Term Paper: Knowledge Management (KM) a New

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[. . .] For many decades, our nation has honored the independent, successful person who rises to the top of the pile, and establishes his marker in the place of leader. However, in the competitive highly mobile marketplace, each member of the organization possesses knowledge which is important to the life of the organization. The competitive model thus defeats the process of developing a strong company.

Informal mentoring is used in many fields today. Doctors endure the rigorous residencies, during which they are under the close supervision of experienced doctors. Lawyers who join an established firm after their graduation begin as junior partners in order to gain experience and expertise in the work of the particular firms. While these are not formal 'mentoring' positions, the accountability of the protege is a causal force in the life of the learner. The new recruit is equipped, and empowered to succeed in his or her field just as much by the relational interaction as the application / execution of learned skills. In the same way, the time has come for mentoring to be reintroduced into the professional business marketplace s a way to create a successful transition knowledge management from the company to the new hire.

The most successful model for KM in a company is the incumbent - successor overlap. In the cases in which the leaving employee knows ahead of time of his departure, a successor can be hired, and trained under the leaving employee. This model is another example of mentorship, and can be effective and productive in shortening the learning curve of the new hire, and facilitating the transfer of organizational knowledge and culture.

Just as the apprentice learns the tools of the trade from a master, businesses gain from the knowledge shared by mentors, supervisors, coworkers, project team members, and tenured employees. The business world is in the midst of an era characterized by the boundary less career (Arthur and Rousseau, 1996)-- one where median employment tenure is just four and a half years, new job creation accounts for only one tenth of all career moves, and large firm decentralization is an ongoing occurrence. "I know I can't stop people from walking out the door -- but how do I stop them from taking their knowledge with them?" (Labarre, 1998:48). That is, when employees leave, companies lose not only human capital, but also accumulated knowledge.

Managing the Knowledge transfer process.

Knowledge management is a discipline best described as a continuing process that focuses on the creation of business performance improvements. While technology enhances the feasibility of transferring knowledge between people, knowledge management includes creating and sharing knowledge as an organizational asset to drive the business. The value proposition of knowledge management states that there are fundamental business reasons and expected benefits for pursuing this process of KM. There are gains the organization can achieve by using KM to measure results, such as creating an Intranet and knowledge repositories.

There are a number of critical success factors that must be considered in implementing knowledge management. First of all, there must be an effective leadership support structure in place. There must also be resources committed to enable the technology to meet the new operating model. In addition, the implementation requires an alignment of the needs of knowledge management with the business strategy, a focus on the people in change management rather than on technology, and the recognition of the benefits of knowledge management.(Han, 2001) One of the difficulties is the cultural resistance to change. It is difficult to change the culture from "knowledge is power" to "share the knowledge." Other difficulties involved dealing with people and process opportunities instead of falling back on technology solutions and maintaining the focus of the rewards and recognition on the desired states for changing behaviors.

In order to transform an organization form one which treats information as territorial source of power, a company must reorganize its priorities from the top down. As mentioned, a dog-eat-dog competitive attitude within the organization will ultimately defeat the process of effective knowledge management. In the past, the comparative relationships within an organization were rewarded. In order to facilitate the new attitudes of KM, the organization must change that which it values, and rewards. Research has confirmed that managers, and organizations get from their employees that which they value, emphasize, measure and reward. "Ultimately, to make KM work, and work well, it's going to require a fundamental change in the way we do business and the way we reward our people" says James Copeland, CEO of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. (Haapaniemi, 2001, p. 71) (Student, this reference is in the text you faxed) In other words, companies must reward the process o knowledge management, and encourage the sharing of knowledge, and the vulnerability which it will create in the work place.

Reward systems may be used to motivate employees to engage in knowledge sharing. For example, Context Integration, a Web consulting firm, rewards its employees for collaborating with other employees via a company-wide database (Koudsi, 2000). Employees can pose questions, provide answers to others' questions, provide ongoing information on research projects and interests, and find others within the firm who may be working on similar problems. Employees accumulate points that are used in their performance evaluations; the number of points earned contributes to employees' overall rating and is tied to their compensation. Incentive programs such as this may provide a context for encouraging interaction, collaboration, knowledge sharing and diffusion. (Droege, and Hoobler, 2003)


Arthur, M.B. And D.M. Rousseau. 1996. The Boundaryless Career: A New Employment Principle for a New Organizational Era. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Beazley, H., Boenisch, J., & Harden, D. (2002). Continuity management: Preserving corporate knowledge and productivity when employees leave. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Part III, Chapters 12-14.

Droege, S., and Hoobler, J. (2003) Employee Turnover and Tacit Knowledge Diffusion: A Network Perspective. Journal of Managerial Issues, Vol. 15.

Drake, K. (1998) Firms Knowledge and Competitiveness. OECD Observer, Vol. a.

Graham Vickery and Gregory Wurzburg, "Flexible Firms, Skils and Employment," The OECD Observer, No. 202, October,/November 1996

Han, F. (2001) Understanding Knowledge Management. The Public Manager, Vol. 30.

Koudsi, S. 2000. "Actually, It Is Brain Surgery." Fortune March 20: 233.

Labarre, P. (1998). "People Go, Knowledge Stays." Fast Company September: 48.

Leana, C.R. And H.J. Van Buren III. 1999. "Organizational Social Capital and Employment Practices." Academy of Management Review 24: 538-555.

Rosenbush, S. (2000) The Talent Drain at AT& T. Business week online. Accessed 18 Feb 2004. Available from Http://www.businessweek.com/

Rosenbush, S. (2003, May 12) How fit is the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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