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Knowledge Management organizational practice - Essay Example

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Knowledge Management (KM) is a very broad discipline that comprises a broad range of specific practices used in different organizational settings to produce, represent, and distribute knowledge. KM is one of the latest disciplines in the long line of organisational tools and techniques such as 'the scientific management', X and Y' theory', 'T-groups', 'total quality management', 'organizational learning' 'systems thinking', 'benchmarking', 'business process re-engineering' and other methods meant to gain competitive advantage in the market and create economic value…
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Knowledge Management organizational practice
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Download file to see previous pages One popular characterization of KM defines it as "the explicit and systematic management of vital knowledge and its associated processes of creating, gathering, organizing, diffusion, use and exploitation, in pursuit of organizational objectives" (Skyrme, 2002, p. 4). Traditionally, two major views have been presented in the scholarly literature on KM, namely: the informational resources management (or management of explicit knowledge) and management, which creates the environment in which people could easily develop and share the knowledge. The key distinction between these two views is that they adopt different views on the importance of the two basic forms of knowledge that exist within any organizational setting.
Knowledge is an abstract multilateral concept which encompasses a wide range of facts, specific skills, procedural knowledge etc. Although the elements of knowledge seem to be equally important there have been many attempts to arrange the internal structure of knowledge in a sort of order. One of the most popular classifications of knowledge widely applied in the organisational research is based on the distinction between tacit and explicit knowledge Tacit knowledge as a specific form of knowledge in organizational setting was identified by Polanyi (1962). (Polanyi, 1966). Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) define tacit knowledge as "... highly personal and hard to formalize. Subjective insights, intuitions and hunches fall into this category of knowledge" (p. 40). In other words, tacit knowledge is knowledge which exists 'within' or inside individuals and, therefore, it is extremely difficult to express, transfer or share with others (Newell et al. 2002, p. 3).
By contrast, the explicit knowledge is the form of knowledge that allegedly can be explained by individuals. This implies that the useful knowledge possessed by each individual can be articulated and made explicit (accessible to other members of the organization). Explicit knowledge can then be transferred across the whole organization in codified form (e.g. documents, drawings, procedures, manuals, databases, etc.) with information systems playing the key role in the transfer (Sanchez).
Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) define explicit knowledge as follows: "can be expressed in words and numbers and can be easily communicated and shared in the form of hard data, scientific formulae, codified procedures or universal principles" (p. 40). Explicit knowledge in organizations is commonly stored in databases and other documents; the place of tacit knowledge is in the brains of people. Several knowledge management programmes implemented in the organisational practice paid specific attention to converting tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge believing such approach would result in substantial benefits. However, such attempts mostly proved useless and ineffective because no document, database or other source of explicit knowledge has the potential to adequately replicate the experience accumulated by human being over long years of work. The cognitive ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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