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Knowledge Management in Higher Institution

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Introduction

The report will focus on the role and the importance of knowledge management in Higher institution. Knowledge is a valuable asset to any organisation and the ability to manage knowledge is crucial in today' s knowledge economy (Maier, 2007). The creation and diffusion of knowledge have become increasingly important factors in competitiveness. The advent of the Internet, has made unlimited sources of knowledge available to everyone. In other words, for any organisation in any -industry to successful in today's challenging organisational environment, the institution or company need to learn from their past errors and not reinvent the wheel (Laudon and Laudon, 2004). This report will highlight the importance of knowledge management in higher institution by focusing on how knowledge is transfer manage and process. In addition, the researcher will highlight how data, information and knowledge are used to facilitate learning. Finally, the report will also emphasise on how KM tool and techniques can be used to solve the challenges identified in the organisation

Role of knowledge in Organisations

In the 21st century business environment, knowledge is crucial to the success of any organisation. According to Guzman (2009), knowledge is facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education. The role of knowledge is crucial in the learning environment. Lecturer impact their knowledge on students through the education, experience and skills they have acquired over the year. Without knowledge, higher institutions like Newham University Centre will not be able to meet the needs of their students or the criteria of the awarding body. In context of business organisation, knowledge plays an important in improving innovation capability of an enterprise, increase business efficiency and facilitate sharing tacit knowledge that helps organisation to minimise corporate memory due to attrition and retirement. In addition, it helps businesses to identify critical resources and critical areas of knowledge. Effective management of knowledge within an organisation will enable organisation to understand of customers' needs and the business environment as well as the skills and experience of their employee (Laudon and Laudon, 2004).

The importance of KM in organisations

It is essential to understand that knowledge management is not only about storing documents nor only the responsivity of technology project or information technology. Although, knowledge is facilitated by technology but it is more about people, culture and strategy. It is about increasing people skills and expertise through sharing. According to Skyrme (1999), knowledge management is the explicit and systematic management of vital knowledge and its associated processes of creating, gathering, organizing, diffusion, use and exploitation, in pursuit of organizational objectives. Gao, Li and Clarke (2008) KM as a tool for planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling of people, processes and systems in the organization to ensure that its knowledge-related assets are improved and effectively employed.

The important of knowledge is immeasurable, it makes it easier for organisations like NUC to find relevant information and resources, better and faster decision making, and to communicate important information widely and faster to employees and management. In addition, it helps businesses to avoid making the same mistakes twice, make organisation's best problem-solving experiences reusable as well as stimulating innovation and growth. For higher institution, KM can help students and lecturers to have access to data in a timely manner and allow them to manipulate, format, and tailor data to their needs. Additionally, KM allow higher institutions to support a culture of continuous improvement, which can provide the appropriate mechanisms for higher education to deal with a climate of increasing accountability

1.2 Describe the differences between the terms data, information and knowledge.

Data are raw facts and figures that has no meaning on their own, while Information is data which has been processed, and has now got some meaning behind it, and knowledge is an understanding of the information which has been given (Gray, Jeffery and Shao, 2008). Knowledge is a fluid mix of framed experience, values, contextual information, expert insight, and grounded intuition that provides an environment and framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information. It originates and is applied in the minds of knowers. In organisations, it often becomes embedded not only in documents or repositories, but also in organizational routines, processes, practices and norms (Gray, Jeffery and Shao, 2008).

Knowledge_pyramid.png

Figure 1.0 Knowledge, Data and Information Laudon and Laudon, 2004      

In contrast with knowledge, data is raw. It simply exists and has no significance beyond its existence and it does not have meaning of itself. Information on the other hand, allows an individual or organisation to expand their knowledge beyond the range of their senses. Organisation capture data in information and share it with so that employees or people can access it at different times (Gray, Jeffery and Shao, 2008).

The main difference is that data is made up of raw facts such as employee information, wages, and hours worked, barcode numbers, tracking numbers or sale numbers, information is the interpretation of bits of data in order to form a greater picture of raw facts and Knowledge is "an awareness and understanding of a set of information and the ways that information can be used to support a specific task or reach a decision" (Stair, Reynolds and Chesney, 2008,p.6).

1.3 Define the Knowledge Management cycle (transfer, use, creation), the types of knowledge and the concept of organizational learning.

Knowledge management cycle is a process of transforming information into knowledge within an organization. It illustrates how knowledge is capture, stored, processed and distributed in an organization.

Knowledge Management Cycle, Source:  McIntyre, Gauvin and Waruszynski, 2003

Knowledge Management Cycle, Source: Laudon and Laudon, 2004

As shown in the above figure, the knowledge management cycle has six steps. The six steps are discussed as follows:

  1. Share and Learn: The sharing of knowledge in order to facilitate learning is the first step in knowledge management life-cycle. Sharing of knowledge is one in which people exchange their views and ideas on a particular domain.
  2. Create: Knowledge is created by sharing of ideas by people working in an organization (Patriotta, 2004, p. 10). Better sharing leads to better ideas thereby creating a valuable knowledge repository.
  3. Capture and Acquire: Capture and acquisition of knowledge is one in which the knowledge created is collected in huge numbers and stored in a repository.
  4. Organize: Organizing is the next step to capturing of knowledge. The captured content is organized using a framework or knowledge model. The model reflects the elements of knowledge and flows that are embedded inherently in the specific processes and culture of organization.
  5. Access, Search and Disseminate: The organized knowledge is put in such a way that it could be accessed, searched and disseminated by the users working in the organization.
  6. Use and Discover: The last step is to make use of the knowledge acquired in solving problems in real time.

As seen above, the key to knowledge management lies in sharing of knowledge. Sharing the knowledge increases the innovation and improves the overall quality of work. Thus, proper knowledge management helps organizations in developing the skill set of employees and improving their overall efficiency at work

Explain why knowledge Management should consider people, management and technology in an integrated approach. Identify the problems arising from an exclusive focus on technology.

1.1.1. Tacit Knowledge Polyani (1962) defined tacit knowledge as the abilities, expertise and conceptual thinking. Further, he argued that tacit knowledge is not only attributed to the, what is know but it is also attributed to the knower as well. Because sometimes knower's knowledge level is soaring but he could not explain in efficient way or sometimes knower does not have adequate sources to disseminate his knowledge to the person who actually needs this. Tacit knowledge is very difficult to acquire because it is embedded in the form of capabilities, skills and ideas which individuals carry in their minds. Tacit knowledge can only be seen through the application that is why tacit knowledge is difficult to capture, exploit and diffuse among the organizational members.

1.1.2. Explicit Knowledge Polyani (1962) said that explicit knowledge can be disseminated and shared in the form of hard data, well defined procedures, and standardized principles. Nonaka, takeuchi (1995) defined explicit knowledge as "Knowledge of Rationality". Explicit knowledge is easy to capture, manage, share and disseminate to the people.

Through KM, organizations seek to acquire or create potentially useful knowledge and to make it available to those who can use it at a time and place that is appropriate for them to achieve maximum effective usage in order to positively influence organizational performance

B. Technology

Expert systems, knowledge bases, help desk document management, various types of information management, software tools, systems and other IT systems supporting organizational knowledge flows. Web conferencing, collaborative software, content management systems, 'yellow pages' directories, email lists, blogs, and other technologies.

Examples of expert systems:automatic pilots in aeroplanes and diagnosis applications used to help doctors

Five Core Processes in KM (European Framework)

  • Identify knowledge
  • Create knowledge
  • Store knowledge
  • Share knowledge
  • Use knowledge

2. Steps to Knowledge Management Implementation

2.1 Describe the necessary steps to implementing Knowledge Management (initiation phase, analysis phase, design phase and implementation) in this organization.

3. KM tools and techniques

3.1 Discuss how KM tool and techniques could be used to solve the challenges identified in the organization.

3.2 Propose Km tools and techniques for evaluating and improving knowledge organisation, knowledge capture, knowledge evaluation, knowledge sharing and knowledge storing. The techniques should be classified as organizational learning interventions, information systems interventions, strategy interventions and cultural interventions.

3.3 Advise the company on why it should implement a Knowledge Management System focusing both on organisational and cultural enablers as well as IT enablers.


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