The Role of Human Resources in Managing Knowledge Within Organisations

Topics: Knowledge management, Human resource management, Management Pages: 7 (1982 words) Published: March 12, 2008
The Role of Human Resources in Managing Knowledge within Organisations The correct utilisation and management of knowledge has been cited as a key way of assisting firms in evolving in tandum with the ever changing environments they work within. However this manifestaiton of knowledge and skills is far more complecated then first envisaged. A huge amount of debate has arisen in terms of the direction and correct implementation of skills, learning, knowledge, and information on a practical level (Drucker; 1999). Although this debate has assisted in the creation of a number of managerial approaches and provided conceptual depth, there is still no thorough best practice framework for firms to operate with, with many gaps and conflicting theoretical approaches arising (Becker; 2006).

The primary goal of managing knowledge in a firm is the creation of competencies and profiencies, to mould firms strategys, and create essential skills needed by the firm to operate and compete in a complex and evolving environment of globilisation and technologicial advancement. 'Organisational learning is now accepted as a central , rather then periphal organisational variable, with its competitive value widely recognised' (Re: Andrews 2000 ; pp1).

HRM Proceesess in managing knowledge:
The role of the human resource department is to assist in the transferance, creation, storage and maintance of knowledge within a firm in a synergetic manner to support the business, and create a platform of learning which establishes the firms abilities and capbilities not just now but in the future (Mayo; 1998).This role of Human Resources Management in the managing of knowledge is a essentail one, as it is through this role which laregly links the strategic intent of the HRM department and the overall business strategy of the firm.While Goodman (1998) states it involves contributing and adopting as two key processes in knowlegde management

The overall function's of the HRM department has a number of distinctive influences on knowledge management and creation within firms includes: 1.Recruitment - New ideas and concepts 'bought' into the firm. 2.Cultural Support - Assists in knowledge spread , informal knowledge creation, knowledge storage (Szulanski 1996). 3.Training and Development - Creation of new ideas and concepts (Nonaka 1995) 4.Management Process - Supports the maintance and transference of knowledge, Firm structure can also play a huge role in how knowledge is created and transferred. These functions are used to ensure the firm can act profiecently, with the HRM department ensuring firm operatrions are benchmarked and effective, with any inefficiencies being met and confronted through Skill Gap recognition and aqeate measures being put in place through recruitment, training, developent and knowledge reinforcement to fill these gaps. However critics such as Scarbrough (2000) claim this use of matching proposed or current skills gap with 'action' may lead to a lack of flexibility in dynamic industries, in which the future consumer/environmental needs cannot be easily forcast,or change constantly

Formats of Learning/Knowledge Management:
The human resource department as a whole has a number of ways to increase employee knowledge or assist in the transfer of knowledge from one employee to another within the firm.

These forms can include: (Mczenzie 2004)
1.Formal (Human Capital) or informal (Social Capital),
2.Structured (e.g. Workshops) or unstructured (e.g. Social)
3.Planned or unplanned
4.Controlled or uncontrolled

Employees minds similar to computers record information around them with all aspects including their environmnet, social networks,training,responsibilities and surroundings being 'soaked up' and recorded or rejected if not understood or incompatibale with the computers hardware. Each of the forms of learning such as Coaching (Transfer of knowledge from one member to another) has its advantagses but alos its...

References: Pedler, M., Burgoyne, J., & Boydell, T. 2006 A Manager 's Guide to Self-Development
(5h Ed.)
Becker, M. C. 2001. Managing dispersed knowledge: organizational problems, managerial strategies, and their effectiveness. Journal of Management Studies, 38 (7): 1037-1051.
Collins, C. J., & Smith, K. G. 2006. Knowledge exchange and combination: The role of human resource practices in the performance of high-technology firms. Academy of Management Journal, 49 (3): 544-560.
Drucker, P. F. 1999. Knowledge-worker productivity: The biggest challenge. California Management Review, 41 (2): 79-94.
Robertson, M., & O 'Malley Hammersley, G. 2000. Knowledge management practices within a knowledge-intensive firm: The significance of the people management dimension. Journal of European Industrial Training, 24: 241-253.
Scarbrough, H. 2003b. Why your employees don 't share what they know. KM Review, 6 (2): 16-19.
Scarbrough, H., & Carter, C. 2000. Investigating Knowledge Management. London: CIPD.
Swart, J., & Kinnie, N. 2003. Sharing knowledge in knowledge-intensive firms. Human Resource Management Journal, 13 (2): 60-75.
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