The report looks at the HRM strategies specifically aimed at retaining the organisational knowledge of current employees and transferring it to new staff through the lens of knowledge management. It discusses the objectives of knowledge management and its relationship to employee rewards management, evaluates various aspects of HRM practices that could be adopted to encourage employees to share their knowledge and discusses how employee learning and development strategies could be implemented, concluded by an eight point recommendation.
Definition of knowledge has various flavours around a common theme - Davenport and Prusak (1998, p5) defines knowledge as ‘a fluid mix of framed experience, values, contextual information, and expert insight’, while Davenport, Long and Beers(1998) classifies knowledge as high-value form of information which is ready to apply to decisions and actions. It is information combined with experience, context, interpretation and reflection.
Never before knowledge has gained so much importance in business ; with explosion of service related industries and work related to information and cut throat global competition of customers and employees alike, knowledge has become an essential source of competitive advantage. (Nijhof, 1999). In the US, the percentage of people not involved with professional services as an occupation has declined from 83% in1900 to approximately 41% by 2000, whilst the percentage of information based workers has increased from 17% to around 59% (Stewart, 1997).
Retention and effective transfer of knowledge is imperative to achieving competitive advantage in market place in light of aging workforce, high attrition of knowledgeable employees and increasing complexity of services. The report discusses how intricately knowledge management is interlinked with human resource management elements – recruitment and selection, job design, reward and performance management and training and development and how each of those can be tailored to encourage knowledge sharing, which is at the heart of knowledge management. The report then discusses how learning and development strategies can be implemented.
Knowledge management and knowledge objectives
Broadly, knowledge can be classified into tacit and explicit – can be thought as two ends of a continuous spectrum. Tacit knowledge, or know-how, is knowledge that exists in the minds of experts through experience and can be displayed when they make judgments and take actions, usually without making direct reference to a framework that explains what they are doing. Therefore, tacit knowledge is a meaningful and important source of information that influences the decisions and actions of practitioners (Brown & Duguid, 2001 ; Zeira & Rosen, 2000). Tacit knowledge is personal and difficult to formalize because it is embedded in action, procedures, commitment, values, and emotions and acquired by sharing experiences and observations that are not easily communicated (Nonaka, 1994).
In contrast, explicit knowledge refers to knowledge that has been captured and codified into distributable artefacts - manuals, procedures, etc. It could refer to knowledge that has been learned through explicit instruction or to a skill acquired through practice. As a result, tacit and explicit knowledge are interdependent, essential to knowledge creation and of equal importance (Nonaka, 1994).
In essence, “managing” both types of knowledge effectively in an organisation for business advantage is knowledge management. It comprises of a range of strategies and practices used in an organization to identify, create, represent, distribute, and enable adoption of insights and experiences. Such insights and experiences comprise knowledge, either embodied in individuals or embedded in organizational processes or practice. Knowledge Management has gained significant momentum in the last decade and has been widely used...