Knowledge management:
A tool for organizational transformation and development


By

Ms. Vijit Chaturvedi
Faculty-HRM
ICFAI University
 


Introduction

"K nowledge creation and sharing" is widely recognized as strategically important for

Organization to gain competitive advantage. It is also recognized as to be most important for organizational learning and innovation. More and more organizations are attempting to embrace the knowledge management tool for saving costs and propelling growth.

However there is still a limited understanding on what knowledge management means that benefits from it; how they benefit from it; what technology interface is required to make it successful; what cultural changes are required.

Knowledge management does not even means relying on technology. It starts with business objectives and processed recognition of the need to share the knowledge.

It is the process through which organization generates value from their intellectual and knowledge based assets regarding products, market and technologies thus applying sharing and innovation culture all around for multi-facet development.

Meaning and definition

Knowledge management is "The process through which organization generates value from their intellectual and knowledge based assets. It is the practice of harnessing and exploiting intellectual capital to gain competitive advantage and customer's commitment through efficiency, innovation and more effective decision making''.

As defined by Thomas Davenport knowledge is mix of, values, contextual information insight to provide an environment and framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information.

Expected benefits from a KM program

  • Fostering information
  • Improved customer service by streaming response time
  • Enhance employee retention
  • Streamline operation and reduce cost by eliminating unnecessary operation
  • Increased revenues
  • Generate new wealth
  • Open new markets
  • Lift productivity and efficiency
  • Mitigate risk
  • Unleash new ideas and creativity
  • Develop and implement new business models
  • Enhance team collaboration
  • Better forecasting
  • Help in change management
  • Extend global reach and scope

Areas to implement KM in organization structure

  • Employee Participation
  • Identification of relevant information
  • Managing dynamics of knowledge
  • Managing balance between business and technology
  • Identifying right person for seeing the project through.
  • Essentials for successful KM program

    • Identification of Right knowledge- Explicit and tacit 
    • Identification of the right type of knowledge and its application area
    • Workflow
    • Web intelligence
    • Document management
    • Personalized portal interface Recognize learning as a daily process
    • Communities of practice
    • Knowledge sharing events
    • Exemplary leadership

Difficulties in implementing a successful Knowledge management program

    1) Getting employees– The biggest difficulty in implementing KM program is because companies ignore people and culture issues. It is a holistic approach to implement KM throughout the organization and not to fragment it.

    The best way to motivate people for this is by launching an incentive program but again the quality and the accuracy has to be considered.

    2) Allowing Technology to dictate – It is not always the technical part that is workable but a right balance between technical and human angle has to be sorted out. Simply by implementing centralized DBMS, web portal, electronic message board purpose of implementing KM ever comes fertile.

    3)  Unclarity in goals / roles: - KM program should always be aligned with business goal so that delegation and responsibility charting can be done in an effective manner.

    4) Energy and vitality: - It demands heavy participation, forecasting, immediate and reasonable decision making for an efficient KM program to flourish and give right results.

    5) Feedback and follow up : - System approach teaches the right direction in which a KM program must be nurtured so that timely action, 2- way communication and adequate corrective action can be implemented in time.

Principles of Knowledge Management

Managing knowledge is the most difficult thing as tangible or explicit things could be gathered edited, modified and can be presented but those things or information or ideas which go in the minds of people (as employees) is difficult to imagine or assess until discusses, shared or narrated, so this process's more difficult as it demands "Knowledge philanthropists" to contribute and sustain.

So before embarking in the system of implementing Knowledge management in organization certain principles of Knowledge should be known –

a) Knowledge is unending
b) It is a matter of practice
c) It creeps and grows in communities and groups
d) It demands easy , flexible , transparent and logical channels and language
e) It is a consistent process and system
f) It demands attention , updating , visibility and vocabulary
g) It is a multi- approach based process
h) It requires high follow up , timely action and above all socialization
i) It is a team process: participation , involvement makes it a success
j) There is no single destination in KM it is a never ending journey
k) It is a combination of technical and human aspects, no single factor can make it a success , its all about how you manage & inculcate its seriousness in hierarchy

We can conclude these principles by saying as Pankaj Jhaveri a web developer and consultant based in Ahemdabad said that "It matters how you define knowledge than how you practice it. It means nothing if you don't take knowledge and turn into customer value''.Above all what remains is value creation and its sustenance.

Ways for creating knowledge management in organization structure

1. Creating network of champions
2. Setting people system to capture and share information throughout the organization.
3. Deploying technology such as intranets to enable flow of explicit knowledge
4. Develop a common vocabulary
5. Increase efficiencies in knowledge processing and storing
6. Identifying sources where knowledge resides  be it database or in people
7. Develop knowledge maps to reduce the gaps between people and to expand and refine the flow of knowledge.
8. Comparing practices followed by other companies  for better results and to be competitive

Key elements in KM process

1) People
2) Process
3) Structure
4) Technology
5) Knowledge automation
6) IT based infrastructure
7) Learning based approach
8) KM centered strategy
9) Selection of correct dimension –Reactive
                                               Aware
                                               Convinced
                                               Shared

Steps in marching to KM

1) Start with the enthusiastic
2) Convince the influencers
3) Make it no- drainer
4) Hire a coordinator
5) Tel stories
6) Recognize contributors
7) Reward contributors

Conclusion

Knowledge management as a business strategy is about becoming a winning organization. It is a process that flourishes in groups and demands all participation approach for success. It practiced consistently with proper monitoring systems it work wonders and makes the dream of learning organization true.

It becomes a challenging task because people are highly reluctant to share their knowledge and this further complicates the matter, this is only by true motivation, proper incentive structure and commitment that the real participation will come A good training program, performance system, collaborative environment,

Information sharing, retrieving and communicating in time makes such process a success.

References

1. Issues of IBA bulletin

2. Knowledge management Knowledge management t its not all about portal By Robert s. seined The data administration newsletter , November 2000

3. Shri Ratneja Gougle- Knowledge management a new dimension

4. Myers(P.S) 1996 Knowledge management and organization design; an introduction
 


Ms. Vijit Chaturvedi
Faculty-HRM
ICFAI University
 

Source: E-mail September 08, 2007

          

Back to Articles 1-99 / Back to Articles 100-199 / Back to Articles 200-299 / Back to Articles 300-399
Back to Articles 400-499 / Back to Articles 500-599 / Back to Articles 600 Onward
Faculty Column Main Page