Submitted to Walden University
Knowledge comes from the ability to adopt people’s insights and to obtain self experiences in human’s daily life. In an organization, knowledge that is required every employee to possess such as the business operations, policies, procedures, ethics and morals, and technical processes is very important. Additionally, every employee in an organization brings one’s own expertise to the work place. All of these expertise, insights, and experiences comprise knowledge, which is infact required to facilitate organization’s performance. This requirement straightforwardly leads organization to its business success because it encourages employees to effectively perform their jobs without hesitation. Business leaders, therefore, want to maintain and develop the business knowledge within the organization. Sharing and distributing of knowledge becomes one of the key management aspects in business strategy and innovation.
Knowledge management involves in this process of sharing and distributing the insights and experiences within an organization. In addition, knowledge management considers to be embedded into the organizational practice while it is embodied with every individual in an organization. With a knowledge management system that is implemented properly, organization gains an ability to compete within its industry (Yilmaz, 2007). Improving the information technology in an organization essentially develops a good knowledge management system because information technology provides great tools to store and manage what comprises knowledge.
Effectiveness of Information Technology
In knowledge management approach, the role of information technology becomes debatable on how information technology can be (Mohamed, Stankosky, & Murray, 2006). The most effectiveness in this approach is the perfect blending in between knowledge management and information technology. With the advantage of technology today, storing knowledge is not a big challenge. The high performance storage technology such as Storage Area Network helps enabling the storage of large multimedia sources in every organization. However, the challenge is to harmonize with the knowledge management system. According to Mohamed et al. (2006), information technology cannot harmonize perfectly to fully integrate with humanistic features in knowledge management.
Regardless to the big challenge in harmonizing with the knowledge management, information technology plays a great role of improving the knowledge management which involves in supporting the business problem solving and decision-making process (Mohamed et al., 2006). Additionally, the effectiveness of the use of information technology which is based on the leverage of the technology advantage in an organization results in how organization utilizes technology in its knowledge management efforts. Yilmaz (2007) suggests that the benefits of using information technology will depend on the technical conditions which are considered as the implementation of the best information technology system, the effective utilization of the system, and the being well-trained on how to use the system.
The effective use of information technology improves organization which focuses on the organizational objectives such as business innovation, competition, and success. The successful knowledge management practice helps organization and its employees to share the insights and experiences, to improve the communication within and across the organization, and to help building a lean business strategy. In conclusion, the information technology’s effectiveness is the key concern in its role of providing technical means to build and maintain the knowledge management system. Knowledge management, nevertheless, is one of the major enablers to solve or improve organizational objectives.
Organizational Objectives: Implementation of Knowledge Management
In every organization, the experience, insights, and expertise within the individuals that organization employed are the valuable assets of the organization. In other words, the most asset of an organization is the knowledge within the individual minds of the workforce that is applied in every day to distribute to the wealth of the organization by reducing cost, saving time, and advancing the organization’s objectives and strategic goals. In today business, since information technology takes advantage of how to manage information, the information in an organization becomes the permanent knowledge within that firm.
Knowledge can be instituted under different forms within an organization. Tacit knowledge is the insights and experiences, which are embodied with individual. Tacit knowledge has not been spoken or transferred outside of one’s mind. Unlike tacit knowledge, explicit knowledge is transmittable and codified. Explicit knowledge is accepted by the organization. Thus, individual knowledge can be gained openly through the organizational knowledge. At the organizational level, knowledge that can be reviewed, codified, combined, and applied to be a standard becomes organizational knowledge.
To be brief, organizational knowledge is the collection of insights, experiences, and expertise within the organization that is finalized and standardized for applying to the daily organizational operations. However, the process has to be carefully examined, considered and managed. Organizational knowledge needs to be reviewed and to be assured that it does not bring negative effect to the individual as well as the organization. If the organizational knowledge is observable, the value measurement method should be used to assign value. In addition, value measurement method should be applied when business leaders are able to evaluate the organizational knowledge immediately (Muskopf, 2010).
Utilizing Knowledge Management System
Sharing knowledge between employees is important for an organization because employees understand that “knowledge is power” (Yilmaz, 2007). However, forming a standard system to manage knowledge properly is not simple and well understood. Organization needs a tool and a human decision to build the knowledge base and the way to manage it within its organization. Understanding the advantage of information technology, organization understands that information technology can be leveraged to mange organizational knowledge.
Using information technology effectively will empower employees’ knowledge, hence, improve organization performance. Organization managers should consider a series of organizational requirements in order to successfully build the knowledge management system which Yilmaz (2007) suggests as incentive mechanism and organizational culture that supports employees for “knowledge acquisition, transfer, and utilize” (p. 77). Incentive mechanism will award employee who contributes to the knowledge base, and this mechanism perhaps will promote the effectiveness of the idea of sharing knowledge between them. Organization, additionally, tolerates employees’ mistake, but takes the mistake as lesson learning. Considering these tools and suggestions, organization will be able to build a solid knowledge management system.
Well known paper company, for example, Xerox, launched a knowledge management as a new business strategy and established the company identity as “the Document Company” in late 1980s (Powers, 1999). Starting knowledge management studies within the company, Xerox used Eureka as its grassroots in an effort to put knowledge management in practice. Eureka enabled Xerox to create and reuse intellectual capital on a global level. It significantly improved the service to customers and enhanced the financial opportunity of the business. However, Eureka could not address the share of knowledge at the local level at the time. As arguing by Cox (2006), management’s role is the key in recognizing the important of the knowledge management and collaboratively adopting the implementation of knowledge management.
Knowledge management is considered to be a powerful tool for organization to use as one of the important business strategies. Historically, the study of Xerox “war stories”, Orr’s study, Eureka system, and others proves the needs of developing and implementing knowledge management. With the proper knowledge management in place, organization saves time, reduces cost, and improves performance. As Xerox’s case study, Eureka becomes any corporation’s dream, Cox (2006) suggested that “It saves money directly by sharing fixes and improving reliability of leased machine” (p.10).
Information technology cannot be in harmony with knowledge management, but it is very effectively supporting knowledge management by providing good solutions such as Document Imaging and Management System, Eureka System, and more. The dynamism of technology and development led to a big gap between information technology and knowledge management (Mohamed et al., 2006) because knowledge is considered as a social value and human driven. However, effective use of information technology will prove its position in supporting the management process.
Cox, A. (2007). Reproducing knowledge: Xerox and the story of knowledge management. Knowledge management Research & Practice, 5(1).
Mohamed, M., Stankosky, M., & Murray, A. (2006). Knowledge management and information technology: Can they work in perfect harmony? Journal of Knowledge Management,10(3).
Moore, C., 1999. Best Practice: Eureka! Xerox discovers way to grow community knowledge..And customer satisfaction. KM World. Retrieved on January 13, 2011 from http://www.kmworld.com/Articles/PrintArticle.azpx?ArticleID=9140.
Muskopf, J., 2010. Defining Organizational Knowledge: Turning individual knowledge into organizational intellectual capital. (Version 4). Knol. Retrieved on January 12, 2011, from http://knol.google.com/k/jamie-muskopf/defining-organizational-knowledge/1pcw8flfr6sz5/2.
Powers, V., 1999. Xerox Creates a Knowledge-Sharing Culture Through Grassroots Efforts. Knowledge management in Practice. American Productivity & Quality Center.
Yilmaz, Y. (2007). Pre-analysis Process for Knowledge Management: A case study in a building materials company. VINE, 37(1).