Knowledge Management

Knowledge management is the systematic approach to getting an organization to make the best possible use of its intellectual capital in order to sustain competitive advantage. Knowledge management is an enterprise discipline that promotes collaborative processes for the creation, capture, organization, access and use of information assets, including the uncaptured knowledge of people.


Introduction

Knowledge is defined in many ways. The following are definitions of knowledge.

"Acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as form study or investigation."

There is another definition "Capturing, organizing, and storing knowledge and experiences of individual workers and groups within an organization and making this information available to others in the organization." (Knowledge Management online definition, 2006)

KM efforts typically focus on organisational objectives such as improved performance, competitive advantage, innovation, the sharing of lessons learned, and continuous improvement of the organisation. KM efforts overlap with Organisational Learning, and may be distinguished from by a greater focus on the management of knowledge as a strategic asset and a focus on encouraging the sharing of knowledge. KM efforts can help individuals and groups to share valuable organisational insights, to reduce redundant work, to avoid reinventing the wheel per se, to reduce training time for new employees, to retain intellectual capital as employees turnover in an organisation, and to adapt to changing environments and markets .

KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT
(An Effective tool for creating a Learning organization)

Prologue
When we stop Learning, We stop Growing.

This is a "Statement of Reference" in today's environment. This is applicable to corporate giants too." Learning is not by choice but by Rule". These were BUZZ words of many CEOs who had made a turnaround in their organizations. Jack Welch of GE, Michael Dell of dell Computers,
Billgates of Microsoft had made this a strategy in their organizations. The importance of knowledge networking, (as digital nervous system for the company) became very successful in their organisations because of their strong adherence to this practice.
  • "Learn from own employees
  • Learn from Customers
  • Learn from competitors
  • Learn from Bitter enemies too!
How to create a learning organization by effectively managing knowledge?
Four steps to achieve this.
  1. Effective Documentation(processing and storing data)
  2. Establishing connectivity through LAN/WAN/INTERNET
  3. Dissemination (proper sharing of information among employees)
  4. feedback and and continual improvement.
To achieve this what should be done?

Creating Knowledge Managers:
Like Billgates who motivated the employees to become knowledge workers, organization can also go for establishing a group called "Knowledge Management Group" Which can play a key role in managing the knowledge in the organization .The World Seems to be Shrinking like an atom and these knowledge Managers will become very important like electrons revolving around the organization.

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 organization's 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.

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".

Though 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 people's heads-can be clarified and shared with others, eventually becoming 'newly created knowledge', which is understood and accepted throughout the organization.

Depending upon a person's 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 else's idea(s).

Therefore, an organizational climate of trust and mutual respect would seem to be essential in developing effective Knowledge Management Systems.

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.



Personal knowledge management (PKM)
refers to a collection of processes that an individual needs to carry out in order to gather, classify, store, search, and retrieve knowledge in his/her daily activities. One of its focus is about how individual workers apply knowledge processes to support their day-to-day work activities

Personal knowledge management (PKM) integrates personal information management (PIM), focused on individual skills, with knowledge management (KM). Many people undertaking this task have taken an organizational perspective. From this perspective, understanding of the field has developed in light of expanding knowledge about human cognitive capabilities and the permeability of organizational boundaries. The other approach for PKM is metacognitive - it Focus on Individual Knowledge Worker

PKM is focused on personal productivity improvement for knowledge workers in their working environments. While the focus is the individual, the goal of PKM is to enable individuals to operate better both within the formal structure of organizations and in looser work groupings. This is as different from KM as traditionally viewed, which appears to be focused on enabling the corporation to be more effective by "recording" and making available what its workers know.

A core focus of PKM is 'personal inquiry', a quest to find, connect, learn, and explore.

PKM is a response to the idea that knowledge workers increasingly need to be responsible for their own growth and learning. They need processes and tools by which they can evaluate what they know in a given situation and then seek out ways to fill the gaps in their knowledge. This frequently involves the use of technology, though one can be good at PKM without using specialised tools.

Most organizations are nowadays realizing that knowledge management (KM) is one of the key success factors in today's economy, and all are moving toward the knowledge-based economy. All the KM view practitioners are aware that their success depends on the way they use their knowledge in order to get competitive advantage and create new knowledge. Various organizations strive for continuous innovation and for that KM plays a key role in