A knowledge leader (or champion) is a person with or without the title of Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO), Head of Knowledge Management, or something similar. However, he or she is widely noticed as the person who is setting the direction for knowledge management and driving it forward.
We have five broad knowledge leadership approaches. They are −
● The Contingency approach
● The Behavior approach
● The Transformational approach
● The Transactional approach
● The Trait approach
The different methods of Knowledge Management are not mutually exclusive and we cannot claim one approach is instinctively better than another.
Contingency approach is based on the assumption that there is no universal approach or best practice to manage or solve distinct problems. A constant search for appropriate methods of solutions and management for different situations and conditions characterize it. It is a creative and system approach.
It also recognizes the need for flexibility, dependent on the process applied to achieve a given goal and stresses that the appropriateness of a Knowledge Management approach will depend on the business context and the available resources.
The Behavior approach has its origins in change management and business process re-engineering. It regards knowledge as a managerial issue. Based on this approach, although technology is necessary for the management of explicit knowledge resources, it is not the only solution for knowledge management. In this approach, the focus is more on innovation, creativity and learning rather than focusing on manipulating explicit resources or knowledge creation.
The distribution and sharing of knowledge is embedded in interactions and networks among people and their institutionalized groupings, e.g., teams and organizations, that enable us to access the diverse resources of intelligence.
Transformational leadership has the ability to effect employee’s perceptions through the returns an organization gets in the form of human capital benefits. Transformational leaders have the ability to make those benefits greater by adding them in the knowledge management processes, encouraging interpersonal communication among employees and creating organizational culture.
Transformational leadership improves the levels of organizational innovation through creating a participative environment or culture and it can do so directly or indirectly by changing organization’s culture which supports knowledge sharing and management in the organization.
Transformational leaders promotes a culture where employees have the autonomy to speak about their experiences. It has been seen that transformational leaders are more innovative than transactional and laisse-faire leaders.
Transactional leadership style is formed by the concept of reward and punishment. Transactional leaders believe that the employee’s performance is completely dependent on these two factors.
When there is an encouragement, the workers put in their best effort and the bonus is in monetary terms in most of the cases. In case, if they fail to achieve the set target they ought to be punished. Transactional leaders pay more attention to physical and security requirements of the employees.
The trait approach for knowledge management has been derived by studying the unique characteristics of both successful and unsuccessful leaders. The resulting lists of traits are then compared to those of potential leaders to assess their likelihood of success or failure.
Successful leaders tend to have personality traits and abilities that are superior to those of less effective leaders. The trait approach identifies a set of core traits of successful leaders to predict the effectiveness of a potential leader. While these traits do not guarantee that a leader will be a successful or not, they are seen as preconditions that endow people with leadership potential.