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
KM 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.
As effective management of information is a must in any organization, Knowledge Management is a multi-billion dollar world wide market.
Evidence points to a direct connection between an organization’s intellectual assets, its management thereof and positive business results.
The emergence of Knowledge Management ('KM') 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.
knowledge is different from information because while information looks at our understanding of relations, knowledge focuses on our understanding of patterns.
Knowledge is "information combined with experience, context, interpretation, and reflection. It is a high-value form of information that is ready to apply to decisions and actions." T. Davenport et al., 1998
Knowledge has two basic definitions of interest. The first pertains to a defined body of information. Depending on the definition, the body of information might consist of facts, opinions, ideas, theories, principles, and models (or other frameworks). Clearly, other categories are possible too. Subject matter (e.g., chemistry, mathematics, etc.) is just one possibility.
Knowledge also refers to a person’s state of being with respect to some body of information. These states include ignorance, awareness, familiarity, understanding, facilitation, and so on.
In general, knowledge can be classified into one of two categories: explicit or tacit.
"Explicit or codified knowledge refers to knowledge that is transmittable in formal, systematic language. On the other hand, tacit knowledge has a personal quality, which makes it hard to formalize and communicate." I. Nonaka, 1994.
Explicit knowledge includes but is not limited to assets such as patents, trademarks, research plans and customer lists. As a general rule of thumb, explicit knowledge consists of anything that can be documented, archived and codified.
Thus explicit knowledge is knowledge which has been articulated, codified, and stored in a certain media. The most common form of explicit knowledge is manuals, documents, procedures, and stories.
There are also other forms of knowledge. This can be in the form of audio vision and other multimedia forms of representation.
A work of art and product design can be seen as yet another form of explicit knowledge where human skills, motives and knowledge are externalized
On the other hand, tacit knowledge is generally the ‘know-how’ contained in people's heads. The challenge inherent with tacit knowledge is figuring out how to recognize, generate, share and manage it.
For example, it is important to ask your self if you are trying to elicit tacit or explicit knowledge from someone. This is because you must use different strategies for eliciting tacit and explicit knowledge.
Obviously, it is difficult to identify tacit knowledge in the first place before attempting to share it.
The concept of tacit knowledge came from a scientist and philosopher called Michael Polanyi . By definition, tacit knowledge is not easily shared. One of Polanyi's famous aphorisms is: "We know more than we can tell." Tacit knowledge consists often of habits and cultures that we do not recognize in ourselves.
The tacit aspects of knowledge are those that cannot be codified, but can only be transmitted via training or gained through personal experience. Tacit knowledge has been described as “know-how” (as opposed to “know-what” [facts] and “know-why” [science]). It involves learning and skill but not in a way that can be written down.
The simplest example of the nature and value of tacit knowledge is that one does not know how to write a novel, ride a bike or swim due to reading a textbook, but only through personal experimentation, by observing others, and/or by being guided by an instructor/mentor.
We can define KM as techniques used for the systematic collection, transfer, security and management of information within organizations, along with systems designed to help make best use of that knowledge.
In particular it refers to tools and techniques designed to preserve the availability of information held by key individuals and to facilitate decision making and reduce risk. It is both a software market and an area in consultancy practice, related to disciplines such as competitive intelligence.
A particular focus of knowledge management is knowledge which is not easily codified in digital form, such as the intuition of key individuals that comes through years of experience and the ability to recognize various patterns of behavior that someone with less experience may not recognize.
The KM process, also known in its developmental phases by a number of other terms such as "organizational learning", has the following principal aims:
* Identifying, collecting and organizing existing knowledge,
* facilitating the creation of new knowledge and
* initiating innovation through reuse and leveraging the expertise of people across organizations to produce enhanced business performance
Knowledge transfer (an aspect of KM) has always existed as a process, either informally as discussions, brainstorming sessions etc. or formally through apprenticeship, professional training and mentoring programs.
Information management (IM) is an interdisciplinary field which focuses on information as a resource with an emphasis on collection. The material form in which this information occurs includes books, journals, and databases. Practitioners select, describe, classify, index, and abstract this information to make it more accessible to a target audience, either within or outside their organization.
IM has often been framed in terms of tools and technologies to store and organize information.
Knowledge only exists inside peoples' heads - as soon as you write it down, the resource produced becomes information. The aim therefore is to get knowledge from head to head as and when the organization needs it to deliver their key activities.
If we are talking only about explicit knowledge KM and IM are very similar.
One aspect of Knowledge Management is knowledge transfer. 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.
It also includes Knowledge bases, expert systems and knowledge repositories
The widespread availability of computers and related technologies lead to specific adaptations of technology in the IM and KM processes
Intellectual Capital and knowledge worker in the knowledge economy
The more organized your knowledge assets, the less time and effort you need to customize and package it for the needs of your client and invariably charge more for it
In competitive terms if your competitor is using legal KM to turn around high quality work more quickly and less expensively, then you must also match your competitor’s performance to remain competitive in the industry.
Why do we need to manage knowledge? Ann Macintosh of the Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute (University of Edinburgh) has written a "Position Paper on Knowledge Asset Management" that identifies some of the specific business factors. According to her:
Marketplaces are increasingly competitive and the rate of innovation is rising.
Reductions in staffing create a need to replace informal knowledge with formal methods.
Competitive pressures reduce the size of the work force that holds valuable business knowledge.
The amount of time available to experience and acquire knowledge has diminished.
Early retirements and increasing mobility of the work force lead to loss of knowledge.
There is a need to manage increasing complexity as small operating companies are trans-national sourcing operations.
Changes in strategic direction may result in the loss of knowledge in a specific area.
Roadblocks to Adoption of Knowledge Management Solutions
Tacit: tacit or unarticulated knowledge is more personal, experiential, context specific, and hard to formalize; its difficult to communicate or share with others; and its generally in the heads of individuals and teams.
Explicit: explicit knowledge can easily be written down and codified.
Lack of sharing culture
KM may remain to be a slow process as it is really human-based, a personal decision to share (e.g. "why should I share what I know?") ...when the human to human sharing becomes the norm in an organization...then it becomes easier to implement the human to machine translation of knowledge
Lack of resources to facilitate sharing
Overcoming Lack of Information and Knowledge Sharing Problem
Here are some ideas for overcoming these obstacles: -- Indoctrination of new employees before they fall into non sharing mode -- Celebrate the success of collaborative works
-- Create and maintain trust among colleagues. -- Establish or maintain relationships with colleagues outside of our departments
Overcoming Lack of Information and Knowledge Sharing Problem
--Implement a mentoring program
-- Stimulate more frequent informal session among news room members
-- Implement a system of private and shared information -- Make KM a job requirement for recruitment
-- System of private and shared information -- MakeOne-on-one encouragement and support a priority
At the end of the day one of the most important fundamental objectives of KM is to achieve a competitive edge advantage
Success at Legal KM can make a huge difference not only in guaranteeing the survival of the firm or department but also in increasing personal job satisfaction and in returning to collective knowledge as an asset of the organization