Personal Philosophy of Knowledge Research Proposal

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Personal Philosophy of Knowledge

If they do not want to die, organizations know that they must grow or progress. As technology, economics, politics, and human needs and wants change, organizations must respond or become irrelevant. For instance, if a camera company had not been willing to invent the digital camera, as well as the accessories that compliment it, this company would have become obsolete in today's world of digital photography. But how did the camera company decide to manufacture digital cameras and their accessories? How did they know that digital cameras would be the predominate trend, and how did they decide what characteristics of digital cameras would be popular? Creative thinking, innovation, observation, learning, application of research, and other aspects of knowledge management were all responsible for the ability of the great camera companies like Nikon, Kodak, and Casio to succeed even in the digital change.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Research Proposal on Personal Philosophy of Knowledge Assignment

Thus, this example shows that, from a managerial standpoint, knowledge management is of the utmost importance. Becerra-Fernandez et al. (2004) suggest that knowledge management "can impact organizations and organizational performance at several levels: people, processes, products, and the overall organizational performance" (p.1). The scholars suggest that knowledge management can do this, primarily, in two ways -- helping to create knowledge and causing improvements (p.1-2). With a proper understanding of knowledge management, and a comprehension of how to apply it to their organizations, managers can influence these four areas in advancement and progression, allowing them to succeed not only in the face of adversity, but also to thrive in the face of change. But in order to properly apply principals of knowledge management, managers must have a succinct philosophy of knowledge that they can bring to the organization, making decisions that incorporate knowledge in an appropriate fashion. In the following essay, I will discuss my personal philosophy of knowledge by addressing the following areas: the nature of knowledge, knowledge's purpose, and means of acquiring knowledge. Finally, I will develop a plan to apply my philosophy through a personal action plan. Through completing these steps, I will have available to tools needed to apply knowledge in professional situations.

The nature of knowledge

For hundreds of years, philosophers have been debating the epistemological question -- or what is knowledge? Imbedded in this question are the characteristics of knowledge and the question of where knowledge comes from. Understanding the characteristics of knowledge is integral to my personal knowledge philosophy. Some philosophers have maintained that knowledge is based on evidence. Others have cited that knowledge is the stuff of belief or intention. In the world of management, Taylor called knowledge, "the way the simple, unskilled, motions are put together, organized, and executed" (Cited in Druker, 1999, p.81). That is, Taylor recognized that what made unskilled workers able to do their job was the application of knowledge, the knowledge of how they were instructed to do their jobs. Thus, the valuable variable in unskilled labor is knowledge. Becerra-Fernandez et al. (2004) go on to list several characteristics of knowledge, primarily different types of knowledge. For instance, them mention tacit and explicit knowledge, procedural knowledge, which is the knowledge of how something is done, versus declarative knowledge, or knowledge that "focuses on beliefs about relationships among variables" (Becerra-Fernandez et al., 2004, p. 25). Thus, I define knowledge as an organization's most intangible commodity. Knowledge can be manifested as both the understanding of how to do a job as well as the understanding of what something is. In addition, knowledge can be something that as learned, as well as something that is internalized. Thus, both explicit and tacit knowledge are valid, and both have their place within corporations. Explicit knowledge can best be used as procedural knowledge, while tacit is best manifested as descriptive knowledge. Still, tacit knowledge includes an analysis component that is not only valid in knowledge management and in organizations, but is necessary. For instance, tacit knowledge may be simply understood, gained through social situations, or realized through intuition. Thus, tacit knowledge is often the unconscious analysis of other types of knowledge that results in knowledge creation. The process of externalization and internalization (Becerra-Fernandez et al., 2004, p.3), then, transform different types of knowledge, making knowledge a fluid commodity that can be easily adapted to a given situation.

Although the use of tacit knowledge is one way to engage in knowledge creation, understanding how knowledge is created is another important part of my philosophy of knowledge. The creation of knowledge is the aspect of knowledge management that will most quickly boost organizations into an era of progressivism and positive change. Because I subscribe to a contingency view of knowledge management, I believe that circumstances are highly influential during the knowledge creation process. For instance, Becerra-Fernandez et al. (2004) discuss task uncertainty, and its influence on knowledge and knowledge management (p.22). The authors argue that task uncertainty may "reduce the organization's ability to develop routine," and may result in the fact that knowledge "remains tacit" (p.22). Thus, Becerra-Fernandez et al. (2004) suggest that allowing employees to receive directions from each other and socialize with each other would be the best way to deal with this situation (p.22). Here, the circumstances, specifically task uncertainty, changed the way that knowledge was applied. I believe this is true in knowledge creation as well. When circumstances are tense, and time is a factor, knowledge is often created out of necessity. Other circumstances that require employees and managers to employ procedural knowledge in the completion of a task might result in knowledge creation when one employee finds a way to complete the task more efficiently. Combining knowledge, such as the procedural knowledge of how to do something with the descriptive knowledge of what it is that employees are doing can also be an impetus for knowledge creation. For instance, if unskilled workers are asked to assemble plastic pieces, they are given the procedural knowledge of how to do so. If they are then told that these plastic pieces will eventually become baby toys, they are given descriptive knowledge. When one employee remarks to his or her manager that the way in which the workers are assembling the toys creates small holes that babies could get their fingers stuck in, he or she has created new knowledge through synthesizing descriptive and procedural knowledge. Even more knowledge is created when that manager uses the procedural and descriptive knowledge, along with intuitive knowledge, to design a more effective model. Thus, knowledge creation can occur in many ways. Most often, knowledge creation is based on the circumstances of a situation. Knowledge creation can sometimes be an accident, as in the case of the worker who discovered the problem with the baby toys. It can also be deliberate, as in the case of the manager who sought to solve the problem.

After examining the idea of knowledge creation, along with the concept of what knowledge is as the characteristics of knowledge, I can safely say that my own philosophy of knowledge sees knowledge as the most integral, intangible, commodity that an organization can claim. As for the characteristics of knowledge, they are varied, suggesting that different types of knowledge exist. These types, however, each have their place in the world of management. Furthermore, my contingency view of knowledge management allows me to understand that knowledge is created in many ways, primarily based upon different circumstances. Knowledge can be created both through accidents and deliberately, suggesting that knowledge is a vast domain, but one that can be harnessed with creativity.

Knowledge's Purpose

From the perspective of management, knowledge must be of some benefit to the organization for it to be considered necessary. Drucker (1999) notes that "productivity of knowledge work...has to aim first at obtaining quality" (p.84). As I believe that knowledge is the most important, intangible commodity that a corporation can claim, I am confident that it serves this purpose. Within this broad definition, however, the purpose of knowledge within the business organization is to keep the company in tune with changes, so that change is made in the most positive and productive way possible. When knowledge management is used to harness knowledge, knowledge can impact a great number of variables within an organization, allowing for positive change. For instance, Becerra-Fernandez et al. (2004) suggest that employees can learn from each other. When they are encouraged to do so, employees pass information back and forth, which allows them to better adapt to any circumstance that comes their way (p.4). Thus, in this situation, knowledge's purpose is fulfilled. Knowledge is used to allow for positive change -- employee adaptability. Furthermore, Becerra-Fernandez et al. (2004) argue that knowledge allows employees to come up with solutions to their own problems, stating that "as a result of their increased knowledge, improved market value, and greater on-the-job performance, KM facilitates employees' job satisfaction" (p.5). Satisfied employees are more likely to be ready to change in order to make the company more progressive. They feel a sense of loyalty to the company, and want it to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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