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Knowledge management in organizations

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  1. An introduction to knowledge management
  2. The need for knowledge management
  3. History
  4. Strategies
    1. Push strategy
    2. Pull strategy
  5. Approaches and methods
    1. Techno-centric approach
    2. Organizational approach
    3. Ecological approach
  6. Barriers
    1. Cultural issues
    2. Operational issues
    3. Technological issues
  7. Role of HR in overcoming obstacles
  8. Conclusion
  9. Bibliography

Knowledge management refers to the conscious, systematic, and organized activity of an enterprise in comprehensively gathering, organizing, analyzing, and sharing knowledge to further its goals. It comprises a range of practices that identifies, creates, represent, distribute, and enables adoption of insights and experiences embedded in the individuals working in an organization or in organizational processes or practice, and provides a framework for connecting people to people and people to information, with the objective to develop and share such distilled learning and best practices. Coded or documented knowledge like policy manuals, databases, white papers, patients and others are ?explicit knowledge? easily accessible to people in the organization. Knowledge management does not deal with such explicit knowledge, but rather deals with the knowledge embedded in the minds of people working in the organization, or ?tacit knowledge?, which constitutes between 70 and 80 percent of all knowledge in an organization. This tacit knowledge is intuitive, contextual, linked to experience, past memories, and is difficult to codify, document and communicate. Moreover, individuals, who are the repositories of such tacit knowledge, are not permanent fixtures in an enterprise, and when an employee leaves, he or she takes with them their tacit knowledge, which then become lost for the organization. Knowledge management techniques and processes provide a structured approach to explicate a significant part of tacit knowledge from individuals, and convert them into explicit knowledge by documenting them in knowledge repositories and sharing them with others through the process of intensive dialogue and discussion. However, extraction of tacit knowledge and converting them to explicit knowledge is not enough. Sustainable competitive advantage of an organization comes not from what it collectively knows, but from how readily it acquires and uses new knowledge, and more importantly, how efficiently it uses what such knowledge. Thus it is only when the knowledge acquired through the knowledge management process is put to action that it becomes beneficial for the organization. Organizations therefore need to identify areas where sharing of knowledge and best practices help increase company performance, and Knowledge Management provide an enabling framework to fully leverage the "collective knowledge" in an organization.

[...] The basic role of HR is to initiate a grassroots desire amongst employees to tap into the company's intellectual resources and participate in the Knowledge Management exercise, besides communicate to employee what exactly are knowledge management, the expected behavior and efforts that would make the exercise a success. HR could utilize various avenues like in-house magazines, internal bulletin boards, and workshops to share with the employees the benefits and success stories of collaborative effort and knowledge sharing. HR also has a key role to play as an effective facilitator, by give positive reinforcements for Knowledge Management through organizing visible knowledge sharing events and strengthening the skill and competency of employees that would enable them to tap into the knowledge management exercise. [...]

[...] This approach entails incorporating knowledge management techniques to the core processes and systems of the organizations so that the people working in the organization do not need to find extra time for knowledge management activities, or consider knowledge management as a separate distinct activity in addition to the core process of the company. The design caters to recording the knowledge that goes into the process and the unique experiences encountered during the implementation of the process. With this approach, the company's training programs focus on functional and business specific skill development programs as well as competency development focused programs. [...]

[...] The advent of Web 2.0 or the second generation of web development and design that facilitates communication, secure information sharing, interoperability, and collaboration has resulted in knowledge management taking a more user- participative nature, with social computing tools such as blogs and wikis allowing for more unstructured, self-governing or ecosystem approaches to the transfer, capture and creation of knowledge. STRATEGIES Very often, organizations undertake a competence mapping exercise before instituting knowledge management systems. Competency Mapping is the process to identify key competencies required for effective performance in a particular position, and incorporating such competencies in the various organizational processes such as job evaluation, training, recruitment, performance management, succession planning, and other processes. [...]

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