Knowledge Management Essay

2344 Words Apr 17th, 2013 10 Pages
Knowledge Management & Information Systems Wordcount: 1,971

As ‘by virtue of its tacitness, inimitability and immobility’ (Scarbrough & Shan, 1999, p.359) knowledge is increasingly considered to give a competitive advantage. We can identify two types of knowledge: explicit and tacit knowledge. Explicit knowledge refers to the ‘know what’ that can be codified hence, that can be communicated and diffused (Scarbrough, 2011). Tacit knowledge, on the other hand is ‘The know-how’s’. They are ‘hard to verbalize because they are expressed through action-based skills and cannot be reduced to rules and recipes.’ (Scarbrough, 2012). Due to it’s context specific and personal nature,
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Knowledge Management (« KM ») does not particularly involve IT systems, but the IT systems can support it (Voelpel et al., 2005). We can distinguish three ways in which IT can enable KM to be effective. The first is through the ‘coding and sharing of best practices’, the second through the creation of directories and the third by installing knowledge networks. In this part, we will see how these IT systems support knowledge management.

Knowledge Sharing & Transfer Indeed, Information Systems have enabled companies to set up collaborative forums where geographicaly dispersed employees may share their knowledge. A collaborative forum, also called a Community of Practice (CoP) enables people with similar interests to share knowledge and best practices. At Rio Tinto, an extraction company with operations in forty different countries, when an employee working in the Bengalla mine in Australia experienced a breakdown failure on a machine, he wrote about the problem in one of the company’s collaborative forums and within hours had a response from a Californian colleague who had experienced a similar problem. This allowed the problem to be solved rapidly whereas it had taken their Californian colleagues a year to find the solution. This saved the Bengalla mine substantial time and money.

Knowledge Storage These CoPs, also enable companies to store knowledge in addition to sharing. Capturing

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