Knowledge management processes
Knowledge management is the process of collecting, organizing, sharing and using organizational knowledge to create value. It encompasses the processes and systems that enable organizations to capture, retain, access and apply knowledge to help them achieve their goals. It includes both tacit and explicit knowledge - from individual employees to collective knowledge created by teams. Knowledge management processes involve establishing a knowledge strategy, creating a knowledge repository, identifying and capturing knowledge, sharing knowledge, and driving usage of knowledge resources.
Example of knowledge management processes
- Establishing a Knowledge Strategy: A knowledge strategy outlines the specific goals and objectives related to knowledge management. This may include defining the scope of the knowledge management efforts, identifying key stakeholders, establishing metrics for success, and setting expectations for how knowledge will be used and shared.
- Creating a Knowledge Repository: A knowledge repository is an organized collection of knowledge and information that can be accessed and used by individuals and teams. This may include setting up a corporate intranet, document and content management systems, and knowledge databases.
- Identifying and Capturing Knowledge: The goal of knowledge capture is to identify, capture, and store knowledge in a way that makes it easily accessible and useful. This may include conducting interviews, surveys and workshops with experts, creating best practice documents and templates, and collecting customer feedback.
- Sharing Knowledge: Knowledge sharing is the process of making knowledge available to others to use and build upon. This may include providing access to knowledge repositories, setting up discussion forums and blogs, and organizing knowledge sharing sessions and workshops.
- Driving Usage of Knowledge Resources: Driving usage of knowledge resources is the act of encouraging people to use the knowledge resources available to them. This may include providing incentives for using knowledge resources, creating a culture of learning and collaboration, and creating communication and training materials to raise awareness of the knowledge resources available.
When to use knowledge management processes
Knowledge management processes can be applied in a range of scenarios to help organizations create value. These scenarios include:
- Implementing change initiatives: Knowledge management processes can be used to ensure that changes are well understood, communicated, and shared to ensure they are successful.
- Improving collaboration: Knowledge management processes can be used to foster collaboration and collective knowledge creation among teams.
- Supporting decision-making: Knowledge management processes can be used to capture, structure, and share knowledge to inform decisions.
- Developing employees: Knowledge management processes can be used to capture and share best practices and skills among employees to promote learning and development.
- Managing customer relationships: Knowledge management processes can be used to capture customer insights and ensure they are shared with relevant teams.
- Developing products/services: Knowledge management processes can be used to capture customer feedback and insights to inform product/service development.
Types of knowledge management processes
Knowledge management processes involve a range of activities to capture, organize, share and use knowledge to create value. These processes can be divided into four main types:
- Knowledge capture - This involves gathering information from sources such as documents, databases, conversations, meetings, and training sessions. It also involves data mining and analytics to identify and extract knowledge from the data.
- Knowledge organization - This involves sorting, storing and organizing knowledge in a way that is accessible and useful for users. It includes cataloguing, tagging and indexing the knowledge.
- Knowledge sharing - This involves providing access to knowledge for users through online portals, collaborative workspaces, discussion forums, wikis and other knowledge sharing tools.
- Knowledge utilization - This involves driving usage of the knowledge resources through initiatives such as rewards and recognition, training, and knowledge sharing activities. It also involves tracking and measuring how knowledge resources are used.
Advantages of knowledge management processes
Knowledge management processes involve various activities which have a number of advantages for organizations. These advantages include:
- Improved Efficiency: By capturing and sharing knowledge, organizations can reduce the time and effort required to complete tasks and solve problems. This can lead to improved efficiency in operations and workflows.
- Increased Innovation: By collecting and sharing knowledge, organizations can promote creativity and innovation. They can also develop new ways of doing things that can lead to increased efficiency, productivity and profitability.
- Increased Collaboration: Knowledge management processes encourage collaboration across teams and departments. This can lead to better communication and information sharing, which can help to foster a more collaborative and productive work environment.
- Improved Decision Making: Knowledge management processes allow organizations to capture and access relevant information quickly, which can help to make better decisions. This can ultimately lead to better business outcomes.
Limitations of knowledge management processes
Knowledge management processes can be extremely beneficial to organizations, but there are several limitations that must be taken into account. These limitations include:
- Difficulty of capturing tacit knowledge: Capturing tacit knowledge, which is often embedded in individuals’ experiences and expertise, can be a challenge. It is difficult to measure and quantify tacit knowledge, which can make it difficult to store and share.
- Complexity of knowledge management systems: Knowledge management systems can be complex, and require significant investments of time and resources to develop and maintain.
- Potential for data overload: If not managed properly, knowledge management processes can quickly become overwhelmed with too much data, making it difficult to access the right information.
- Risk of data security: Knowledge management processes involve sharing sensitive data, which can increase the risk of data security breaches.
- Absence of knowledge sharing culture: Without an understanding of the importance of knowledge sharing and a commitment to the process, the success of knowledge management initiatives can be limited.
In addition to knowledge management processes, there are other approaches related to knowledge management. These include:
- Knowledge sharing - Knowledge sharing involves creating an environment where people are encouraged to share their knowledge and expertise with other colleagues and across the organization. This can be done through activities like mentoring, team meetings, and online collaboration tools.
- Knowledge transfer - Knowledge transfer is the process of transferring knowledge from one individual or group to another. This can be done through formal methods such as training and conferences, or less formal methods such as informal conversations and shadowing.
- Knowledge retention - Knowledge retention is the process of preserving knowledge within an organization. This can include activities such as archiving documents, developing content libraries, and creating systems to store and track company information.
- Knowledge strategy - A knowledge strategy is an overall plan for how an organization will manage, create and use knowledge. This includes activities such as setting goals, identifying knowledge needs, and developing processes and systems for managing knowledge.
In summary, knowledge management processes are just one aspect of managing knowledge in an organization. There are also other approaches related to knowledge management, such as knowledge sharing, knowledge transfer, knowledge retention and knowledge strategy. All of these processes and strategies work together to help organizations create, store, share and use knowledge to create value.
|Knowledge management processes — recommended articles|
|Knowledge management strategy — Transfer of knowledge — Management of knowledge — Value of knowledge — Concept of knowledge — Organizational knowledge — Sharing of information — Knowledge and experience — Maximum potential|
- Claver‐Cortés, E., Zaragoza‐Sáez, P., & Pertusa‐Ortega, E. (2007). Organizational structure features supporting knowledge management processes. Journal of Knowledge management, 11(4), 45-57.