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Knowledge management

 Knowledge management

Knowledge management is...

Creating, organizing, sharing and analysing knowledge to delight customers.

Such knowledge can be

  • objective (based on facts), or
  • subjective (based on opinion and belief, sometimes called tacit knowledge).


What is knowledge?

Knowledge management


The Greek philosopher, Aristotle (pictured right), in his book, Nicomachean Ethics, defined three types of knowledge:


1. Techné 

Knowing how to do something (professional/technical skills).


2. Episteme 

Knowing why something happens (from theory).


3. Phronesis 

Knowing what is the right thing to do -from

  • self-knowledge.
  • contacts with people (e.g. customers and employees).



How to create knowledge in your organization

Knowledge management


1. Customer focus

Knowledge must delight customers. So employees must value them as their top priority, never forgetting that their jobs are dependent on customers.



2. Great employees

Knowledge comes from people who have the brains, self-motivation, creativity and support (encouragement, information and money).

So the best people must be recruited who are motivated to:

  • deliver results (particularly in teams).
  • learn (via training, education and feedback on performance).

 Knowledge management


3. Creativity and innovation

People must:

  • constantly question existing knowledge.
  • experiment.
  • constructively debate relevant issues,
  • accept new ideas.

 Knowledge management


4. Learning

Employees increase their knowledge by freely sharing it and continuously learning.

So departmental/functional, bureaucratic and communication barriers must be removed (called a “boundaryless organization”).

An organization and its employees must have the humility to learn from their experiences and mistakes.



5. Corporate culture and leadership

Chief executives and managers must

  • encourage everyone to learn by rewarding knowledge creation.
  • give people the autonomy to achieve it.

 The organization's corporate culture must emphasize learning and knowledge creation.



Key quotes explained


Knowledge management

“Knowledge is the most democratic source of power”

- Alvin Toffler (American futurist and writer, pictured right).

Knowledge empowers and liberates people, because, as the English philosopher, Francis Bacon, famously asserted: “Knowledge is power”.


 Knowledge management

“A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence”

- David Hume  ,Scottish philosopher (pictured right)

New knowledge is based upon facts, not opinion, past beliefs and what you would like to believe.

Knowledge creation requires humility, avoiding dogmatic arrogance that blinds people to the truth.

But feeling and emotions shouldn’t be totally ignored.

“We know the truth not only by the reason but also by the heart”, the French philosopher, Blaise Pascal, said.



Knowledge management

“An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory”

- Friedrich Engels (pictured right) ,co-author with Karl Marx of the Communist Manifesto)

Theory is only useful, if it can be applied successfully in practice.

Thought is important but it must be put into action.

“The world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation”, the English scientist, Jacob Bronowski, said in his book, The Ascent of Man.




Knowledge management

“Knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful”

- Samuel Johnson, English writer (pictured right)

Knowledge must be used for moral purposes.



Knowledge management

“The man with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds”

- Mark Twain , American writer (pictured right)

New ideas are often ridiculed and attacked, because they threaten existing knowledge and beliefs (as Darwin’s theory of evolution did).

This prompted the English writer, George Bernard Shaw, to say: “All great truths begin as blasphemies”.



Best books

Knowledge management


Jeffrey Pfeffer (pictured right) and Robert Sutton (pictured right below), The Knowledge-Doing Gap (2000)

Many organizations don’t put their knowledge about business success into action, because they spend too much time talking and thinking about their problems.Knowledge management

Unfortunately they don’t learn by doing but learn by

  • reading and listening to management experts.
  • failing to understand that success requires the right philosophy (and values) as well as policy.



Knowledge management

Thomas Stewart (pictured right), Intellectual Capital (1998)

Knowledge comes from intellectual capital which has three sources:

  • employees’ intellectual ability and learning (human capital).
  • relationships and reputation with customers (customer capital).
  • the organization’s knowledge that “doesn’t go home at night” e.g. concerning its processes and systems for doing things (structural capital).


Knowledge management


Ikugiro Nonaka (pictured right) and Hirotaka Takeuchi (pictured right below), The Knowledge-Creating Company (1995)


Knowledge management

Knowledge comes from continuously innovative people who are clever, creative, co-operative (sharing knowledge) and inspired by their organization’s purpose and ideals.


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