Knowledge is dynamic-it goes through human brains for cognition, invention, propagation, fusion, generalization and problem solving. Knowledge management is an incremental essential component of innovation and value creation.
Knowledge is central to build an active and dynamic knowledge environment. The way one interprets and conceptualizes and internalizes information creators knowledge. So, the use and organization of the information structures (information acquisition, storage, interpretation and communication tools) can help in building a knowledge environment and knowledge oriented culture in business organizations.
In recent years there has been a significant increase of interest in knowledge management. More companies have appointed Chief Knowledge Officers (CKO). However, attention often focuses on particular stages of:
– Valuation of the knowledge
Importance of knowledge
Employees are a company's most valuable asset, and understanding that helps a company take a giant step towards their management. Effective organizations put people in jobs in which they can do the most good. They place people – and allow people to place themselves – according to their strengths.
Many knowledge managers within companies can make is to work with particular groups and teams to identify the information, knowledge, skills and tools that need to do a job and become more effective. The challenge is to select what is most relevant and presents best practice and package this in the form of job support tools that assist comprehension and increase individual productivity and team performance in area such as winning business and building more intimate customer relationships that are the keys to competitive success.
The new age workforce enterprises mostly of knowledge workers, who are techno- savvy, aware of market realities, are materially focused and have a higher propensity to switch jobs. The company brand image crowns the list of the priorities for the job seekers, important consideration being the pay package and other pecuniary benefits, the class and quality of people that work in the company, the challenges of the job and attractiveness of the position and design , the opportunities for career growth and professional development and the kind of technology.
Dissatisfaction in any of these aspects causes severe cracks to appear in the binding. Anxieties and apprehensions arising from restructuring, movements, marginalization, power politics, change of boss, change of tasks and responsibilities, mergers and acquisitions etc. could be instrumental in taking decisions to leave.
The historical shift to self-management offers organizations four ways to best develop and motivate knowledge workers:
– Know people's strengths.
– Place them where they can make the greatest contributions.
– Treat them as associates.
– Expose them to challenges.
Knowledge workers do not believe they are paid to work; they believe they're paid to be effective. Organizations that understand this – and strip away everything that gets in their knowledge workers' way – will be able to attract, hold, and motivate the best performers.
Knowledge workers spend ever larger amounts of time messaging, creating documents, searching for information and knowledge, and other information-intensive activities. But despite this large time commitment, information workers have been mostly left to their own devices.
Hiring star performers is a challenge in itself, but retaining and managing them is much greater a challenge in today's organization. A star performer will stay with the organization only if the job matches deeply embedded life interests. Retaining this source of competitive advantage – their prized star performers and raising their productivity.
An Environment for Knowledge Workers
– Recognize the importance of creating a supportive environment for knowledge workers.
– Identify workplace attributes that most appeal to knowledge workers.
– Identify methods for creating a supportive environment for knowledge workers.
– Analyze business scenarios to determine if knowledge workers have a supportive environment.
A Culture for Knowledge
– Recognize benefits of creating a culture that supports knowledge workers.
– Use methods for relocating the company culture to be more supportive.
– Sequence the steps of empowering knowledge workers to make decisions.
– Analyze business scenarios to determine if knowledge workers have successfully been empowered to make decisions.
Managing Teams of Knowledge Workers
– Recognize benefits of effectively managing teams.
– Match behaviors that can underamine a team with examples of those behaviors.
– Identify parts of the TRUE approach for leading teams to success.
– Analyze business scenarios to determine if managers successfully used the TRUE approach with their team.
Point to Management:
Restructuring initiatives, systems projects, technology investments and support tools can all reflect collective assumptions about how people and organizations develop, learn and change. Understanding the implicit principles and implied policies behind successful practices can represent an important area of knowledge and understanding. Making them explicit and building them into support tools can raise general performance.
The rational techniques employed with in many corporate applications of Total Quality Management (TQM) and Business Process Reengineering (BPR) has caused some disturbance. Their purpose has been to work people harder or reduce head counts, rather than to create intellectual capital or generate new income streams. Companies have failed to develop the competencies and capacities needed to sustain positive growth and development. Processes are documented and organization charts are changed to reflect the most recent corporate restructuring, but insufficient attention is devoted to behavioral factors. Changing company's architecture may have a negative impact upon people's attitudes, feelings and values.
If a company aspires to create future opportunities, building a community of people who are open minded and freethinking may be a more sensible strategy than the adoption of a complete framework such as TQM, which may act as a protective shield. Greater priority needs to be placed upon qualities associated with effective knowledge entrepreneur such as analysis, reflection, thinking and learning. Rather than subject people to general restructuring and broadening reengineering, people should be equipped to work more effectively than competitors on key activities such as winning new business, launching new ventures and creating and exploiting know-how.
An organization should be a positive enabler rather than a negative constraint. Its structure, patterns of work, approaches to learning and the process and technologies provide should depend upon who is involved, the objectives of those involved and the nature of the activities on which those people are engaged. If the skills, capabilities and support tools required are to be assembled, all the parties involved must be open about what they and others know and do not know.
Knowledge Management in Business Organizations
Knowledge on the balance sheet in the form of intangible assets that account for organizations' intellectual capital. Such intangibles include:
– Employees' competency
– Internal structure of organizations
– Their patents
– Their own models
– Concepts and processes
– Their administrative system and IT infrastructure
– Their external structure
– Relationships they have developed with customers and suppliers
– Their brand names, trademarks, image and reputation.
The knowledge management functions are Dissemination, Sharing, Creation / Conversion, Repository, Accessibility and Representation / Codification.
Knowledge culture in Business
Business organization is a source of knowledge, with a mission and goal and its activities and culture directed towards the effective achievement of the goals. Knowledge influences the evolution of culture and language, promotes international collaboration and hastens the development of management science. There are many approaches for static representation of knowledge and to extract, to discover, learn and reasoning about it.
Organization culture, ie, the values, beliefs and work systems, is believed to be the most significant input to encourage or impede learning and create knowledge, and in the process, enhance the decision-making capabilities of the organization. Therefore, the organization culture should provide support and incentives as well as encourage the knowledge-related activities by creating environment for knowledge exchange and accessibility.
There is a need for better understanding of the links between the activities that enable the development and transfer of information across the business house and the knowledge culture. The four basic components of knowledge creating culture in any organization: socialization (enabled through information networks), articulation (enabled through information storage and retrieval technologies), combination (as a result of interoperability of data and applications), and internalization (enabled through data interpretation technologies).
Knowledge representation and codification of knowledge are important steps in building a knowledge culture in a business organization.
The increasing interest in knowledge management and knowledge workers presents an opportunity for people management and development specialists to play a lead role in managing the strategic use of knowledge in organizations.
Organizations must focus on the incentive to share knowledge, not just the ability to do so. Structural arrangements and communication mechanisms are not enough to ensure the transfer of knowledge. Much more attention needs to be given to the motivation of employees to make their implicit knowledge explicit, and therefore able to be captured.
Companies will have to learn to look at employees as assets to be valued, rather than as costs to be estimated. The value in a knowledge company lies between the ears of each employee, more than it does in the machinery on the factory floor.
Knowledge workers see their careers as a series of temporary assignments, each contributing to both personal growth and financial well-being.
The key areas of knowledge and understanding required are those relating to what constituents value from a customer perspective, and what the focus of an organization should be in relation to value creation, and the range of working, learning, connectivity and support options that are available , and how these might best be combined to achieve the objectives of the organization.
1. Clyde W. Holsapple (Editor) Handbook on Knowledge Management Vol. 1, Springer, 2003.
2. Prahlad CK and G. Hamel, "The Core Competence of the Corporation", Harward Business Review, March-April, 1996.
3. McGill, M and Slocum, The Smarter Organization How to build a business that learns and adapts to marketplace needs, John Wiley, New York.
4. Cloin Coinlson-Tomas, The Knowledge Entrepreneur, Kogan Page, London
5. Human Capital Journal.