Student Number: 1248549
Definition of Knowledge Management
To this day there is no universal definition of Knowledge Management (KM). This is probably linked to the fact that there is no exhaustive and widely accepted definition of knowledge either. While the importance of knowledge and expertise has been established since the beginning of time and has implicitly been managed: the Egyptians built the largest library of the ancient world, The Library of Alexandria. The management of knowledge as we intend it with KM is a recent subject and has been considered a scientific discipline only from the early 90’s. The word Knowledge Management was used for the first time by Karl Wiig during a presentation in 1986. We can consider KM as the scientific discipline of creating an environment where people can develop and share knowledge with the general goal of improving the organizations results. As Karl Wiig (1997, p 8) tells us: “The overall purpose of KM is to maximize the enterprise’s knowledge-related effectiveness and returns from its knowledge assets and to renew them constantly”. KM includes a wide range of activities and strategies to achieve the aforesaid goals. It is widely accepted that different situations require different KM strategies. For example companies may recur to: * Knowledge repositories as databases to store and make knowledge accessible throughout the organization. * Rewards to stimulate knowledge sharing.
In the article “Telling Tales” by Stephen Denning the author focuses on the importance of storytelling in modern business and how it can represent one of the most effective tools leaders can use to achieve different goals. Before doing so the author tells us about his first experience with storytelling while working for the World Bank as program director of knowledge management and describes two important events that changed his way of considering storytelling as a powerful business tool. As first his encounter in 1998 with the professional storyteller J.G. Pinkerton and at last with David Snowden, a director of IBM’s Institute of Knowledge Management. Pinkerton told Denning that a story to be effective must be “well-told” meaning it should include complex characters and a plot as to draw the listener’s interest. Initially as a manager Denning considered Pinkerton’s recommendations to be useless in the business world. In a modern workplace there is neither time nor patience for a richly detailed story and anyway that kind of story would cause the listeners to focus on the plot and not to relate the tale to their own personal world. It would be a waste of time and energy. As we shall see Denning will later on change his mind. Fundamental was the encounter with David Snowden. While both agreed on the importance and effectiveness of storytelling in modern organizations they disagreed on the form and contents that stories should have. While Denning focused mainly on positive stories Snowden concentrated on negative. This event helped Denning widen his views about using different kinds of stories in modern organizations and brought him to realize that there is no ultimate rule for storytelling. The form of a story depends on its purpose. There is no distinction between good and bad stories and even less specific rules to follow. Different narrative patterns can be used to pursue different management related purposes. Section three
Knowledge Management (KM) is a relatively young subject and can be considered as the scientific discipline of creating an environment where people can develop and share knowledge with the general goal of improving the organizations results. Since the early 90’s it has become a very important subject in business as managers have widely recognized the positive effects that KM can have on a company. Obviously different situations and business goals require different KM strategies. Today...