Download "A Synthesis of Knowledge Management Failure Factors" by Alan Frost. Free paper released Jan. 2014.


Knowledge Management Definition

Based on the discussion in the previous section, my knowledge management definition is as follows:

Knowledge management is the systematic management of an organization's knowledge assets for the purpose of creating value and meeting tactical & strategic requirements; it consists of the initiatives, processes, strategies, and systems that sustain and enhance the storage, assessment, sharing, refinement, and creation of knowledge.

Knowledge management (KM) therefore implies a strong tie to organizational goals and strategy, and it involves the management of knowledge that is useful for some purpose and which creates value for the organization.

Expanding upon the previous knowledge management definition, KM involves the understanding of:

Where and in what forms knowledge exists; what the organization needs to know; how to promote a culture conducive to learning, sharing, and knowledge creation; how to make the right knowledge available to the right people at the right time; how to best generate or acquire new relevant knowledge; how to manage all of these factors so as to enhance performance in light of the organization's strategic goals and short term opportunities and threats.

KM must therefore create/provide the right tools, people, knowledge, structures (teams, etc.), culture, etc. so as to enhance learning; it must understand the value and applications of the new knowledge created; it must store this knowledge and make it readily available for the right people at the right time; and it must continuously assess, apply, refine, and remove organizational knowledge in conjunction with concrete long and short term factors.

From this knowledge management definition we can see that it depends upon the management of the organization's knowledge creation and conversion mechanisms; organizational memory and retrieval facilities; organizational learning; and organizational culture. These concepts will be explored in more detail in the following sections.


Alan Frost M.Sc., 2010 - Updated 2012

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