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Knowledge management and policy working document celltech

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Business
Wordcount: 4617 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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This report discusses a number of knowledge management frameworks and techniques which are more relevant for CellTech’s business and operations. We begin with analyzing the knowledge environment in CellTech case study over various stages of the organizational change and mapping that knowledge toward the KM models and frameworks to understand the practical use of the techniques in real time.

The famous techniques or frameworks which are discussed in this report are “Exploration and exploitation”, cultural web, SECI, Garvin’s 5 block of learning organization, I-Space and emotional intelligence. Using these techniques or framework we will understand the potential contribution and importance of knowledge management in organizational growth.

Finally the review will evaluate the possible issues surrounding the creation and transfer of knowledge in CellTech’s knowledge management policy.

Understanding of CellTech case study

Celltech Europe’s one of the oldest biotechnology organization into Biologics and Therapeutics development of drugs. The firm had different management approach from 1980 – 1996 with its conversional business of contract manufacturing and biologics research to creation of innovative drugs and then toward the collaboration with leading large pharmaceutical companies. From the understanding of the case study I classified the CellTech to three periods,

During 1980’s

Two business, contract manufacturing and in-research. Contract manufacturing is the prime revenue generating business and the costs involved in researches are cover by the contract manufacturing.

More number of employee were working on biologics research and contract manufacturing

Therapeutics research was done in-house and Biologics was with contractors.

Shareholders were not happy with CellTech revenue and cash burn for 2 years seems to be an overall concern.

Early 1990’s

New CEO was appointed to bring new ideas to change CellTech’s progress (Dr. Peter Fellner).

Want to focus on new drug development and seen the potential of innovative drugs manufacturing (Therapeutic).

Flat organization structure was created and business was divided into two divisions (Biologic and therapeutic), and Fellner’s vision to expand therapeutic division R&D.

Interdisciplinary teams were formed in research to build new capabilities among scientists.

Market penetration through clinical trials Bayer collaboration and gain marketing knowledge.

To change the cash burn situation through Bayer’s collaboration Milestone payment.

New skills on therapeutics were required so scientists were recruited to replace the “clubs of old”.

Late 1990’s

Biologics division of the company was sold since profit margin was going down.

Change in focus to develop new innovative drugs to advance the human health.

CellTech created strong partnership with world leading pharmaceutical companies for the therapeutic drugs discovery and development.

Senior management gained experience in both pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector.

To monitor the progress on various functions different review systems were setup.

By the end of 1996 CellTech had a good market position in UK biotech sector.

Balancing between Exploitation and Exploration – CellTech

Exploitation is defined as the use of already exiting things like exiting product information, organization structure or other word it’s the firm’s core competencies. Exploration means pursue of new things which might come to be known otherwise exploring opportunities for building something new (Levinthal and March, 1993).

Exploitation and exploration mainly focus and revolve on the Core competency of the organization i.e. exploitation is the use currently known core competency and exploration is to pursue new core competency. Core competences are ability by which organization deploy resources for their activities and process to get competitive advantage over the others so that it can’t be imitate or obtained.

According to Cohen and levinthal (1990), for the success a firm has to maintain balance between exploitation and exploration and March (1991) believe that the primary factor for the survival and success in long run would be balance between these two.

In the case of CellTech, they wanted move out of cash burn and to be a financial successful organization through exploration such as collaboration. CellTech core competences during 1980 were contract manufacturing and they developed world class antibodies with contract companies. This can be viewed as the Levinthal and March’s (1993) exploitation “the use of development of things already known”.

Exploration Dilemma When the organization wanted for new management, to bring new thoughts and culture through appointment Dr. Fellner as CEO and when Fellner came into the organization, he brought new idea to change the current organization style. Following are the some changes came through new CEO and this give the view of Levinthal and March’s (1993) exploration,

Restructuring the organization with more flat structure (two division Biologic and therapeutic – to have control and monitoring).

Investment on Therapeutics new drugs development and also to bring more interdisciplinary team approach to build multi-skilled scientist.

Recruitment of new scientists in Therapeutic to bring new skills on the drug development.

Collaboration with Bayer on the clinical trials

The First balancing factors from the CellTech was, When Dr.Fellner seen more business opportunities in therapeutic R&D, he divided the organization with exiting competency (Biologic, exploitation) and new competency (Therapeutic, exploration). In the initial stage therapeutic business was like a cost centre, more depending on the revenue from contract manufacturing and later emerged as profit centre new employees were recruited on therapeutic side while “club of old” from biologic moved out.

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In the late 1990’s when the Therapeutic side was doing well with more clinical trial on pipe line and new collaborations with market leading and selling out the Biologic company see to be the second balancing factor. CellTech initial collaboration with Bayer helped them to establish better relationship with other later. The Bayer collaboration actually bailed them out from cash burn and to invest on therapeutic research.

According to March (1991), balancing factor between exploitation and exploration is difficult and complicated, learning can contribute to imbalance. Levinthal and March (1991) believes competency trap will be the outcome of inappropriate learning i.e. excess exploitation or exploration can lead to imbalance. I do agree that imbalance can rise but in this case study the application toward balancing the horses (Exploitation and Exploration) were well managed like bringing interdisciplinary team, flat organizational structure, slow increase of employee in therapeutic research and utilizing the learns learned from Bayer collaboration to other collaborations.

Culture – Knowledge Sharing in Organization

Culture can described as how thing are done and it is the combination of values, behavior, belief and paradigm (taken for granted assumptions). Organizational culture is the value and beliefs which forms an integral part of organization – what is chosen to see and absorb (Davenport & Prusak 2000). It includes opinion on the shared reality, regarding how things are acting now and how it should be in future. In a growing organization, knowledge and knowledge sharing are the inseparable culture. Following are three levels of culture which exist in an organization (Schein 1992),

Artifacts mean the visible elements in the organization such as processes, organization structure, and fixed assets. These elements can only understood inside the organization and from the outside it not understood why things are done in such ways.

Espoused values are beneath the artifacts to support the organization’s functions such as strategies and goals. These values are created by the leaders or the management in the organization and if these values are not framed correctly then the management is in big trouble.

Assumptions are the actual core value of the culture which largely present at unconscious level of the organization’s human resource like thought and feelings.

Davenport & Prusak (2000) believes that knowledge sharing culture plays an important role to enable the transfer and creation of knowledge within the organization. In order to make knowledge management as practice, the employees of the organization much cooperate to share their knowledge with others (Interdisciplinary learning). The leader of the organization also should understand the culture from the overall organization and community level to share knowledge.

New CEO’s approach towards organizational culture change

The first change Dr. Fellner brought to the organization is to separate the company into two divisions and to bring more focus on the therapeutic in-house research. Then he changed the organization to a flat structure with more focus towards new drug development. Interdisciplinary teams to focus on cross sectional learning within the organization to develop multi skilled scientists. The collaboration with Bayer was the major milestone for the CellTech from the financial side but when we see the knowledge perspective it was the clinical trial phase II knowledge transmission to Bayer.

Mapping to Cultural Web

Johnson and Scholes (2002) explains cultural web as the indentifying factor to describe various factors influencing organizational cultural both for current and future. The below figure 1 shows the culture web mapping towards the CellTech(after Dr. Fellner’s change),

Figure 1: Cultural Web

Paradigm: The assumptions set by the organization on the whole for the long run.

Rituals and Routines: These represent “the way the things are do around here”. The ways that organization’s member behave each others.

Stories and myths: The different stakeholders of the organization pass on common beliefs of the past events and reinforcing the people’s behavior by telling the importance of the organization.

Symbols: The elements of the organizations, including titles, language and dress codes.

Control Systems: The various review set by the organization to measure the outcome of polices and to reward people based on the performance.

Organizational Structures: It is the formal structure of the firm, how the chain of command flows from the top to bottom.

Power structures: It is the key element tells about how the power is distributed in the organization, the paradigm is more shaped by the people or the group has more power.

The knowledge sharing for CellTech is considered more important since the company’s focus not only on the drug development but also on the collaboration. For instance we take the Bayer initial collaboration where CellTech was responsible for developing the drug up to phase II and then pass it on to Bayer for further development. Here passing it to Bayer means a huge amount of knowledge in terms of test results and the experiences of the scientists at various stages are documented and shared. As mentioned by Dr.Bloxham “lessons were learned which were applied to the late, post 1992 collaboration”, here knowledge is not only shared but being gained.

CellTech not only wanted to share knowledge with other competitor as collaborator but also wanted the own scientists to share knowledge by having an interdisciplinary team approach in the drug development team. Building Biochemist would be a good example of CellTech’s initiative on the interdisciplinary skill development on it scientists.

According to Knight and Howes (2003) there are behaviors which are heavily inbuilt in each and every workplace to restrict the effectiveness of the knowledge sharing. To initiate knowledge management it is important to know which of the behaviors can and cannot be changed and Cultural Web model categorize the influencing factors on the people’s behavior.

Knight and Howes (2003) believes cultural web can be used an auditing tool to analysis “what is currently valued in the organization” and to define the how best future culture is required for the organization. To keep competitive advantage in the market to changing circumstances, culture and structures have to be altered by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness (Bali, Wickramasinghe, Lehaney (2009). The cultural changes are required when a new strategy is to be implemented and in this changing world it’s going to be a cyclic process.

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Knowledge generation and transfer – SECI

Social interaction is the means by which the Knowledge generation and transfer happens and it is the generation and transfer of tacit and explicit knowledge between individual and group. Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) come up with a model called SECI to understand process involved in the nature of knowledge creation and effective management of knowledge in the dynamic environment. The idea of the model to highlight importances of the knowledge possessed by individual is shared with other individual or group.

Explicit Knowledge – CellTech

Explicit knowledge is the knowledge which can be expressed in a systematic formal language and shared in form of specifications, policies and form of data. The knowledge here is captured and documented in a physical form and it is very direct to understand and easy source to be obtained through papers (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995). ). From CellTech case study we can see explicit knowledge right from the begin and following are some of them,

Financial status of the CellTech especially the cash burn was known by everyone in the organization and should have been know by the balance sheet report.

Restructuring the organization to a flat structure

Contract manufacturing to research and development – redefining the focus of the company by new CEO

The trail phases handed over to collaboration companies – here the CellTech transfers the intellectual knowledge to other company to further development and it should have been done with more documentation and knowledge transfer sessions.

All the review systems setup to monitor the progress of the organization

Tacit knowledge – CellTech

Tacit knowledge is the knowledge which is very hard to formalize or documented and it is more deeply rooted on the action and emotion. The most part of the tacit knowledge is acquired by previous experience and more internal and this knowledge can be transferred in a verbal formal to another (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995). From CellTech case study we can see tacit knowledge right from the begin and following are some of them,

Scientists gaining knowledge in the Biologic and therapeutic research

Interdisciplinary leaning from scientists in therapeutic research

The skills of the new employees in therapeutic research

The lessons learnt from the Bayer collaboration for the management to explore more collaboration later with other pharmaceutical companies

SECI Spiral

According to Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995), creation of knowledge is a spiral process involving explicit and tacit knowledge interactions and this will lead to new knowledge creation. The explicit and tacit knowledge combination in SECI model is been conceptualized into four stages and the figure 2 shows the four stages,

Figure 2: SECI Knowledge Spiral

Socialization in SECI believes that knowledge creation begins with the tacit acquisition of knowledge by people i.e. from people who know to people who don’t know (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995: 62-4). From CellTech point of view it can be the new skills from the new scientists to the “clubs of old” and from the “clubs of old” the organizational process like research and development focus can be shared to the new employee. CellTech also created opportunity for the employee to socialize by having breakout area near the drug development labs.

Externalization is the second stage in knowledge conversion where tacit knowledge is converted to explicit. Here individual tacit knowledge comes out and become explicit group knowledge (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995: 66). From the CellTech point of view the interdisciplinary learning will give opportunity to the team to learn the skills which they don’t possess like chemist helping biologist team.

Combination is the next stage where the knowledge is systematized and it happened when group of people synthesis various explicit source of knowledge into plans, documents or reports (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995: 67). From the CellTech point of all the review systems setup to monitor all the functions of the organizations will be the systemizing process for the knowledge management.

Internalization is the fourth stage in the SECI and described as a process of personifying the explicit to tacit knowledge. Internalization can also be mention as learning explicit knowledge and doing thing through tacit knowledge (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995: 69). In CellTech case study we can see internalization when clinical trials move from one phase to another scientist pass on the experience drugs development and when CellTech used the Bayer collaboration experience to make more successful future collaboration also can be considered internalization.

The knowledge conversion is considered to be a social process where from individual to group at different organizational levels the knowledge is amplified and crystallized as part of the organization knowledge network (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995: 73). This model assists the organization to manage the knowledge creation at various levels. The understanding of tacit and explicit knowledge in an organization is important before considering the knowledge capturing and creation and good understanding of both will help to identify what part of knowledge is important and to be shared. The controlled way of managing knowledge will help the organization to achieve the strategic goal easily. Coming to CellTech like organization where there is plenty of tacit knowledge, has to be formalized to a process to make it explicit. Hereby make it explicit help the organization to develop and create awareness of the knowledge i.e. clinical drug development experience from individual can be formally documents from the individual team and circulated to the other development teams so everyone will be aware of the particular situation or incident.

Other Frameworks

Learning Organization – Garvin’s 5 Blocks

As commonly said, to be ahead of competition, organization constantly must enhance the way the business is done. To enhance the business, organization must learn things much faster than their competitors. But more such enhancements in business fail because many mangers do not realize the importance of learning (Garvin, 1993).

Garvin (1993) say if an organization wants to become a learning organization then it is recommended to master these five activities,

Systematic problem solving – Don’t solve problem on gut instinct but rather used data.

Experimentation with new approaches – Bring small experiments to existing process and gain knowledge.

Learning from their own experience and past history – Review and use of learns learnt from the past

Learning from the experiences and best practices of others – Use of knowledge from the macro environment like competitor.

Transferring knowledge effectively throughout the organization – Initiating interdisciplinary and cross disciplinary learning environment to exchange and share knowledge.

Social Learning – I Space

I-Space is a social learning conceptual model that relates to data structuring to data sharing within the organization (Boisot, 1995). This framework helps to analysis the dynamic flow of knowledge in two aspects i.e. structure and sharing of information, more you structure information more faster and extensively used. I-Space is otherwise represented as three dimensional model (figure 3) – codification, abstraction and diffusion. Structuring of information will be presented by the codification and abstraction dimension and sharing of information will diffusion dimension (Boisot, 1995).

Dalkir (2007) feels Boisot model is the integration of theoretical foundation of social learning and provides the link between information and knowledge management in a best way. He also suggest through this I-Space social cycle organization can manage their knowledge assets well we compare to other KM models.

Figure 3: The Social Learning Cycle [Boisot 1998:60]

Emotional Intelligence and Knowledge Transfer

Emotional intelligence is being well aware of own feelings and of others in an organization, managing emotions well within our self and in other’s relationship (Mortiboys, 2005:7). According to McKenna (2006) it is more concerned with emotional action and social skill of individual.

Nonaka (1994) belief the success and failure of knowledge management in an organization depends how the individual employee create and transfer knowledge with others so employee is the ultimate responsible person deciding the success. Higgs and Dulewicz (2002) discuss about seven elements like self awareness, emotional motivation and management, managing relationship with others will help individual more intelligent on any situation and also contribute towards team working.

Knowledge Management potential issues and overcome – CellTech

Excess of exploitation or exploration – competency trap

During the 1980’s CellTech was more comfortable in doing contract manufacturing and this period refers to Exploitation. When new CEO shifted the focus of the company to product development through R&D collaboration and this period can be referred exploration. So as of the case study CellTech seems to have managed a balance between exploitation and exploration but considering the period of 10 years in contract manufacturing with very little focus on exploration gives a picture that CellTech prefers to stay on the comfort zone with exploration. When CellTech got into the cash burn and lost the support of share holders, then only realized to do something different from the usual.

According to March (1991) organization prefer to stay either on exploitation or exploration in long run so this competency trap lead the organization for an inappropriate learning. To avoid competency trap CellTech should constantly create core competencies in its business to stay ahead of the competition and since core competencies are the one’s which are not easily copied by other competitor.

Change Management

During the organizational change culture regularly becomes the focus of attention. Culture has vast impact on output and working environment of an organization (Boonstra, 2004). In the CellTech case study when the organizational change was going on after the appointment of new CEO, organizational cultural elements were not be considered for the change but instead top management were pushed to talk short term improvement decision to change current situations.

Davenport & Prusak (2000) believes the leader of the organization should understand the culture from the overall organization and community level to share knowledge. The change management will bring changes in the working culture of the individual and can impact the social learning cycle. Johnson and Scholes (2002) cultural web will help the organization to identify the cultural impact using the paradigm. CellTech should definitely use Culture web when going for any change management to audit the current cultural element and define the future culture based on the paradigm. This will help to re-mould value and behavior of the individuals and make then to feel better place to work and share knowledge.

Classification of Knowledge

Goh (2002) says Effectiveness of knowledge transfer depends on Type of knowledge that s being shared so CellTech should always recognize the different type of knowledge available and created in the organization i.e. the tacit and explicit knowledge. CellTech should use SECI model to develop supportive structure that encourage the transfer of knowledge between tacit and explicit. This framework will help CellTech to bring the tacit individual knowledge out to the group and final make other individual to internalize it. Since the focus of CellTech is in R&D, there will be more tacit knowledge created at the end of each new development like personal experience of certain drug symptoms during the research.

Relationship between source and recipient

For the knowledge transfer to be effective the recipient and source should be in an intention to share and receive knowledge and if the recipient lack interest to absorb and retain the knowledge then it become a barrier to the knowledge transfer (Szulanski, 1996). The “Clubs of old” versus new scientist would be the best instance to take from CellTech, creating emotion intelligence among individuals and teams to make them aware of organization value of sharing and transferring knowledge. By increasing the value through emotional intelligence will create awareness subconsciously to drive everyone to share knowledge without drawing any boundaries. Creating breakout areas near lab will help certain extend to socialize people but creating awareness emotional will drive them to create opportunities by themselves. This would be the more share of tacit to tacit knowledge.


From the CellTech we can see the knowledge evolution and existence during different growth stages and it draws the organization to manage the knowledge effectively. By see the end part of the case study, it is clear that CellTech wanted to learn and monitor the organization by setting-up various review systems. This working document also have reviewed few potential issues in implementing knowledge management policy and the workaround solution to overcome using frameworks also have been suggested to understand knowledge cycle.

Gavin’s (2002) say that “Learning organizations are not build overnight” and it has to be cultivated, processed steadily over time. In this report we have discussed various models and frameworks as part of knowledge management which can bring CellTech a great advantage in managing its business and stay competitive in the market. To form a learning organization it is highly reliant on exchange of experience and knowledge with others and as a result implementation of knowledge management will lead to increase in competitiveness.


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