Case #2012.0

Knowledge Management at the World Bank: Part 2

Publication Date: March 13, 2014
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This case is about how the World Bank, after determining that the creation and dissemination of knowledge to the international development community was one of their strategic roles and objectives, transitioned from being just a lending bank to both a lending and knowledge bank. The challenges and issues addressed in this case are focused around both general change management issues (aligning the organization around a totally different set of goals and priorities) and specific knowledge management challenges (incentives to share knowledge; institutionalizing KM in the daily roles and activities of employees; defining metrics to measure success and impact). This is a follow-up, part 2 to an earlier case published by the Harvard Kennedy School (case number 1936.0, Knowledge Management at the World Bank), which focused on the thirteen-year period that the Bank management internally promoted the idea that the Bank needed to become the leading creator, broker and sharer of knowledge about international development. As a result of this thirteen-year effort, by 2009 there was a fair amount of acceptance and support within the Bank for the new knowledge management objectives, and this case is more focused on how the Bank approached achieving their knowledge management-related goals and overcoming the associated internal transformational challenges.

Learning Objective:
Understanding and measuring the strategic value of knowledge management in the area of international development. Evaluating issues around aligning organizational structure and governance with an organization's strategic priorities. Implementing a new vision and changing priorities in an international NGO. Appreciating the unique challenges of knowledge sharing across organizations and countries. Learning about ways to define incentives for knowledge creation and sharing.

Other Details

Case Author:
Laurence Prusak and Don Oppenheimer
Pages (incl. exhibits):
United States
Funding Source:
The World Bank