Knowledge Management: Theory & Strategies

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  • 0:05 What Is Knowledge?
  • 1:11 What Is Knowledge Management?
  • 1:52 Knowledge Management Theories
  • 3:04 Knowledge Management…
  • 5:36 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Noel Ransom

Noel has taught college Accounting and a host of other related topics and has a dual Master's Degree in Accounting/Finance. She is currently working on her Doctoral Degree.

This lesson offers an overview of knowledge, knowledge management (KM) and the theories and strategies an organization can adopt to organize information. After, take the quiz to check on your new knowledge.

What Is Knowledge?

Before we explore knowledge management theories and strategies, let's start with an overview of the meaning of knowledge. Knowledge comes in three forms: explicit, implicit and tacit.

Explicit is information in tangible forms, such as books, newspapers or scholarly articles. Implicit is information that does not originate in a tangible form but can be transferred into tangible form; for example, a dictation of a doctor's notes on a video recorder, or a verbatim copy of an observation or account of an experience captured in a news article or documentary. Tacit is information that is hard to capture in a tangible form; for example, a person's perception of an experience or someone's feelings after an earthquake may be difficult to express adequately in words.

Information about an organization does not come from what is captured in a news story or written in a history book. However, it can originate from implicit and tacit knowledge sources like employees, previous and current leaders, and customers.

What Is Knowledge Management?

Knowledge management is a series of steps that include identifying, collecting, storing, and sharing explicit, implicit, and tacit information to individuals throughout an organization. An example of a tool used in knowledge management is a corporation's intranet website. The intranet is an internal site with stored information about virtually anything related to the organization. The intranet can include a blog spot, new articles, videos, and corporate announcements. The tool is the intranet itself. However, the process of compiling, storing, and making the information available to company employees is knowledge management.

Knowledge Management Theories

In the early 1990s, knowledge management emerged as a formal scientific discipline supported by scholars in academia, practitioners in corporate environments, and consultants. There are several methods and applications of knowledge management, and each approach varies by the scholar, author, or practitioner. The central knowledge management theories are categorized as organizational, ecological, and techno-centric.

Organizational KM theory primarily focuses on organizational structures and how an organization is designed culturally and hierarchically to manage knowledge and knowledge processes. Ecological KM theory focuses on people, relationships, and learning communities, including interactions among individuals and organizations and the internal and external factors that draw people together to share knowledge. Techno-centric theory focuses on technology and the process of designing technology enablers to help facilitate the flow of knowledge and the storage of information. Regardless of which theory of practice is deployed, knowledge management includes the impacts of people, process, and technology on knowledge sharing.

Knowledge Management Strategies

Knowledge management strategies represent an organization's choices for investing in specific methods to drive change. The change many organizations seek is increased revenue and profits and retention of highly talented employees. There are many knowledge management strategies a company can select to facilitate the efficient flow of knowledge and foster a culture of knowledge sharing. Some of these strategies are:

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