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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Choosing Knowledge Management Strategy

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Choosing Knowledge Management PracticeKnowledge Management (KM) has been the subject of much discussion over the past decade. Organisations are told that they will not survive in the modern Knowledge Era unless they have a strategy for managing and leveraging value from their intellectual assets, and many KM lifecycles and strategies have been proposed. However, it has become clear that the term "Knowledge Management" has been applied to a very broad spectrum of activities designed to manage, exchange and create or enhance intellectual assets within an organisation, and that there is no widespread agreement on what KM actually is. IT applications that are termed "knowledge management applications" range from the development of highly codified help desk systems to the provision of video conferencing to facilitate the exchange of ideas between people.

One fact that does seem to be agreed on is that different situations require different knowledge management strategies. But the range of different "Knowledge Management Strategies" on offer can be bewildering and it is often unclear where to begin in choosing a strategy for a particular situation. We will start by examining a number of published KM strategies and consider how these can be classified. We go on to consider a range of driving forces behind the strategies, and then propose a strategy and a number of heuristics for the selection of a suitable KM strategy.

First, though, we need a working definition of what KM is. Many different definitions of KM have been published, and several will be discussed in this paper. To avoid pre-empting the discussion on the best definition of knowledge management in a given situation, a very broad definition of KM is used for current purposes:

Knowledge Management can be thought of as the deliberate design of processes, tools, structures, etc. with the intent to increase, renew, share, or improve the use of knowledge represented in any of the three elements [Structural, Human and Social] of intellectual capital.

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