DBS was established in 1968 as the development bank of Singapore. Since then, DBS has transformed into a successful financial services institution, offering a comprehensive range of innovative products. In Singapore, the bank occupies market-dominant positions in consumer banking, treasury and markets, asset management, securities brokerage, equity and debt fund-raising. Going internationally, the bank has a regional network with more than 200 branches and over 1,000 ATMs across 50 cities.
DBS’ primary operations are in Singapore and Hong Kong, two of Asia’s best regulated markets, which contributed 65% and 19% of net profit in 2008 respectively. The bank operates two brands in Singapore – DBS and POSB. POSB is a well-loved mass market franchise that currently has a customer base of over 3.2 million Singaporeans.
As one of the leading banks in Asia, DBS gains a massive global workforce of 14,000 staffs, representing over 30 nationalities. The bank announced S$6031 million of operating income in 2008. DBS philosophy is to empowering, educating and engaging our staff so as to build a high performance organization renowned for its good customer service and innovative business solutions.
Because of a massive amplitude and complexity in operation as an international largest organization, and striving for an adequate-content report, it is ineffective to investigate whole aspects of DBS in the effort of implementing Knowledge Management. Instead, this report will specify in exploring the DBS’s concept and its basic approaches to fundamentals of Knowledge Management. Key content will focus on identifying Knowledge Management process, building Knowledge Management System, Mechanism and Technology, ultimately Infrastructure. Challenges and benefits gained from implementation process are also mentioned in the report as well as recommendation and analysis.
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Throughout years of operation, DBS now understands the depth and significance of Knowledge Management. In its development journey, DBS learnt that this conception must be essentially seen as a vitally critical point, an innovative strategy towards a sustainability business model rather than a diverse and complex risk. That right and visional direction are now put primarily on one of the long-term goals of the organization. Moreover, DBS business is in banking and finance industry where multiplicity of information and knowledge is created and updated every hour, the need of Knowledge Management becomes critically essential than ever.
To start with, DBS sees official meetings as an approaching mechanism for knowledge discovery. As the nature of the business, the need for valuable information which then converted to knowledge is critical for the bank. This knowledge is defined and explored by neither the interaction between people in the organization nor just simply synthesized from previous data. For instance, there is always a meeting in Sales Department which also has a presence of Branch Manager every Monday morning to revise previous works and orient sales activities for the week. More significantly, Board of Directors and Management committee also arrange official meetings 4 times every quarter to undertake a careful overview of decision making in various levels and aspects of the organization.
Telephone conversation is also applied in the process of knowledge discovery. However it is stated that not preferable as DBS values face to face conversation where information can be transferred and conveyed in a full meaning of ways.
To enhance Knowledge discovery, DBS also invested in technology. One exemplary approach is the development of DBS database. This is an organized collection of data for people within the organization – However, accessibility in sensitive information may not be exposed to every employee. A very useful and beneficial application of DBS’s database is its customer databases. In order to promote loans, risk management, and further observation, DBS’s customer database is constructed to record contact, credit, and personal information such as salary, current financial situation. This database is well designed to specifically and easily create, store, search and retrieve contents which has a great impact in knowledge discovery process.
DBS is also aware of the Knowledge Capture and Share process. Practically, the organization promote on the job training under DBS Management Associate Programme. This is an experience-based development offered to new employees. Along the route, they will acquire the most possibility and chances to decide their career path when experimental learning is gained across different type of roles. By doing this, DBS ensures that organizational knowledge is able to be conveyed and captured.
Furthermore, to utilize the strength of technology in the process of knowledge capture and sharing, DBS invested warily in computer-based communication. Each employee in the organization practically has their own computer which is well connected to the rest of the company. Instant message, email, chatroom is promoted in a rigorous manner within the organization to enhance the creation of social network and information exchange. Significantly, the organization also has its own server where only people within the company can access. This server is well managed and developed for human interaction and database warehouse.
In DBS, direction of knowledge is also well conveyed. Each employee knows warily the structure of the organization, specifically in their department. By that meaning, the relationship and relative ranks of parts and positions are well determined. Thus, employee would be guided by following the instruction or direction from the top wherever task uncertainty is encountered. Moreover, to promote routine process, DBS sets up organizational policies and work standards for safety, health in workplace.
A more particular enhancement in Knowledge Application in regard of routine process is the implementation of Enterprise-wide Core Credit Risk Policy. This establishes the principles and policies followed by the entire organization to conduct banking and financial activities and operation under specified credit risk management.
Significantly, Knowledge Infrastructure is insightfully aware and constructed by DBS from the early stage. Building up adequate and efficient database within the organization, keeping track with customer information and applying thoroughly technology into workplace are remarkable efforts and practices of DBS to utilize the strength of knowledge.
Strong organizational culture is achieved in DBS where every employee is well perceived of the organization values. Orientation is made wherever a new employee joins the group to ensure they get awareness of DBS’s pathway as “a world class regional bank, renowned for quality, added value, and innovative service at affordable cost to customers” and their ways of doing things. Following the orientation, specific goals and standards of behavior are also clearly stated to lead and guide organizational members to pursue appropriate actions. More remarkably, although promoting a well-built internal culture, DBS acquires good awareness of a phenomenon, Groupthink which is easily implied from strong culture. They understand this incident can result in a reduction of innovative capacity within the organization. In regard of this issue, DBS introduces guidelines, organizational campaign and building feedback centre in order to encourage its employees to strive for creativity and challenges.
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Organizational culture is an idea in the field of organizational studies and management which describes the psychology, attitudes, experiences, beliefs and values (personal and cultural values) of an organization. It has been defined as “the specific collection of values and norms that are shared by people and groups in an organization and that control the way they interact with each other and with stakeholders outside the organization.”
This definition continues to explain organizational values, also known as “beliefs and ideas about what kinds of goals members of an organization should pursue and ideas about the appropriate kinds or standards of behavior organisational members should use to achieve these goals. From organisational values develop organizational norms, guidelines, or expectations that prescribe appropriate kinds of behavior by employees in particular situations and control the behavior of organisational members towards one another.”
Where culture is strong-people do things because they believe it is the right thing to do-there is a risk of another phenomenon, Groupthink. this is a state where people, even if they have different ideas, do not challenge organizational thinking, and therefore there is a reduced capacity for innovative thoughts
It is also growing its own talent.
“We are now in the process of developing talent programme at the each level, much like Exxon Mobil’s or Citi’s talent programme. You have a rigorous focus, you find the right people, you give them development opportunities, and you give them training opportunities,” said Gupta.
He said DBS is looking for people to staff what he calls a “Policy Desk”. They will draft policies in areas like decision-making and organisation structure.
Other new initiatives include a Customer Experience Council to improve service, and an Innovation Council to promote a standard way of thinking. – CNA /ls
DBS management programme http://www.dbs.com/careers/graduates/Pages/default.aspx
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