written by: George Garza•edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 11/11/2010
A business organization’s efficiency, productivity, and profitability is increased through knowledge sharing and collaboration. Here are five knowledge management approaches that explain the concept and the approach to preparing an enterprise solution which will be the basis of collaboration.
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An important concept in knowledge management is working with tacit knowledge. This is knowledge that is difficult to transfer to someone else by means of writing it down or verbalizing it. Some would say it is “common sense"--knowledge gained from experience. So a person with tacit knowledge would know how an operation works, insofar that all who perform that operation know when it is done correctly or done incorrectly. Tacit knowledge is key to formulating knowledge management strategy. All who work on a process must be able to decide when to use the appropriate tools and how to use a measurement system. Without the awareness of tacit knowledge, any knowledge management program will fail to maintain perspective and balance.
Another part of knowledge management is corporate memory, which identifies itself with the nugget of wisdom "if only we knew then what we already know now." In an age in which it is easy to re-invent the wheel, it is important for enterprises to learn from their own experience and not discard that knowledge as irrelevant. There is huge competitive advantage to be had from recording proven solutions, capturing insights, learning from errors, and sharing experience. Bringing together a series of intuitive schemes with individual processes and links to experts are the key structures here.
Knowledge…you have to have people involved…there have to be experts…there has to be a way of connecting people, finding experts, and having dialogs. These are the core ingredients of a Knowledge Management program. How do youget these people together? You can use personal blogs and RSS feeds as well as yellowpages. You can look at skills databases and learning profiles. These are some approaches to take on this issue. To be sure, there are thorny issues. You have to find ways to keep profiles current and provide incentives to drive the system. Unfortunately, many current systems do not clearly articulate either the availability or the interest parameters essential to approaching and selecting colleagues. But that is why a directory of expertise is important. Who knows what...and at what detail? This is the expertise directory.
Knowledge management involves putting together many different aspects of knowledge, from the novice to the expert. It is important to understand how objects, processes, and common sense operation operate. So, sharing and developing a common language is a critical knowledge management practice. When you describe categories, make distinctions, assign names, share meanings, share concepts and experiences, and promote the understanding and making sense of the world, you have a common language. A knowledge management effort needs to devote time and resources to construct a commonly shared language.
Personal knowledge management deals with individual responsibility for creating, learning, connecting and sharing and organizing ideas, as well as working with thoughts, insights, beliefs and assumptions.
A social approach to knowledge management deals with group dynamics, group goals, and group interactions. While in some circumstances this may suffice as a substitute for individual motives, it is not enough. Recently technologies--for example, in order to publish on the Internet, like blogs and social networking elements--have focused attention on individual competencies and practices. Yes, it is social; but it is to empower the individual.
What is knowledge management? Consider the different aspects discussed here. There is the corporate/enterprise culture represented with the concepts of tacit knowledge and corporate memory. There is the need for expertise which shows with the expertise directory; this will bring together the advanced knowledge that has accumulated in the enterprise. Finally, there is the common language of the organization and the personal knowledge management of individuals that integrate all working operations together.