Knowledge Management: An Emerging Managerial Practice

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Concept paper on knowledge management:
Project concept: an emerging managerial practice.

Knowledge management
  There has been a growing interest in treating knowledge as a significant organisational resource Added At:  2010-12-11 10:04 PM
   Last Updated At: 2010-12-05 10:04 PM
KATHMANDU: Recently we conducted the business plan presentations for EMBA students at Club Himalaya, Nagarkot and one of the plans was on Knowledge Management, which I found pretty interesting. 

In the words of Peter Drucker, “Knowledge has become the key economic resource and the dominant — and perhaps even the only — source of comparative advantage.” The future of organisations will now depend on how well this concept is understood and how effectively knowledge is managed and used as a tool to leverage their competitive stance. In the past, there has been a growing interest in treating knowledge as a significant organisational resource. Consistent with the interest in organisational knowledge and knowledge management (KM), information systems (IS) researchers have begun promoting a class of IS, 

referred to as knowledge management systems (KMS). 

The objective of KMS is to support creation, transfer, and application of knowledge, both tacit (insights and experiences) and explicit (processes and policies, etcetera), in organisations. Basically, there are eight categories of knowledge-focused activities done in any organisation:

• Generating new knowledge

• Accessing valuable knowledge from external sources

• Using accessible knowledge in decision making

• Embedding knowledge in processes, products and /or services

• Representing knowledge in 

documents, databases and software

• Facilitating knowledge growth 

by setting up a culture and through 


• Transferring existing knowledge into other parts of the organisation

• Measuring the value of knowledge assets and/or impact of knowledge management

Knowledge management should try and incorporate all activities in a holistic manner, which is the major challenge since this requires an overall culture change, apart from infrastructure up-hauling. The benefits that can be derived from a robust and effective KMS would far outweigh the costs (both financial and non-financial), which, to name a few, are as below:

• Valuable organisational insights and experiences are retained and shared which results in better and more informed decision-making.

• Redundant work is reduced 

because everyone in the organisation has access to the same information and knowledge.

• Training time per employee is also reduced because the knowledge is well documented and accessible for the new recruits.

• Most importantly, intellectual capital is retained and therefore employee turnover has no significant negative impact on the organisation, a burning issue for organisations today.

• Organisational flexibility is enhanced because a knowledge-rich organisation foresees changes in the marketplace well on time and adapts itself to suit to the changes, to be ready before the competition.

Organisations normally start off by assessing the need as well as their capability in identifying and capturing knowledge since most of them do not understand what their intangible assets are, what they are worth or how to 

manage them. However, this is only half the battle won. A major problem comes in implementation of the KMS and sharing of knowledge where things get a little tricky since a KMS does not only involve technology, it involves people to a large extent. So, management would need to focus a lot of their attention in cultivating a culture of learning in their organisations or else these knowledge management efforts will result in some over-promising 

technology gathering dust.

(The author is the associate director at Ace Institute of Management Graduate School. He can...
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