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Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management, Second Edition by MARJORIE A. LYLES, MARK EASTERBY-SMITH

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Indicative Case Example: Knowledge Sharing in Compound UK

Compound UK (a pseudonym) sells pharmaceutical products to hospitals and general practices, whilst also undertaking clinical trials of new drugs with participating doctors in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is part of a major multinational company and employs around 300 people, half of whom are involved in selling activities while the rest work in areas such as marketing, accounting, human resources, or as medical experts. Lotus Notes (Notes) was introduced as a means to encourage employees to draw on all areas of the organization to work and share information and knowledge across functional and geographic boundaries. Such knowledge sharing was seen as beneficial not least because of the complexity of sales situations which involved many different decision makers (such as different doctors, pharmacists, managers, and accountants), just as clinical trials involved many different physicians.

In addition to an electronic mail (e-mail) facility, there were three main uses of Notes, as summarized in Table 5.2. First, it was used to create a strategic selling database to support the co-operative activities of staff from different areas of expertise (such as sales, marketing, and medicine) involved in seeking to secure a sale to a particular hospital or general practice. The second and most prevalent use of Notes was the contact recording database. Any employees that visited a client were required to record specific details ...

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