Koenig (2012), states in their article that the most common definition was created by Duhon in 1998. Essentially it involved the ‘process of capturing, distributing and effectively using knowledge.’ Although this definition is simplistic, it captures what the essence of knowledge management entails.
Resource-based View and Knowledge-Based View
As a further addition to the above definition, organisation’s use knowledge management for use of their ‘knowledge assets‘, operationally, tactically and strategically. This is done for the purposes of fulfilling organisational goals and in extension their strategies. In terms of knowledge assets there are two schools of thought; resource-based view and knowledge-based view.
RBV holds the belief that the collective asset holdings an organisation had, determines how much they will gain and sustain a competitive advantage in their chosen markets. However, the most valuable of these are strategic assets which have the following characteristics;
- Imperfectly imitable
Henceforth, knowledge assets are their most valuable when they are strategic assets, based on this perspective. However, their value only is derived when used alongside the other assets a business has.
KBV iterates that knowledge assets do not depreciate like other assets, and may even increase in value, thus should be considered an organisation’s most valuable asset. Seen as an extension of RBV, the value knowledge has vast impacts on the capabilities of a business and their performance.
It also has other factors which include;
- Human capability will be the driving factor of its effectiveness
- It is demonstrated at multiple levels and in different forms
- The form of knowledge limits its abilities to be utilised
- It can not be completely managed and it is dynamic
Antecedents of Knowledge
Nordin, M., Pauleen, D., & Gorman, V. (2009) had provided a number of antecedents of knowledge management in their article, “Investigating KM Antecedents: KM in the Criminal Justice System”.
The first proposed antecedent was Philosophy with the components of logic, ethics and epistemology. The most interesting aspect, epistemology deals with the idea of how does a person acquire knowledge. Logic and ethics are seen as extensions of the individual in terms of how their ‘logical’ and ‘moral’ reasoning connects to receive the information.
In terms of knowledge management, sociology is used in the context of both the internal and external surrounding an organisation. Specifically, how humans react to these culture environments and how it influences information.
Psychology is termed as the study of the human mind and for knowledge management an individual’s cognitive ability in relation to knowledge is vital. For instance, absorptive capacity is a person’s or organisation’s ability to ‘identify, value, assimilate, and apply new knowledge’. Attitudes, skills and management abilities are of particular concern in this area.
In a previous blog post done for my completed social media paper, I had found sociotechnical theory relates back to knowledge management. Specifically, both social and technical aspects should be covered as we now have to share information beyond individuals right up to community level needs.
Furthermore, technology itself is continuing to advance, leading to new avenues of knowledge management that were previously unavailable.
The final antecedent found within the article relates back to management itself. Considered a multi-disciplinary field, it covers a range of different areas. In the book, management activities are covered by four areas such as planning, organising, leading and controlling (Samson, Catley & Daft, 2012). In particular, it is about a manager’s ability to ‘efficiently and effectively’ use knowledge assets to help attain an organisation’s goals.
Uses for Knowledge Management
There are a number of articles related to why businesses would benefit from knowledge management. Thus, I have selected a few that I believed were the strongest reasons. Here are the following positives to using knowledge management;
- Based on the DIKW hierarchy, knowledge management lets people process the data they receive right up to the decision point
- Creating a learning organisation
- More efficient and effective information searching; Taxonomies of Knowledge and Information Architecture
- Stimulating innovation and growth: Relates to not repeating the same mistakes and procedures
Concerns for knowledge Management
Despite the purported advantages of using knowledge management for businesses, there are a number of concerns while using. There are a number of aspects that have been highlighted in “A very short…book about knowledge management“. Here are few of the following proposed disadvantages;
- Tacit knowledge is not able to be codified despite knowledge management inroads
- Reliance on computer systems for knowledge management can be risky in terms of systems and knowledge sharing
- Knowledge has to be continuously acquired in order to remain strong assets
- Organisational unknowns are dangerous if not managed correctly