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Knowledge Management

Knowledge is a vital part of human resources in an organization. It assumes that human capital in an organization is an element of intellectual capital. Knowledge Management is defined as any process or practice of creating, acquiring, capturing, sharing and using knowledge, wherever it resides, to enhance learning and performance in organizations. Knowledge Management focuses on the organization-specific body of knowledge and skills that result from the organizational learning processes and is concerned with both flow of knowledge and the making of profits. Knowledge Flow represents the ways in which knowledge is transferred from people to people, or from people to a knowledge database. Knowledge Management is intended to capture an organizations collective expertise and distribute it to wherever it can achieve the biggest payoff.

Knowledge Management is about storing and sharing the accumulated collective understanding and expertise within an organization regarding its processes, techniques and operations. Because it treats knowledge as a key resource Knowledge Management is a key component of intellectual capital, which allows HR practitioners to influence the area of people management.

Knowledge Management - Requirements

One of the major requirements for Knowledge Management is to integrate the link between people management practices and organizational performance in professionally-run organizations. The organization has to monitor how HR contributes to the creation of tangible value in the form of knowledge-based outputs. For instance, in professional service organizations, the knowledge held by their staff is the key to the development of intellectual capital. Such organizations sell their people because of the value they add to their clients.

Knowledge Management System

Knowledge Management SoftwareThough the concept of Knowledge Management is of recent origin, interest in it has grown rapidly with the development of information technology (IT). Accordingly, a "Knowledge Management System" will require carefully prepared, structured management information systems (MIS) in which information is recorded, stored and made available to those who need it. The essence of Knowledge Management then, is the need to have designated knowledge developers to design the computer software to control the knowledge database, and the learning options that will guide users in finding, at any given time, information that will serve their personal development and work needs.

A sophisticated Knowledge Management System aims not just at information-sharing, but also in meshing the assumptions and beliefs of the learner. Tacit Knowledge expertise that is stored in peoples headscan be clarified and shared with others, eventually becoming newly created knowledge, which is understood and accepted throughout the organization.

Depending upon a persons position within the organization, and his/her viewpoint, encouraging a team approach to sharing knowledge and skills may benefit all employees, or may even prove to be a strategy by which the senior management can extract individuals’ key knowledge in order to take advantage of the knowledge creation pool existing within the organization. However, in an organization which is aggressively competitive and rewards individual achievement rather than teamwork, employees may be reluctant to share their ideas for a new service with their manager, simply to avoid the manager receiving a performance bonus for someone elses idea(s). Therefore, an organizational climate of trust and mutual respect would seem to be essential in developing effective Knowledge Management Systems.

Knowledge Creation & Knowledge Sharing

Finally, knowledge creation in an organization assumes that employees, especially at the middle and senior levels, actually know more than what they are perceived to know, even though they may not provide solutions to all of the organization’s ills. Hence, the imperative for organizations will be to create an organizational climate wherein tacit knowledge can replace existing/traditional systems of knowledge sharing; such a climate necessitates systematic training interventions appearing alongside the routine scheme of things. This will offer exciting new horizons for HR practitioners and managers at all levels, ultimately contributing to enhanced employee performance and organizational well-being and effectiveness.
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