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Knowledge Management

Knowledge Management ('KM') comprises a range of practices used by organizations to identify, create, represent, and distribute knowledge for reuse, awareness and learning. It has been an established discipline since 1995 with a body of university courses and both professional and academic journals dedicated to it. Most large companies have resources dedicated to Knowledge Management, often as a part of 'Information Technology' or 'Human Resource Management' departments, and sometimes reporting directly to the head of the organization. As effectively managing information is a must in any business, Knowledge Management is a multi-billion dollar world wide market.

Knowledge Management programs are typically tied to organizational objectives and are intended to achieve specific outcomes, such as shared intelligence, improved performance, competitive advantage, or higher levels of innovation.

One aspect of Knowledge Management, knowledge transfer, has always existed in one form or another. Examples include on-the-job peer discussions, formal apprenticeship, corporate libraries, professional training and mentoring programs. However, with computers becoming more widespread in the second half of the 20th century, specific adaptations of technology such as knowledge bases, expert systems, and knowledge repositories have been introduced to further simplify the process.

Knowledge Management programs attempt to manage the process of creation (or identification), accumulation and application of knowledge across an organization. Knowledge Management, therefore, attempts to bring under one set of practices various strands of thought and practice relating to:

  • Intellectual capital and the knowledge worker in the knowledge economy
  • The idea of the learning organization
  • Various enabling organizational practices, such as Communities of Practice and corporate Yellow Page directories for accessing key personnel and expertise
  • Various enabling technologies such as knowledge bases and expert systems, help desks, corporate intranets and extranets, Content Management, wikis and Document Management

While Knowledge Management programs are closely related to Organizational Learning initiatives, Knowledge Management may be distinguished from Organizational Learning by a greater focus on specific knowledge assets and the development and cultivation of the channels through which knowledge flows.

The emergence of Knowledge Management has also generated new roles and responsibilities in organizations, an early example of which was the Chief Knowledge Officer. In recent years, Personal knowledge management (PKM) practice has arisen in which individuals apply KM practice to themselves, their roles and their career development.

Approaches to Knowledge Management

There is a broad range of thought on Knowledge Management with no unanimous definition. The approaches vary by author and school. Knowledge Management may be viewed from each of the following perspectives:

  • Techno-centric:A focus on technology, ideally those that enhance knowledge sharing/growth.
  • Organisational:How does the organisation need to be designed to facilitate knowledge processes? Which organizations work best with what processes?
  • Ecological:Seeing the interaction of people, identity, knowledge and environmental factors as a complex adaptive system.

In addition, as the discipline is maturing, there is an increasing presence of academic debates within epistemology emerging in both the theory and practice of knowledge management. British and Australian standards bodies both have produced documents that attempt to bound and scope the field, but these have received limited acceptance or awareness.

Major Process of Knowledge  Management

This major process includes in knowledge management activities are as follows:


  • Data entry
  • OCR and scanning
  • Voice input
  • Pulling information from various sources
  • Searching for information to include


  • Cataloging
  • Indexing
  • Filtering
  • Linking


  • Contextualizing
  • Collaborating
  • Compacting
  • Projecting
  • Mining


  • Flow
  • Sharing
  • Alert
  • Push

Benefits of Knowledge Management
Knowledge management increases speed to market through the reuse of proven resources and methods; reduces costly mistakes; and ensures consistent excellent results.It enables rapid absorption and diffusion of new ideas, allowing CSC and our clients to sustain a competitive advantage by improving:

  • Organizational agility
  • Operational efficiency
  • Growth in core capabilities
  • Rate of innovation
  • Employee growth and learning opportunities

A knowledge program provides a systematic means of achieving continual change that is aligned with the organization's business strategy.

Why is KM Important to Government?

A recent Government Accounting Office (GAO) report indicated that a substantial portion of the federal workforce will become eligible to retire or will retire over the next five to ten years. Workforce and knowledge planning are critical to ensure that agencies have sufficient and appropriate staff to account for these retirements. In addition, high staff turnover, lack of adequate training, and a tendency toward preserving the status quo can further impact and impede opportunities for knowledge retention and growth. Oftentimes, when people leave an organization, they take a wealth of knowledge about their jobs with them. Knowledge Management seeks to secure the learning experiences, as well as the work products, of the individuals who comprise an organization.

Understanding Knowledge Management

The challenge of Knowledge Management is to determine what information within an organization qualifies as "valuable." All information is not knowledge, and all knowledge is not valuable. The key is to find the worthwhile knowledge within a vast sea of information.

  • KM is about people. It is directly linked to what people know, and how what they know can support business and organizational objectives. It draws on human competency, intuition, ideas, and motivations. It is not a technology-based concept. Although technology can support a KM effort, it shouldn’t begin there.
  • KM is orderly and goal-directed. It is inextricably tied to the strategic objectives of the organization. It uses only the information that is the most meaningful, practical, and purposeful.
  • KM is ever-changing. There is no such thing as an immutable law in KM. Knowledge is constantly tested, updated, revised, and sometimes even "obsoleted" when it is no longer practicable. It is a fluid, ongoing process.
  • KM is value-added. It draws upon pooled expertise, relationships, and alliances. Organizations can further the two-way exchange of ideas by bringing in experts from the field to advise or educate managers on recent trends and developments. Forums, councils, and boards can be instrumental in creating common ground and organizational cohesiveness.
  • KM is visionary. This vision is expressed in strategic business terms rather than technical terms, and in a manner that generates enthusiasm, buy-in, and motivates managers to work together toward reaching common goals.
  • KM is complementary. It can be integrated with other organizational learning initiatives such as Total Quality Management (TQM). It is important for knowledge managers to show interim successes along with progress made on more protracted efforts such as multiyear systems developments infrastructure, or enterprise architecture projects.

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