I hear, I forget. I see, I remember. I do, I understand.
Knowledge Management is essentially the establishment of a system that captures and retains knowledge purposefully for incorporating into business strategies, policies, and practices at all levels of the company.
Dalkir, K. (2005) believes a good definition of knowledge management needs to incorporate both the capturing and storing of knowledge, together with the valuing of intellectual assets. He provides the following definition of knowledge management;
“Knowledge management is the deliberate and systematic coordination of an organization’s people, technology, processes, and organizational structure in order to add value through reuse and innovation. This coordination is achieved through creating, sharing, and applying knowledge as well as through feeding the valuable lessons learned and best practices into corporate memory in order to foster continued organizational learning”.
Barkley and Murray, (1997), propose that Knowledge Management is a business activity with two primary aspects:
“Treating the knowledge component of business activities as an explicit concern of business reflected in strategy, policy, and practice at all levels of the organization; and, making a direct connection between an organization’s intellectual assets—both explicit (recorded) and tacit (personal know-how)—and positive business results”.
Explicit conscious memories that make up a person’s declarative Memories are made up of firstly, Semantic Memories – Semantic memories include all our general knowledge about the world and language. Examples are facts, rules concepts etc. You probably do not know how or where you first learned this information. Secondly, episodic memories – Episodic memories include all the personal and autobiographical information that is affected by time, context, organisation, and place of occurrence. Tacit, unconscious memories make up a person’s procedural knowledge and memories, memories for the performance of learned actions or skills that we do not need to ‘think’ about, e.g. how to swim, use a pencil, and play the piano etc.
Figure 2.7-1 Memory Types
Smith, EA. (2001) refers to research highlighting the concerns that tacit knowledge, in particular, is lost through outsourcing, downsizing, mergers, and terminations. Smith discusses research that indicates 90 percent of organisational knowledge is retained in peoples’ heads.
Considering that knowledge management in most of today’s organisations is an integration of a significant number of earlier concepts and developments such as total quality, reengineering, organizational learning, benchmarking, competitive intelligence, innovation, organizational agility, asset management, supply chain management, change management, etc., Amidon, (1998). Sveiby, (1997) point out that knowledge management is now progressing beyond just information management.
The reason for this transition and evolution is that in order for knowledge management to become a strategic core competency, knowledge that exists in the mind of individuals, needs to be successfully transposed through a variety of social practices. These practices will include self-organizing teams or subject experts who share a common organisational interest sharing this retained knowledge with with those of less expertise.
It is ultimately the responsibility of Leadership and key stakeholders within the organisation to ensure that change and growth is enhanced through the retention, development, and creation of new knowledge to expedite a move from the current to a future state of growth.
Next – Part 3/7 Knowledge Creation
- Amidon, DM. (1998). The Evolving Community of Knowledge Practice: The Ken Awakening – International Journal of Technology Management, 16(1-3): 45-63.
- Barclay, R., & Murray, P. (1997). What is knowledge management? KnowledgePraxis. Retrieved June 16, 2016, from http://www.media-access.com/whatis.html.
- Dalkir, K., Knowledge Management In Theory And Practice. Elsevier Butterworth–Heinemann, Ch1 pg3.
- Smith, E., (2001), The role of tacit and explicit knowledge in the workplace. Journal of Knowledge Management, Volume 5, pp. 311 ± 321.
- Sveiby, K., (1997). The New Organizational Wealth: Managing and Measuring Knowledge-based Assets. San Francisco: Barrett-Koehler Publishers.