Knowledge Management - Introduction
Knowledge Management can be defined as the process of capturing, organizing, and storing knowledge and experiences of individual employees and groups within an organization and making that information available to the other employees in the organization. The collected information is stored in a central database known as a knowledge base which the employees of the organization can use to enhance performance. In today's world of increasingly discontinuous environmental change, Knowledge Management caters to the critical issues of organizational adaption, survival, and competence. Knowledge Management embodies organizational processes which demand synergistic combination of data and information processing capacity of information technologies, and the creative and innovative capacity of human beings.
Business, a few decades ago was characterized by predictable environments in which focus was on prediction and optimization based efficiencies. Businesses then were competence based on information as the strategic asset and the emphasis was on controlling the behavior of organizational agents toward fulfillment of pre-specified organizational goals and objectives. Alternatively, business in today's environment is characterized by high levels of uncertainty and inability to predict the future. Even the use of the information and control systems and compliance with pre-defined goals, objectives, and best practices may not necessarily achieve long-term organizational competence. Today's businesses need an understanding of the problems afresh due to the changing environmental conditions.
Knowledge Management is a framework within which the organization views all its processes as knowledge processes. All business processes within this framework involve creation, dissemination, renewal, and application of knowledge toward organizational sustenance and survival. An information value chain considers technological systems as key components that guide the business process of an organization. At the same time, the information value chain treats humans as relatively passive processors that implement best practices archived in information databases.
Alternatively, a knowledge value chain treats human systems as key components that engage in continuous assessment of information archived in the technological systems. Best practices are not implemented in the knowledge value chain without the active inquiry by the human systems. The human systems are constantly engaged in an active process of sense making to continuously assess the effectiveness of best practices. This shows that the best practices of yesterday cannot be taken for granted as the best practices of today or tomorrow. As a result, double loop learning, unlearning and relearning processes need to be designed into the organizational business processes.
Organizations need to ensure that they focus on the synergy of data and information processing capacity of information technologies, and the creative and innovative capacity of their human resources. The programmable tasks traditionally done by humans can be accomplished with the help of advanced information technologies. A procedure that can be programmed can be delegated to information technology in one form or another. Organizations achieve the programming for optimization and efficiency with the aid of the information and control systems. Checks and balances need to be built into the organizational processes to ensure that such programs are continuously updated in alignment with the dynamically changing external environment.
Human systems are the ones that interact continuously with the external environment due to which they have a rich understanding of the complexity of the phenomena and the changes that are occurring therein. So, the human systems can help the organization synchronize its programmed routines with the external reality of the business environment. As a result processes in an organization need to implement Knowledge Management systems to two types. One is to reinforce the linkage between the archived organizational best practices and the actions taken by organizational members based on that information. The other one is to reverse unravel the linkage between actions taken by organizational members that serve as a continuous check for renewing the archived best practices.
Latest developments in the content developments industry :