Knowledge Management: The Domain Is Nonsense
What do we understand about KM? There are individuals who believe “knowledge management” means “the management of knowledge.” If knowledge is intangible and hard to define, it cannot be controlled as an “object” or “thing.” Without control, there can be no management (Milton, 2012; Wilson, 2002). Instead of managing knowledge, perhaps the course of action is to develop knowledge. Prusak (2001) suggests that “you cannot manage knowledge like you cannot manage love, patriotism, or your children, but you can set up an environment where knowledge evolves.” Management implies a process that can be automated. But can you automate new knowledge? The KM concept should control both existing and new knowledge but it is difficult to manage new knowledge if it requires a different process.
Knowledge Management: A Successful Emerging Discipline
How can KM exist if knowledge is difficult to define? Some argue that knowledge does not need to be defined in order for KM to be successful.“You don’t need to define a thought in order to think, you don’t need to define music in order to sing, and you don’t need to define knowledge in order to do KM” (Milton, 2012). Researchers are delivering real value to organizations through extracting, teaching, reusing, sharing, and leveraging knowledge. According to Awad and Ghaziri (2004), there are four processes involved in KM: (1) capturing, (2) organizing, (3) refining, and (4) transferring of knowledge. Using these combined processes, practitioners and academics are able to identify, create, and enable the adoption of insights and experiences.
Knowledge management concepts have existed for years within companies all over the world. For example, at CPG, we have developed a Scenario Design Tool (SDT), a type of KM system that produces a series of processes and practices for a variety of training environments. To develop the SDT, we extracted knowledge from subject matter experts, uncovering how people think and reason in complex, time pressured, high stake situations, and captured those experiences through the application of the Cognitive Task Analysis method. There are a plethora of companies that are dedicated to KM efforts within their own organization as part of a business strategy. If the objectives of KM are to improve performance and share lessons learned which adds value to organizations, why not apply the domain?
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Wilson, T.D. (2002). The nonsense of knowledge management. Information
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