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London Taxi Drivers Knowledge Management System Report

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Updated: Jun 27th, 2020

Executive Summary

The knowledge management system has gained massive popularity in the recent past as an organisation have realised that information is a powerful tool that is needed in order to achieve success in the market. Transport for London has introduced new policies for training programs, and training institutions need to have systems that would enable them to synthesis this information and disseminate it to their students in an efficient manner. Using Popper’s Three Worlds Model, these institutions can improve the time taken for the learners to understand the policy procedures needed to be considered a professional taxi driver in London city.

Introduction

Transport for London has lately been concerned about the amount of time that individuals have to take in order to pass the test of becoming a taxi driver in this city. According to the information given by Knowledge Taxi at their website, it takes 2 to 3 years to successfully develop local knowledge of routes within the city and specific points of interest that are needed in order to pass the test that would make one qualify to be a London taxi driver. There are cases when this process of gaining knowledge about the local routes may take as long as five years. This has been problematic to individuals who are interested in becoming taxi drivers in the city, especially the immigrants who have just moved into the city. In 2012, the Transport for London made a decision that it was necessary to increase the standards required of an applicant in all areas of skills, experience, and knowledge in order to qualify to be a taxi driver in the city. However, this authority is concerned that this will even pose serious problems to future prospects, especially individuals who are immigrants. For this reason, it may be necessary for this authority to consider using a knowledge management system in order to enhance the learning process (Dalkir 2011, p. 72). In this research, the focus will be on how Transport for London can use the concept of a knowledge management system in training London taxi drivers.

Key Issues from Knowledge Needs Analysis

It is important to understand the key issues from the knowledge needs analysis based on the case that has been given about the training process of the London taxi drivers. It is stated that it can take as long as five years for one to have the rights skills to be a London taxi driver. With the introduction of new policies by the transport authority, it is expected that the period of training may be prolonged. Knowledge management system could be the only solution that can be used to address this problem. It would be important to understand the definition of knowledge before analysing the system of knowledge management. According to Ulrich (2001, p. 89), “Knowledge refers to a body of understanding and skills that is constructed by people and increased through interaction with other people and with information.” In the training process, the trainer will basically be trying to pass knowledge to the trainees so that they will be informed about the specific issue that relates to the training. McNabb (2006, p. 74) defines knowledge management system as “The process of capturing, developing, sharing, and effectively using organisational knowledge.” According to this definition, a knowledge management system basically involves the process of capturing, analysing, and making available organisational knowledge for the benefit of members of a given organisation. It lays emphasis on the processes of collecting, analysing, and making available the relevant data. On the other hand, Zack (1999, p. 55) describes knowledge management system as “The management processes through which organisations generate increased value from their intellectual and knowledge-based assets.” This definition lays emphasis on the fact that this system enables close interaction between people and knowledge as a way of advancing the knowledge and effectively using it for the benefit of the individuals and the entire organisation.

According to Alavi and Leidner (2001, p. 133), a knowledge management system is an important tool that training institutions can use in order to enhance their training process. Knowledge management concept has gained massive popularity among various organisations that need quick knowledge management within its system. Not only does it facilitate quick collection and analysis of the relevant data, but it also allows the stakeholders to share information with a lot of ease. This is what training institutions need in order to enhance the process of transferring information as may be desired (Suresh & Mahesh 2006, p. 110). Transport for London will find this system very important in making the new trainees acquire the skills and knowledge necessary for them to become London taxi drivers within the shortest time possible. The main focus of this transport authority would be to determine the most appropriate models that it can use in the application of this new model.

Methodology

It would be important to identify an appropriate KMS model that can be used to address the current problems affecting the London taxi drivers. This will involve identifying knowledge tools that can be used to boost this process. The knowledge components focus on four main components. They include people, process, content, and technology. A series of enablers or networks support these components in the entire framework.

Knowledge System Design

It is important to design an appropriate architectural design that would enable the components to interact in a way that would yield the desired results. The four components described above should interact in a way that would address the current problem of London taxi driver trainees.

People

People who are involved in this process are the trainers of the taxi drivers and the trainees.

Process

The process involved in the training of taxi drivers using the right materials, including the map.

Technology

It would be necessary to use assistive technologies that would enable the trainees to understand the relevant routes within London in a shorter period.

Content

The content during the training process will include the entire syllabus- including the new policies- set by the transport authority.

Architectural Model That Is Appropriate in Addressing the Problem

The process of training London taxi drivers is becoming even more complex, and it is necessary for the stakeholders to have alternative ways through which they can address this problem. At this stage, it would be important to identify an appropriate KMS architectural model that can be used to help the training institutions to overcome the problem and to shorten the period. An appropriate model must take into account the internal factors within the organisation that may affect the application of the system, the intended users of the system, and the duration it should take. Karl Popper’s Three Worlds Model meets the above criteria, which makes it a justifiable model that can be used to address the current problem faced by taxi drivers. It would be necessary to analyse Karl Popper’s Three Worlds Model in order to understand how the training process can be made more efficient than it is currently. The figure below shows Karl Popper’s Three World Model.

Karl Popper's Three Worlds
Source: (Handzic and Zhou 2005, p. 92).

As shown in the figure above, the training process can be classified into three worlds in order to make the process more comprehensive. The trainees need to understand the three worlds and how they are relevant in their training process. World one is described as the physical world. As Thierauf (1999, p. 38) says, this is a world of material objects, processes, and events. In the training process, this world would involve understanding the geography of the city of London. According to the report given by Knowledge Taxi at their website, this is the most time-consuming process for the prospective taxi drivers. Understanding the map of this city has not been easy for these individuals. It takes some time to know about the avenues, streets, and lanes, and how they are interconnected, something that Transport for London treats with seriousness before issuing a license to the taxi drivers.

When using this model, the taxi drivers will need to understand that this is a stage that should be treated independently in its own world. In this first world, the trainees will be expected to understand the routes by making frequent travels, some time on foot in order to know some of the landmarks and important buildings so that they can offer their services diligently once they are issued with the certificates (Thierauf & Hoctor 2006, p. 54). In this first world, a map of the geography of the city should be handed to the trainees by the board. The map should not be sold by any other third party because this will be considered exploitation of the trainees. As the board responsible for issuing the certificate, the authority should ensure that all the training institutions have the relevant maps that will be necessary for training the taxi drivers.

Oz (2004, p. 81) defines the second world as a world of mental processes, events, and predispositions. During the training process, this world will involve the actual training of taxi drivers on how to use the roads. It is important to note that this second world processes will be coming after the first world processes. At this stage, it is presumed that the taxi driver shall have known the important routes that are important for one to qualify for a certificate issued by Transport for London. In the learning process, there will be two main stages. The first stage will be the theoretical aspects of driving and being a cab driver. At this stage, the trainees are not only expected to know the driving process but also what it takes to be a cab driver in the city of London. In the theoretical class, trainers should be informed of the challenges involved in this industry and how to overcome them. They also need to know what is expected of them by the government and what the law says about this profession. Using their prior knowledge learnt in world one about the geography of the city, they will be expected to drive along the avenues, streets, and lanes leading to various destinations that the customer may desire. The practical classes will be closely supervised by the trainers to ensure that the process is not negatively eventful (Sugumaran 2002, p. 37). The second world processes should end when the trainee knows all the rules of the road and has the capacity to drive within the city effectively without necessarily needing the help of anyone.

According to Tiwana (2000, p. 53), describes the third world as a world of human mind products. After all the training process in the first world and second worlds, the trainee will be expected to move to the third and last world where one would be expected to make use of the products of their mind. This stage should be treated with a lot of seriousness because the authority will base their judgment on it. The trainees will need to convince the board that they have gained the driving knowledge and that they are aware of all the relevant city routes that a client may need once they become taxi drivers in the city. According to Becerra and Sabherwal (2010, p. 49), sometimes the activities in this world may not necessarily express the knowledge that one has gained during the training process. In most of the cases, the product of the mind would be slightly or way off below the knowledge that has been gained in that particular field, especially if one realises that he or she is under a test. Nervousness may set in, and this may impede the mind from revealing the knowledge learnt in a given field.

The agents of Transport for London will be expected to board the same car with the trainees and make requests, just like a normal customer. The trainee will be expected to meet the request of the agent. During this process, the agent will evaluate the driving skills of the trainee, and the ability to identify landmarks which are important for their profession. Sometimes the agents may decide to ask some theoretical questions about what was learnt. The trainees will be expected to provide the appropriate answers based on the knowledge gained from the first and second worlds. Any mistakes made during the third world may make the authority to subject a trainee to a further process of learning as a way of making them better taxi driver for the city. This would mean more time and more expenses.

Factors Necessary for Successful Application of the Model

In order to successfully apply the above model, it is important for the stakeholders to be aware of some of the factors that may be relevant in this training process in as far as knowledge management is concerned. One important factor that needs to be clearly defined is the intellectual capital that needs to be managed. As demonstrated in the Three Worlds Model, the intellectual capital that needs proper management is the knowledge about the city routes in London and driving skills that may make one become a taxi driver. This intellectual capital should be managed appropriately so that it is passed from the trainers to the trainees successfully within the desired period. Another important factor would be the existing knowledge assets that should be part of the system. Transport for London is planning to introduce advanced knowledge requirements for those who are planning to become city taxi drivers.

KMS Enablers and the Proposed Knowledge Management System

It will be necessary to ensure that the KSM enables are relevant to the current scenario presented about the problem of taxi drivers. When choosing the right knowledge management system, it would be important to understand the nature of knowledge requirements that is relevant for the process. The ASHEN Model may important in defining the right system. The training authority should be able to define the artefacts, skills, heuristics, experience, and natural talents relevant to the training process as per the definition of this model. The following Wheels of Knowledge may help in this process.

Patrick Lambe Wheel of Knowledge

Patrick Lambe Wheel of Knowledge.
Source: (Gottschalk, 2007, p. 43).

The knowledge management system that would be relevant for this training process would involve explicit and tacit knowledge. The explicit knowledge will help the trainees to understand the methods, while the tacit knowledge will enhance their skills and experience on the road. To gain knowledge, as explained in the system, proper training will be necessary, while tacit knowledge is best acquired through practical work (Maier 2004, p. 46). The system should be managed by the training institutions, with close supervision by Transport for London Authority.

Quality and Validation

The focus of this report is to ensure that the period taken to train London taxi drivers is shortened. The training institutions should ensure that there is high quality the training process. The Transport for London Authority will need to validate the syllabus that the training institutions use.

Recommendations

The following recommendations should be considered.

  • The management of the training facilities should develop programs that allow them to closely collaborate with Transport for London Authority in order to enhance the sharing of relevant information.
  • The training team should use Popper’s Three World Model when training taxi drivers.
  • The trainees should be encouraged to share information freely to enhance the learning process.
  • All the materials used for the training process should be made available by the training institutions.

Conclusion

As shown in the discussion above, it is clear that the Knowledge Management System is the main solution that can be used by the training institutions to help solve the problem of time taken to train taxi drivers. Transport for London authority has introduced new policies that training institutions must observe. If the model proposed above is used effectively, then the chances are high that positive results will be obtained.

List of References

Alavi, M & Leidner, D 2001, Review: Knowledge management and knowledge management systems: Conceptual foundations and research issues, MIS quarterly, vol. 1. no. 4, pp. 107-136.

Becerra, I & Sabherwal, R 2010, Knowledge management: Systems and processes, N.Y: M.E. Sharpe, Armonk.

Dalkir, K 2011, Knowledge management in theory and practice, MIT Press Cambridge, Cambridge.

Gottschalk, P 2007, Knowledge management systems: Value shop creation, Idea Group Publishers, Hershey.

Handzic, M & Zhou, A 2005, The role of technology in knowledge management: an integrative approach, Chandos Publishing, London.

Maier, R 2004, Knowledge management systems: Information and communication technologies for knowledge management; with 91 tabs, Springer, Berlin.

McNabb, D 2006, The Technology and Processes Subsystems: Knowledge Management in the Public Sector, ME Sharpe, London.

Oz, E 2004, Data and Knowledge Management: Management information system, Thomson, Boston.

Sugumaran, V 2002, Intelligent support systems: Knowledge management, IRM Press, Hershey.

Suresh, J & Mahesh, K 2006, Knowledge management in practice: steps to maturity in knowledge management, Chandos Publishing, London.

Thierauf, J 1999, Data storage useful in discovering knowledge: knowledge management systems for business, Quorum Books, Westport.

Thierauf, R & Hoctor, J 2006, Optimal knowledge management: Wisdom management systems concepts and applications, Idea Group Publishers, Hershey.

Tiwana, A 2000, Aligning knowledge management and business strategy: the knowledge management toolkit, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River.

Ulrich, F 2001, Knowledge Management Systems: Essential Requirements and Generic Design Patterns, MELAB, Michigan.

Zack, M 1999, Managing codified knowledge, Sloan management review, vol. 40. no. 4, pp. 45-58.

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