Knowledge Management: from theory to practice

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What is knowledge management?

A knowledge management, also known by the term Knowledge Management, refers to a corporate management system in which knowledge is vital within the company. Since the 1990 decade, knowledge management has been at the forefront of processes of people management.

The best way to understand what knowledge management is is to pay attention to its characteristics that should not be understood as an end in itself, but as a means of achieving the purpose of the organization that implements it.

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It was from the twentieth century that information and knowledge became fundamental to the development of society. This contributed to the deepening of themes in various fields of knowledge, especially for organizations. It is often the case that the vast majority of companies practice knowledge management without even being aware of it.

One of the ways to ensure the competitiveness of organizations in the market and improve their performance is to implement knowledge management. Such knowledge is necessary because it ensures satisfactory internal communication. However, it is appropriate for the project manager to explain to all employees what they are and what they do and the importance of doing it.

A knowledge management should become part of the organization's culture so that all employees understand their need. Success and benefits in implementing knowledge management in any type of organization is only possible if the organizational culture is positive in relation to generation, sharing, socialization and knowledge transfer.

Why is knowledge management important?

First, knowledge management makes it retained in companies regardless of employee turnover. Especially for companies with high turnover (turnover), investing in knowledge management tools and processes is critical.

Knowledge management is what allows, for example, that there is a change in the team of a project without any loss of information. Or that a mistake in a project or contract is not repeated over the years.

The types of human knowledge

knowledge managementKnowledge Management: from theory to practice 1

Second Nonaka and Takeuchi, human knowledge can be classified into two types:

  • o explicit knowledge which is systematic and formal, and can be transferred and shared by written communication or computer systems, grammatical statements, specifications, mathematical expressions, manuals, among others. This kind of knowledge can be simply reproduced or transmitted among an organization's employees. The authors also mention that explicit knowledge has: "the explicit format, relatively easy knowledge to encode, transfer and reuse; formalized in texts, graphs, tables, figures, drawings, diagrams, diagrams, etc., easily organized in databases and in general publications, both in paper and in electronic format. "
  • o tacit knowledge is subdivided into two different forms which may be technical, which emphasizes the abilities or abilities acquired by individual and cognitive knowledge, which are "such common mental schemas, beliefs, and perceptions that we take them for granted."

Following Nonaka's thinking, the two types of knowledge are integral to organizational knowledge, the tacit is primordial for the understanding of the explicit, through dynamic interaction between both.

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The 4 knowledge conversion steps

4 knowledge conversion steps

According to Nonaka and Takeuchi, tacit and explicit knowledge complement each other. In this sense and based on the assumption that knowledge is created through the interaction between tacit and explicit knowledge, scholars have proposed four different ways of converting knowledge:

  1. Socialization: of tacit knowledge in tacit knowledge. Socialization is a process of sharing experiences, so the creation of tacit knowledge is based on other tacit knowledge, such as mental models or shared technical skills. The secret to acquiring tacit knowledge is experience. Without some form of shared experience, it is extremely difficult for a person to project himself into the process of reasoning of another individual.
  2. Outsourcing: of tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge. Outsourcing is a process of transforming tacit knowledge into explicit concepts. It is through dialogue or collective reflection that the mode of externalization of the conversion of knowledge is usually brought about. Among the four modes of knowledge conversion, outsourcing is the key to the creation of knowledge, because it creates new and explicit concepts from tacit knowledge.
  3. Combination: of explicit knowledge in explicit knowledge The combination is a process of composition of concepts that involve the combination of different sets of explicit knowledge in a knowledge system. Individuals exchange and combine knowledge through documents, meetings, e-mails, etc. and reconfigures existing knowledge through the addition, classification, combination and categorization of explicit knowledge, which may lead to the creation of new knowledge.
  4. Internalization: of explicit knowledge in tacit knowledge Internalization is the process of incorporating explicit knowledge into tacit knowledge. When they are internalized on the basis of tacit knowledge of individuals in the form of mental models or know-how shared techniques, experiences through socialization, outsourcing and combination become valuable assets, influence the way people act, think and see the world. However, in order to enable the creation of organizational knowledge, tacit accumulated knowledge needs to be socialized with the other members of the organization, thus initiating a new knowledge creation spiral.

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