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Chapter: Business Science - Human Resource Management - Training and Executive Development

Self Development and Knowledge management (KM)

Knowledge management (KM): It is the process of capturing, developing, sharing, and effectively using organisational knowledge. It refers to a multi-disciplined approach to achieving organisational objectives by making the best use of knowledge.

Self Development:

 

Self development describes taking steps to better yourself, such as by learning new skills or overcoming bad habits. An example of self development is taking courses at the university to learn new skills and interesting things.

 

Personal d evelopment includes activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital and facilitates employability, enhance quality of life and contribute to the realization of dreams and aspirations. The concept is not limited to self-help but includes formal and informal activities for developing others, in roles such as teacher, guide, counsellor, anager, coach, or mentor. finally, as personal development takes place in the context of institutions, it refers to the methods, programs, tools, techniques, and assessment systems that support human development at the individual level in organizations.

 

Knowledge Management:

 

Knowledge management (KM)

 

It is the process of capturing, developing, sharing, and effectively using organisational knowledge. It refers to a multi-disciplined approach to achieving organisational objectives by making the best use of knowledge.

 

An established discipline since 1991 (see Nonaka 1991), KM includes courses taught in the fields of business administration, information systems, management, and library and information sciences (Alavi & Leidner 1999).More recently, other fields have started contributing to KM research; these include information and media, computer science, public health, and public policy.[5] Columbia University and Kent State University offer dedicated Master of Science degrees in Knowledge Management.

 

Many large companies, public institutions and non-profit organisations have resources dedicated to internal KM efforts, often as a part of their business strategy, information technology, or human resource management departments.Several consulting companies provide strategy and advice regarding KM to these organisations.

 

Knowledge management efforts typically focus on organisational objectives such as improved performance, competitive advantage, innovation, the sharing of lessons learned, integration and continuous improvement of the organisation.KM efforts overlap with organisational learning and

 

may be distinguished from that by a greater focus on the management of knowledge as a strategic asset and a focus on encouraging the sharing of knowledge.[2][10] It is an enabler of organisational

learning.

 

1 Dimensions

 

Different frameworks for distinguishing between different 'types of' knowledge exist.One proposed framework for categorizing the dimensions of knowledge distinguishes between tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge. Tacit knowledge represents internalized knowledge that an individual may not be consciously aware of, such as how he or she accomplishes particular tasks. At the opposite end of the spectrum, explicit knowledge represents knowledge that the individual holds consciously in mental focus, in a form that can easily be communicated to others. (Alavi & Leidner 2001).Similarly, Hayes and Walsham (2003) describe content and relational perspectives of knowledge and knowledge management as two fundamentally different epistemological perspectives.[ The content perspective suggest that knowledge is easily stored because it may be codified, while the relational perspective recognizes the contextual and relational aspects of knowledge which can make knowledge difficult to share outside of the specific location where the knowledge is developed.


The Knowledge Spiral as described by Nonaka & Takeuchi.

 

Early research suggested that a successful KM effort needs to convert internalized tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge to share it, and the same effort must permit individuals to internalize and make personally meaningful any codified knowledge retrieved from the KM effort.Subsequent research into KM suggested that a distinction between tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge represented an oversimplification and that the notion of explicit knowledge is self-contradictory. Specifically, for knowledge to be made explicit, it must be translated into information (i.e., symbols outside of our heads) (Serenko & Bontis 2004) Later on, Ikujiro Nonaka proposed a model (SECI for Socialization, Externalization, Combination, Internalization) which considers a spiraling knowledge process interaction between explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge (Nonaka & Takeuchi 1995).In this model, knowledge follows a cycle in which implicit knowledge is 'extracted' to become explicit knowledge, and explicit knowledge is 're-internalized' into implicit knowledge.

 

A second proposed framework for categorizing the dimensions of knowledge distinguishes between embedded knowledge of a system outside of a human individual (e.g., an information system may have knowledge embedded into its design) and embodied knowledge representing a learned capability of a human body‘s nervous and endocrine systems (Sensky 2002).

 

A third proposed framework for categorizing the dimensions of knowledge distinguishes between the exploratory creation of "new knowledge" (i.e., innovation) vs. the transfer or exploitation of "established knowledge" within a group, organisation, or community.Collaborative environments such as communities of practice or the use of social computing tools can be used for both knowledge creation and transfer.

 

2 Strategies

 

Knowledge may be accessed at three stages: before, during, or after KM-related activities.Organisations have tried knowledge capture incentives, including making content submission mandatory and incorporating rewards into performance measurement plans. Considerable controversy exists over whether incentives work or not in this field and no consensus has emerged.

 

One strategy to KM involves actively managing knowledge (push strategy). In such an instance, individuals strive to explicitly encode their knowledge into a shared knowledge repository, such as a database, as well as retrieving knowledge they need that other individuals have provided to the repository. This is commonly known as the Codification approach to KM.[

 

Another strategy to KM involves individuals making knowledge requests of experts associated with a particular subject on an ad hoc basis (pull strategy).In such an instance, expert individual(s) can provide their insights to the particular person or people needing this (Snowden 2002).This is commonly known as the Personalisation approach to KM.

 

Hansen et al. propose a simple framework, distinguishing two opposing KM strategies: codification and personalization. Codification focuses on collecting and storing codified knowledge in previously designed electronic databases to make it accessible to the organisation.Codification can therefore refer to both tacit and explicit knowledge. In contrast, the personalization strategy aims at encouraging individuals to share their knowledge directly.Information technology plays a less important role, as it is only supposed to facilitate communication and knowledge sharing among members of an organisation.

 

Other knowledge management strategies and instruments for companies include:

 

•       Rewards (as a means of motivating for knowledge sharing)

•       Storytelling (as a means of transferring tacit knowledge)

•       Cross-project learning

•       After action reviews

•       Knowledge mapping (a map of knowledge repositories within a company accessible by all)

•       Communities of practice

•       Expert directories (to enable knowledge seeker to reach to the experts)

•       Best practice transfer

•       Knowledge fairs

 

•       Competence management (systematic evaluation and planning of competences of individual organisation members)

 

•       Proximity & architecture (the physical situation of employees can be either conducive or obstructive to knowledge sharing)

 

•       Master-apprentice relationship

•       Collaborative technologies (groupware, etc.)

•       Knowledge repositories (databases, bookmarking engines, etc.)

 

•       Measuring and reporting intellectual capital (a way of making explicit knowledge for companies)

 

•       Knowledge brokers (some organisational members take on responsibility for a specific "field" and act as first reference on whom to talk about a specific subject)

 

•       Social software (wikis, social bookmarking, blogs, etc.)

 

•       Inter-project knowledge transfer

 

Motivations

 

There are a number of claims as to the motivation leading organisations to undertake a KM effort.[ Typical considerations driving a KM effort include:

 

•       Making available increased knowledge content in the development and provision of products and services

 

•       Achieving shorter new product development cycles

•       Facilitating and managing innovation and organisational learning

•       Leveraging the expertise of people across the organisation

•       Increasing network connectivity between internal and external individuals

 

•       Managing business environments and allowing employees to obtain relevant insights and ideas appropriate to their work

 

•       Solving intractable or wicked problems

 

•       Managing intellectual capital and intellectual assets in the workforce (such as the expertise and know-how possessed by key individuals)

 

3 KM Technologies:

 

Knowledge Management (KM) technology can be divided into the following general categories:

 

•       Groupware

•       Workflow

•       Content/Document Management

•       Enterprise Portals

•       eLearning

•       Scheduling and planning

•       Tele presence

 

Groupware refers to technologies that facilitate collaboration and sharing of organizational information. One of the earliest very successful products in this category was Lotus Notes. Notes provided tools for threaded discussions, sharing of documents, organization wide uniform email, etc.

 

Workflow tools allow the representation of processes associated with the creation, use, and maintenance of organizational knowledge. For example the process to create and utilize forms and documents within an organization. For example, a workflow system can do things such as send notifications to appropriate supervisors when a new document has been produced and is waiting their approval.

 

Content/Document Management systems are systems designed to automate the process of creating web content and/or documents within an organization. The various roles required such as editors, graphic designers, writers, and producers can be explicitly modeled along with the various tasks in the process and validation criteria for moving from one step to another. All this information can be used to automate and control the process. Commercial vendors of these tools started to start either as tools to primarily support documents (e.g., Documentum) or as tools designed to support web content (e.g., Interwoven) but as the Internet grew these functions merged and most vendors now perform both functions, management of web content and of documents. As Internet standards became adopted more and more within most organization Intranets and Extranets the distinction between the two essentially went away.

 

Enterprise Portals are web sites that aggregate information across the entire organization or for groups within the organization such as project teams.

eLearning technology enables organizations to create customized training and education software. This can include lesson plans, monitoring progress against learning goals, online classes, etc. eLearning technology enables organizations to significantly reduce the cost of training and educating their members. As with most KM technology in the business world this was most useful for companies that employ knowledge workers; highly trained staff with areas of deep expertise such as the staff of a consulting firm. Such firms spend a significant amount on the continuing education of their employees and even have their own internal full-time schools and internal education staff.

 

Scheduling and planning tools automate the creation and maintenance of an organization's schedule: scheduling meetings,notifying people of a meeting, etc. An example of a well known scheduling tool is Microsoft Outlook. The planning aspect can integrate with project management tools such as Microsoft Project. Some of the earliest successful uses of KM technology in the business world were the development of these types of tools, for example online versions of corporate "yellow pages" with listing of contact info and relevant knowledge and work history.

 

Telepresence technology enables individuals to have virtual meetings rather than having to be in the same place.

 

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