Essay: Knowledge Management

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  • Published on: 1st June 2012
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Knowledge Management

Introduction

Knowledge includes data, information and experience (Chen, 2013). Knowledge management defined by Forcier & Rathi (2013) and Singh (2013) as a process of identifying, creating, capturing, organising, storing, representing and reusing knowledge resulting in the creation of new knowledge. Knowledge management system is a system that uses technology system to support and help workers, stakeholders and customers to have ready access to the organization's documented base of facts, sources of information, and solutions (Princeton University, 2009). Research on knowledge management has evolved in line with the growth of technology and agreed with Samara (2013) that knowledge management has become a critical issue for competitive dynamics, international strategy, the building of resources, and the boundaries of firms'. In spite of that, knowledge management practices has been used widely and proven beneficial in various industries (Chen, 2013).

Knowledge management system generally is knowledge sharing and collaboration in an organization (Daniela & Florica, 2009). This shared knowledge constitutes a valuable intangible asset for creating sustaining competitive advantage in the organization (Tsai & Cheng, 2012). Kumar (2013) also added that knowledge management system is a specific technology that used to manage organizational knowledge and to improve productivity of knowledge work. Moreover, by using knowledge management systems, various preventive actions can be implemented and problems can be resolving quickly (Delak & Bajec, 2013). Knowledge management now days well known as one of the latest change management approaches in business, management and IT communities (Daniela & Florica, 2009). We can conclude that knowledge management system is a system that used in an organization to share the past and existing knowledge to have the better productivity in the future. Currently, there are many choices of knowledge management system in the market to deploy according to organization need (Kumar, 2013).

According to Kalish (2009) and Jiang, Liu, & Cui (2009), in order to creating sustaining competitive advantage, knowledge management takes into account every knowledge source to design a framework model. The framework model is used to share knowledge resources, provide scientific supports for decision-making, face fiercely competitive market to enhance enterprise's core competence in the knowledge management system. There are many types of model based on organization need such as simple decision model. Beside the knowledge management system model, there is also a knowledge management model. These models are used to manage knowledge in the best way with a robust theoretical foundation of knowledge management. The examples of important knowledge management models are The Nonanka and Tekeuchi Spiral KM model; The Building and Using Knowledge Model by Wiig; The KM Process Framework by Bukowitz and Williams and The Knowledge Management Model by Botha (Kumar, 2013).

Beside model, a wide range of technologies is also being used to implement KM systems. The technology applied can be Internet, Intranet or Extranet. The technology is just the resource to enable the process to operate the knowledge sharing. In (Daniela & Florica, 2009), they agreed that technology can be developed to meet the needs if a better understanding exists of both knowledge and knowledge management strategies, goals and processes. However, Muhammad & Kevin (2013) advocate that technology is important in knowledge management and knowledge sharing. They found that technology is necessary for providing a place for workers to share knowledge. It also agreed by the International Competition Network (2013), they found that technology is one of the most important components in knowledge management systems.

 

Discussion and Integration

According to (Lindgren, Hardless, Pessi, & Nuld??n, 2002), noa daysys, knowledge management (KMis considereded to be vital tools in order to achieve competitive advantage. Many organizations from various fields have been implementing a knowledge management system in order not to fall behind in terms of competitiveness and development progress in their industry. In this paper, the literatures that have been reviewed in the knowledge management area to involve many areas of study, including insurance, libraries, enterprise, higher education, online learning and firms. Selected researches are discussing about the factors affecting knowledge management in designing a model; development of the framework; relationship between the knowledge management and organization innovation; knowledge sharing outside organization; and knowledge sharing among student with could technology. In this section, every selected journal will be discussed detail.

Forcier & Rathi (2013) and Huang, Quaddus, Rowe, & Lai (2011) in their research has developed a model and a framework as a guideline to implement knowledge management. Forcier & Rathi (2013) have developed a framework for libraries to understanding how public libraries use social media, and the potential barriers to adoption and successful use of knowledge management. This framework is evidently important in sustaining the library service in the era of globalization. In fact, repository of libraries can be used more effectively with implementation of knowledge management system. Besides, usage of social media engaged users in a more interactive way.

On the other hand, Huang, Quaddus, Rowe, & Lai (2011) have developed a model based on factors that affect the life insurance business in the adoption and use of knowledge management. This study contributes to the literature of knowledge management model that can manage the implications for the life insurance industry. The factors that have been studied in their research are environmental and industrial factors ; individual characteristics ; support information technology; promotion of knowledge management ; organizational characteristics; cultural factors; perceived usefulness; complexity; subjective norms; attitudes toward management how and knowledge management practices and see what to expect. In the life insurance industry, the development of knowledge management system has received much attention from various parties. However, recognition of knowledge management has never achieved widespread among workers. Furthermore, the lack of corporate vision can make it difficult to put into place the management of knowledge in a life insurance company. Life insurers should adopt the strategies and actions to create innovative business value.

However, in Delak & Bajec (2013), they are not developing any model or framework, but they use the existing framework, namely Information System Due Diligence Data Framework to collect relevant and important data on the current state of the organization's information system in an efficient way. Besides, the framework also able to provide for identification of knowledge, presence of knowledge transfer level and SWOT analysis. In fact, this framework information system due diligence can be conducted in a very short period in a small or large-sized organization. This framework should utilize extensively as it's ability to support knowledge sharing and knowledge management more efficient.

In order to build or design any model or framework of knowledge management, there are several factors, barriers and motivators need to be identify. Kundapur & Rodrigues (2013) in their research addressed the factors influence the implementation of knowledge management using system dynamics. System dynamic is a research methodology involve simulation, experiments and observed the system performance. They have design and develop a Knowledge Management Cause and Effect Model (KCEM) simulation model by following the five-step system development. As a result, from the research they found that organizational knowledge management initiatives significantly influence workers' intention to use and share their knowledge. Moreover, they also found that to improve knowledge-sharing practices and the organizational repository content, a knowledge worker has to provide all the possible knowledge management enablers.

Chmielewska-Muciek & Sitko-Lutek (2013) also have identified several indicators in implementing knowledge management as explained further in the table below.

Organizational
culture
characteristics
supporting
knowledge
management Justification Culture value
Narrowing the distance from power Open relations between employer and worker play an important role. The relations include awareness of mutual dependence, mutual exchange of information and experiences Low power distance
Fluidity of roles and job description In managing knowledge, workers should be prepared for any change in the scope of work in total or partial.
This is because changes in the scope of work requires employees to share knowledge constantly. Low power distance
Participatory management Employee participation in decision making provides an opportunity for organizations to use their knowledge and skills. This participation can enhance the sense of responsibility in every employee making decision made Focus on people
Low power distance
Leadership strengthening learning processes Employers should encourage workers to participate in
discussions, ask questions of the problems that is unclear and listen to them carefully. In fact, the employer must offer the employee time, the resources and conditions to find and solve organizational problems. This will encourage the worker to be creative and knowledge sharing can take place Focus on people
Low power distance
Team work Teamwork encourages knowledge sharing among workers Collectivism
Co-operation Co-operation is the basis of element in a team. It promotes knowledge management and sharing between organization and workers. Collectivism
Openness to
environment
Non-formalized ways of communication Communication important for people to possessing information. Non-formalized ways of communication are lack of emotional barriers in communication with superiors facilitate the flow of knowledge. Low power distance
Possession of appropriate information Workers develop their communication skills in open and direct knowledge sharing. Low power distance
Unlimited access to sources of information and knowledge Unlimited access to sources of information and knowledge is needed for workers to fulfil their assigned tasks. Low power distance
External orientation
openness Openness culture encourages the exchange of knowledge and thought. High tolerance of
uncertainty
Tolerance of uncertainty Workers use any change in job scope as a source of inspiration and opportunities to apply knowledge in new situations High tolerance of
uncertainty
Pro-innovation
External orientation
Right to mistakes and risk The daily challenges of work is a burden to the worker and may have made a mistake.
High tolerance of
uncertainty
Pro-innovation
Difference of opinions Disagreement between the workers may become the basis for discussion of the problems in different viewpoints. This can stimulate the thought and an opportunity to deepen knowledge. Pro-innovation
Acceptance of diversity of actions Workers are given the freedom in choosing the method employed, operate equipment operation, and other stimulating creative approach. This allows workers to exchange experiences and ideas between them. Pro-innovation
Trust Trust involves a relationship between the organization and workers. Workers trust to the organization's leaders, their power, the reality of the goals and benefits of their knowledge management needs to be created. Focus on people
Courage Courage is the readiness to introduce changes, presenting their own opinions, participating in discussions, formulation of constructive criticism, investigate, create relationships and critical view of the state of one's knowledge. High tolerance of
uncertainty
Full use of possessed
knowledge Workers focus on the use of information and knowledge productively. This includes databases, document circulation system, the concept of an organization's operations, products, services, technology, and solve everyday problems. Pro-innovation
High professional competences of people working for
organization Knowledge acquires significance when co-operation are professional competence and trainings of workers are treated as investment Pro-innovation
Status based on
achievements
Striving after perfection, professionalism When workers possessing specific knowledge and professional in an organization, they tend to have a higher sense of confidence, make rational choices, high self-esteem and having professional aspirations. Pro-innovation
Status based on
achievements
Pressure on learning Through learning, workers gain knowledge and deepen it. Besides, they able to develop competencies, skills and activate creativity. Pro-innovation
Increasing autonomy of knowledge employees An organization demand for a worker to be able to perform tasks with minimum supervision and creating effective pro-attitudes Focus on people
Pro-innovation
Necessity for achievements Workers achievements in job scope demand on searching, creating, using and sharing knowledge. Status based on
achievements
Pro-innovation
Creativity Workers creativity needs to stimulate in order to enhance their innovation and motivation. Pro-innovation
Flexibility Intellectual flexibility is significant to knowledge management. Workers need to have openness and readiness into new ideas, ability to adapt to new situations Pro-innovation
High tolerance of
uncertainty
Customer's satisfaction Customer satisfaction is a priority of the company. The management has to make strategic decisions, concentrating on customers need and satisfying them. Knowledge management almost at every stage to strengthen the decision-making process by providing information about current and prospective customers. External orientation

Beside workers, knowledge also transferred between students. This knowledge sharing also faced some barriers and motivator either especially in online learning. There are a range of barriers and motivators to knowledge sharing in group assessed coursework which are division of labour, lack of trust, peer tutoring, social networks, reciprocity and virtual learning environments (Chikoore & Ragsdell, 2013; Singh, 2013). Chikoore & Ragsdell (2013) conclude that to manage such barriers and motivators and to enhance the knowledge sharing activities; it is the responsibility of both students and instructors. Both parties should play their role in the success of knowledge sharing that is expected. On the other hand, Singh (2013) in his research found that students that work in a group enjoyed collaboration and networking. They also were satisfied with the quality of learning projects. Beside that, students also were stimulated with the further desire to learn. Ultimately, students were satisfied with their overall learning experience.

Some of us may be still wondering which areas should we develop knowledge management practices? Knowledge management can be practice across various sizes of organization and various types or organization. Evangelista, Esposito, Lauro, & Raffa, (2010) have conducted a research on small firms and identified three areas for developing knowledge management practices which are management of market knowledge; management of technology knowledge; management of relational knowledge. Beside the area for developing knowledge management practice, technology also plays an important role in knowledge management. In the other hand, they also discussed that to design a comprehensive model for implementing knowledge management in small firms, there are eleven factors need to be focused. The factors are management leadership and support; culture; information technology; strategy and purpose; measurement; organizational infrastructure; processes and activities; motivational aids; resources; training and education; and human resources management.

Kaewchur, Anussornnitisarn, & Pastuszak, (2013) found in their research that knowledge sharing and information technology can critically in'uence the organization's innovation and can play a vital role as a signi'cant success factor. Furthermore, they also provide additional evidence that knowledge sharing can play a mediating role in leveraging information technology to increase organization innovation performance.

Knowledge sharing can be a formal or informal way as proved by Azudin, Ismail, & Taherali (2009), knowledge sharing still happened through informal communication during lunch break. Their study found that workers have limited time during working hours for knowledge sharing practice. However, workers still practice knowledge sharing during lunch. Knowledge sharing in an informal way like conversation during lunch hour can build trust and strengthens relationships between workers.

As a conclusion, knowledge management plays an important role in managing knowledge and information in an organization. Knowledge management has been applied in various industries. This knowledge including past, current and future knowledge is important for customer, stakeholder, workers and also students and teachers. It is proven that knowledge sharing can give high impact to organization innovation. However, there are several indicators, motivator and berries while need to be studied before implementing knowledge management.

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