Personal Knowledge Management


Personal Knowledge Management (PKM), is the process of assimilating information for their own gain using their acquired learning, experience and cognitive abilities. In particular, it is about personal self-enrichment or the betterment of an individual for their personal and/or work-life.

Differences between PKM and KM

There are a number of differences directed by Jarche in his article about Personal Knowledge Mastery, that makes it different than knowledge management.

These following differences are;

  • Knowledge acquiring, processing and retention is purely determined by internal factors with no influence by external influences
  • An individual’s personal knowledge is explicitly built upon with the new knowledge
  • Mastery of knowledge is a personal journey as opposed to an organisational, controlled journey

From my personal understanding, it is about creating their own form of knowledge that is not constrained by the typical limits. Knowledge management appears to be controlled to specific goals, especially strategic ones. Thus, it is entirely at the impetus of the individual’s motivation, cognitive ability and perceptive skills to create personal knowledge.

The PKM Process

There is no clear ‘process’ to work through though there are a number of guidelines and tools a person can use to help facilitate personal knowledge management.

A further definition

Barreau (1995) provides five activities to their Personal Information Management definition which included;

  • Acquisition
  • Organisation
  • Storage & Maintenance
  • Retrieval
  • Output

Learning to Learn

Avery et al. (2003), provide further options for the process of PKM as part of a ‘learning to learn’ information skills. These activities relate to finding suitable knowledge to provide the base for the knowledge being learnt. The activities included are as follows;

  • Retrieving
  • Securing
  • Evaluating
  • Collaborating
  • Analysing
  • Securing
  • Presenting

Personal Knowledge Mastery

Mastery in terms of PKM derives from the belief that knowledge is continually built upon till an individual has become an ‘expert’. Despite this definition, there is no way to fully complete due to the dynamic nature of the world.

The three S’s and C’s for Personal Knowledge Mastery are as follows;

  • Seek/Capturing: Find, identify and filter
  • Sense/Curating: Critically thinking, creativity and synthesising
  • Share/Creating: Based on working styles, personal preferences and networking

The further definition was provided by .


Benefits of using PKM

Drucker (1959) introduced knowledge management as a means to become more ‘effective learners’ in an individual’s chosen environment. Much like most employees, there are clear advantages that could be separated into a person’s personal and work life.

Personal Benefits

Web 2.0. technologies have been theorised and even capitalised to be used for personal knowledge management. Thus it could be hypothesised that a person’s capacity in information technology would be improved.

Other areas of improved competency have been included in a journal article related to PKM (Jain, P., 2011). These included;

  • Information Overload
  • Recognise own value and work from there
  • Have better tools to potentially work more efficiently and effectively
  • Greater ability to think critically
  • Professional standards are more likely to be met

Organisational Benefits

Information shared beyond an individual through to others by using such group activities like Community of Practice, would only be stronger as more people collaborate within them effectively.

Cheong, R. K. F., and Tsui, E. had postulated that PKMs would create an Effective Knowledge Organisation (EKO). Quoting King, they noted the following about EKOs;

An Effective Knowledge Organization (EKO) should create a broad, complex and internally-consistent dynamic knowledge capability and integrate it with other strategic business capabilities and with its environment in the overall organizational strategies capabilities architecture

King, (2008)

Innovation, collaboration capabilities, knowledge sharing and individual learning were seen as indirect organisational benefits when PKM was used to help facilitate EKOs.







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