Introductory thoughts on knowledge management

What is the goal of effective knowledge management?

1.better coordination of knowledge within the company in order to multiply knowledge
2. accessability of knowledge for all parts of the company
3. Innovation fostering environment

Additionally, knowledge management needs to be adapted to each and every situation depending on the company’s size, industry and the function it is assigned to as well as the to the culture of a company. Depending on a company’s priorities, they will either decide for an industrialization of knowledge or for the model of a learning organization. Most important is a continuing and consistent approach that is actually doing what it is telling.
Source: Ursula Schneider: Die 7 Todsünden im Wissensmanagement (Frankfurt: 2001, Frankfurter Allgemeine), p. 19-39

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Knowledge is the only resource that gets more valuable by using it. The competitive advantage that can be gained through knowledge is omnipresent in today’s business environment. However, if knowledge is not being communicated, organized and used effectively it is simply lost. Studies show that by targeting the effective use of knowledge, production is usually increased by around 30%. (Source: Wörner, K.; Prieto, J.; Messner, M.; Schnettler, B. (1997), IAO-Studie Wissensmanagement)
Most of the companies use less than half of their available knowledge as they are lacking either methods for identification and structuring or platforms that enable targeted knowledge exchange or both.
One crucial success factor on the way to effective knowledge management is a targeted Human Resource Management in order to create a corporate culture that is supporting a continuous knowledge transfer as well as the management behind it.
Knowledge is something that comes from information processed by using data. It includes experience, values, insights, and contextual information and helps in evaluation and incorporation of new experiences and creation of new knowledge. Knowledge originates from, and is applied by knowledge workers who are involved in a particular job or task. People use their knowledge in making decisions as well as many other actions. In the last few years, many organizations realize they own a vast amount of knowledge and that this knowledge needs to be managed in order to be useful. (Source: Journal of Knowledge Management Practice, March 2005)

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Davenport and Prusak (1998) defined knowledge as a “fluid mixture of experience, values, contextual information, and expert insight that provides a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information”. They argue that knowledge originates and is applied in the minds of people. In organizations, it becomes embedded in documents and repositories, in organizational routines, in processes, practices, and norms. There is a slightly different definition given by Alavi and Leidner (1999). They see knowledge as a “justified personal belief that increases an individual’s capacity to take action”.

There are two type of knowledge, namely explicit and tacit knowledge (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995). Tacit knowledge is obtained by internal individual processes and stored in human beings. Such knowledge is sometimes described as Experience, Reflection, Internalization or Individual Talent.

Explicit knowledge is stored in a mechanical or technological device, such as documents or databases. This knowledge would be more useful if it could be shared and used among the community that works together using collaborative technology at anytime, anyplace and anywhere

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