Knowledge Management in Hospitality and Tourism

By Pryce, Josephine | Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, August 2004 | Go to article overview

Knowledge Management in Hospitality and Tourism


Pryce, Josephine, Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management


Ricarda B. Boucken & Sungsoo Pyo (Eds.) (2002). New York: Haworth Hospitality Press. Hardback US$39.95; ISBN 0-7890-2146-3 Softback US$22.9; ISBN 0-7890-2147-1

The book Knowledge Management in Hospitality and Tourism is an excellent resource for both practitioners and academics. It provides an introduction to the concepts, issues and techniques associated with knowledge management in a compact and easy-to-access form. The book consists of six articles and an introduction by the editors Ricarda Bouncken and Sungsoo Pyo. Some of the chapters lend substantial clarity to concepts that are increasingly gaining attention. The case studies exemplify real-life applications of knowledge management in a language that readers can comprehend and in a manner that makes the techniques realistic and achievable. While the authors approach knowledge management from different perspectives, the volume provides a comprehensive approach to charting the concepts associated with knowledge management at a time when considerable interest is being shown in how organisations can achieve competitive advantages.

The early chapters are theory-based and provide a useful background to the concept of knowledge management. Later chapters present interesting examples and case studies, which provide strategic and tactical advice for the application of knowledge management systems. All chapters advocate the benefits of knowledge management in reducing the cost of product research and development and in improving the effectiveness of business operations. Techniques and concepts are vividly and aptly illustrated using charts and figures. Managers and researchers will find these useful in visualising the concepts and recommendations presented.

In their introductory chapter, the editors unveil the book's principal theme. They stress that knowledge management allows knowledge previously acquired and developed during various formal and informal procedures to be reused and incorporated into field operations. For managers, this means that knowledge can be researched in advance and ready to use when needed. The editors emphasise that hospitality and tourism organisations need to address the issue of knowledge management and must find ways in which to enhance the use of knowledge management in order to remain competitive.

In the first chapter, Kahle cleverly uses the concept of cognitive maps as vehicles for transfer of knowledge. He challenges current perspectives and details the concept of mental models in tourism, using these to represent and discuss the conceptual aspects of knowledge management. Kahle's provision of background information, definition and explanation of cognitive maps is useful for readers, especially those who have limited exposure to cognitive models. Kahle engages in discussion about asymmetric information, its forms and the reduction of risks. He argues that the concept of cognitive maps can lead to "a cognition-based trust", which will minimise risks associated with asymmetric information.

The text shifts from tourism to hospitality and from a conceptual to both a theoretical and practical approach in the second chapter, "Knowledge Management for Quality Improvements in Hotels", by Boucken. This chapter presents case studies highlighting strategies and structural recommendations for the implementation of knowledge management in hotels. Boucken provides an insightful discourse into the theory behind various aspects of knowledge management and identifies four categories of knowledge in hotels. His analysis of these categories is lucid and informative, contributing to readers' understanding of knowledge management. Boucken continues with a discerning commentary on knowledge management systems in hotels, focusing on knowledge goals, strategy, identification, acquisition and development, accumulation, retrieval and distribution, and controlling. The chapter is coloured with examples from real-world contexts, which will be of benefit to managers keen to implement the strategies and structures offered and for academics and researchers wanting to analyse them. …

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