The words knowledge and management are two extremely broad concepts when separated. When the two words come together, it speaks of an idea that strives to organize information in a way that produces an advantage for an organization. While anyone would think that harnessing the knowledge of an organization is a positive thing to do, there are many who do not see the value of knowledge management. The origins of knowledge management can be traced back to the late 1970s. Everett Rogers (deceased) and Thomas Allen’s work in information transfer laid the foundation to the concept of how knowledge is created, implemented, and integrated throughout an organization. In the 1980s, knowledge became a focal point to increasing the competitive edge for companies. Scholars like Peter Senge introduced the advantages of creating learning and knowledge based organization. Knowledge management can be applied to many areas of the organization. Organizations need to understand that knowledge management is not only storing knowledge. The larger focus is on sharing; therefore the application of knowledge management in the organization is unlimited. Groups at all level, e.g. boards of directors, human resources, workforce training and development, information technology, frontline staff and operations can all benefit from knowledge management. An organization’s willingness to apply knowledge management to one or more of these organizational structures lead to more effective knowledge systems.
In order for an effective knowledge system to exist organizations must first hold and transfer data and information that can be placed into context allowing an actionable event or an understanding to occur. What is Knowledge?
The word knowledge is often confused for information or data. The online version of the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines knowledge as the following: Fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association. Davenport and Prusak offer working definition of knowledge within organizations, as follows: Knowledge is a fluid mix of framed experience, values, contextual information, and expert insight that provides a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information. It originates and is applied in the minds of knower. In organizations, it is often becomes embedded not only in documents or repositories but also in organizational routines, processes, practices, and norms.
However, scholars have not determined ones single definition that they agree upon, but what transcends is that knowledge is framed within our lived experiences.
Knowledge management is a program or system designed to create, capture, share and leverage knowledge towards the success of the organization. However, instituting a knowledge management program requires many changes and support at all levels of the organization. Furthermore, there are different forms of knowledge to contend with and understand. Knowledge can be tacit or explicit, which requires different strategies to capture each type. Another challenge is to distill the practice of knowledge management into one inventive concept. When data is grouped together, it becomes information. For example, getting a temperature reading of the climate outside on one day is meaningless without other information to make a comparison. Once a database is created, it becomes information because comparisons can be made. In terms of knowledge management, knowledge is information that is in context, producing an actionable understanding.
Knowledge Management and Organizational Cultures
Knowledge management to facilitate the creation, storage, transfer, and application of knowledge in organizations has received wide attention in practice and research in the past several years. According...