Although the value of knowledge Management has been assumed over the years, only recently has it become a major focus area for theory building, research, and Knowledge creation. This review article examines the contemporary practices in Knowledge Management, Global Perspective, key challenges and issues in Knowledge Management, role of Knowledge Management in organizational learning and also the scope and affectivity of contemporary practices in this filed. The application of Resource Based View and Knowledge Based View in relation with the competitive advantage for the organization has been explained. This review concludes with recommendations for future research and effective application. New concept of individual willingness for knowledge creation and its use in Knowledge Management has also been suggested in the current review.
Keywords: Knowledge Management, Challenges, Scope, Individual willingness for Knowledge Creation, organizational learning.
The nature and grounded roots of the Knowledge can be studied under the umbrella of Epistemology. This discipline is about the study of nature and grounds of knowledge. According to the definition knowledge is "justified belief". Knowledge coalesce the information with individual, group, and organizational experience and judgment, and it rivets making a bound from the understanding of nature of relations and patterns which may cause and can guide the occurrence of action. There are further two types of knowledge which include "Explicit" and "Tacit" Knowledge. The explicit type of knowledge can be referred as to be the codified knowledge, which can be transferred and communicated in a formal and systematic language. On the other hand, tacit knowledge is comparatively personal, context specific or indigenous and can note be generalized (Holftsede, 1984). This type of knowledge is also difficult to sanctify and is less communicative. Tacit knowledge in its nature is personal, related to a specific task or job, contextual and is difficult to document however it is very effectively operate-able and is very practicably applicable in the mind of user. (Brown & Duguid,1991;1998;Alavi & Leidner,1999) .There are five types of knowledge (1) Acquired knowledge; this type of knowledge comes from outside the organization. Depending upon the requirement and needs of the cases, an organization purchases the knowledge from any outside source. (2) Dedicated resources are one of the a major source of knowledge and under this source, an organization sets up a separate department which is generally the R & D department, this department is supposed to work over the knowledge management and creation on a specific purpose. (3) Fusion is the type of knowledge which is created by the collusion of diverse workforce or team which is having different perspectives. To create this type of knowledge, the team/ people work on the same project. (4) The knowledge created through "Adaptation" is a knowledge that is a result of response towards the new processes and technologies in the market place. (5) Knowledge networking is the type of knowledge which is created by the formal and informal knowledge sharing of the individuals. The process of Knowledge Management includes four vital steps which are firstly, creations of Knowledge. Secondly, organizing the created knowledge, thirdly, access to the created knowledge and as a last step there is use of created knowledge.
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Either its internal or external knowledge, management of the Knowledge is one of the key concerns of the organization in the current era of globalization. There is no limit to the knowledge and organizations need to be in a position where the current and previously created knowledge is available in such a presentable form so that it can be used by the indigenous practitioners as well as it can be used as a bookmark by the international and global cultures. Current study has used the Resource Based View as a base theory to describe the concept of Knowledge Management as a competitive advantage for the organization.
The purpose of this paper is to bring together different approached towards Knowledge Management and to relate it with the current global scenario. The change in the practices of knowledge management with the change in the innovation, globalization and digitalization of the organizational infrastructure is worth studying. There are number of factors which determine the implementation of contemporary practices in Knowledge Management. The challenges and issues related to the Knowledge Management are the key focus of this paper. This paper aims to answer the following major questions, to what extend the Knowledge Management works as a strategic partner for the organizations, what is the role of Knowledge Management in determining the competitive advantage for the organization. This study also aims to identify the key challenges and issues in the Knowledge Management perspective. The role of individuals' behavior and personality in the effective Knowledge Management within the organizations is one of the key strengths of the study. The factors which have been identified as a key challenge in the Knowledge Management process have never been studied before as the available studies have been presented in the literature review. The reason behind focusing on the individual issues and knowledge creation issues is that these are the building blocks towards Knowledge Management that is why the focus is on these issues. The remedy to these issues and challenges will ultimately contribute to the improvement of overall Knowledge Management process. The need for this type of study has been identified by (King, Marks & McCoy 2005) in the study the unanswered questions has been identified which include the further exploration of challenges which hinder the Knowledge Management practices of the organization.
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The grass root analysis of the issues and challenges for the organizations in the knowledge management field has been presented in this study. This will contribute in the existing body of knowledge in the field of Knowledge Management. This is an effort o present the approaches and perspectives of different cultures so that a global overview can be seen under one umbrella. Using the inside out approach the challenges and factors from the grass root level have been studied so that it becomes easy to understand the concept for theorists and at the same time the practitioners can identify the challenges which might be creating the hindrance in the effective Knowledge Management of the organizations.
Organizational Infrastructure Frame Work 1:
Grass Root Analysis
Frame Work 2:
Knowledge Management versus Organizational learning:
The research on knowledge management raises the question about the organizations' perception about knowledge management and organizational learning. These two phenomenon are interrelated and strongly influence each other. However, these are not the same. The trend of Knowledge Management practices within an organization shows the level of organizational learning. This shows that organization learning is an ongoing process and Knowledge Management is a sub part of it which helps in the organizational learning. If the organizational Knowledge Management practices are mature and well up to date with the global trends then this is an indicator of organizational learning.
Knowledge Management as a Competitive Advantage; an application of RBV/KBV
The main argument of Resource Based View is that the resources of an organization should be specific to the firm; they should be unique and un-imitable. If this concept of competitive advantage is extended then it leads to the Knowledge Based View. The main argument of KBV (Knowledge Based View) is that the knowledge that can be used as a competitive advantage should have the following characteristics; it should be unique, it should be specific and un-imitable. Based on this argument, those organizations which create research based knowledge or they use the dedicated approach towards knowledge creation they create culture specific and indigenous knowledge which adds to the global body of knowledge and thus is used as an acknowledged copyright to study the global impacts of the phenomenon and concepts. This factor will be the internal capability of the organization because it is well documented that the external sources of knowledge creation can easily be emitted by the competitors.
To explain it further, the capability of an organization towards Knowledge Management here is referred to as an ability to assemble and organize resources related to Knowledge Management in combination with other resources and capabilities. The vital resources related to Knowledge Management are classified as the technical resources of Knowledge Management and Social Resources of Knowledge Management. The prior form of organizational resources is a composition of assets related to Information Technology (IT) and technical databases and platforms to share the created knowledge. These type of resources ad to the facilitation in the collection, storage and exchange of created knowledge; these also bring together the flaws and shortcomings in the created Knowledge, finally these resources ad to the creation of new knowledge through conversion of previous knowledge as a source of creating new knowledge.
"Organizational Social Resources generally comprise the sum of the actual and potential resources available that derive from the relationships possessed by a human or in a social unit. the critical dimensions of social KM resources including: (1) the structural KM resource, such as an organization may encourage or inhibit knowledge management, (2) the cultural KM resource, such as an appropriate culture encourages human to create and share knowledge within and (3) human KM resource, such as employees task knowledge not only have a deep knowledge of a discipline, but also know how their discipline interacts with other disciplines. Organizations with strong social KM resources are able to (1) integrate the KM and business planning processes more effectively, (2) develop reliable and innovation applications that support the business needs of the firm faster than competition, (3) predict future business needs of the firm and innovate valuable new product features before competitors. Structural, cultural, and human KM resources typically evolve over long period of time through the accumulation of organizational operation"(Davenport, De Long & Beers, 1997;1998) (Hansen, Nohria & Tierney,1999) (Zack,1999;2000) (Brown & Duguid,1998) (Davenport , De Long & Beers ,1998) (Davenport & Prusak,1997)
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Knowledge and competence can be acquired by admitting new human with desirable capabilities. In particular, knowledge management capabilities embodied in human are most often associated with structural KM resource or cultural KM resource capabilities. The resource-based view of KM suggests that firms can and do differentiate themselves on the basis of their KM resource. A firm's technical KM resource, it's social KM resource, and its ability to leverage KM for intangible competitive serve as firm-specific resources, which in combination create a firm-wide KM capability. The use of both types of resources can bring the competitive advantage for the organization. As the RBV suggest that internal capabilities can be used as a competitive advantage.
Challenges in Knowledge Management:
The review of previous literature on Knowledge Management (Alavi & Leidner, 1999; Brancheau, Janz & Wetherbe,1996; Clayton,1997; Hahn & Subramani,2000; Subramani & Subramani,1999; Ichijo & Nonaka,2006) suggests many challenges which contribute towards the hindrance in the effective knowledge Management of an organization. These factors include "the focus of knowledge management process should be related to the strategic partnership towards achieving competitive advantage (2) the importance of knowledge in being up to date and current is also a very important challenge in effective Knowledge Management (3) the personality plays an important role in knowledge sharing of the individuals but at the same time motivation towards sharing the knowledge is a vital component. If there would be no significance and motivation for the individual in sharing the knowledge then there would be a lower level of knowledge sharing amongst the organizations and individuals. The availability of proper systems towards the management of knowledge is one of the key challenges for Knowledge Management. There is a need of system design so that it can show the cost benefit to the organizations and this way they may use the knowledge management practices as a sustainable source of competitive advantage. Innovation is a vital factor that helps in the overall process of Knowledge Management. This factor contributes towards Knowledge Management practices in such a way that it helps in the construction and personification of new knowledge, knowledge dissemination to the stakeholders internally (within the organization) and externally (outside the organization).
However, the grass root analysis of the issues and challenges for the organizations in the knowledge management field has been presented in this study. This will contribute in the existing body of knowledge in the field of Knowledge Management. There are number of factors which may affect the knowledge management within any culture and organization. Firstly, the cultural norms and best practices being used in the organizations are not as easy to change as they seem to be. This is because generally, people want to maintain the status quo. There is a higher level of reluctance in the use of modern technology amongst those nations who are not very much advance in technology and still have not adopted the modern practices in the management of operations and knowledge being created in the organizations. This way, the reluctance in usage of modern technology is one of the key issues in the knowledge management and its global application (Nunes, Annansingh,Eaglestone & Wakefield,2005).
The generation gap in the workforce which is currently operating in the organizations is also a key challenge for the organizations; this hinders the progress and advancement of modern practices of knowledge management. Those generations (generation Y and Z) who have born and grown up in seeing and using the technology they find it comfortable and applicable to use the modern means of technology in the knowledge creation, retention and over all presentation. The examples of this kind of knowledge creation can be seen in forms of e-forums and columns available and every kind of information specifically organizational knowledge is also present in form of e-newsletters and illumes. Whereas, putting it differently, the generation x finds it quite discomforting to read the e-newspapers and similarly those who are working at the key posts in the Knowledge Management departments they find it of the mind frame to use the modern technology to create, generate and share knowledge through modern technology.
Organizations are composed of the individuals and thus they operate as a grass root for the creations and presentation of knowledge. The behaviors of individuals towards creation of knowledge, sharing of knowledge and presentation of the knowledge are important factors which play an important role in the knowledge management. If there would be a cynic approach behind the created knowledge and a negative facet of the coin would be presented then the global image about the presented idea/concept/organization or Nation would become same as it has been portrayed. According to current situation individual doesn't go for the interdepartmental knowledge management because they avoid to the circumstances of share responsibilities to create a hub which can improve the infrastructure. Knowledge management itself branch out to every single section of the organization and it needs to trim and in shape from every single branch. Reason is lack of motivation and organizational back up for the employees to feel more secure to work more independently and with astonishing effort.
Knowledge management has been explained in the context of organizational performance by the variety of researchers (Choi & Lee, 2002; Lang, 2001; McAdam, 2000). The results of these studies argue that the tacit knowledge creation approach is found to have a better relationship with the performance of the organization. The characteristics of tacit knowledge are related to the soft skills and it is the individual who possesses the soft skills and represents the tacit knowledge of the organization. The capabilities of individual are major challenge for the organization. Hiring the right person and retaining the workforce which is the best amongst the cut throat competition is the key challenge in today's era.
Second major factor is that since experience brings the perfection, those individuals who are experienced in knowledge creation, they may not be able to adapt to, or may not be willing to adapt to the change in the practices of Knowledge Management from conventional to modern practices which are more intended to technology and globalization. The importance of IT and technology in the Knowledge Management process has been explained by (Gold, Malhotra & Segars; 2001). Handling on with this reluctance can be a major challenge for the organization. In this case, the performance of the individual will be below the mark and thus the overall organizational performance will also be under the umbrella of question mark.
The type of organizational culture strongly influences the level of Knowledge Management in n organization. The organizational culture is worth mentioning in this context of Knowledge Management because the organizational cultures are outcome of decades and being strategic in nature are not easy to change. In such case if the organization would not be able to plan the Knowledge Management Process as its strategic objective and resource, the desired outcome of using Knowledge Management as a competitive advantage cannot be achieved. The types of structures and their relation with Knowledge Management Interventions have been explained by (Lang (2001).
In the constructivist types of organizations the interactions amongst the human beings are entrepreneurial in nature and the structure of organizations is flat. There is richness in the interchange and close collaboration in the efforts to deal with ambiguous situations is there. The contradictory viewpoints can be raised and discussed without fear of being ridiculed. These types of organizations create internal knowledge and approach is inside out approach.
Second type of culture is bureaucratic culture where organizational cultures are rigidly bureaucratic; exchanges n any information and ideas "are formal and hierarchical with limited access or participation". At board meetings, video conferences, or shared whiteboards, there is constrained exchange of complex knowledge within an accepted paradigm. The outcome is one ``authorized'' version of knowledge that is imposed top down on the rest of the firm. Thinking out-of-the-box would be the exception, not the rule.
The third type of organizational culture is aggregative "under certain conditions, ad hoc, low accountability discussions among participants with weak social ties occur in an a synoptic, asynchronous, random manner and the interchange of knowledge may be technical or professional in nature and there may be leakage of knowledge across organizational boundaries. Quadrant-IV transitive: in highly administrative settings, there can frequently be contextually-attenuated, instrumental exchange of information that is easily rendered explicit, especially facts and figures. E-mails and memos could be widely used. There may be the programmatic transmission of authorized knowledge".
Furthermore, the factors which ad to the hindrance in the Knowledge Management Process in an organization are (1) Inadequacy in the maintenance of organizational relationships, (2) Insufficiency between the linkage of knowledge management with the strategic vision and plan of the organization, (3) lack of valuation of the contribution of the Knowledge Management practices towards the organizational performance and success. (4) "A lack of holism in knowledge management efforts" and (5) Deficiencies in English verbal skills. This is again relating to the knowledge management capabilities of the individual. The perfect would be the individual and job match the higher would be the efficiency and effectiveness in the knowledge management practices.
Innovation is a vital factor that helps in the overall process of Knowledge Management. This factor contributes towards Knowledge Management practices in such a way that it helps in the construction and personification of new knowledge, knowledge dissemination to the stakeholders internally (within the organization) and externally (outside the organization) (Nunes, Annansingh,Eaglestone & Wakefield,2005).
Lack of Indigenous Knowledge Creation example of current business study's methodology:
The concept of reinventing the wheel is common amongst the cultures. Specifically the knowledge created in the developed cultures is modeled and generalized by those cultures which are less research oriented and under developed so far. This factor hinders in the usage of Knowledge Management as a competitive advantage. This approach is technically the acquisition of knowledge through external sources and it is contradictory with the main argument of the RBV and KBV. Thus lack of indigenous Knowledge creation is one of the major challenges in the growth and sustainability of Knowledge Management. The best example of this type of need is that global forums are now working on the agenda of rethinking business education. The set rules and pattern of education in business has now become ineffective and the methodology has collapsed. As a result the graduates suffer from a lot of ethical and professional shortcomings. The indigenization of the concepts ad creation of indigenous knowledge is the best suited remedy to the above mentioned problem because, it is well documented fact that the knowledge created in one culture cannot be generalized to all the cultural setups because of the higher level of variation in the cultures (Holfsetede,1984).
Conclusion and Future Research Directions
The purpose of this paper was twofold, firstly, it was attempted to relate the importance of Knowledge Management as a competitive advantage. For this purpose, Resource Based View and its extension Knowledge Based View theory was used. According to this theory, the internal/ dedicated knowledge creation of an organization can play a role of competitive advantage. This study is an effort to firstly clarify the concept of Knowledge Management and organizational learning and secondly, to bring forth the key challenges and issues of Knowledge Management. The key challenges which have been identified in the current study are related to the very basic concepts of Knowledge Management.
The global perspective and trend of research on the challenges of Knowledge Management shows that major challenges of Knowledge Management are (1) the focus of knowledge management process should be related to the strategic partnership towards achieving competitive advantage (2) the importance of knowledge in being up to date and current is also a very important challenge in effective Knowledge Management (3) the personality plays an important role in knowledge sharing of the individuals but at the same time motivation towards sharing the knowledge is a vital component. If there would be no significance and motivation for the individual in sharing the knowledge then there would be a lower level of knowledge sharing amongst the organizations and individuals.
The availability of proper systems towards the management of knowledge is one of the key challenges for Knowledge Management. There is a need of system design so that it can show the cost benefit to the organizations and this way they may use the knowledge management practices as a sustainable source of competitive advantage. Innovation is a vital factor that helps in the overall process of Knowledge Management. This factor contributes towards Knowledge Management practices in such a way that it helps in the construction and personification of new knowledge, knowledge dissemination to the stakeholders internally (within the organization) and externally (outside the organization).
There is always a challenge for the growing and even well developed phenomenon. There are barriers for the Knowledge Management as well. The task of knowledge management is to identify such barriers and to overcome them. There are limitations of current study and we have proposed the limitations of this study as a future research direction for the researchers and scholars. Firstly, the approach of our paper is theoretical to further test the validity and conceptual understanding of the Knowledge Management Practices; the empirical test should be conducted. The importance of knowledge management for the sustainability of an organization is well documented; however to further explore the ingenious practices and Knowledge Management challenges, the qualitative study should be conducted keeping in view the current model.
Knowledge Management is effective and very vital in the global perspective so there is a need to conduct the cross sectional and cross cultural empirical surveys so that the cultural challenges and difference in the level of challenges due to cultures can be documented. Whatever the scenario may be, it is always the individuals who are solely responsible and key determent of knowledge creation and management. The concepts of Individual Knowledge creation ability and individual knowledge sharing behavior should be studied in the context of organizational performance. Differential study on public and private interventions on Knowledge Management practices and processes should be conducted across cultures.