Knowledge Management

This blog post is based on McKeen and Smith (McKeen, J.D. & Smith, H.A., 2003. Making IT Happen: Critical Issues in Managing Information Technology, John Wiley & Sons.)

The knowledge Organization

The chapter claim that all organizations are knowledge organizations the question is on what degree the organization make use of knowledge. The tendency is more and more organizations will focus more and more on the knowledge they can gather.

Knowledge is a new asset for companies and knowledge is not physical and most knowledge is tacit.

Strategies for Knowledge Management

  1. Generating Knowledge. The chapter note two different ways to generate knowledge. The first one is by hiring external from the company meaning that the company go for the brilliant people and those with extra ordinary skills that can contribute to the company’s value stream. The other way would be by motivating and encouraging the employees to come up with innovative ideas.
  2. Accessing Knowledge. Depending on the strategy the organization has chosen to share and codify knowledge has a major impact on what sort of technology the organization should primarily focus on. If the knowledge is mainly tacit then it would focus on face to face communication i.e., tele conference technology or technology like Skype where the members can contact each other and exchange views and knowledge. Typically tacit knowledge is used when the services or products are highly complicated and differentiated. The other end of the scale is lesser complex projects that can be handled with codified knowledge such as reports and tutorials. Examples of the lesser knowledge demanding knowledge projects would be bookkeeping and business analysis.
  3. Embedding Knowledge. Information systems can be applied to categorize, analyze and represent the knowledge to the those people in the organization who needs access to the information or knowledge. However technology isn’t enough to embed knowledge in the organization. The organization needs to create a learning organization. Besides information systems and broadcasting strategies where e-mails are send to all members of a department or organizations online forums or databases are more common; however the information located at the forum or on the database would need to be quality checked by a knowledge officer.
  4. Facilitating Knowledge. Mall (1996) suggest the following guideline to promote facilitating knowledge in the organization:
    First, companies should encourage constant experimentation, team-based learning, and socialization. Secondly, the leader must empower the process and serve as the driver of ongoing renewal of intellectual capital. Finally, and most most importantly, there must be a transport articulation of the value of knowledge to the firm’s long-term competitive posture.
    The chapter refer to a method of which a company builds up the following to facilitate knowledge. 1) A well articulated execute vision and strategy. 2) A value system of knowledge sharing. 3) A management system for knowledge management.
    As mentioned in this sector it is of a great importance that the problem of knowledge sharing most be solved with organizational tools and not solely with technology.
  5. Generalizing Knowledge. According to Mall (1996) is the only real competitive advantage a business organization can achieve is the rate of which the organization learn. It is therefor vital that the organization embed the knowledge in it’s processes. This can be done by implementing the knowledge organization such as 1) No bounds on employee learning. 2) The program should focus on the whole “employee”. 3) Knowledge Management is the key component. Even then the following conditions need to be fulfilled:
    • Building a knowledge culture.
    • Capturing the right knowledge.
    • Adopting the right technology.