Knowledge management

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Definitions of 'Knowledge Management'

There is nothing essentially new in the basic concept of managing knowledge, even though as a new discipline it has emerged only recently and, given its newness is still developing its theoretical home. Knowledge management has always been conducted in one way or another, e.g. apprenticeships, colleagues chatting or a parent handing over her/his business to the offspring. The essential difference today is the pace of the environment we live and work in and the demands it puts on the flow of knowledge.

There are several types of knowledge relevant to an organisation. Nonaka and Takeuchi (Nonaka, I. and Takeuchi, H. (1995). The Knowledge Creating Company, New York: Oxford University Press.) suggest separating the concepts of data, information, tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge:

  • Data is factual, raw material and therefore without information attached.
  • Information is refined into a structural form, e.g. client databases.
  • Explicit – or codified or articulated – knowledge relates to “knowing about” and can be written and easily transferred.This category of knowledge may include manuals, specialised databases or collections of case law or may even be in the form of standardised techniques of investigation or templates for documents. A key attribute of explicit knowledge is the possibility to store it. Explicit knowledge is 'knowing about', and few disagree that it can be stored and shared using manuals and databases.
  • Tacit knowledge relates to “knowing how” or “understanding” and cannot be directly transferred between individuals; it is transferred through application, practice and social interaction.

  • Organizational Knowledge management (KM) is the creation, organization, sharing and flow of knowledge in organizations.
  • Knowledge Management seeks to make the best use of the knowledge that is available to an organization, creating new knowledge, increasing awareness and understanding in the process.
  • Knowledge Management can also be defined as the capturing, organizing, and storing of knowledge and experiences of individual workers and groups within an organization and making this information available to others in the organization.

Related definitions

  • Personal_knowledge_management - PKM pays attention to the organization of information, thoughts and beliefs. In this approach, the responsibility for knowledge creation lies with the individual who is charged to learn, connect and share personal insights.
  • Enterprise knowledge management - EKM is concerned with strategy, process and technologies to acquire, store, share and secure organizational understanding, insights and core distinctions. [KM] at this level is closely tied to competitive advantage, innovation and agility.

Helpful Tips

Knowledge Management tools

  • Wikis are examples of software systems that can be used as a knowledge management tool. For example the HowTo/Wikisolutions project wants to be to knowledge management what wikipedia is for encyclopedias: a place to organize knowledge and information related to all the things people might be intrested in an open society. Other wikis may be used inside an organization, and the goal can be to organise knowledge related to the activity of that organisation, like wikis used in some universities or corporations.

See also

Finding related topics


  • Frid, Randy, (2003), Frid Framework for Enterprise Knowledge Management, ISBN: 0595306993
  • Desouza, K.C. and Hensgen, T., (2005). Managing Information in Complex Organizations. M.E. Sharpe.
  • Leonard, D. and Swap, W., (2005). Deep smarts. How to cultivate and transfer enduring business wisdom. Harvard Business Press. ISBN 1591395283
  • Enabling Knowledge Creation: New Tools for Unlocking the Mysteries of Tacit Understanding by Ikujiro Nonaka, Georg Von Krogh, and Kazuo Ichijo, Oxford University Press, 2000, hardcover, 304 pages, ISBN 0195126165
  • Bernbom, Gerald, editor. (2001). Information Alchemy: The Art and Science of Knowledge Management. EDUCAUSE Leadership Series #3. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Graham, Ricci. (2001).
  • Graham, Ricci. (2001). "Benchmarking Jackson State." Knowledge Management, (4): 5. p. 11. May, 2001.
  • Petrides, L. and Nodine, T., (2003). Knowledge Management in Education: Defining the Landscape. Monograph, the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education.
  • A. Tiwana, The Knowledge Management Toolkit: Orchestrating IT, Strategy, and Knowledge Platforms (2nd Edition), Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2002.
  • Ward, Lewis. (2001). "Collaborative KM Tools: Putting Customer Care Online." Knowledge Management (4):4. pp. CS1-CS6. Special Advertising Section.
  • Leibold, M. Probst, G. and Gibbert, M. (2001) Strategic Management in the Knowledge Economy, Wiley, Erlangen 2001.
  • Probst, G. Raub, S. and Romhardt K. (1999) Managing Knowledge, Wiley, London, 1999 (Exists also in other languages).
  • J. Davies, R. Studer, Y. Sure and P. Warren (2005). Next Generation Knowledge Management. BT Technology Journal 23 (3): 175-190. July 2005. Issue on Enabling Future IT.
  • S. Staab S., H.-P. Schnurr, R. Studer, Y. Sure (2001). Knowledge Processes and Ontologies. IEEE Intelligent Systems 16 (1): 26-34. January 2001. Special Issue on Knowledge Management. ISSN 1541-1672




de:Wissensmanagement fr:Gestion des connaissances he:ניהול ידע nl:Kennismanagement ja:ナレッジマネジメント pl:Zarządzanie wiedzą zh:知识管理