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The modern workforce is highly mobile. The challenge facing organisations is how to safeguard key expertise and knowledge in the face of staff mobility and turnover. The Irish Civil Service is still recovering from the impacts of significant loss of staff, and their knowledge and expertise, as a result of cutbacks over recent years. This project will establish the potential of using a Knowledge Management approach to support effective succession planning in the Civil Service. The literature review charts the evolution of Knowledge Management from when the phrase was first coined in 1986 through to what is considered to be the latest generation of Knowledge Management enabled by Social Software. The journey has not been an easy one with challenges along the way including confusing terminology, failing initiatives, and an over-emphasis on technology not entirely suited to the human endeavour that is knowing. However, the arrival of Social Software, or Web 2.0, so heavily used by the millennial generation, has revitalised the KM field with it’s the enhanced user experience. This project was initially informed by interviews with recent appointees to their roles and a case study on the experience of one organisation in using a wiki to support knowledge management. A OneNote wiki hosted on Microsoft SharePoint was implemented and a group of 16 middle managers participated in the experiment to assess its potential as a repository to capture and share key knowledge about the organisation. The conclusions of the experiment include that succession planning is important for organisations to protect key knowledge and expertise; it is important to strike the right balance between people, process, and technology; use of overly academic or technical language should be avoided; the technology is no longer a major inhibitor; structures and rules should be in place so that only appropriate content is posted to a corporate wiki; for a wiki to be successful it needs to be relevant, have a purpose, and the content updated on an on-going basis; people are the most important dimension to succession planning and any knowledge-based endeavour.
O'Donohue, M. (2016) Using a Knowledge Management Approach to Support Effective Succession Planning in the Civil Service, Masters Dissertation, Dublin Institute of Technology.