This article presents executives in large organizations with a model that can be implemented to enhance customer and employee satisfaction while still maintaining shareholder or public sector performance. Executives can do this by using what is known as a strategic Knowledge Management model. With this model, executives can serve the customer’s needs and become more profitable.
Knowledge Management has been evaluated from various perspectives. This variation may differ because Knowledge Management is understood in many different ways and therefore different scholars focus on different aspects of it and offer several options of managerial application. These perspectives are discussed below.
Take a technological perspective
Executives know that they can take a technological perspective. In this case, the executive understands how Knowledge Management is facilitating organizational processes and activities uses information technology to organize existing information. Executives have found that Knowledge Management embraces information technology to convert individual knowledge into valuable resources for their organization. Executives focus on individuals as the major source of knowledge, and show how followers ties together so that they can affect the sharing, storage, transfer and application of knowledge within organizations. Executives, therefore, see these connections, and the related shared knowledge and memory, as central to the effectiveness of Knowledge Management.
Take an economic perspective
Executives see society as a product of knowledge, defining culture as various forms of knowledge and symbols that make up an organization’s culture. However, knowledge is a by-product of culture and knowledge’s role in guiding and facilitating people’s action is key to executive decision-making. Knowledge Management is a set of activities and processes aimed at creating value through generating and applying intellectual capital. Executives direct practices that create value from intangible organizational resources. For executives, it is clear that the objective of managing knowledge is to add value to organizations. The focus here is that executives consider the fact that a firm’s knowledge is positively associated with its outcomes.
Take a process perspective
The process perspective focuses on knowledge flows that executives use through embracing the processes of Knowledge Management for strategic management decision-making. Managing knowledge is not anything new, scholars have considered the various processes involved. One example, in which Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka suggest that Knowledge Management processes include socialization (from tacit knowledge to tacit knowledge), externalization (from tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge), combination (from implicit knowledge to explicit knowledge), and internalizations (from explicit knowledge to tacit knowledge). Another good example of this is that executives can look at the three step processes of knowledge accumulation, integration, and reconfiguration.
Executives are aware that activities related to managing knowledge at the individual level and the practices associated with Knowledge Management at the organizational level are handled at different points on the organizational chart. Therefore, executives need to focus on the interactions among the three facets of knowledge (implicit, explicit and affectual) to minimize the possible limitations of managing all facets of the business units and components on an organizational chart. As per the nature of Knowledge Management and how it has manifested in the boardrooms of large organizations, Baiyin Yang, Wei Zheng and Chris Viere have posited several applications and buzzwords. For example, they go beyond the simple application of Knowledge Management and suggest an application of Knowledge Management that incorporates three major kinds of knowledge. First, perceptual knowledge is on-going and continuously updated (implicit), conceptual knowledge is based on upper management decision making and discernment (explicit), and affectual knowledge shows caring and empathy for followers, customers and stakeholders (affectual).
Executives embrace the process perspective because it takes a task-based approach by translating the management of knowledge into various organizational processes. Accordingly, the process perspective develops a firm-specific approach by which organizational knowledge provides a significant contribution to business objectives through the context-dependent way it is managed. Process perspective can also help organizations identify their inefficiencies in each process, and subsequently recover them on an instantaneous basis, which enables leaders to prevent further operational risk. Executives know that applying Knowledge Management using the process perspective is advantageous and good, sound strategic implementation.
Managing KM processes in large organizations
John Davies and Paul Warren argue that Knowledge Management in large enterprises can be evaluated by measuring the processes of knowledge finding, integrating and networking. These processes reflect a strategic Knowledge Management model. The knowledge accumulation process in this model plays an important role for large organizations through acquiring knowledge and information from the external business environment and developing the capabilities to create new knowledge within a company.
Executives can synthesize new knowledge and information to improve the effectiveness of organizational processes and the quality of products or services. The key here is to internally integrate knowledge so that it is quickly retrievable at the right time and place. Knowledge cannot be used adequately if it takes time to acquire it. Expert systems can provide kiosk like knowledge databanks and intranet searches to retrieve information from the knowledge bank quickly and effectively. Competing organizations find ways to share common knowledge so that it can be used by industry alliance when the information is non-specific to a certain organization. Large organizations must collaborate with other companies to effectively solve problems. Thus, strategic Knowledge Management model is suitable for executives to use when analyzing Knowledge Management in large organizations.
This article raises vital questions as to how executives can successfully contribute to Knowledge Management at all levels of the large organization. Knowledge Management is proposed as the focal point of executive success coupled with the three-pronged approach mentioned in the strategic Knowledge Management model. I thoroughly looked at the three aspects of Knowledge Management that is shown in this model.
- Davies, J., & Warren P. (2011). Knowledge Management in large organizations. In J. Domingue, D. Fensel, & J.A. Hendler, (Eds.), Handbook of semantic web technologies, Berlin: Springer-Verlag.
- Nonaka, I., & Takeuchi, H. (1995). The knowledge-creating company : how Japanese companies create the dynamics of innovation, New York: Oxford University Press.
- Yang, B., Zheng, W., & Viere, C. (2009). Holistic Views of Knowledge Management Models. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 11(3), 273-289.
Mostafa Sayyadi is a Senior Management Consultant and Former Leadership Team Member of San Diego-based The Change Leader Consulting Inc. He is an| Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, a Book Author and Business and Technology Journalist.