Definition and Meaning of Knowledge Management (KM)

Knowledge and Intangibles Management > Forum Log in

Definition and Meaning of Knowledge Management (KM)
Biju T A, Professor, India

There is no exhaustive definition for knowledge management, as there is no crystal clear definition for the concept of knowledge. The mere use of information from various sources does not form the knowledge but the practical as well as the intellectual part of the information thus collected forms the knowledge. And when this knowledge is managed for the survival of a firm then it is called the knowledge management.
Knowledge management is not single discipline of study but is cross disciplinary in nature and adopts various disciplines and technologies such as cognitive science, knowledge base management systems (kbms), artificial intelligence, groupware, library and information science, technical writing, document management, decision supporting system (dss), semantic networks, relational and object databases, simulation, organizational science…etc.

Definition and Cross Disciplinary?
imraanmuslim, Student (University), Indonesia
Knowledge management that I agree is a study and ethical practice that facilitates people to manage and re-utilize knowledge that they know for an organization goal in human performance improvement. Well, that's my note. How about my language, is that make a distortion?

Definition of Knowledge Management
Biju T A, Professor, India
What was written there, ‘there is no exhaustive definition for knowledge management’, doesn’t mean that knowledge management has no definition, we can only not have a single definition of knowledge management which will describe all the aspects knowledge management. In fact there are currently 272 definitions (please search for criticism on knowledge management) available in various literature. The definition becomes complex because of its cross disciplinary nature. The application of various subjects in knowledge management depends upon the environment in which the knowledge is managed and according to these environments the definition also changes.
A definition means “the definition/s of a subject matter which is/are the same all over the world under similar circumstances.

Definitions of Knowledge Management (KM)
Madhukar Shukla, India
- KM is the "process of collecting, organizing, classifying and disseminating information throughout an organization, so as to make it purposeful to those who need it." (Albert, 1998)
- Knowledge management is "policies, procedures and technologies employed for operating a continuously updated linked pair of networked databases." (Anthes, 1991).
- KM is "the formalization of and access to experience, knowledge, and expertise that create new capabilities, enable superior performance, encourage innovation, and enhance customer value." (Beckman, 1997)
- "Knowledge management complements and enhances other organizational initiatives such as Total Quality Management (TQM), business process reengineering
(BPR) and organizational learning, providing a new and urgent focus to sustain competitive position." (Gray, 1996)
- KM is "combining indexing, searching, and push technology to help companies organize data stored in multiple sources and deliver only relevant information to users." (Hibbard, 1997)
- "Knowledge management in general tries to organize and make available important know-how, wherever and whenever it’s needed. This includes processes, procedures, patents, reference works, formulas, "best practices" forecasts and fixes. Technologically, intranets, groupware, data warehouses, networks, bulletin boards videoconferencing are key tools for storing and distributing this intelligence " (Maglitta, 1996)
- Knowledge management is "getting right knowledge to right people at the right time so that they can make the best decisions." (Petrash, 1996)
- Knowledge management is "an approach to adding or creating value by more actively leveraging the know-how, experience, and judgment resident within and, in many cases, outside of an organization." (Ruggles, 1998)
- KM is "a more organic and holistic way of understanding and exploiting the role of knowledge in the processes of managing and doing work, and an authentic guide for individuals and organizations in coping with the increasingly complex and shifting environment of the modern economy." (World Bank, 1998).

Common Mistakes in Using the Term Knowledge Management
Anneke Zwart, Student (University), Netherlands
Although the term "Knowledge Management" (KM) is already being used widely for many years, there are many mistakes in using the term. One issue is that the term seems to have evolved from 3 different continents that each interpreted the term differently. As a result the concept of KM has become a mystified term and is often used inconstantly or even wrongly.
Pillania (2009) also describes some more practical common mistakes for KM. These are mistakes in using KM interchangeable with other important terms in the fields of management and technology.
1. KM ≠ Data Management : Quite often we see KM being used to mean Data Management. But KM is something different from Data Management, since knowledge means something different from data. To give an example, “the 24th of April” is a date. Nevertheless, it does not convey any further explanation and does not involve any reasoning or experience. Therefore, systems that work with such data should be considered as data systems rather than knowledge systems.
2. KM ≠ Information Management: KM is also used as a synonym for Information Management. But there is a clear difference between knowledge and information. For example, “Tomorrow, the lecture will begin at 10 PM” is a piece of information. This, however, does not convey any judgment nor experience.
3. KM ≠ Information Technology (IT): IT facilitates sharing information and knowledge, even across geographical areas, and is therefore an important communication tool. Although IT and ICT are related to KM, they are not the same as KM. Rather, they should be seen as an important enabler or tool in KM-processes, because they facilitate the sharing and collecting of this knowledge.
4. KM ≠ Human Resource Management (HRM): KM is related to human processes in that people are able to think and create. Therefore, people can be seen as the drivers for generating, sharing and implementing knowledge. But because people are the engine for anything in this world, we cannot say that HRM and KM are the same. Rather, human beings should be seen as the vehicles for KM-processes.
5. KM ≠ Intellectual Property Rights Management: Because of the fact that generating knowledge is an expensive job that needs time, protecting such knowledge is critical. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are one way to protect such knowledge and as such it encourages the creation of knowledge and improves KM. However, the management of IPR cannot be seen as KM per se. It should rather be seen as just one element of KM processes that protects the knowledge that has been generated.
Source: Pillania, R.K. (2009) “Demystifying Knowledge Management” Business Strategy Series Vol. 10 Iss. 2 pp. 96-99


    Do you wish to study further? You can learn more from the summary, forum, discussions, lessons, courses, training, instructions, expert tips, best practices and education sources. Register.  

More on Knowledge and Intangibles Management

Best Practices

Expert Tips


About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us | Privacy | Terms of Service
Copyright 2016 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V14.1 - Last updated: 24-10-2016. All names tm by their owners.