are able to use other management skills and methods more efficiently. In other words, knowledge management is a managerial skill and approach that can be seen as an infrastructure on which other management techniques and approaches can be developed and supported. In addition, according to the new economic situation, knowledge management initiatives have to rely on absorbing external knowledge rather that creating it internally. Therefore, I am interested to study the ability of organizations to absorb external knowledge as a new source of competitive advantage.
My focus is on knowledge management and absorption from a strategic perspective. I have shown in my research that "absorptive capacity" would be a new approach in knowledge management that is more compatible with the new economy. It has also been argued that the study of ACAP is multidisciplinary and that it can be viewed as an interface of different perspectives on business development such as organizational learning, knowledge management and strategic management.
What have you enjoyed about it?
I have really enjoyed improving my knowledge and experiences for my professional career by knowledge that I obtained through the academic program.
What have you found most challenging?
The most challenging aspect of a Ph.D. student is to define a clear plan for the research and make a proper balance between the empirical and theoretical parts of the study.
What is your top tip for a future KIM student?
What is your top tip for a future KIM student?First of all, a clear understanding of the subject can improve students to define and select the topic for their research. Developing a conceptual framework to present the key components and factors in the area of study would be very helpful in clarifying the topic of research. It can also support a reliable research proposal and help students to gain more insight on the domain.
Secondly, defining and selecting a clear methodology is a critical activity in applied research. However, selecting just standard frameworks and methodologies may not work for applied research in the real world. In fact, for a successful research, different methodologies would be combined and customized. However, it should be explained clearly and approved by the supervisor(s) during the study.
Finally, active attendance in social events in the department and communicating with other KIM members to present and discuss the outputs at an early stage of research would improve the study significantly.
My main research interest is in knowledge management from a strategic perspective, particularly in small and medium sized enterprises. In fact, I am looking at developing knowledge-based organizational capacities which create and support the companies´ competitive advantage.
Knowledge absorptive capacity in small and medium sized enterprises
Dr Ana Cristina Vasconcelos and Dr Jorge Martins
Knowledge absorptive capacity (ACAP) is a new perspective on learning and innovation to absorb knowledge from the external environment rather than creating it internally. Much of the work on ACAP has focused on groups and on integration within organisations or between two organisations. However, there is still a gap on the study of the absorption of knowledge from the broader environment and its integration into and across organisational boundaries. There is also a gap in identifying how knowledge absorption, translation and integration practices occur in smaller organisations with flexible, informal and overlapping boundaries on an everyday basis. So, this study focuses on absorbing knowledge at an inter-organizational level and on identifying ways in which transformed knowledge is disseminated back into the environment and how communities in companies engage with, and influence adaptation in the environment. The main aim of my research is to fill the recognized theoretical and empirical gap in the study of the link between knowledge absorption and knowledge management and to develop a theoretical framework for ACAP development in the context of small firms in the insurance industry in Iran.
Positioning of research
This research supports the theoretical and empirical framework of knowledge integration and absorption approaches. The proposed framework will support the knowledge absorption processes and initiatives at an organizational and inter-organizational level. This framework also helps an organization to identify ways in which it can improve its competitiveness within the community of firms.
The first phase of the research carries out an inductive and qualitative approach based on grounded theory to build a conceptual framework on ACAP. The second phase would like to evaluate the proposed conceptual model based on a quantitative method and looking at organizational factors and environmental conditions which significantly affect ACAP developments strategies. As part of the second phase, a theoretical framework for ACAP development would be designed through some focus groups based on the evaluated conceptual model.
A theoretical framework for ACAP development in the community of small firms would be developed. Once created, this model can apply to many industries with a number of companies which cooperate to achieve common interests and goals while at same time compete with each other in the industry.
Knowledge management, strategic management, absorptive capacity, small and medium sized enterprises, SMEs, knowledge absorption, and knowledge integration.
MBA in Management Information Systems, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran (2004);
Bachelor´s degree in Computer Engineering, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran (1999).
My professional experiences over the past 11 years are divided into the following three major fields:
I have worked as a management consultant in business development, IT strategy (Kerman province), knowledge strategy planning (Asia Co, insurance industry), and strategic management (NICICO, copper industry). I also managed the customer brand evaluation and strategic marketing planning projects in the Resalat bank in Iran and worked on a project for redesigning the organizational structure and establishing new departments such as HRM, PMO and Customer Services at Peykasa.
I have experience in managing a number of large scale projects in the ICT industry, such as deploying five massaging centres in the mobile network in Iran (being the biggest project in the messaging industry in Iran at the time), managing an E-government project in the Kerman province, and working as an IT infrastructure designer and developer in the Asia Company and its subsidiaries.
I have founded five small and medium sized firms and am involved as either CEO or Member of Board of Directors. One of these companies is called ACEEX group (Academic Editing Experts; www.EditingExperts.org) which is as a network of professors and Ph.D. students located in the top 100 universities around the world. I also expanded one of our companies from 44 to 89 professionals over a two year period. This was achieved through interviewing around 300 individuals, tracking their careers and supporting them in order to improve their positions. As the result of business development efforts and marketing strategies in the firm, income increased on average from $0.5 m up to $2 m per year.
Achievements and awards