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Knowledge Management

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"Knowledge management is the set of practices aimed at discovering and harnessing an organization's intellectual resources. It's about finding, unlocking, sharing, and altogether capitalizing on the most precious resources of an organization: people's expertise, skills, wisdom, and relationships. Knowledge managers find these human assets, help people collaborate and learn, help people generate new ideas, and harness those ideas into successful innovations" (Bateman, 2004, p.8-9). One of the most important factors of change in management is the growing need for good, new ideas. Knowledge management is an approach that allows people to produce change. It's bringing people together and collecting ideas from the group that can provide further success for the company and personally for the employees. A new idea can produce growth and motivation within a company. If the employees and the company as a whole come together and grasp a new idea, it ultimately can lead to new inventions of products and services. (Lineman, 2004.)

Knowledge management is the process by which an organization creates, captures, acquires and uses knowledge to support and improve the performance of the organization. Two types of knowledge management are usually defined. The first is identifying knowledge. This means the documents and catalogues knowledge held by individuals and other forms of intellectual capital within the organization. Knowledge documentation generally includes a directory of experts or specialists, a database of best practices, foreign language capabilities, or unique talents or skills. In many organizations these are computer accessible databases of individuals and their competencies in the form of documents: memos, team progress reports, journal articles, resumes, working papers and research reports. The second type of knowledge management functions to facilitate the sharing of knowledge throughout the organization. This is usually accomplished via email on the Internet or intranet, and through groupware, and other interactive software, but also through face-to-face exchange. Therefore, knowledge management is an active or proactive process by which an organization can increase its intellectual capital. This leads to the creation of new positions titled chief learning officer. This knowledge, the sum of what is known in the organization, is managed like other resources. For others, there is a greater appreciation of what knowledge and skills are, how they are gained, and how behavior is changed. For others, the intellectual capital and knowledge management efforts are seen as new and necessary knowledge, skills and abilities. (Kinney, 1999)

Knowledge management is nothing new. For hundreds of years, owners of family businesses have passed their commercial wisdom on to their children, and workers have exchanged ideas and know-how on the job. But it wasn't until the 1990's that chief executives started talking about knowledge management. (Hansen, 1999) More than 15 years ago, Peter Drucker heralded the beginning of the knowledge era. Since then, companies have made many attempts to leverage what they know and to increase their workers productivity. In order to bring together vast amounts of explicit knowledge, they have invested large sums in databases; in order to help people track down others with tacit expertise, they have experimented with open offices, mobile technologies and online directories. (Hammer, 2004) As the foundation of industrialized economies has shifted from natural to intellectual assets, executives have been compelled to examine the knowledge underlying their businesses and how that knowledge is used. It's those small things that make the difference, and it's up to the managers to choose the way they want to utilize them. (Hammer, 2004) Most people have an intuitive grasp of management because we are raised in a world of organizations, so at an early age we... Show More

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