Overview and Statement of Reference
The organization selected for the Knowledge Audit is a fine art gallery called Ting Shao Kuang Art Center that belongs to a chain of galleries established at the International Centre. Representing the subsidiary in Hong Kong, our sales representatives offer original sculptures, paintings, and serigraphs of the artist Ting Shao Kuan (Qian n. p.). Due to the fact that our art gallery is a small business organization with narrow-focused objectives, it adopts a specified differentiation strategy in the specific market share. Specifically, our products are oriented toward our target customers. The main purpose of the Knowledge Audit is to establish successful communication and transparent information exchange among the sales representatives, as well as work out new frameworks of communicating with investors who are interesting in conducting business with our art galleries. Additionally, the art gallery needs extra funding that can introduce changes to the managerial structure of an organization, as well as expand our selling activities all over the world.
Analysis and Results
Out of the entire selling staff, 25 sales representatives working in Hong Kong subsidiary have been chosen, including four members of Sales Department taking managerial positions. Twenty-five copies of the Knowledge Audit questionnaires (as presented in the Appendix below) were distributed among the staff and four executive managers. Of 21 audits, six samples were returned to the Knowledge Audit specialists. The identified participants completed two questionnaires and passed one survey. The upper management completed one more question. At this point, the evaluation and recommendations introduced in this report are premised on a small percentage of employees and managers working for Ting Shao Kuang art gallery. Therefore, it is suggested that these questionnaires should be sent online to the representatives of other subsidiaries to achieve the reliability of the study. The results were divided into three categories: responses of the employees, responses given by senior managers, and the numerical data of survey results.
The executive offices of the Sales Department relied on external factors while responding to the questions to define how environmental and political dimensions influenced the success of selling art products and attracting new investors. Specifically, the managers indicated that extra knowledge was necessary to ensure fruitful coordination and communication among all sales representatives both in Hong Kong and outside it. They also expressed their concern with the technical support of an organization as well, although their responsibilities did not spread to this sphere. Senior management enumerated a variety of external sources of information that allowed them to operate in a business environment. These sources involved web information about recent auctions, currency exchange rates that influenced the pricing strategies, information about private collectors, and specialized research journals on recent trends in art gallery business development.
The personnel (mainly sales representatives) highlighted different needs as well. Some of the criteria defined by the participants included resources for clients, development of leaflets, personal information about clients, marketplace information, and specialized training programs on communication with clients. Online art paintings databases are also among the leading source of information. The primary challenge indicated by two employees involved a lack of accuracy of information exchange and distribution. In particular, due to the fact that selling authentic artistic items implies the existence of one original piece, the sale of two original works is impossible. However, distorted information about the availability of paintings for sale prevented the department from delivering accurate data on the resources. Additionally, lack of information about artistic pieces did not provide enough grounds for defining specific goals that an organization should establish. Confusion in the sphere of sales and marketing promotion caused a decrease in the number of sales.
While interviewing four marketing managers, other important problems were discovered, affecting successful knowledge management at Ting Shao Kuang Art Gallery. This is of particular concern to the premises of the artistic and sale promotion industry that prevented the sales representatives from establishing an accurate price for products of almost similar value. Such a problem occurred because sales managers fail to deliver updated information about the recent artistic pieces or collections received by the museum.
In order to solve the problem of restricted information flow and advance communication inside and outside the organization, specific emphasis should be placed on developing a sufficient knowledge database containing information of recent paintings. This database should constantly update the available resources for sales representatives to keep track of the pieces to be sold. Staff development is another important issue that should be considered to improve the quality of customer service.
Creating a knowledge database for sales representatives can contribute to the quality of distributing paintings for sale, as well as providing the accuracy of information about the availability of artistic pieces. The information database should be controlled by specifically appointed employees who are to take control of updating and amending the old information, as well as adding the new references. Specifically, the database should contain categories of styles to which an original painting belongs, should it be contemporary art, post-war movement, or modern streamlines.
Staff Development/Skills Assessment
Staff development is of primary importance for the art gallery because it directly influences the quality of communication and assistance of clients. The communication skills and collaborative work will significantly foster the sales rates, as well as advance the quality of operations within the art international center. Recommendations on beneficial offering for the customers is vital. Additionally, staff development and performance assessment provide a solid stance for shaping corporate culture within an organization.It is important both for executive managers and for employees working for the technical department to attract more clients by establishing high protection of confidential information. The approaches related to competency assessment, such as behavior analysis interviewing, require detailed feedback from employees (Shields 309). Therefore, this practice should be considered by managers before presenting it to sales representatives.
Communities of Practice
Ting Shao Kuang art gallery should work on developing international memberships to exchange and share the experience with foreign sales representatives working outside Hong Kong. It does not only develop a new framework for managing cultural diversity issues but also enriches our employees’ cultural and social awareness. The use of a computer-based system should widen access to previously tacit knowledge and enhance the transfer of reports on sales from one department to another (ARTBrokerage n. p.). Consumers should also see the reports to increase their confidence in the sustainability of the pricing policy. Establishing a global computer network can contribute to the allocation of resources.
Buyers Protection Program
The knowledge audit results have revealed a high degree of client privacy protection that is ensured by the Art Brokerage Program (ARTBrokerage n. p.). Therefore, it is highly important to encourage sales representatives to provide all available information to clients, as well as guarantee absolute security of their personal data. Apart from seller-customer relationships, our sales associates should develop a new system for coordinating buyers with other investors or owners of original art pieces.
Introducing Transparent and Sustainability Reporting
The fact that transparency of information exchange is an inherent component of successful knowledge management is undeniable (Ronald 395). Therefore, the company should recognize the existing gap in delivering information accurately both to the clients and to sales representatives. An efficient reporting system can contribute to the sustainability of the art gallery, as well as to its reputation. Reliance on internal knowledge exchange within an organization is crucial for developing a strong, systematized organization of online catalogues of paintings. Despite the fact that the list of knowledge management objectives can increase the turnover of information, it can still improve the overall process of knowledge acquisition, as well as provide new techniques for outsourcing information from the external environment. Developing statistics is another aspect of successful knowledge control. Therefore, improving the current technological base of current data processing techniques can positively influence the design of organizational interfaces (Tsui 63). As a result of such amendments, knowledge exchange will become a highly structured system.
Establishing a corporate portal for clients is another helpful approach to strengthening the network of art galleries selling original pieces of the Chinese artist. Introducing a corporate portal does not only improves the validity of the information placed online but also encourages governmental and non-governmental organizations to develop new routes of spreading knowledge to clients. Trade relationships at an international level will also be advanced because it will allow the managers to introduce software that can monitor a range of external sources of information. Developing software for organizing research and surveys is another community portal that seeks to learn more about clients’ needs and preferences. The art gallery can benefit from this campaign because there will be certain frameworks introducing new codes of action in public. Thus, developing a dynamic online catalogue with multiple possibilities for clients is a necessary addition to the corporate portal.
Challenges and Complications
There are a number of serious challenges and restrictions imposed by the above-presented recommendations. The point is that the company does not have an official portal where sales representatives can introduce its mission, objectives, and beneficial offerings for its customers. Instead, only catalogues of original paintings have been presented. The information about the latest auctions and newly obtained paintings is difficult to find. Therefore, Ting Shao Kuang International Art Centre should develop their own site providing all necessary details on customer’s benefits, including terms of delivery and possible discounts. Additionally, it is also possible to establish an online community forum in which clients could express concerns and ask questions directly to sales representatives.
The process of knowledge audit is necessary for defining the key knowledge management strategies of the art gallery. In particular, a proper business company should have needs assessment and cultural information to perform some aspects of the knowledge audit. In this report, the proposed assessment focuses on developing sustainable, transparent knowledge management tools for handling internal information and communicating with clients. Certainly, a thorough analysis of interviews and questionnaires should be conducted before making further assessments and recommendations and identifying possible gaps. The choice of research methods also depends on the availability of resources, as well as on the competence of the managerial staff.
ARTBrokerage. “Selling Art”. ArtBrokerage.com. 2013. Web.
Maier, Ronald. Knowledge Management Systems: Information and Communication Technologies for Knowledge. New York: Springer. Print.
Qian, Zhang. “Ting Shao Kuang at AA Gallery”. China Daily. 2000. Web.
Shields. Managing Employee Performance and Reward. n. d. UK: Cambridge University Press. Print.
Tsui, Eric. Technology in Knowledge Management. Bingley, West Yorkshire: Emerald Publishing Group, 2005. Print.