Knowledge Management

Published: 2021-06-29 06:32:51
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Category: Business

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Imagine starting a new job and having no knowledge of how the organization is run or spending a few hours setting up a tent only to find out there is an easier, shorter way? Would you appreciate knowledge management? Does your organization suffer tremendously when the person with the most knowledge leaves? Are you and your co-worker working on the same project? Does your left hand not know what the right hand is doing? These are some of the reasons why organizations need knowledge management. Knowledge management is not about managing knowledge but getting the most relevant knowledge and sharing it within the organization to have and make better informed decisions the first time. Knowledge management helps reduce duplication efforts, avoid shortcomings and you can reapply solutions to problems that already existed instead of reinventing the wheel. In the 1990s, the military reduced its forces by offering early retirement incentives. This caused a loss of valuable military knowledge which still impacts us today. When military personnel are transferred to new positions for career development, promotions, or operational knowledge, they take with them tacit knowledge gained from experience and on-the-job training. Since tacit knowledge is not documented, how do we capture it? Can we apply knowledge management to this reality? Today the Army must learn how to adapt and overcome to the rapid changes that we are faced with. The Global War on Terrorism has made our decision-making and problem-solving more difficult than ever as we do not know who our enemy is. Knowledge management is a critical factor to the Army's success because it tracks existing knowledge and with the battlefield scenarios forever changing we need to know not only how to fight the enemy but what and why key decisions were made and reapply those past solutions to the current situation so we can meet the objectives more proficiently and effectively than before.
The loss of knowledge when soldiers leave the Army is one of the primary concerns facing not only the Army, but all branches of service today. Some issues facing the Army today are the tremendous amounts of soldier turnovers due to early separation, retirement, rapid rotations to overseas assignments, transferring to new locations every 12 to 18 months, and the loss of productivity, along with knowledgeable and experienced soldiers due to separation or retirement. When soldiers leave the Army, they take with them a vast amount of knowledge about their jobs and leadership skills as well as lifetime experiences and skills. When this occurs, the military is forced to reinvent the wheel. The military would benefit as a whole if the knowledge was captured and shared more effectively. The goal of knowledge management is to capitalize on the knowledge embedded within an organization and reuse that knowledge to help the organization become more successful. Knowledge management should help organizations accomplish the mission more effectively and efficiently, reduce the amount of time spent looking up information and reduce the cost of training. The old cliché, "work smarter, not harder" is what knowledge management is all about. So what exactly is knowledge management and where did the concept come from?
There is no universal definition to define knowledge management as it can be described many ways. According to Schermerhorn (2006) knowledge management is "the process of utilizing organizational knowledge to achieve competitive advantage" (p. G-9). Knowledge management can also be defined as "a newly emerging, interdisciplinary business model dealing with all aspects of knowledge within the context of the firm, including knowledge creation, codification, sharing, and how these activities promote learning and innovation. In practice, knowledge management encompasses both technological tools and organizational routines in overlapping parts" (Gotcha, 1997). Simply put, knowledge management's ultimate goal is getting the most accurate information, into the hands of the right person, at the right time, for the right reason. Regardless of your definition of knowledge management, it should positively improve the performance of your organization.

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