• Mark J Galea

Knowledge Management within an organisation

Updated: Nov 27, 2018

Written by Ian Sammut Dacoutros

In the previous article we briefly touched on the definition of knowledge management, what it is and its aim. In this article we will briefly look into the different types of knowledge with special reference to those in organisations.

Essentially from a knowledge management point of view there are two types of knowledge, tacit and explicit knowledge, while there are advocates who claim other types, at a high level these two types are the most important.

Picture this, you have a new gizmo, the latest electronic gadget and you pop open the box and start pressing all the buttons you can see. What happens? You break it without ever having used the device. You didn’t get the knowledge needed to use the device, where is this knowledge, in the manual of course! This is explicit or codified knowledge, it is the type of knowledge that can be written down or documented.

Tacit knowledge is exactly the opposite of this, it is the knowledge that is found in people and is very specific to a context. It is accumulated to experience and developed though interaction with other people.

Think about a farmer who has been working a piece of land for years, he knows what fruits do best on that land and when he should sow the seeds.

One of the primary goals of knowledge management is to get the tacit knowledge within an organisation and convert it to explicit through codification. Imagine if your organisation can harness all the knowledge held by the employees and customers to learn from it. This is a second of the primary goals, to create the learning organisation, an organisation where knowledge is shared, documented and utilised so that the organisation will learn and better itself.

Unfortunately when we think about knowledge we are only looking at a small part of a much bigger picture. Knowledge is very much tied to doing something, a person who has knowledge in a particular field has the know-how and understands when to do what to be able to achieve a goal. The trick is how to gain knowledge, document it and transfer or share it with your organisation so that your organisation can effectively gain the knowledge within its people.

To take another example imagine a restaurant where the front of house staff receive loads of complaints about a particular dish, if the complaint stops there then the restaurant can never improve but if they share these complaints with the kitchen team then the loop is completed and the restaurant can learn.

In the next article we will deal with the knowledge at an organisational level. We will see some ways an organisation gains this knowledge and how it is very heavily dependent on the people making up an organisation.

If you would like to know more about knowledge management strategies, please feel free to contact us at Quad Consultancy on info@quadconsultancy.com or +356 2099 4444