Discussion: This week we focus on the knowledge management cycle noted in Figure 5.3 in the Information Technology and Organizational Learning text. Note the various aspects of knowledge management, continuous innovation, and competitive advantage and how they integrate with one another.
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In a simple term, Knowledge management describes the effective and organized management of information, ideas, and knowledge retained by employees of an organization. The purpose of Knowledge management is to define, collect, preserve, retain, and transmit valuable information in a meaningful way to everyone who wants it, anywhere, and at any time within an enterprise. Successful knowledge management helps an organization solve problems effectively and efficiently, learn dynamically, and prepare strategically and make quick and informed decisions. An organization can gain a competitive advantage if they can leverage their knowledge assets in such a way that its value can be used and shared across the company (Sharda, R., Delen, D., & Turban, E. 2015)
Organization knowledge creation is an ongoing innovative process that requires both individual and corporate transformation. If individuals are part of organizational knowledge creation, then there has to be a way to help them complete their tasks “effectively and efficiently.” Knowledge management offers the company an opportunity to understand how technology can be used to promote “innovation and competitive advantage” (Langer, A. M. 2018, p.150). In order words, KM is a vital aspect of the innovation process. A company’s ability to understand markets will then be determined by its ability to evolve and succeed in a rapidly competitive environment. Furthermore, in today’s world, technology facilitates knowledge and innovation; thus, by continually interacting with technical and business experience, a company can develop strategies for a competitive advantage (Langer, A. M. 2018, p.150).
Langer, A. M. (2018). Information Technology and Organizational Learning. 3rd edition. Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. ISBN: 978-1-138-23858-9
Sharda, R., Delen, D., & Turban, E. (2015). Business intelligence and analytics: Systems for decision support (10th Ed.). Boston: Pearson.
Within business, learning is a conscious attempt on the part of organizations to improve productivity, effectiveness, and innovativeness in uncertain economic and technological market conditions. The greater the uncertainties, the greater the need for learning. Learning enables quicker and more effective responses to a complex and dynamic environment. In turn, effective learning is associated with increased information sharing, communication, and understanding. Because of these reasons the concept of “learning” is probably more pronounced in business than any other area. Although business-oriented papers and research are not widely cited in agricultural, conservation, or environmental literature – there are many lessons to be gained from related work in organizational development and learning literature. And there are literally thousands of papers available through the Internet.
Most organizations focus primarily on one or the other of two broadly defined Knowledge Management strategies – “codification” or “personalization” (Hansen et al., 1999). Codification, is primarily implemented in the form of electronic document systems that codify and store knowledge and permit its easy dissemination and re-use. This strategy is based on “re-use economics” – invest once in creating or acquiring a knowledge asset and re-use it many times.
Personalization, on the other hand, focuses on developing networks to facilitate people-to-people knowledge transfer and sharing. It is based on “expert economics” – channeling individual expertise to others with less expertise who may employ it to further the organization’s goals.
Knowledge management is a set of relatively new organizational activities that are aimed at improving knowledge, knowledge-related practices, organizational behaviors and decisions and organizational performance. KM focuses on knowledge processes – knowledge creation, acquisi-tion, refinement, storage, transfer, sharing and utilization. These processes support organizational processes involving innovation, individual learning, collective learning and collaborative decision-making. The “intermediate outcomes” of KM are improved organizational behaviors, deci-sions, products, services, processes and relationships that enable the organization to improve its overall performance.
Various aspects of knowledge management
Successful organizations values knowledge sharing and typically strives to ensure that there is constant flow of information. Knowledge management, therefore, involves facilitation of knowledge sharing, retention, and definition of knowledge and information in an organization (Webb, 2017). .
An effective knowledge management encompasses aspects such as the content/ information technology, people, strategy and process. A knowledge management can be effective or rather functional if people are not factored. People create information inform of files and data and also facilitate sharing of information and data across the organization. The most important factor in the knowledge management is the people. For example, it takes a senior employee or a manger to take the newly employed staff or juniors through a bunch of experience, such as, in delivering a particular task or responsibility.
Information technology, on the other hand facilitates the creation as well as sharing of information. It is for this reason that the content is grouped together with IT. Without IT, it could be difficult for an individual to create and share knowledge. The process with which knowledge is shared among the people is also crucial. Therefore having the best approach or rather the process, also facilitates knowledge sharing.
The strategy or instead the purpose for which knowledge sharing exist is also important. When there an established reasons or motives for knowledge sharing, then the overall knowledge management would be enhanced.
Knowledge management, continuous innovation, and competitive advantage functions or are closely interlinked (Nowacki & Bachnik, 2016). Knowledge sharing facilitates continuous and continuous innovation improves competitive advantage of the organization against other competitors.
Nowacki, R., & Bachnik, K. (2016). Innovations within knowledge management. Journal of Business Research, 69(5), 1577-1581.
Webb, S. P. (2017). Knowledge management: Linchpin of change. Routledge.