Dimensions and Strategies of Knowledge Management

Dimensions of Knowledge Management

There are several dimensions to Knowledge Management (KM) and the most popular framework distinguishes between “tacit” knowledge and “explicit” knowledge. Tacit knowledge refers to the internalized knowledge that individuals in an organization possess and where he or she might not be aware that they have the knowledge about how they accomplish particular tasks. On the other hand, explicit knowledge is the knowledge that individuals in organizations know that they have and are conscious of it.

The crucial element in any Knowledge Management system is to ensure that tacit knowledge is captured and converted to explicit knowledge. Moreover, it has been hypothesized that even explicit knowledge needs to be converted into information that is meaningful and useful. After all, mere data is not useful and only when data is transformed into information and codified as knowledge is it useful.

Strategies of Knowledge Management

There are different strategies to capture knowledge and they include the “push” and the “pull” strategies. First, it must be made clear that knowledge can be captured before, during, and after the processes actualize. Hence, there need to be incentives for employees to contribute to the knowledge base. The push strategy focuses on making employees contribute to the Knowledge Management system in a proactive manner wherein individuals strive to contribute to the Knowledge Management system and the knowledge base without any prodding or persuasion. This approach is also known as the codification approach to Knowledge Management.

Another strategy is the pull strategy wherein individuals who need knowledge make explicit requests to those who possess knowledge. In this case, the experts are called upon request and hence the knowledge seeker pulls the information rather than the expert pushing the information. This approach is known as the personalization approach to Knowledge Management.

Motivations for Knowledge Management

There are several motivations that drive organizations to implement Knowledge Management systems. As discussed in the introductory article, the need to have a Knowledge Management system has become mandatory for certifications as well as to have sources of competitive advantage. The most compelling motivation for having a Knowledge Management system is that organizations do not have to reinvent the wheel and subsequent iterations of the same process can be done in a more efficient and productive manner. Indeed, the reuse of knowledge leads to synergies between the different processes and helps in solving intractable problems.

Apart from these imperatives, Knowledge Management helps organizations to manage the organizational arteries better as increased exchanges of information between different individuals’ results in greater connectivity and more network effects. In other words, Knowledge Management systems help in managing innovation and organizational learning. This is a direct and beneficial effect of Knowledge Management and one, which is driving more and more companies to have working and efficient Knowledge Management systems.

Closing Thoughts

It is no longer the case that having a Knowledge Management system is a luxury or an afterthought. Indeed, the business landscape is now characterized by companies that leverage human capital and knowledge capital and hence, a Knowledge Management system is necessary for any large organization. In conclusion, this article has discussed the dimensions, strategies, and motivations that drive a Knowledge Management system in organizations and subsequent articles would explore some of these aspects in detail.

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