Just as there lacks an agreement on what constitutes knowledge, there is no universally accepted definition of knowledge management. In the broadest context, KM can be viewed as the process through which businesses generate value from their knowledge based assets and intellectuals (Fred et al, 2011). Generating value from the intellectuals implies codifying what customers, partners, and employees know, and share such information to the employees, departments and with other companies to formulate best practices (Bebensee, Helms and Spruit, 2011). The practice is enhanced by information technology use whereby the IT systems assist in identification, creation, representation, distribution, and adoption of the knowledge
Knowledge management is centralized on information sharing and knowledge hoarding. Organizations without proper implemented KM tools face trouble when their employees lack access to the information they need. This may kill their efforts and motivation to work. Having proper tool of knowledge management allows employees to share knowledge relevant to the organizations means to achieve its goals. Knowledge management has been used by different organizations and encourages information sharing on different perspectives.
KM encourages staff to connect with internal subject matter experts where the efforts to start Km starts. For most employees, it is natural to look up to someone for answers in a system. It is also less complex to link the employees to someone who can cater and answer all their issues or tell them what resources exist. However, this can be simplified by the use of KM systems. This would comprise the implementation of reference blogs, interest group email lists, or expertise repositories, which are fast and efficient compared to individual consultations.
KM systems offer software such as tagging solutions, shared documents spaces and intranets, content management systems, and enterprise search, which are useful to an organization that wants to make its resources findable (Bebensee, Helms and Spruit, 2011). These systems allow employees to share information that may not only be useful for current referencing but also for future happenings. The information stored is kept up-to-date so that it solves situations with consideration to existing organizational goals and market changes.
Knowledge management enhances employee retention rates: This is achieved through the recognition of the value that employees add to an organization, and rewarding them from it. Retention rates act as motivators for information sharing (Fred et al, 2011). With rewards and recognitions tagged to relevant information shared, employees are encouraged to continue sharing information, which is crucial for business growth and development.
The collaboration and ability to connect individuals and groups is enhanced through knowledge management. Through the systems, every employee gathers information or data from different sources, and shares it across the organization. For example, an organization may hold rallies where teams and employees are encouraged to share ideas, strategic views, internal benchmarking, among other aspects. This encourages sharing of knowledge, and ideas, and supports learning from each other.
Knowledge management fosters innovation and creativity by encouraging free flow of ideas. With the systems to share knowledge implemented, employees find it easy to share their ideas and concerns. KM acts as a pool where employees can share what they think and relate it to an organization’s policies in coming up with new products (Jennex, 2008). It, therefore, encourages employees to share their knowledge and skills, and this benefits an organization from increased creativity.
With the systems to manage knowledge put into place, organizations create a culture of information sharing. This is about making the employees perceive knowledge sharing as a norm. Changing such culture is tough, and, therefore, the norm to share knowledge remains as a value that every employee has to consider. With such a culture, organizations encourage sharing of crucial knowledge and information, which is passed to every employee deployed in the organization (Fred et al, 2011).
Knowledge management also boosts clarity of roles in an organization. With KM employees can share their experiences in a certain role or duty. Such information is used to both employees and management as it allows management to focus on the areas of weaknesses and challenges and provides employees with ideas to what some duties or roles entail (Bebensee, Helms and Spruit, 2011). Every employee, therefore, is made responsible to his/her roles, and also to share what levels of knowledge or expertise the roles entail. In cases of reshuffling of roles, this shared information acts as a training tool to the roles.
Knowledge management creates a difference between information and instructions (Jennex, 2008). Organizations that encourage information sharing use tools such as collaboration, socialization, and mentoring to inform employees. This assists the employees in differentiating what information to share between instructions provided at training sessions or web instructions with what is shared in meetings or work stations.
In conclusion, information management is crucial to every organization as it measures the information supposed to be shared. In most organizations, information is shared either formally or informally. Whether formal or informal, managing this information is crucial as it encourages focus and encourages information sharing through other means such as collaboration, socialization and mentoring. Providing tools of access to organizational information enables employees to access an organization’s collective wisdom, and creates a culture of openness.
Bebensee, T., Helms, R. & Spruit, M. (2011). Exploring Web 2.0 Applications as a mean of Bolstering up Knowledge Management. Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management. Vol. 9(1).
Fred, A., Dietz, J. L. G., Liu, K., & IC3K <1, 2009, Funchal>. (2011). Knowledge discovery, knowledge engineering and knowledge management: First international joint conference ; revised selected papers. Berlin: Springer.
Jennex, M. E. (2008). Knowledge management: Concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.