Session One. Introduction to Knowledge Management

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1 Knowledge Management Session One Introduction to Knowledge Management Knowledge economy Economic performance based on knowledge, technology and learning Mobilising knowledge to add value to goods and services Knowledge added to products and services in West and built in low wage economies India & China developing highly educated labour force A recent survey shows 80% of new corporate R&D sites and personnel of top firms are in India and China 1

2 What is knowledge management? A systematic process of managing knowledge assets, processes, and organizational environments to facilitate the creation, organization, sharing, and utilization of knowledge. The collection of processes for discovery, acquisition, creation, processing, retrieval, dissemination and utilization of knowledge Seeks the synergistic combination of Data and information processing, and The creativity and innovativeness of human beings. What is knowledge? Facts, feelings, or experience known by a person or group Derived from information, but is richer and more meaningful. Information + familiarity, awareness, understanding, wisdom, insight gained through experience 2

3 Data, information and knowledge Data raw facts or information that is structured, but has not been interpreted, and thus, ha no meaning. Information data with a meaning, a message with a sender and a receiver, can be saved on computer, paper, tape, and other media. Knowledge information that has a purpose or intent attached, emergent, socially constructed, exists only in the heads of people Wisdom and Proverbs Children have more need of models than of critics (French) You can t see the whole sky through a bamboo tube (Japanese) There is plenty of sound in an empty barrel (Russian) Trust in Allah, but tie your camel (Muslim) Wonder is the beginning of wisdom (Greek) 3

4 Organizational knowledge Organizational knowledge is about Know-how Applied information Information with judgement, or The capacity for effective actions It is the full utilization of information and data plus people s Skills Competencies Ideas Intuitions Commitments, and motivations Why knowledge management? Knowledge is considered as the great enabler For decisions we make For actions we take Knowledge seen as the most important source of competitive advantage There is a need to recognise and understand knowledge processes to improve the quality of our decisions and actions There is a need to deal with issues of organizational adaptation and survival and competence in the face of fast-paced change 4

5 Knowledge management evolution Data processing Information management Knowledge management 1 st generation KM: focus on capture of information and experience to improve access that produces information asset and corporate memory 2 nd generation KM gives priority to the way people construct and use knowledge and is related to organizational learning Motivations for such a change The information revolution: increased knowledge generation Advance in technology: tools to improve knowledge management Tree of knowledge management 5

6 KM perspectives KM dimensions 6

7 IT and knowledge sharing Computers leading to paperless society but increased paper to be stored as printout backups Information explosion leads libraries to share resources Print has limitations learning based on dialogue Dialogue through , groupware and video conferencing systems Can store vast amounts of data into data warehouses for store, analysis and retrieval Roots of modern KM Organizational learning Psychology Information systems Strategic management Culture 7

8 Paradigms & epistemologies Typologies of knowledge 8

9 Structure of knowledge Taxanomic perspective of KM Treats knowledge as a commodity Nonaka with his knowledge conversion processes Is tacit and explicit knowledge mutually constituted? Can our awareness of knowledge change over time? 9

10 Process-based perspective (1) Draws on social constructivism Emphasis on knowing as a social and organisational activity Knowing is a form of sensemaking where individuals develop meanings of the world Only reality is one of ideas and constituted by our perceptions Process-based perspective (2) Knowing is dynamic and subject to change Knowing is uncertain as inter-ubjectivity and interpretations may change Knowing is context dependent and inseparable from social context Isolates mental activity as distinctive feature of self 10

11 Postmodernism Postmodernists emphasise diversity of world, plurality of perspectives and difficulty of obtaining reliable knowledge Incommensurability cannot understand radically different discourses while retaining own beliefs Can protect favoured discourses from criticism Practice-based perspective Action is more primary than thought Knowing is inseparable from practice and embedded in human activity Knowing is something we do rather than possess Knowing and practice are mutually constituted Orlikowski (2007) argues that social and material are constitutively entangled Uses metaphor of a scaffold to describe how ICT scaffolds and influences social activities Language conveys meaning but can be ambiguous as knowledge depends on context and social activity 11

12 Realist conception Time for reflection What lessons can we learn from history to improve the quality of knowledge management within organisations? How can reflection be incorporated into organisational routines? How can past experience be stored in a manner that is useful and meaningful to staff on a daily basis? 12

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