Knowledge management

As with information management, there is no agreement on what constitutes knowledge management (Schlögl, 2005). There are many different definitions of knowledge management and there is a conceptual confusion of what KM precisely is. For example, knowledge management has been defined as follows:

'... the process that govern the creation, dissemination, and utilization of knowledge…' (Newman, 1992).

'… managing the organization’s knowledge by creating, structuring, dissemination and applying it to enhance organizational performance…' (O’Leary, 1998).

‘…process to acquire, organize, and communicate knowledge of employees so others may be more effective in their work…' (Alavi and Leidner, 1999).

Harry Scarborough et al (1999, p.1) define knowledge management as “any process or practice of creating, acquiring, capturing, sharing and using knowledge, wherever it resides, to enhance learning and performance in organizations”.

Hedlund (1994) suggests that knowledge management addresses the generation, representation, storage, transfer, transformation, application, embedding, and protecting of organisational knowledge.

Dalkir (2005, p.3) notes that KM was initially defined as the process of applying a systematic approach to the capture, structure, management, and dissemination of knowledge thoughout an organisation in order to work faster, reuse best practices, and reduce costly rework from project to project.

It is believed that knowledge management is a paradigm shift in thinking while information management is a better filing system. Koenig (2008) uses the old metaphor of the iceberg where explicit or written knowledge is the tip of the iceberg, information management is management of the tip whereas knowledge management is thinking about the whole berg and how to get more of it above water.

Knowledge management deals with what's in your head (people, tacit) while information management deals with what's in documents (explicit). Knowledge management is about learning how to ride a bike with your dad while information management is about reading a 150-page method on "how to ride a bike in 10 lessons" with some illustrations (


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