Knowledge Management in Practice

Under the aegis of knowledge management, there are three types of processes that are generally considered to be essential: finding or uncovering knowledge [Ehrlich, K., 2003, Learn, L., 2002, Zack,M., 1999], sharing knowledge [Ackerman et al., 2003], and the development of new knowledge [Argyris and Schon, 1978, 1996,Baumard, P., 1999,Harvard Business Review, 1998].



One aspect of finding and dissemination of information is the organization of knowledge objects so that they can be found easily. Assigning index terms, tagging or, in the case of an intranet and theWeb, metadata, allows ease of retrieval [Learn, L., 2002]. Digitally recorded presentations, brochures, reports of lessons learned, and best practices can all be made accessible through careful indexing and intelligent information architecture [Morville, P.,2005,Rosenfeld and Morville,2002]. Finding information and knowledge refers to processes that allow organizations to make sense and make use of data, information, and knowledge objects that may be present but are not codified, analyzed, nor accessible to members.


Sharing of information for knowledge development is the most traditional collection of processes, easily understood, but often overlooked in a systematic knowledge management program. Sharing refers to the willingness and ability of the knowledgeable to share what they know to help others expand their own learning and knowing. Don’t forget to broadcast your knowledge hopelly the other people knows about everything that you have something knowledge.


Knowledge development takes place when individuals work to create new understandings, innovations, and a synthesis of what is known already together with newly acquired information or knowledge.



The obvious first step in launching a formal KM program throughout an organization is to conduct an information or knowledge audit. An audit answers the questions of what information and knowledge exists in the organization and where is it?Who maintains it?Who has access to it?. Auditing as it was then efine focused primarily on what datawas formally captured in documents and databases.


Having identified and located information and knowledge, the obvious next step is to make it relocatable and retrievable, made possible by tagging and creating taxonomies. Used by far the most frequently in this context in KM is “taxonomy”. The tag and taxonomy stage of KM consists primarily of assembling various information resources in some sort of portal-like environment and making them available to the organization. An interesting token of the increased emphasis paid to this subject is that since 2006 the KM World Conference has been accompanied by a two-day well received and well attended “Taxonomy Boot Camp”.


Lessons Learned databases are databases that attempt to capture and to make accessible knowledge that has been operationally obtained and typicallywould not have been captured in a fixedmedium(to use copyright terminology). In the KMcontext, the emphasis is typically upon capturing knowledge embedded in persons andmaking it explicit. The concept or practice is one thatmight be described as having been birthed by KM, as there is very little in the way of a direct antecedent.


Expertise location systems are another aspect of KM that certainly predates KM thinking. It was based upon creating a development of a competence area to improve retrieval. The Mitre Corporation, for example, developed such a system in 1978. It was based upon creating a database developed from reformatted resumes retrieved from word-processing tapes, and upon the development of a competence area thesaurus to improve retrieval.


Who fills those roles? manager, moderator, and thought leader. How is the CoP managed? Are postings open, or does someone vet or edit the postings? How is the CoP kept fresh and vital? When and how (under what rules) are items removed? How are those items archived? (Stratification again) Who reviews the CoP for activity? Identifies potential for new members, or suggests that the CoP may have outlived its usefulness?

Communities of Practice (CoPs) are groups of individuals with shared interests that come together in person or virtually to tell stories, discuss best practices, and talk over lessons learned [Wenger, E., 1998a,Wenger and Snyder, 1999]. In the context of KM, CoPs are generally understood to mean electronically linked communities. The organization and maintenance of CoPs is not a simple and easy undertaking. As Durham,M. [2004] points out, there are several key roles to be filled, which she describes as manager, moderator, and thought leader.They need not necessarily be three separate people, but in some cases they will need to be.


The matrix revales several interesthings. Almost everything one does in KM is designed to help find information and knowledge. however, if we assume that the main goal of KM is to share knoledge and even more importantly to develop new knowledge, then the knowledge audit and the tags, Taxonomies, and Content Management stages are underpinnings and the tools.

The knowledge sharing and knowledge creation of one on one communications enabled by expertise locators,and communal sharing and creation of knowledge enabled by communities of practice toward which KM development should be aimed.

Chapter 6. Knowledge Management (KM) Process in Organization that was writen by Claire R. McInerney and Michael E.D. Koenig


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