The Knowledge Management - An Overview
For people with vision impairments, this is a description of the diagram. It represents the key elements of knowledge management in the third sector.
The left column includes the following elements:
Information processes include explict knowledge, documented and undocumented, replicable in all media. Knowledge is broken up into the following areas:
All these elements occur in the environment of information systems (software and hardware)
These elements or functions interact with the right hand column, knowledge processes, which includes the tacit, undocumented knowledge, often 'whitewater', in people's minds and workplace cultures.
The latter take place in the needs, knowledge, skills, and processes in organisaitons, service networks, and with clients, and the environment includes information communities or communities of practice.
People Systems Transfers of Knowledge
The interaction between the information management functions and the knowledge management functions takes place within the context of People-Systems transfers of knowledge.
Learning organisation :
If an organisation conforms to the required norms and can be termed as a learning organisation, then it becomes one of the start point of knowledge management.
Intellectual assets :
The intellectual assets in an organisation is in the people have gained expertise through years of work experience and is tacit in nature. This knowledge has to made explicit and managed in order to leverage on it and gain competitive advantage.
Knowledge based systems
The systems that are evolved in an organization to facilitate the smooth functioning of the organization should facilitate harnessing the existing knowledge in the organization. These systems could be a basis of knowledge management.
Information is the core of knowledge management, since information combined with experience and intuition leads to knowledge. Hence, proper information management systems can result in an effective knowledge management system.
Creativity and innovation are methods by which new knowledge is created. Innovation comes out of increment changes to existing products or processes and a radical change, which is different from the original process or product. Radical changes give a new dimension to the existing knowledge base and incremental changes result in changes in perceptions and line of thinking leading to new knowledge insights.
Business transformation acts as another catalyst for knowledge management. Organisations respond to the various changes in the market place through transformation processes like business process re-engineering.
Evolution of Knowledge management
Historic developments may be portrayed by the following stages of dominant economic activities and foci leading to the evolution of knowledge management.Agrarian economics creating products for consumption and exchange Natural resource economics natural resource exploitation dominate while customer intimacy was pursued separately by expert tradesmen and guilds. Product revolution Continued focus on operational excellence and product leadership. Knowledge revolution New focus on customer intimacy
Approaches to knowledge management
There is a broad range of thought on knowledge management with no agreed definition current or likely. The approaches vary by author and school. For example, knowledge management may be viewed from each of the following perspectives:
In addition as the discipline is maturing we see an increasing presence of academic debates within epistemology emerging in both the theory and practice of knowledge management. UK and Australian
Standards Bodies have both produced documents which attempt to bound and scope the field but these have received limited take up or awareness.
There are a number of 'drivers', or motivations, leading to organizations undertaking a knowledge management program.
Perhaps first among these is to gain the competitive advantage that comes with improved or faster learning and new knowledge creation. Knowledge management programs may lead to greater innovation, better customer experiences, consistency in good practices and knowledge access across a global organization, as well as many other benefits, and knowledge management programs may be driven with these goals in mind.
Considerations driving a knowledge management program might include:
It emphasize the need for integrating a 6 stage KM life cycle with organizational-level, group-level, and
individual-level systems and practices; KM as a component of organizational strategy is largely a work-in-progress:
As described by Herschel and Nemati, the Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO) is a recent creation whose purpose is the management of intellectual capital, a unique organizational asset.
Obstacles to KM Implementation
Lack of business purpose
Most organisations look at implementation of knowledge management program as an end in itself. Organisations need to look beyond implementation and to define ways of dealing with the pressing problems of the organisation using knowledge management.
Poor planning and inadequate resources
Many companies focus their attention on the KM pilot project and forget about the roll out. Organisations need to make the plan the rollout and the pilot plant simultaneously to avoid loss of focus on the mail roll out.
Lack of accountability
Knowledge management initiatives peter out if accountability is not fixed on persons to implement the initiatives and see the end of it. Typically, knowledge management programs could be implemented by a core team dedicated for the purpose.
Lack of customization
Knowledge management is not a one-size-fit-all program. It works best when individual programs are tailored to the need of the individual users. It should also fit into the organisation culture.
The decision on whether or not an organization should outsource a part of their business is a complicated one, and should not be taken lightly. Searching for short-term cost savings is not a bad idea, but choosing outsourcing based solely on cost reduction or tactical problems is a short-term solution and will undermine a company's potential for long term success. The organization should have sufficient management skills and the ability to adapt new behaviors and processes to successfully manage an external part of their business. These skills should include knowledge management abilities and a willingness to apply them to a new and more challenging situation. Tacit knowledge must specifically be considered when planning an outsourcing strategy, particularly if the component of the business to be outsourced already exists internally and valuable institutional knowledge will be lost. The transfer of tacit knowledge can have a profound effect on quality and overall strategic business value. Cultural and language barriers add challenges to the already difficult process of transferring tacit knowledge and are of particular concern in cases of cross-border outsourcing. Finally, once a decision has been made to outsource aspects of a business, specific knowledge management strategies can be implemented that will maximize the benefits that are available from a decentralized business model.
1. Laurance Prusak , "Principles of knowledge management, Journal of knowledge management, Volume 1 Number 1 September 1997
Source: E-mail March 30, 2007
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