Knowledge Management was introduced in early 90’s when technological, social and economical changes were at peak resulting in changes in the structure of organizations. Globalization, on other hand gave rise to increasing competition and opening new avenues and opportunities. Organizations reacted to these changes by reengineering, merging, acquiring, downsizing and outsourcing.
In present time, Human Resource is considered to be the most important resource among Land, labor and capital. Interestingly, organizations nowadays are looking forward to a newly added resource known as ‘The knowledge of its people’. In simple words how a new knowledge is created, shared and used effectively is a question with a big question mark. ‘Knowledge Management’ is comparatively a new term that we nowadays hear a lot. Steadily, it is becoming part of different disciplines and fields. We can gain knowledge in form of trainings, experiences, social interactions, reading, through media and in many other forms but very few people with high intellect assimilate all the important information and convert that to knowledge.
Converting information into knowledge is a process whereby the raw form of data gets the shape of meaningful information which then takes the shape of Wisdom. Wisdom is also described as ‘understanding of principles’ which comes out when different chunks of knowledge are joined together.
An important saying is ‘Knowledge is power’. The real need is to stockpile knowledge to gain an edge and this is how any employee becomes an asset to the organization. This type of thinking was once considered to be true but because of the changing times it has taken a new form. In an organizational context transferring knowledge to others is what keeps organizations as well as an individual grow continuously. Hence, knowledge sharing is of utmost importance and a building block of any successful organization.
As we all know that there is a large amount of information readily available to all organizations that can be processed and thereafter used effectively. But sadly very few organizations are capable to take this raw form of information, process it and then apply that as new knowledge successfully which can help them in reaching their widely important goal.
Types of knowledge:
In the current economical scenario if the knowledge is successfully engaged only then the knowledge becomes the competitive advantage of an organization. Now, what are the building blocks of this competitive advantage? Starting right from Data, how the raw form of data is converted into meaningful information and then hooked up with the ideas and useful skills of the employees of an organization, helps to get hold of a competitive advantage.
At large there are two types of knowledge:
It is the type which is stored in our heads or it is ‘personal knowledge’. This is more of action oriented nature and has unspoken understanding. For example how to ride a bicycle can be easily taught practically rather than printed instructions. Tacit knowledge has a property of being unknown to others thus making it inaccessible to others even when it is really needed. Sharing of tacit knowledge is based on trust and the level of contact with whom it is to be shared. Learning of tacit knowledge takes place through trial and error. Communication and sharing of tacit knowledge is a big challenge to many organizations and is done through activities and other mechanisms. Activities can be weekly meetings, seminars, workshops, trainings, Audio video sessions etc.
In its context, there is a close relationship between competitive advantage and being exclusive. One of the challenges an organization has to face is how to approach the unique tacit knowledge and thereafter developing its replication. Therefore it becomes vital for an organization to smartly make use of the tacit knowledge of its valued employees.