Volume 7, 2019: Issue 2

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Integrating risk and knowledge management in human spaceflight programs


David M. Lengyel, The George Washington University, USA

John S. Newman, The George Washington University, USA

Thomas A. Mazzuchi, The George Washington University, USA


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) established the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) in the 2004 timeframe to manage a new portfolio of programs and projects aimed at lunar return. To ensure an effective transfer of knowledge from NASA legacy programs, such as Apollo, International Space Station, and Space Shuttle, ESMD took an integrated approach towards managing risk and knowledge. This case study examines the implementation of ESMD’s integrated risk and knowledge management (IRKM) framework in the 2005-2012 timeframe. An important and novel aspect of this approach was using risk records to identify knowledge gaps and support the creation and transfer of both tacit and explicit knowledge. This explanatory case study describes how the integration of knowledge management and risk management, at both the enterprise and project-level, creates value to both processes and can assist any organization in more effectively pursuing its goals. The case also investigates how coupling these two business processes can garner broader-based organizational support for knowledge management activities. This paper is about enhancing risk management but at the same time it is a front-line investigation of what it takes to successfully implement and sustain a knowledge management enabled learning organization.


Risk management, knowledge management, integrated, NASA, space flight




Research paper


The Online Journal of Applied Knowledge Management (OJAKM), ISSN: 2325-4688


International Institute for Applied Knowledge Management (IIAKM)


19 July 2019

Accepting Editor:

Meir Russ