Knowledge needs managing?
Knowledge Management, Sanjay Mohapatra, Macmillan Publishers India Ltd, Pp 259, Rs 234.00
Meant for educators, this book provides a practical approach to designing and implementation of knowledge management, which is today used as a strategic tool in business organisations.
Knowledge management (KM) is defined as a process in oriented approach to identify, capture, store, disseminate and then apply knowledge throughout the organisation, so that the business transactions can be finished faster while being able to reduce the cost of production and also by reducing re-work. Another definition says that KM provides solutions that will successfully help in taking decisions for business purposes by using knowledge. Here KM solutions are also known as intellectual capital management solutions (ICM) and are of business value to the organisation. The book covers basic KM concepts, components of KM and the steps that are required for designing KM strategy.
It is of importance to identify the knowledge that is of value to that business and which is at risk of being lost to the organisation. This loss can be of employee turnover, retirement or competitors using ethical means to study the knowledge. The best way to retain valuable knowledge is to identify knowledge at individual level and then ensure that it can be retrieved and reused easily. This knowledge needs to flow among individuals in the form of best practices, lessons learned, intellectual capital and organisation memory. Thus the author says that there are four different phases in knowledge management – gathering, organising, generalising and reusing them.
Knowledge is always generated in tacit form at individual level and then it is practiced and accepted at group-level community of practice (CoP). Once the community of practice accepts the knowledge, the same is converted into explicit form by recoding in formal media such as multimedia, audio tapes, documents, etc. During conversion, knowledge is categorised, coded and metadata are created after conversion of tacit knowledge to explicit form as it is easy to share with the entire organisation and then reapply it elsewhere to get business benefits.
Overtly KM seems to be exploitation of knowledge and information within an organisation. However, in a deeper sense, it is a way of building the foundation for improved business advantages and strengthens the capabilities of sustained culture. The more KM is embedded in an organisation’s culture, practices, and processes, the more successful it ought to be. This apart, the real asset of an organisation are its employees and here KM is more about leveraging people and knowledge and fostering culture, interactions and sharing of knowledge and ideas.
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