IT Management
Topics: Knowledge management / Pages: 17 (4227 words) / Published: Mar 15th, 2014

Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning

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William R. King
Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh wking115@yahoo.com For centuries, scientists, philosophers and intelligent laymen have been concerned about creating, acquiring, and communicating knowledge and improving the re-utilization of knowledge.
However, it is only in the last 15–20 years or so that a distinct field called “knowledge management”
(KM) has emerged.
KM is based on the premise that, just as human beings are unable to draw on the full potential of their brains, organizations are generally not able to fully utilize the knowledge that they possess. Through KM, organizations seek to acquire or create potentially useful knowledge and to make it available to those who can use it at a time and place that is appropriate for them to achieve maximum effective usage in order to positively influence organizational performance.
It is generally believed that if an organization can increase its effective knowledge utilization by only a small percentage, great benefits will result.
Organizational learning (OL) is complementary to KM. An early view of OL was “…encoding inferences from history into routines that guide behavior” (Levitt and March, 1988, p. 319). So, OL has to do with embedding what has been learned into the fabric of the organization.

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The Basics of Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning

To understand KM and OL, one must understand knowledge, KM processes and goals and 21
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knowledge management systems (KMS).
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Knowledge

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Knowledge is often defined as a “justified personal belief.” There are many taxonomies that specify various kinds of knowledge. The most fundamental distinction is between “tacit” and
“explicit” knowledge. Tacit knowledge inhabits the minds of people and is (depending on one’s interpretation of Polanyi’s (1966) definition)



References: Cross, R., and L. Baird. (2000). “Technology is not enough: Improving performance by building organizational memory,” Sloan Management Review, 41(3): 69–79. Davenport, T.H., and L. Prusak. 2000. Working knowledge: How organizations manage what they know Dixon, N.M. 1994. The organizational learning cycle: How we can learn collectively. New York: McGraw-Hill. Earl, M. 2001. Knowledge management strategies. Journal of Management Information Systems 18(1): 215–223. Easterby-Smith, M., and M. Lyles. 2003. The Blackwell handbook of organizational learning and knowledge management Hansen, M.T., N. Nohria, and T. Tierney. 1999. What’s your strategy for managing knowledge? Harvard Business Review 77(2): 106–116. Huber, G.P. 1991. Organizational learning: The contributing processes and the literatures. Organization Science 2(1): 88–115. King, W.R. 2005. Communications and information processing as a critical success factor in the effective knowledge organization King, W.R. 2006a. In “Knowledge sharing”: The encyclopedia of knowledge management, D.G. King, W.R. 2006b. In “Knowledge transfer”: The encyclopedia of knowledge management, ed. D.G. King, W.R. 2008. An integrated architecture for the effective knowledge organization. Journal of Knowledge Management 12(2): 1367–1380. King, W.R., and D.-G. Ko. 2001. Evaluating knowledge management and the learning organization: An information/knowledge value chain approach King, W.R., and W. Lekse. 2006. Deriving managerial benefit from knowledge search: A paradigm shift? Information and Management 43(7): 874–883. King, W.R., P. Marks, and S. McCoy. 2002. The most important issues in knowledge management. Lee, G.K., and R.E. Cole. 2003. From a firm-based to a community-based model of knowledge creation: The case of the Linux Kernel development. Organization Science: A Journal of the Institute of Management Sciences 14(6): 633. Levitt, B., and J.G. March. 1988. Organizational learning. Annual Review of Sociology 14: 319–340. McDonald, D.W., and M.S. Ackerman. 1997. Collaborative refinery: A collaborative information workspace for the World Wide Web., Technical Report 97-03 Irvine: Information and Computer Menon, T., and J. Pfeffer. 2003. Valuing internal vs. external knowledge explaining the preference for outsiders Nonaka, I. 1994. A dynamic theory of organizational knowledge creation. Organizational Science 5(1): 14–37. O’Dell, C., and C.J. Grayson. 1998. If only we knew what we know: identification and transfer of internal best practices Oliver, S., and K.R. Kandadi. 2006. How to develop knowledge culture in organizations? A multiple case study of large distributed organizations Polanyi, M. 1966. The tacit dimension. New York: Doubleday. Van de Ven, A.H. 2005. Running in packs to develop knowledge-intensive technologies. MIS Quarterly 29(2): 365–378. Ward, J., and A. Aurum. 2004. Knowledge management in software engineering – Describing the process, 137–146., 15th Australian Software Engineering Conference (ASWEC 2004) Melbourne,

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