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Knowledge Management Summary

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Knowledge Management - from Pearlson & Saunders

Definition: The processes necessary to generate, capture, codify and transfer knowledge across the organisation to achieve competitive advantage.

An organisation's only sustainable competitive advantage lies in what its employees know and how they apply that knowledge to business problems.

Knowledge is often more about values and beliefs than about information and logic.

Person to person transfer is the best source of knowledge, but is impractical in a large organisation.

Two-thirds of the project time and budget must be spent on non-ICT resources, else it will turn into a technology project and not a Knowledge Management project

People are the basis of Knowledge Management - it is a combination of technology and socialisation

How Knowledge Management relates to Information Systems:

* ICT makes up the infrastructure for a Knowledge Management system.

* Knowledge Management systems make up the infrastructure for many IS systems.

* Knowledge Management is often referred to as an application of IS, like email or spreadsheets.

Intellectual Capital - knowledge that has been identified, captured and leveraged to produce a competitive advantage

Intellectual Property - allows owners of knowledge to be rewarded for their knowledge, and have a say how it is used; ie, patent/copyright issues.

Data - raw facts without any context, eg dates or figures

Information - data organised into some order or meaning , often for decision making

Knowledge - skills, experience and expertise that can be applied in many situations

Explicit - knowledge that can be captured and codified, such as in financial statements, company procedures.

Tacit - experience and expertise that must be passed on person to person, such as riding a bike, knowing how to identify the key issues of a problem, how to interpret the causes of a political event. Recording tacit knowledge is often done in the form of a narrative - a 'what can we learn from this' story.

Sharing best practices - makes staff more efficient; saves reinventing the wheel; however, staff may not have the incentive to share their expertise with colleagues.

Time must be allocated for employees to develop and share their knowledge.

Rapid change means knowledge becomes obsolete more quickly, so organisations must update their knowledge more quickly.

The Only Sustainable Competitive Advantage is the capacity to learn. The more that knowledge is shared and used, the more valuable it becomes.

Knowledge Retention - organisations can lose knowledge when they lose staff; therefore, experienced staff must be retained or their experience captured.

Knowledge Overload - danger of people being swamped with information. Knowledge must be relevant and actionable.

Relevance is preferable to completeness.

The Four Main Processes

Knowledge Generation - where does the knowledge come from?

* Knowledge creation (exploration): experimenting, seeking new alternatives

examples include R&D; adapting to change or market competition;

* Knowledge sharing (exploitation): using and developing existing knowledge

examples include buying in knowledge; shared problem solving; communities of practice (informal networks of employees)

Knowledge Capture - recording the knowledge

* Scanning - either electronically by sifting through emails and records; or by humans, interpreting stories, news, rumours and employees' expertise;

* Organising - sorting and categorising information so it can be retrieved easily;

* Knowledge Maps - a 'where-to-find' for an organisation's knowledge; can include databases, documents, webpages, employees' phone numbers and expertise, details of outside consultants, client histories

Knowledge Codification - the format for storing and transmitting knowledge

Knowledge Transfer - the absorption and interpretation by a new individual


Tacit Knowledge

Explicit Knowledge

FROM Tacit



Transferring tacit knowledge through shared experiences, apprenticeships, mentoring relationships, on-the-job training, 'talking at the water cooler'


Articulating and thereby capturing tacit knowledge through use of metaphors, analogies, models and stories




Converting explicit knowledge into tacit knowledge; learning by doing; studying previously captured explicit knowledge (manuals documentation) to gain technical know-how


Combining existing explicit knowledge through exchange and synthesis into new explicit knowledge

Knowledge transfer: all information must be interpreted, by an individual

1 >> Socialisation >> 2



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