Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Knowledge management practices in U.S. federal agencies: The catalyst for E-Government transformation
by Rhoads, Elsa P., D.Sc., The George Washington University, 2006, 265; 3407418
Abstract (Summary)

Following the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, it has been generally agreed that 9/11 served as a wake-up call for the reform and transformation of U.S. federal agencies to be more effective in handling a possible next terrorism disaster. In fact, a second wake-up call in the form of a natural disaster from the effect of Hurricane Katrina has reinforced the need for agency improvements in the horizontal or cross-federal exchange of knowledge as well as to improve interoperability to enable an efficient vertical exchange of information for collaboration between federal, state and local government.

The purpose of this research is to determine to what extent an agency’s Knowledge Management (KM) Practices influence the successful transformation of the agency to a citizen-centered, results-oriented and market-driven E-Government, as mandated by The President’s Management Agenda, 2002.

A two-dimensional survey was conducted with Knowledge Management practitioners in federal agencies, members of the Knowledge Management Working Group of the Federal Chief Information Officers Council. One dimension addressed which KM Practices were implemented by the agencies, and the second dimension was a self-assessment of agency KM practitioners as to their perception of the successful results realized in their agencies from the implementation of KM Practices.

Statistical analyses were conducted to determine if a positive relationship exists between an agency’s KM Practices Index Score and the agency’s quarterly online E-Government Scorecard rating from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Contributions of this first-time research included the identification of the location and status of KM programs implemented in federal agencies; identification of the KM Practices most frequently used; and identification of the practices perceived by the KM practitioners to gain the most successful results. A discovery of five contributing factors that influence the successful implementation of KM Practices was made. They are: agency size; agency type (Cabinet-level or Independent Agency); the longevity of the KM program; whether the agency has committed to a written KM policy or strategy; and which work unit in the agency has primary responsibility for the KM program.

Even though a physical reorganization of agencies may be impossible to consider, beneficial cross-agency improvements to collaboration are being realized through a “virtual reorganization” of agency IT strategy, architecture execution and performance measurement, an effect of applied compliance mandates from the OM, which reports to the president of the United States. The implementation of a common Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework (FEAF) is underway and is termed by OMB as resulting in “nothing less than the transformation of government.”

This transformation includes moving away from agency cultures of bureaucracy to organizations that are flexible, adaptable and open, which better fit the needs of the twenty-first century.

Future research brings the opportunity to further investigate the convergence of three transformative concept—Knowledge Management, E-Government, and Enterprise Architecture Frameworks—to evaluate the achievement of the promised results.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Stankosky, Michael A.
School: The George Washington University
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 71/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Management, Public administration, Public policy, Information science
Keywords: E-government, Federal agencies, KM Survey, Knowledge management, United States
Publication Number: 3407418
ISBN: 978-1-109-76676-9
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