6 Aspects of Knowledge Management
Modern enterprises must manage and store massive amounts of data. Since the early 1990s, specialists have practiced knowledge management to help achieve this objective. Information officers use this particular discipline to manage organizational data and information in a way that fits naturally with efficient business processes and stakeholder access requirements. It encompasses how organizations gather, publish, and use proprietary and employee knowledge.
The following are six quintessential characteristics that influence knowledge management practices.
Learning to Share
Information management allows enterprises to harness and utilize knowledge that contributes to overarching organizational objectives. By investing in people, processes, and technology, organizations make critical information available in a rapid and effective fashion.
The practice is so important in improving enterprise performance that large organizations employ dedicated business units to collect and disseminate company knowledge. For such initiatives, organizations must train employees on how to share the information accumulated during daily work activities. Training also includes teaching employees how to use knowledge management resources to find information—this approach to knowledge management also makes it simpler for organizations to find opportunities for improvement using the collaborative effort of the entire organization.
Organizational Culture and Knowledge Sharing
Technology alone cannot facilitate the sharing of organizational knowledge. Executive leaders must also consider the influences exerted by corporate culture. Before launching an improvement initiative, organizational leaders must develop focus groups based on communities of practice to ensure that all employees benefit from the knowledge management initiative. This is critical, as any effective implementation of knowledge management can affect corporate culture drastically. Lack of awareness regarding corporate cultural variables could lead to unpredictable and undesired results. Understanding such intricate details about an organization can help leaders predict with some certainty how employees will respond to the implementation and use of knowledge management practices.
Starting at the Top
In order for new knowledge management initiatives to take root within an organization, executive stakeholders must support the change movement before implementation. Executives must approve and take responsibility for sizeable technology investments. The leaders of each individual business unit within an organization must believe that the initiative can produce a positive outcome, especially since they’re risking their professional reputation and corporate standing.
When rallying support for an investment in knowledge management, it helps to identify and connect with department heads that have similar needs that the technology could fulfill. These executives may find commonality due to their similar strategic goals and provide a unified front in supporting knowledge management implementation.
The benefits realized by implementing knowledge management can diminish when stakeholders lack sufficient incentives to adopt and utilize the technology. Embracing the new technology requires an investment in time in addition to regular job duties. Additionally, a few employees may feel inclined to continue following the outdated paradigm of hoarding knowledge. Such beliefs are counterintuitive to sharing lessons learned from professional experiences.
If such elements exist within an organization’s culture, change leaders must address these issues by showing stakeholders how they will benefit from adopting knowledge management practices. The first step toward this objective is opening a supportive line of communication and building goodwill that allows change leaders to show employees entrenched in old corporate cultural norms that there is a new, collaborative way to benefit from knowledge.
Promoting the Technology to the People
Knowledge management provides a return-on-investment in the form of intellectual capital. One benefit of the technology is that stakeholders will no longer expend energy and resources searching for solutions to problems that organizational peers have already solved. This is a prime benefit of implementing knowledge management frameworks.
Once executives have decided to invest in the requisite hardware and software, it is time to shift focus to the people and processes most directly affected by the implementation of the new knowledge management technology. The best way to transition employees to the new system is to start by building out from existing information management policies and procedures. In time, organizational leaders can groom employees in understanding and accepting that the new knowledge management technology is a better way to work with company information.
Organizational leaders have adopted knowledge management in significant numbers, and that trend will only continue to progress. Operational fads such as quality circles, total quality management, and business process reengineering arrived at the office door of America’s executive suites and faded away in five short years. Knowledge management, however, has proven its effectiveness since 2001 and promises to do the same in the future.
Information means more than knowledge, it means solutions. When technology, people and information intersect, society and industry benefit. You can harness the power of information with our online Master of Information degree at Rutgers University.