Critical Perspective on Knowledge Management in Business

Introduction

Business and knowledge of management are intimately interrelated. Nowadays the environment of business is changing very quickly, that’s why the intellectual capital is a very important asset in the business and the knowledge asset has to manage if an enterprise wants to improve its flexibility and increase its possibility for continued existence and this management is discussed in the Knowledge Management section which is an important part of management. In recent years the Knowledge Management is the very most up-to-date subject.

The vital resources for business movement are the wonders which are delivered by the latest information technologies such as intranets, data mining, video conferencing, and web-casting and these are presenting various solutions systems for assembling the business challenges of the knowledge era, and characterized by knowledge. For instance, various certain technologies such as intranets, have some inherent capability for facilitating (Malhotra, 1998). organizational initiatives, such as Knowledge Management and which is directly related to Knowledge Analysis, Knowledge Planning, Knowledge Technology, and Computer-supported work Systems.

Every business enterprise has to provide services to its customers healthy if it wants to remain in the Business and that’s why it has to reduce its cycle times, must operate with minimum fixed assets and overhead such as people, inventory, and facilities, must reduce the product development time, (Grey, 8 March 2002) has to pick up customer service, must make powerful employees, must innovate and distribute high-quality products, boost elasticity and adoption, capture information, generate knowledge share and learn. These are not possible if there is no continual focus on the creation, updating, availability, quality, and use of knowledge by all employees and terms at work and in the marketplace (Bhojaraju, 2005).

To do any job intelligently, knowledge helps as the fundamental resource. There are two knowledge-related phases as Knowledge Assets which are acquired and used to the major degree possible by both individuals and organizations and Knowledge Related Process which are used to build, organize, transform transfer and safeguard knowledge and it must be managed sincerely in all affected areas.

Knowledge Management has two tracks of activities such as Management of information and Management of People and has two levels as Individual Perspective which is focused on practice and research on the individual, and Organizational Perspective which is focused on practice and research on the organization. Various factors have donated to become more important Knowledge Management to the present business world such as

  1. pick up the pace of change
  2. expanding in organizational scope
  3. enhance in networked organizations
  4. increasing knowledge strength of goods and services and
  5. revolution in information technology.

This study will discuss the Organizational Perspective of Knowledge Management (Tsai, & Lee, 2006).

Definition of Knowledge Management

Knowledge Management is the combination of processes which are managed the construction, dissemination, and exploitation of knowledge. Since Knowledge Management is related to the construction of knowledge, dissemination of knowledge, and the exploitation of knowledge, it is much more than a technology thing or computer thing. In the other words, Knowledge Management is that type of management that is related to the continuous replenishment of the organizational knowledge base item such as the formation of helpful organizational structures, facilitation of organization members, putting Information Technology instruments with stress on teamwork, and dissemination of knowledge into place.

To understand effectively the Knowledge Management we have to know about Knowledge and Information. Knowledge means that ability contained in the human mind acquired information by which one man can process and solve any kind of problems faced in the organization and Information means the collected data from various sources which are organized as like the desired form and it is used to acquire knowledge. From where we can get information this is called Information Recourses such as books, journals, websites, and magazines. Information can be managed but knowledge can not be managed it must be acquired (Wilson, 8 August 2000).

Knowledge management is a regulation that encourages a combined approach by which an enterprise’s information assets such as databases, documents, policies, and procedures, are identified, shared, and managed. Again, knowledge management is the momentous and methodical management of fundamental knowledge by which personal knowledge is turned into corporate knowledge. It is often part of the Information Technology or Human Resource Management department and is used by the organizations to recognize, generate, correspond to and share out knowledge. A Knowledge Management framework is given through four sections. The first one is identifying what knowledge asset a company processes and in it various questions come into mind such as

  1. Where are knowledge assets?
  2. What does it contain?
  3. What is its use?
  4. What form is it in? and
  5. How accessible is it?

The second one is analyzing how the knowledge can add value and in it, various questions come into mind such as

  1. what are the opportunities for using the knowledge asset?
  2. What would be the effect of its use?
  3. What are the current obstacles to its use?
  4. What would be its increased value to the company? (Macintosh, 12 July 1999).

The third one is specifying what actions are necessary to achieve better usability & added value and in it, the various question comes into mind such as

  1. How to plan the actions to use the knowledge asset?
  2. How to enact actions?
  3. How to monitor actions?

And the fourth one is the reviewing the use of the knowledge to ensure added value and in it, the various questions come into mind such as (Macintosh, 12 July 1999):

  1. Did the use of it produce the desired added value?
  2. How can the knowledge asset be maintained for this use?
  3. Did the use create new opportunities?

The working definition of Knowledge Management is that it is a process of generating, accumulating, allocating, applying, and reprocessing the organizational knowledge by which an organization will be able to accomplish its goals and objectives. It helps to improve an employee’s knowledge in specific areas of interest and it is related to the intellectual capital of an organization which means knowledge that is of value to an organization and it is made up of human capital, structural capital, and customer capital (Holland, 04 Apr 02).

Knowledge Management has four process views as Gathering and various activities such as data entry, OCR and scanning, voice input, pulling information from various sources (BizCarta KC Glossary), and searching for information to include, are included, Organizing and in it various activities such as cataloging, indexing, filtering ad linking, are included, Refining and in it, various activities such as contextualizing, collaborating, compacting, projecting and mining, are included, and Disseminating and in it various activities such as flow, sharing, alert and push, are included (BizCarta KC Glossary).

All types of information necessary for an organization are not available and valuable for a specific area. Hence, the responsibility goes up to individual companies to establish what information is intellectual and knowledge-based assets and these are classified into one of two categories as explicit or implicit. Various assets such as patents, trademarks, business plans, marketing research, and customer lists are included in the explicit knowledge-based assets (Viney, 2006). Knowledge Management has the following items as fundamental components such as

  • Producing new knowledge
  • admittance precious knowledge from outside sources
  • Employing the admittance knowledge in decision making
  • Implanting knowledge in processes, products, and services
  • Symbolizing knowledge in documents, databases, and software
  • Assisting knowledge growth through culture and incentives (San Rafael, n.d.).
  • Transmitting existing knowledge into other parts of the organization and
  • Evaluating the value of knowledge assets and impact of knowledge management.

On the other hand Knowledge management is the combination of knowledge work and intellectual capital. Knowledge work means converting data into information that is possible to use in the business to make important decisions.

Knowledge Work is also a combination of people in its assets, customer focus, shared term skills, decisions moved away from the top, collaboration, term based rewards and rapid pace of change are included, a process in it focus on the core business, outsource non-core activities and staff, focus on assets life cycle, focus on portfolios and partner & collaborate are included, and technology in it deep water, horizontal drilling, data explosion, global communications, computing power at the low-cost rate, visualization, object technology, and internet & WWW are included.

Hence it can be expressed by the following way

Knowledge Work

If any one wants to valuate an organization, he or she must add the physical capital and intellectual capital. Intellectual capital is the combination of human capital, structural capital and customer capital (Šaponja, Šijan,& Milutinovi´c, (n.d.). Hence, it is clear that Knowledge Management is a process where the collective knowledge and experience which are available implicitly and explicitly to the organization are utilized when and where they are required.

This wants to say that the Knowledge Management is a variety of information technologies known as ‘Knowledge Management Systems’. Information is that thing which comes from data and which helps to acquire knowledge which must be utilized in the business enterprise to make various types of decisions. Information is a very powerful tool which separates an organization from its competitors and it is managed by knowledge to become effective and it is meaningless unless it can be systematized in an appropriate manner and approach.

Knowledge Management.
Technology Fig: 3 Knowledge Management.

Knowledge Management as a Knowledge Management System

Knowledge Management System is that type of system by which knowledge in organizations is managed and a system for supporting creation, incarcerate, storage and propagation of information.

Knowledge Management System may be document based, taxonomy based and so on these deal with information and the features of Knowledge management System are

  1. knowledge management object must have in knowledge management system,
  2. in the knowledge management system, information which is significantly prearranged, mounted up and embedded in a context of creation and application,
  3. it is grown to give support and improve the knowledge life cycle in it various knowledge exhaustive processes such as formation, production, identification, capturing, selection, formulization, retention, evolution, valuation, visualization, transfer, distribution, maintenance and structuring,
  4. the participants of knowledge management system are the user of information and the sources of information,
  5. there are various knowledge management instruments such as collection, formation and allocating up the experiences formation of corporate knowledge information banks, effective management system, the formation and promoting the communities or knowledge networks.

There are various instruments such as intranet infrastructures which supply basic facilities such as storing, exchanging data and documents and e-mail for communication, document and content management systems which manage electronic documents throughout their entre life cycle, workflow management systems which support well structured organizational process and handle the implementation of work flows, artificial intelligence technologies which, business intelligence tools, visualization tools, groupware and e-learning systems, in the field of information and communication technology which are to be applied in the organization to support Knowledge Management.

Knowledge Management Systems support to the organizations as the knowledge management perspective. Hence the objectives of knowledge management system are to organize, generate and apply the knowledge, to exchange knowledge among various networks such formal and informal networks and to teach the employees of the organization to understand the relationship among knowledge, people and processes.

Knowledge Management System is the combination of various types of Informational Technologies by which every kind of Knowledge Management jobs are done and these help to generate, create, share and acquired knowledge from information available in the various Information Technologies. Hence, there is a highly relationship among the Knowledge Management, Knowledge Management System and Information Technology. There is various impact of Informational Technology on the Knowledge Management System and the roots and influences of technology on KMS are given below.

Knowledge Management and Information Technology

Knowledge Management System has three functions such as

  • Integrative Knowledge Management System functions which support the codification strategy, the technology oriented side of Knowledge Management,
  • Interactive Knowledge Management System functions which support the personalization strategy, the human oriented side of Knowledge Management and
  • Bridging functions in it these functions are included which are not classified into integrative Knowledge Management System functions and interactive Knowledge Management System functions. This is discussed below:

Interactive Knowledge Management System functions

Interactive Knowledge Management System Functions emphasis on knowledge sharing and also combines development of knowledge between knowledge providers and knowledge seekers or knowledge experts and knowledge workers (Wiley, 2 Jun 2005). Interactive Knowledge Management System functions are classified into three groups such as,

  • Knowledge communication and cooperation (Between knowledge providers and workers)
  • Telelearning and
  • Administration

Integrative Knowledge Management System Functions

Integrative Knowledge Management System Functions transfer the explicit knowledge between participants and also emphasis the management of knowledge elements. The Integrative Knowledge Management System Functions are classified into four groups such as,

  • Knowledge Search and Presentation
  • Knowledge Acquisition, publication and organization
  • Computer Based Learning and
  • Administration

Bridging Knowledge Management Systems Functions

Bridging Knowledge Management Systems Functions joint the knowledge elements and knowledge networks. Basically it bridges The Integrative Knowledge Management System Functions and Interactive Knowledge Management System functions. Bridging Knowledge Management Systems Functions are classified into three groups such as,

  • Knowledge Search and Presentation
  • Knowledge Acquisition, Publication and Organization and
  • Administration

Hence Knowledge Management system is one kind of Information System by which the organizational knowledge is managed and is Information Technology based System which is organized to maintain and develop the process of the organizational knowledge creation, Knowledge storage, Knowledge transmit, knowledge application in the organization to identify the various problems and opportunities and to solve these problems and to take these opportunities by highest utilizing the organizational resources.

In the Knowledge Management, knowledge must be created and the knowledge creation model is given below:

Knowledge Creation Model.
Fig: 5 Knowledge Creation Model.

Table: 1 Knowledge Management and Knowledge Management System Perspectives

Perspectives Implication for Knowledge Management Implication for Knowledge Management System
Knowledge vis-a- vis data and information Data is facts, Information is interpreted data, where knowledge is personalized information Knowledge Management focuses on exposing individuals to potentially useful information and facilitating assimilation of information Knowledge Management System will not appear radically different from existing IS, but will be extended toward helping in user assimilation of information
State of mind Knowledge is the state of knowing and understanding Knowledge Management involves enhancing individual’s learning and understanding through provision of information Role of Information Technology is to provide access to sources of knowledge rather than knowledge itself
Object Knowledge is an object to be stored and manipulated Key Knowledge Management issue is building and managing knowledge stocks Role of Information Technology involves gathering, storing and transferring knowledge
Process Knowledge is a process of applying expertise. Knowledge Management focus is on knowledge flows and the process of creation, sharing, and distributing knowledge Role of Information Technology is to provide link among sources of knowledge to create wider breadth and depth of knowledge flows
Access to Information Knowledge is the condition of access of information Knowledge Management focus is organized access to and retrieval of content Role of Information Technology is to provide effective search and retrieval mechanisms for locating relevant information
Capability Knowledge is the potential to influence action Knowledge Management is about building core competencies and understanding strategic know-how Role of Information Technology is to enhance intellectual capital by supporting development of individual and organizational competencies.

Conclusion

To define the Knowledge Management is not so easy because the Knowledge Management is observed in various ways in literature and in practice. This study thinks that the appropriate definition of Knowledge Management is the Knowledge Management is a variety of Information Technologies known as ‘Knowledge Management System. Knowledge Management means the knowledge creation, Knowledge storage, knowledge sharing, managing knowledge and application of knowledge for the organization’s benefit, and also the identifying and controlling the acquired and collective knowledge in the organization to support the organization so that the organization can compete in the market.

Knowledge is the personalized information which is the interpreted data and data is the facts. Hence knowledge will not possible to be acquired without information and data. Data and information come from various types of Information Technologies. So there is a direct relationship between Knowledge Management and Information Technology.

Knowledge Management System is such type of system by which organizational knowledge is managed; it is Information Technology based system which is used to develop and organize the organizational knowledge processing systems. So there is also a direct relationship between Knowledge Management System and Information Technology (Sharifuddin, Ikhsan, & Rowland, n.d.). And that’s why this study wants to say that the Knowledge Management is a variety of Information Technologies known as Knowledge Management System and the proper utilization of Information Technologies so that an organization can survive in the market with power.

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