Evaluating Theories and Practices of Knowledge Management

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In the organization and in the society, each people will possess own knowledge and information which are different with each other. We are not totally based on what we have learnt in the university to work, all of the things we have learnt in the university is the past experiences of the seniors. We are based on the experiences of the seniors to develop or to learn our own experiences to update our knowledge.

Knowledge management in the organization is very important, it decide the position of the company in the market. Organization have to create, practice and using the knowledge to create value. In some textbook we have learnt at university, there are some subjects are mystery because of wide range of the subject area, we cannot understand all of the knowledge in the textbook without practicing. In this report I will share my own experiences when I interned in the stock company, and I will use this company to explain my opinion in knowledge management.

First part we will discuss the definition of KM, what is KM. The second part, I will explain the KM life cycle and how can the leader keep their good employees.


What is knowledge management?

"Knowledge is experience or information that can be communicated or shared" (Allee 1997, 21) [1] 

In my opinion, knowledge management (KM) means the collection of data and understanding the relationship and patterns to turn them into useful information and valuable knowledge which are easy to access. Besides that, KM is also creates the knowledge and spreads the knowledge, uses this knowledge and also arranges this knowledge.

Information is the reflection of the events, the things or the phenomenon which is occurring in over the world or in the social life. Collecting the information will help people increase in knowledge and know what is happening in community. [2] 

Nowadays, the big companies are very easy in approaching the human resource with cheap price and expand their market for their activities that will lead to the reasons why the knowledge management is necessary.

Based on the increase of exchanging, sharing and creativity in the group activities in different area is one of the main reasons of developing KM. In economic, the amount of the assets after re-collect will be going down but it is not right for the knowledge. For example, when you are using cell-phone, the other cannot use your cell, but when you sale your cell to the shop or you transfer it to your friend, the price will decrease. In knowledge is not, the old knowledge always very useful, especially for new members, and sometimes, people develop the new knowledge based on the old knowledge and the amount of the useful knowledge is increase day by day. For example, in the event of the wine company, when the customer ask your wine how much the percentage of alcohol in your wine? And comparing to the other brands, the alcohol in your wine is high or low? If you are the new member without training from your company, you will not know how to answer suitability. So the knowledge will help the employee's reaction and give the right decision as soon as possible and the information should provide fast and accurate to the employees.

There are many types of KM and follow the book "Knowledge management in theory and practice", there are 3 pairs of knowledge: Tacit and Explicit knowledge, General and specific knowledge, Procedural and Declarative Knowledge.

Tacit knowledge -as known as implicit knowledge- is personal knowledge and only this person can use this knowledge. It's hard to put the tacit knowledge into the words, text or drawings. [3] In the other hand, we can know the tacit knowledge is formed by experiences and beliefs. [4] Even though the tacit knowledge is difficult to put into the document but it stays inside the human's brain. So, the relationship between human and human in the organization is very important, they can transfer their knowledge with each other based on their experiences. For example, Toyota wants to transfer knowledge of its production system to new employees in a new assembly factory, Toyota will selects a group and send this group to the existing factories in 2-3 months. After training, this group will be sent back to the new factory site and then, this group will work with the new workers in the new factory and transfer the experiences to the new workers.

Explicit knowledge is something can be transferred into the documents, words, numbers, sound, and movie or can be explained by individual. In generally, explicit knowledge is useful knowledge of individuals and transfer easily. Information system is playing the central role in facilitating the dissemination of explicit knowledge assets over the company intranets or between organizations via the internet.

Knowledge management life cycle

There are 4 models of knowledge management life cycle (KM cycle): Zack, from Meyer and Zack (1996), the Bukowitz and William (2000), the McElroy (2003) and the Wiig (1993) KM cycles. [5] 

The Wiig KM Cycle:

The Wiig KM Cycle is focus on the three conditions that will lead the business of organization successfully: must have a business and customers, must have the resources and must have the ability to act. In the third point, knowledge is the important part and knowledge drives the ability act intelligently. So, the organization has to improve the knowledge to know better what to do and how to do it.

Based on the Knowledge management in theory and practice, Wiig's KM Cycle addresses how knowledge is built and used as individuals or as organizations. There are four major steps in this cycle. [6] 

Building knowledge

Holding knowledge

Pooling knowledge

Applying knowledge

For more understand the Wiig's KM Cycle, let's explain each major steps in this cycle.

Building knowledge:

This step is like you are research for the knowledge and create your knowledge. In my experience when I was in the stock company, before I analyze the company, I have to search the information of the company and I create the general knowledge of company. I research all information about the company from the internet, newspaper and I also build the knowledge of the major of this company. For example, I will analyze the DTA Company (real estate Company), I have to research the information of the company from internet, newspaper and I also research the information about the real-estate of Vietnam.

When I've collected the information I have to analyze the information based on the research reports or documents, I have to know what is happening with this company from the past until to present. Indentifying the important things of this company and update total information - the new and the existing information- by incorporating new knowledge. After that, I have to imagine in my mind the structure of the report, what I've to write in the report, the questions I have to ask my senior.

Holding knowledge:

Holding knowledge consists of remembering, accumulating knowledge in repositories, embedding knowledge in repositories, and archiving knowledge. [7] 

For example, when I'm doing the report I will have knowledge about what I'm doing, and I understand the project in my way- it can be called the tacit knowledge. In our life, everybody attitude that people with degree's certificate will be knowledge people but in fact, that is not always rights, people without certificate but they have life's experience they will have their own knowledge. For example, I'm study marketing but I'm choose financial company to work, and after several training I'm still working well the reason why is I have my own experiences and knowledge about the finance during training process. The attitude of everybody about the person with degree's certificate will be a knowledge people is the explicit knowledge, those people are having the knowledge which are taught from the books (theories without real experiences) at the university and people who are not have certificate but they still work well cause they have their own knowledge that is called tacit knowledge.

Pooling knowledge:

Pooling knowledge consists of coordinating, assembling, and accessing and retrieving knowledge. [8] It's like he/she doesn't have the necessary knowledge and they contact with each others in the company who have had the similar problem or the expert and create a group, the members of this group work together, share the information to each other and helping each other in solving the problem of the group.

In the organization, when the worker doesn't have enough knowledge to do the project he/she will ask the senior or other worker to discuss the problem and also obtain the information, solve the problem. In the university, they often do the open house and invite the CEO or the manager who have experiences in their own part, come to the university and share their experiences to students and answer all questions of students. In the big companies, they often celebrate the training day, the good employees will share their own experiences to the new employees or they will obtain the knowledge from other good employees.

Using knowledge:

After we get the knowledge we will apply the knowledge. After training, the employees will apply what they have learnt to their work; they will decide the best option and uses it to fix the part.

Leadership and the skills required to effectively implement knowledge management processes in the workplace:

What will you think if your good manager leaves your company to work for your competitor? That is the general problem of the big companies nowadays. The big companies spent the large amount of time, of money to train or to create the good manager but in the end, this manager leaves organization to work for organization's competitor. That organization will lose the good manager, time and the knowledge. So, the problem here is how to keep the human resource of the company.

In my opinion, I think that people always want to learn the new; they want to stand on the top. So, to do that, there is a competition between human and human, this competition will help people increase their knowledge and it is the reason why people always love to face challenge. The good environment in office is competitive environment. The employees will try to complete their job and learn the new things from their senior and they want to promote.

In my stock company, my leader is trying to create the friendly and comfortable environment for employees. He always encourages the employees share the information together. The group of brokers and the expert's group of analyzing & advisory always meet each other in the end of afternoon and share the information, judge about the market and share the individual's opinion about the market in the near future. They work together, give their own experiences and get the feedback from each other to improve their knowledge and answer their questions.

For the new employees, the senior will always help them in the answer the question, share their experience or find out the answer together. In the end, what an organization need is the general information of organization where all of employees can be share the knowledge and learn the new knowledge and the experiences.

In the other hand, the good company will have the structure of KM, each position of company will be trained follow the structure. For example, you are the normal employee you will be trained by the experts in the company or in the local country. For the CEO or the good employee is considered in promotion, will be sent to abroad to train.

In this section, what I'm trying to say is the leader have to update the new knowledge and transmit it to the employees which can be created the motivation for the employees and let them think that there are a lot of things they have to learn in this company, and this company is providing the good service, satisfy their needs, and working in this company, they will have the opportunities in accessing the new knowledge. Build the environment to let them feel proud of talking about their company.


In the end, the knowledge management (KM) is necessary. The KM is the process of creating, sharing, and collect the knowledge which is provided to the right person at the right time. It can be helped in giving the right decision and accurate in the fastest time. The purpose of KM is enhancing the sense of employees, improve the employee's skill, and create the activity and responsible employees in their job, and it also raise the learning spirit which never stops of employees. The result is created the organization which has the ability in adapting the changes of the market and competitive advantage.