The Practice of Knowledge Management

Apr 10 21:00 2002 JT Frank Management Centre Print This Article

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Knowledge management is not about technology. It is about
culture. To put it into the right perspective,Guest Postingthe practice of
knowledge management will drive the organisation to develop a
strong culture of competency and innovation. Such enterprise-wide
culture will enable the organisation to achieve sustainable
superior performance. In other words, by strategically
capitalising on both tacit and explicit knowledge, an
organisation can secure and maintain a competitive advantage at
the market place. Information communication technology (ICT) is
an enabler to facilitate the practice of knowledge management.

For an organisation to successfully transform itself into a
knowledge enterprise, it must leverage on the eight key focus of
knowledge management. The eight key focus are K-identification,
K-acquisition, K-application, K-sharing, K-creation,
K-development, K-preservation and K-measurement. These eight key
focus will provide a systematic approach to introduce the
practice of knowledge management.

A structured knowledge identification exercise or knowledge needs
analysis (KNA) exercise must be conducted to establish the
knowledge gaps and deficiencies of an organisation. For
businesses to function at the speed of light, organisations need
to identify the current and specialised knowledge required to
implement its competitive strategies. By comparing the required
knowledge with existing knowledge capital, the knowledge gap can
then be defined. The larger the knowledge gap or deficiency, the
greater are the obstacles to achieve the desired goals of an

A positive environment must be created to induce intense
knowledge acquisition. Knowledge acquisition is to source for
current and specialised knowledge to close the knowledge gap of a
particular organisation. Knowledge can be derived within the
organisation, from existing employees, communities of practices
(COPs) and communities of innovative networks (COINs). Knowledge
can also be imported from outside the organisation, namely from
customers, suppliers and even specialists from the various areas
of businesses and expertise. Knowledge can also be attained from
K-products, such as reading materials, recorded CD-ROMs, on-line
learning, and through the World Wide Web. K-tools like learning
history will assist an organisation to learn from the past,
innovate on the future for today's consumption. Key emphasise
must be placed on real time acquisition, with short cycle

Armed with critical, current and specialised knowledge, the next
focus is to pursue an obsession in knowledge application.
K-application will also induce spiral skills development, where
professionals are able to gauge their level of expertise through
continuous contribution to the organisation. Most importantly,
knowledge gained must be immediately applied.

The practice of knowledge management advocates knowledge sharing.
Trust and mutual respect must be present to promote K-sharing.
Sharing of best practices will spur constant innovation, and this
will benefit the organisation. Enterprise recognition should be
given to encourage K-sharing in an organisation. Working in
innovative teams will provide a platform for K-sharing among
peers. A structured K-policy supported by a variety of K-tools
and collaborative technologies such as the intranet will promote

K-development will focus on the development on conceptual,
behavioural and technical abilities of an individual. Planned
efforts like structured competency based learning must be
initiated to build the overall competency of employees in an
organisation. In other words, organisations need to be competency
driven, ensuring a high level of competency in its employees.

A passion to explore and innovate on ideas needs to be
cultivated. The enterprise must develop the ability to create new
knowledge. New knowledge will form the platform for the dynamics
of continuous innovation. This can be achieved by integrating
both tacit and explicit knowledge that exists in an organisation.

A high retention of knowledge can be achieved by creating a
culture for knowledge preservation. Enterprise wide K-sharing,
COPs and COINs can be used to preserve knowledge within an
organisation. K-preservation is about real time knowledge
capture, use, re-use and constant updating. Since knowledge has a
short 'life-span', the focus is on the frequency of using the
captured knowledge to support intelligent decision making.
Technology will be the enabler to store selective and current
specialised knowledge. Knowledge preserved must be made
accessible to every individual at any point in time.

A knowledge measurement system must be implemented to gauge the
knowledge capital of an enterprise on a periodic basis. The focus
is to measure the K-inventory of an organisation.

A new adage will then become apparent, an era where knowledge
will be power only if it is being used wisely. Hence, the
fundamentals of knowledge management will be prominent in an
economy where knowledge will be the deciding role in ensuring a
sustainable edge in an ever-competitive market.

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JT Frank Management Centre
JT Frank Management Centre

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