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Schaefer, Wim F.
The Management of Knowledge in Architectural Companies by Reconstruction of Problem Solving Systems
Second Design and Decision Support Systems in Architecture & Urban Planning (Vaals, the Netherlands), August 15-19, 1994
The purpose of this paper is to present a theory for 'knowledge management' in architectural firms. This theory is based upon the premise that knowledge as well as employees (..the designer as a knowledge worker..) are regarded as means of production and that for both of these resources economic values exist during a limited period of time. Similar to the management efforts to optimize the use of labour and 'material' equipment the use of knowledge should be optimized by adequate management. The presented theory for the management of knowledge introduces a new profession in the organization of an architectural firm: the knowledge manager. And within this context a knowledge base is regarded as a tool to help to perform one of the tasks of this professional. The central part of this theory consists of a cognitive reconstruction of problem solving systems. This reconstruction provides a layout for a knowledge base as well as a 'road map' to guide the discussions on 'what knowledge is used', 'who learned what' and 'to whom must experience be transferred'. Employees as the most 'cognitive actors' in problem-solving in design processes can be traced. The management can decide on wether to emphasise the concentration of knowledge by these persons or to emphasize the transfer of their knowledge to others. The use and meaning of knowledge bases for each of these management approaches are completely different.