Baselines for knowledge management and organisational learning initiatives

Authors

  • Carl Jackson

Keywords:

Baseline, Description, Indicators, Measurement, methods, approaches, surveys, interviews, evaluation, knowledge management, organisational learning

Abstract

Baselines are essential to measuring the impact of knowledge management/organisational learning (KM/OL) initiatives, as without them change over time cannot be robustly assessed. A baseline describes and measures conditions for those intended to benefit from the intervention and of its operating context before it starts. This article advances a theoretical approach and methods for describing, measuring, and assessing change of a baseline for KM/OL initiatives within a group (team, department, organisation). It outlines how the Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) survey approach can be adapted for the purpose of formulating and measuring proxy indicators of performance. It also suggests how key informant interviews can be used to measure baseline operating context. Steps in assessing change over baseline are described, as well as identifying additional evaluation approaches that could be used to complement these approaches when conducting impact and other evaluations of KM/OL initiatives. Inherent limitations in the KAP survey approach and risks during measurement of baselines are discussed with suggestions for mitigating actions. The article concludes that the theoretical approach and methods described can substantially address challenges in measuring the impact of KM/OL initiatives that arise because most knowledge is tacit, and its application usually occurs in private or subtle ways.

References

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Launiala, A. (2009) ‘How much can a KAP survey tell us about people’s knowledge, attitudes and practices? Some observations from medical anthropology research on malaria in pregnancy in Malawi.’ Anthropology Matters, 11(1). https://www.anthropologymatters.com/index.php/anth_matters/article/view/31/53

Nyangaga, J. (2014) The Baseline in Outcome Mapping as Part of the Evaluation. Right Track Africa. https://www.outcomemapping.ca/download/julius.pdf

Save the Children (2012) Knowledge, Attitude and Practice Surveys in Child Protection. Save the Children UK, London. https://resourcecentre.savethechildren.net/node/7245/pdf/7245.pdf

USAID (2010) Baselines and Targets: Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Tips.
USAID, Washington. https://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/Pnadw108.pdf

WHO (2008) A Guide to Developing Knowledge, Attitude and Practice Surveys. WHO, Geneva. http://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/43790

Published

2019-12-20

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