Analysing and Studying knowledge management to help the organization

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Abstract:

"Knowledge is the most valuable gift that a person can receive", said Indra Nooyi, the chairman of PepsiCo, one of the most successful corporation in the world. This is so true that knowledge is very important not only for individual but also for organizations. It is the invisible tool to change the human community. That's why most of the organizations have been trying to manage their knowledge asset in order to maximize their profitability.

In this report, readers will be presented a clear understanding about what knowledge is, types of knowledge, how it benefits to organizations plus their employees, leadership style and managerial skills required for Chief Knowledge Officers.

In order to describe more about Knowledge Management Cycle in the real life practices, the last part of this report will be a case study took from my internship project, which is about BrandBox Company and how it applied the Wiig Knowledge Cycle to manage its own knowledge.

Table of contents:

Introduction

Analysis

Type of knowledge

Tacit knowledge

Explicit knowledge

Knowledge Management benefits for organizations

Leadership and managerial skills required for knowledge manager

Case study

Conclusion

References

Introduction:

Knowledge is a very important property that everyone has, in general; and especially for organizations to manage it in order to develop themselves. Knowledge management is the key factor to be developed, productive, and to be successful in the business market. Every organization has its own knowledge assets to be managed and mastered. In the rapid changing environment and competitive market nowadays, organizations need to understand clearly the importance of knowledge management so that they can survive and succeed.

This report will show the readers the clear understanding about what knowledge is and how important knowledge management affects companies.

Analysis:

First of all, lets discus about knowledge. In this booming information technology world these days, there are many definition about what knowledge is. According to Nonaka and Takeuchi, knowledge is justified true belief, and it is different from data and information. There are many more definitions from many others, but they still have the same basic concept which is the experiences, awareness that people had received from their past experiences. Knowledge is conducted by data, which is raw material such as numbers, words, unprocessed material… etc. and information, which is created by filtered data. For examples, students' enrollment to Raffles International College: when the students fill the form of enrollment, they have to put their names, phone numbers, address, email address… all of these are data. And after that, Raffles gets the number of enrolling students for the new term; these are information that conducted from the previous data. Thus, we can come to the figure [1] of transferring from data to knowledge like following:

Meaning to say, knowledge can be created by combining all these processes, or it can also be conceived through real experiences, communication, practices.

Type of knowledge:

Although knowledge is a huge resource, but there are still existing two types of knowledge: tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge.

Tacit knowledge:

Tacit knowledge is intangible. In the field of knowledge management, the concept of tacit knowledge is referred to a knowledge that is known by an individual and it is difficult to communicate to others [2] . For examples, to ride a motorbike or to drive a car, a person needs to practice with a motorbike or a car in order to be able to drive it; this cannot be learned from a book or from another person without practicing. If an individual only reads a book, he/she just knows how to drive in "theory", and this knowledge is considered tacit knowledge.

This is true when an individual's thought is difficult to be explained to other people or to be drawn, written down into documents. Tacit knowledge can be conceived through an individual's practices, learning, or working experiences [3] . We can have a simple example as you read a document or a book, are you even aware of the character? The answer is not, you probably skimmed over the words without any notice how they grouped; because you already know what that meant. That is tacit knowledge.

Explicit knowledge

In contrast with tacit knowledge, explicit knowledge is tangible; normally it is contented in documents, files, books, images, movies, magazines… etc. it is easy to share and communicate with the others. In an organization, explicit knowledge exists in the forms of documents such as contracts, customers' information, policies of the company… etc. and it can be built, used, and shared by the employees in the whole organization.

In an organization, in the same case with the same tacit knowledge, each employee will have different way to solve the problem; as everyone has their own knowledge, experiences and different perspective so that they can have their own advantage and also for the whole organization. Thus, it is very important for them to manage the knowledge in order to maximize productivity and profitability.

Knowledge management benefits for organizations:

There are many questions pop up in the managers, CEO, CKO (Chief Knowledge Officer) when their company does not working properly, underperforming or the role of Knowledge Management is not considered as important such as Why do many corporations fail when they face continuous changes? How to improve the performance of the company? Or even How to motivate the employees?

The important factor here is how to manage the different knowledge of the whole organization from both tacit and explicit knowledge, and then they can take full advantage of the knowledge in order to maximize the organization's productivity. That is why managing knowledge plays a very important role in the company. There are many definition of knowledge management, according to Debowski [4] , knowledge management is the process of identifying, capturing, organizing and disseming the intellectual assets that are critical to the organization's long-term performance.

When Knowledge is well managed in an organization, the result will have much positive effect to the organization's profitability, improving productivity, decreasing the unexpected problems and also the employees. It will create more chances for the employees to improve and also motivate them to have more effort into work. In addition of the COP (community of practice) for the organization, employees can share their knowledge, working experience, skills about the jobs and also to create a better working environment.

Leadership and managerial skills required for knowledge manager (CKO):

As knowledge plays a very important role in the organizations, and managing knowledge is also an important job for the managers. To convert the employees' tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge or into the organization's knowledge so that everyone can share it that requires the deliberate of the whole organization's system. However, to operate that system is not easy; thus, we can see the role of the Knowledge Manager (chief knowledge officer) is extremely important.

A Chief Knowledge Officer is an organizational leader, he responsible for ensuring that the organization maximizes the value it achieves through knowledge. A CKO is also responsible for managing intellectual capital and the custodian of knowledge management practices in an organization [5] . His/her role is much broader than Chief Information Officer, besides creating, sharing, and developing knowledge in the organization; the CKO must use their knowledge first, then motivate the employees to contribute their knowledge for the benefit of the whole organization. Moreover, in order to take that big responsibility, knowledge managers must have their skills through a wide variety of areas. They definitely have to be good at understanding the whole picture of the organizational situation, and also personal skills such as communication, interpersonal, negotiation skills, and listen to others to understand more about the employees then keep them motivated. Knowledge managers who can successfully combine these skills will help a lot in saving the time and cost for the organization and they will be excellent agents for the organization that they work for [6] .

Case study:

BrandBox is a small company located in Binh Thanh District, HCMC. BrandBox (used to be known as dLuxy) was found in 2008 and currently a member of worldwide partners Inc. (WPI), a world's largest owner-operated agency network. Working and developing ideas with international standards, plus deep knowledge and understanding of the Vietnamese culture, BrandBox's core business is to create and develop brand identity, advertising and graphics design. Services that the Company is delivering to customers are: Brand identity system, brainstorming advertising idea, and creative graphics design.

Through 3 months of internship at the Company, I found that the structure of BrandBox is very simple:

Due to its small size, there're only 3 departments are: Marketing, Design, and Human Resource that will report directly to the CEO. Marketing department is divided into many smaller groups. As many small size companies, BrandBox has their own knowledge to be managed. The CEO recruited mainly internship students; they are good students, young, smart, and creative from national or international universities. They were grouped together to work on the projects under Marketing department. There, the intern students will be responsible and take care of all the processes of the projects. Once a project received with the deadline given, all the groups have to brainstorm, looking for information, planning for the processes and then present to the CEO and other departments their ideas to get the project done with the most effective and efficient way. By doing this, BrandBox has saved a lot for the cost of hiring employees as most of internship students will be working without any payment. Furthermore, the results and information they received from the students are really good quality and relevant. For the students, although they won't receive any payment for all the work they have done, but they have learned a lot of things that they could never receive in school. As I mentioned above, the most effective way to share the knowledge is the Community Of Practice, by working together in groups, student can share the information, experiences, and knowledge with each other, also improve themselves in the same time. In my own opinion, as my assigned project worked out really well, I have learned a lot from the internship period and this is a great idea for the companies to recruit internship students, it not only benefits the companies but also the students as well.

Experience, training, education.

KM system, team brainstorming.

In people, tangible forms.

Use

Pool

Hold

BuildIn the field of knowledge management, BrandBox can apply the Wiig Knowledge Cycle [7] as following:

Work context, work process.

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In my opinion, the first step of the Wiig knowledge Cycle, Build Knowledge was applied successfully as the Company has some training courses for the new intern students to get used to the company policies, and to be familiar with the jobs. The company's size is small, then the employees can get to know others easier, then they can share their knowledge together. The other steps of the model was also well implemented, knowledge of the students and the employees is used properly, and in an effective way. Plus the teams and groups working environment is really an advantage for all the employees to brainstorm, share their knowledge, ideas, and experience with each other.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, throughout this report, Knowledge Management takes a really important place in an organization. If knowledge is well managed, it will bring benefit to both organizations and their employees, saving time, reduce cost, improve productivity, profitability and the human relationship as well. In addition, Knowledge Management is the key factor that affect directly to the organizations; any company that has good knowledge management system, it will survive and develop in this global competitive business world.

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