The full scope of knowledge management (KM) is not something that is universally accepted. However, before one looks at the differences in the definitions, let’s the similarities.
KM is about making the right knowledge available to the right people. It is about making sure that an organization can learn, and that it will be able to retrieve and use its knowledge assets in current applications as they are needed. In the words of Peter Drucker it is “the coordination and exploitation of organizational knowledge resources, in order to create benefit and competitive advantage” (Drucker 1999).
Where the disagreement sometimes occurs is in conjunction with the creation of new knowledge. Wellman (2009) limits the scope of KM to lessons learned and the techniques employed for the management of what is already known. He argues that knowledge creation is often perceived as a separate discipline and generally falls under innovation management.
Bukowitz and Williams (1999) link KM directly to tactical and strategic requirements. Its focus is on the use and enhancement of knowledge based assets to enable the firm to respond to these issues. According to this view, the answer to the question “what is knowledge management” would be significantly broader.
A similarly broad definition is presented by Davenport & Prusak (2000), which states that KM “is managing the corporation’s knowledge through a systematically and organizationally specified process for acquiring, organizing, sustaining, applying, sharing and renewing both the tacit and explicit knowledge of employees to enhance organizational performance and create value.”
I will also choose to answer the question “what is knowledge management” in the broader perspective, encompassing not just the exploitation and management of existing knowledge assets, but the also the initiatives involved in the creation and acquisition of new knowledge.
Knowledge management is the systematic management of an organization’s knowledge assets for creating value and meeting tactical & strategic requirements. It consists of the initiatives, processes, strategies, and systems that sustain and enhance the storage, assessment, sharing, refinement, and creation of knowledge.
Each enterprise should define knowledge management in terms of its own business objectives. Knowledge management is all about applying knowledge in new, previously overburdened or novel situations.
Knowledge Management is a Continuous Cycle
Knowledge management is currently seen as a continuous cycle of three processes, namely −
● Knowledge creation and improvement
● Knowledge distribution and circulation
● Knowledge addition and application
Knowledge management expresses a deliberate, systematic and synchronized approach to ensure the full utilization of the company’s knowledge base, paired with the potential of individual skills, competencies, thoughts, innovations, and ideas to create a more efficient and effective company.
In simple words, knowledge management incorporates both holding and storing of the knowledge perspective, with respect to the intellectual assets.
It is the deliberate and systematic collaboration of an organization’s people, technology, processes, style and structure in order to add value through reuse and innovation.
Knowledge Management Theory
There are three distinct perspectives on Knowledge Management which leads to a different estimation and a different definition.
Knowledge management is a business activity with two primary aspects −
● Executing the knowledge component of business activities as an explicit concern of business in strategy, policy, and practice at all levels of the organization.
● Maintaining a direct link between an organization’s intellectual assets both explicit (recorded) and tacit (personal know-how) and positive business results.
What Cognitive Science or Knowledge Science Perspective Says?
Knowledge management is the transformation of knowledge in the form of insights, understandings, and practical know-how that we all possess in other manifestations like books, technology, practices, and traditions within organizations of all kinds and in society in general.
According to the Process/Technology Perspective
Knowledge management is the concept under which information is changed into actionable knowledge and made available effortlessly in a usable form to the people who can leverage it according to their needs.