Knowledge Management: Bridging the Gap between Research and Practise

By Mostafa Sayyadi

There are some executives that like to look at academic journals but unfortunately, the crossover literature has not reached them enough. In an effort to enhance the knowledge of executives worldwide, this article blends scholarly concepts with real world applications. With a clear understanding of the concept of knowledge management, executives can make more effective managerial decisions.

 

Knowledge within Companies

Executives across the globe have found that knowledge management is critical to business success. Knowledge, in and of itself, is not enough to satisfy the vast array of changes in today’s organisation. Therefore, knowledge management is only a necessary precursor to effectively managing knowledge within the organisation.

First, executives must have an understanding of the concept of knowledge itself. Knowledge is identified as a multi-faceted concept  and is distinct from information and data. Data has been defined as raw entities, and information is understood as a meaningful pattern within these raw entities. Knowledge is quite elusive and is changing on a day-to-day basis with discontinued products and the ever-changing vast array of technology. Therefore, to counter the above definition of knowledge, Ruggles defines knowledge as a blend of information, experiences, and codes. The key take-away for executives is that knowledge is a resource that enables organisations to solve problems and create value through improved performance, and it is this point that will narrow the gaps of success and failure leading to more successful decision-making.     

Executives still wonder where knowledge is and how can it be captured, utilised, and enhanced when it comes to decision-making. Scholars found that within organisations, knowledge resides in various areas such as management, employees, culture, structure, systems, processes, and relationships. 

Organisational knowledge cannot merely be described as the sum of individual knowledge, but as a systematic combination of knowledge based on social interactions shared among organisational members. Executives, being more conceptual, agree with Tsoukas who determines organisational knowledge as a collective mind, and Jones and Leonard who explain organisational knowledge as the knowledge that exists in the organisation as a whole. Most importantly, organisational knowledge is  owned and disseminated by the organisation. To analyse knowledge in organisations, there are two important taxonomies of organisational knowledge that need to be discussed. The following section addresses these two important taxonomies in depth to set the record straight on the importance of knowledge management within companies. 

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About the Author

Mostafa Sayyadi, CAHRI, AFAIM, CPMgr, works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies, and helps companies – from start-ups to the Fortune 100 – succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a long-time contributor to HR.com and Consulting Magazine and his work has been featured in these top-flight business publications.  

References 
1. Bayyavarapu, H.B. (2005). Knowledge management strategies and firm performance, Doctoral Dissertation, The University of Western Ontario, Canada.
2. Jones, K., & Leonard, L.K. (2009). From Tacit Knowledge to Organizational Knowledge for Successful KM. In W.R. King (Eds.), Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning, (pp. 27-39), Berlin: Springer.
3. Lau, A., & Tsui, E. (2009). Knowledge management perspective on e-learning effectiveness. Knowledge-Based Systems, 22(4), 324-325.
4.Matusik, S.F. (1998). The Utilization of Contingent Work, Knowledge Creation, and Competitive Advantage. The Academy of Management Review, 23(4), 680-697.
5.Ruggles, RL. (1997). Knowledge management tools, Boston, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.
6.Tsoukas, H. (1996). The Firm as a Distributed Knowledge System: A Constructionist Approach. Strategic Management Journal, 17, 11-25.

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