Productive Knowledge Management Term Paper

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Knowledge Management

STEERING PRODUCTIVE KNOWLEDGE

Knowledge Management in Business

A manager is compared to the captain of a ship who must make effective decisions, directed at accomplishing organizational goals. In order to be effective, the decisions must be actionable. Most of these come from a store of knowledge on the past decisions of previous managers and the consequences of those decisions (Pollock 2001). For knowledge to be of use to the manager's decision-making, it must be gathered from authoritative sources, processed and must make sense. Hence, it should be distinguished from raw or mere data and mere information. It must be organized and directed to the achievement of organizational goals. Managing that store of knowledge must serve the organization from within and those outside, such as clients, and therefore, must be a two-way strategy (Pollock).

A system, which puts people, organizations, knowledge and processes together through technology, must be set up to allow these sectors to mix and exchange information and expertise (Snook and Wilker 2007). It should perform the function of discovering, selecting, organizing, distilling, sharing, developing and using information with a social context. It should aim at improving the effectiveness of organizations. Basically, that system acquires information, establishes rules for sifting information, formats it within the appropriate context, assesses it and then transmits it to the leaders of an organization to use in making decisions (Snook and Wilker).

Gallup-surveyed firms, which have been implementing knowledge management or KM, recognized its value and benefits in understanding and interpreting the market, evaluating customer requirements with a high degree of accuracy, and, by integrating these with organizational resources, determine what products and/or services to create and sell (Choi et al. 2004). Surveys said that these companies pointed to organizational leadership and commitment as the enabling tools for the success of knowledge management (Choi et al.).

Statement of the Problem

This study will examine how knowledge management benefits businesses and the business community. It will answer the following questions:

1) What is knowledge management and what is its role in business?

2) How is organizational know-how measured?

3) How does knowledge management work as a two-way strategy?

4) What does knowledge management consist of and what are its requirements?

5) What is the role played by business intelligence in knowledge management?

6) Why should knowledge be e-business-focused?

7) What does knowledge management do that benefits business?

8) What does it require an organization in order to succeed?

9) What are the differences between organizations' actual and perceived success in knowledge management?

10) What is the function of special custodians?

Findings

Sources of know-how within an organization include customer capital, human capital, intellectual capital, relationship capital, and systems performance (Rylatt 2003). Customer capital refers to the value set on the nature and quality of customer relationships, customer satisfaction rates, growth of customer learning, and involvement and improvement in decision-making and consultation. It includes agreements, contracts and permits; average response rate to customers; customer satisfaction, acquisition cost, churn rates and yield; lists and names of customers; market share; online sales per day; ratio of sales contacts to sales closed; percentage of revenue per customer; repeat orders; service awards; and share of new customers. Human capital consists of the current know-how of people under the organization's control. This consists of intellectual asset, which employees take home with them every night (Jack Fitz-Enz as qtd in Rylatt). This can be measured by the average years of service; brain drain or voluntary separations; employee satisfaction; costs of hiring; training and employee costs; turnover of experts; level and type of education; competency of key employees; personnel complement; support staff proportion to core business; employee profitability; employee suggestion program success; staff morale; and succession planning. Intellectual capital refers to perceived value of trade market, secrets, patents, and branding. It is measurable by brand and internet domain names; computer software and licenses; industry awards; patents, copyrights, franchises, trademarks and patents; rights; and unpatented technology. Relationships capital covers important and strategic links, collaborative relationships, business partnerships, joint ventures and industry associations aimed at building and enhancing reputation and standing in the industry. It is measurable by business partnerships and contract portfolio; cross-functional team by interdisciplinary collaboration; knowledge-enhancing customers and suppliers; projects; and strategic alliances and joint ventures. And systems performance looks into how systems and processes directly or indirectly produce, benefit or improve know-how. Measures can include investment in digital technology or the use, replication or improvement of practices; productivity; reduced wastage; and efficiency savings. Measuring know-how was expected to remain in the main agenda of businesses in establishing ways of seeking out vital knowledge and how it generates value. Training and development would be directed in exploring how it could generate and use knowledge for business in the future (Ryatt).

The sharing of knowledge is central to any knowledge management program (Woods 2001). It involves spreading possessed or acquired knowledge. Knowledge sharing does not emanate from the CEO's office or get learned from a one-day management seminar. It evolves from, and requires, careful planning and objectives, interactive technology and the proper attitude from top management all the way down the bottom in the exchange of information. The information enhances productivity and innovation. Transferring it is also the right thing to do in pursuing and preserving the intrinsic value of an organization. More and more businesses are acknowledging the importance of evaluating the organization's collective knowledge. But even the best practices and all the culled corporate information will fail expectations if it cannot spill over to people who can use it to their benefit and advantage. These systems can be developed as an external and internal strategy. The emphasis is that learning and teaching should be an ongoing process the organization should apply in obtaining new knowledge, skills or behaviors. If everyone in it has access to the collection of knowledge, the leaders do not have to instruct the employees on what to do or how to do things all the time. The organization can go forward at its own initiative (Woods).

Present computing systems are B2C business-to-consumer or e-tailing, such as Amazon.com; C2C consumer-to-consumer, such as la eBay' and B2B or business-to -business marketplace; and P2P or peer-to-peer computing (Woods 2001). P2P is considered the next killer application and expected to become the ultimate tool in online knowledge sharing. Using this technology, any number of users can engage in a virtual meeting room and freely share or transfer instant messages, share files, edit, draw, surf and even speak with one another or altogether real time without need for servers and firewalls. People everywhere have been telecommuting and working at different offices in different parts of the world. Enterprises have been dispersed. These situations have created the need to bring groups of people together without need to rely on it to set the links up. Experts have commented that technologies then must possess the "directness and spontaneity of a phone call, the visual immediacy of a fax, the asynchrony of email, and the privacy of a closed-door meeting (Ray Ozzie as qtd in Woods). It presents a realm beyond the internet where intranets and extranets facilitate extensive interchange (Woods).

The Department of Navy Chief Information Officer described knowledge management or KM as a process for making best use of intellectual capital in achieving organizational objectives (Pollock 2001). In simpler terms, it is applying management to knowledge. Managing knowledge involves creating, generating, classifying, storing, distributing, communicating, shaping and reusing knowledge. Knowledge differs from data and information. Data consist of the raw pieces or inputs, which when properly assembled, constitute information. Completed information is knowledge. Knowledge is then understood to be a set of processed information, which understandable and actionable. An organization is comparable to a ship and the captain as the manager. The manager must often make actionable decisions, the basic input being knowledge. The captain must possess understanding and wisdom in rendering right or wise decisions. A knowledge base of past decisions by previous captains provides him with a basis for the decision under similar circumstances and the consequences of those past decisions (Pollock).

The typical methods used in knowledge management are social and technical, which are ideally combined by using technology (Pollock 2001). Informally, people transfer and acquire information all the time. It is knowledge management or KM, which adds meaning, purpose, organization, consciousness and organizational recognition to the process. The mere recognition of the value of KM to the organization will, by itself, be a strong input in enhancing its effectiveness (Pollock).

Knowledge management manages mental capital for effective use in the future (Snook and Wilker 2007). The experiences and wisdom of heroes and other earlier men and women must be recorded and passed on to those who follow them. Those who follow add their own experiences and wisdom and, in the process, improve the procedure. These need to be captured and documented properly. This is part of the process of KM, which systematically puts people, organizations and processes together as technology allows them to exchange operationally relevant information… [END OF PREVIEW]

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