Erasmus students Weblog

Knowledge Management (C.G.)
October 28, 2008, 2:10 pm
Filed under: Theory

Knowledge Management (KM) comprises a range of practices used in an organisation to identify, create, represent, distribute and enable adoption of what it knows, and how it knows it. It has been an established discipline since 1995 [1] with a body of university courses and both professional and academic journals dedicated to it. Many large companies have resources dedicated to Knowledge Management, often as a part of ‘Information Technology‘, ‘Human Resource Management‘ or Business strategy departments. Knowledge Management is a multi-billion dollar world-wide market[citation needed].

Knowledge Management programs are typically tied to organisational objectives such as improved performance, competitive advantage, innovation, developmental processes, lessons learnt transfer (for example between projects) and the general development of collaborative practices. Knowledge Management is frequently linked and related to what has become known as the learning organisation, lifelong learning and continuous improvement. Knowledge Management may be distinguished from Organisational Learning by a greater focus on the management of knowledge as an asset and the development and cultivation of the channels through which knowledge, information and signal flow.

There is a broad range of thought on Knowledge Management with no unanimous definition. The approaches vary by author and school. Knowledge Management may be viewed from each of the following perspectives:

  • Techno-centric: A focus on technology, ideally those that enhance knowledge sharing/growth.
  • Organisational: How does the organisation need to be designed to facilitate knowledge processes? Which organisations work best with what processes?
  • Ecological: Seeing the interaction of people, identity, knowledge and environmental factors as a complex adaptive system.

In addition, as the discipline is maturing, there is an increasing presence of academic debates within epistemology emerging in both the theory and practice of knowledge management. British and Australian standards bodies both have produced documents that attempt to bound and scope the field, but these have received limited acceptance or awareness.

Knowledge Management has always existed in one form or another. Examples include on-the-job peer discussions, formal apprenticeship, discussion forums, corporate libraries, professional training and mentoring programs. However, with computers becoming more widespread in the second half of the 20th century, specific adaptations of technology such as knowledge bases, expert systems, and knowledge repositories have been introduced to further enhance the process.

The emergence of Knowledge Management has also generated new roles and responsibilities in organisations, an early example of which was the Chief Knowledge Officer. In recent years, Personal knowledge management (PKM) practice has arisen in which individuals apply KM practice to themselves, their roles and their career development.


1 Comment so far
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Again and again: do you see the links with CRM?

Comment by Angela

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