The concept of knowledge management started in the early 1960s, and has developed in recent years into a strong body of management science. However, the literature concerning knowledge management is greatly scattered, both in the fields of academics and practice. A good example is when Park and Kim (42) proposed a framework for designing and implementing knowledge management systems (KMS) for the fourth generation research and development, commonly shortened as R&D. Ahn and Chang (407), on the other hand, developed the KP3 methodology to indirectly measure knowledge by assessing the contribution of knowledge to business performance. Studies have shown that for one to have a clear concept of knowledge management, one needs to have a clear understanding of knowledge components. Most researchers have given different meanings to the word “knowledge” according to their own analysis. However, the categorization of various definitions of knowledge has enabled people to view it as the component level and in a more structured way. Researchers have identified knowledge from two perspectives: theoretical and practical. Theoretical perspective mainly deals with definitions and content aspects, particularly looking into the distinctive interpretations and relations among data, information and knowledge; whereby, knowledge is distinguished from information or data (Nonaka 96). However, when it comes to defining knowledge into practical perspective, researchers are more interested in the nature of knowledge (or dimensional aspects) and its operational domain aspects.
This has been defined in terms of linguistics, information, or new concepts. Theory perceives data as only symbols describing little about its source, and does not differentiate the elements, the usefulness or the exact meaning of it. One may also describe data as facts, images or sounds that may or may not be pertinent or useful for a certain task. Rao (49) describes data as those relatively devoid of context, and are the raw materials consisting of observations, facts, or figures from which information is obtained. Either way, the theoretical perspective of data stresses on the importance of data as the constituent element of information. In other words, when value is added to the data it is transformed into information. Knowledge can be described as the personal perception of information, the output of the information and the organizational resources. The first point of view, which is the personal perception of the individual, uses the opinion of individuals to make a judgment in defining knowledge (Rao 89). This is a subjective approach because it is difficult to measure, capture, and define the actual meaning of knowledge. The second point of view, which is an output of information, sees knowledge as information that can be put into practice in a way that adds value to the enterprise. From the third point of view, organizational resources, knowledge is seen as a factor which affects organizational performance. However, knowledge can be arrived at by combining two viewpoints: personal perception and output of information.
Some scholars have dismissed the distinction between data, information, and knowledge (Mason 21; Kim, Yu and Lee 295). The dimensional point of view is that knowledge is nature. In other words, knowledge includes dimensions such as characterization, location, source, and many other aspects that give knowledge a practical insight from the management point of view. The characteristic dimension divides knowledge into tacit and explicit. Tacit knowledge is mostly implicit, and mental models. They are also the experiences of individuals, know-how and perceptions (Kim, Yu and Lee 298). Also, tacit knowledge is difficult to transfer, and subjective. Conversely, explicit knowledge includes formal models, rules and procedures, which are systematically and formally arranged to make codification, reuse, communication and sharing easy. However, an organization is both tacit and explicit.
In the dimension of knowledge location, knowledge can be differentiated in terms of the location where it resides. The location of knowledge can either be individual or collective. Individual knowledge is the knowledge that is owned by each person (Kim, Yu and Lee 299). On the other hand, collective organizational knowledge is the procedures, routines, strategies, or other many things that are developed at a corporate level and shared by a member of an organization or group. In other words, knowledge can be differentiated in terms of the source, which can be internal or external. Many researchers have proposed the combination of dimensions for classifying knowledge instead of using only one dimension of knowledge. Using this combination, four types of knowledge are derived. First and foremost is conscious knowledge - the consciousness of an employee, scientific and technical training. Second is automatic knowledge - employees’ skilled practices, automatic skills, hunches and intuitions. Third is objectified knowledge - science or established standards and practices, and finally collective knowledge.
This is the sub-process of capturing, searching, gathering, and synthesizing information (Vail 21). This means that it is advisable that before creating or acquiring new knowledge, an enterprise should identify organizational requirements by understanding their tasks and the knowledge required for the same. After doing this, an enterprise should then find the knowledge gap between required knowledge and existing knowledge and set up a knowledge management strategy to create or acquire new knowledge.
After an enterprise has acquired new knowledge, it is necessary to examine whether that knowledge is valid or consistent with organizational needs. Tacit knowledge held by a knowledge worker needs codification, to the extent possible, to be explicit knowledge that makes knowledge communicable. This knowledge should also be one that can be shared within the organization. When knowledge is rapidly disseminated within the organization, then the enterprise can be termed as a good learning organization. In an organization, knowledge transfer can be either horizontal knowledge transfer (among employees in the organization) or vertical (between company's partners such as suppliers, customers, or collaboration institutes) (Vail 21). This gives room for knowledge utilization, the process an organization uses to generate value from the knowledge or tomake knowledge work such as incorporating it into the organization’s products and services. It includes the adaptation of best practice from other leadingorganizations, uncover relevant knowledge, and apply it to the day to day running of the organization.
Despite the differences in knowledge management definitions, it is clear that there are four basic phases in all these definitions. There is knowledge acquisition, then we have the phase of sharing, the phase of creation, and finally the phase of application. These are the widely recognized, and quite similar to the process oforganizational learning featured by a knowledge-based enterprise. It includes competency model-basedknowledge acquisition, knowledge communication and sharing, organizational memory-based knowledge accumulation and deposition, and knowledge application-based knowledge innovation. The four-in-one based KM process includes three interlaced layers individually-based KM, organization-based KM and enterprise-based KM (Ahn J-H and Chang 409). The individual-based KM is represented as individual learning. The organization-based KM is represented as the learning process between people and a group. The enterprise-based KM, boundary learning in nature, is the knowledge learning process and management between enterprises.
Currently, a major abuse of enterprise KM is that KM is closed within an enterprise, or an enterprise boundary is overemphasized. The diversification of the organizational learning model is also represented as diversification of knowledge resources in KM. Cross-boundary learning consists of cross boundary learning for innovation-oriented enterprises and cross-boundary learning for customer-oriented enterprises, both of which are often converged.
Strategy, the combination of objective and tactic, is the overall planning, guideline and positioning for enterprise vision, mission and proposition. It is seen that the core of the strategy is direction determination and strategy choice. It cannot be guaranteed that an enterprise can perform well or outperforms its competitors, even it has an effective KM program. Therefore, a successful enterprise must combine its KM with its strategic objectives.
Enterprise culture is the soul of an enterprise and the drive to promote enterprise development. Enterprise culture has rich contents, with its core of enterprise spirit and value. According to Nonaka (101), the main obstacle for enterprise KM is enterprise culture. While the core of KM culture promotion is an enterprise value concept, which can form an enterprise’s core value concept and culture for KM efficiency through selection, common sense and practice.
The literature supports that what brings about a difference in organizational performance is the way in which they manage the activities of its internal resources, and not its control of the technical aspects of the market. Establishment of this strategy requires the development of capabilities on which the organization will have to hope to achieve its goals. With this intention, the new business strategies should be concerned with knowing how the organization develops, nourishes and uses its competencies in connection with its business objectives, the strategies of each organizational resources, the business operations and the resource operations.
Tacit knowledge is believed to be the expertise a professional possesses and utilizes whenever needed; he or she can orally explain it and if necessary, write it down. Knowledge Management (KM) provides a methodology for creating and modifying to promote knowledge creation and sharing. Many companies and institutions are working towards building KMS as well sharing knowledge through collaborative tools with their knowledge workers. One of the key challenges with the KMS’s is evaluation of the knowledge available within the organization and assessing the capabilities and effectiveness of the KMS infrastructure. Assessing the worth of the information and the infrastructure within the organization is a crucial step if an organization wants to change the knowledge capture methods and rewarding system for employees who have contributed the best knowledge asset. Much research work has been done and based on this research. It has been identified that there are no proven reliable methods and metrics available to estimate the worth of the knowledge being shared and also the worth of knowledge management system. Considering the intangible nature of the knowledge asset, complexity and dynamics of building the KMS infrastructure, one of the possible approaches is to determine the strengths and weakness is through metrics of Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). Metrics can be collected through an evaluation methodology such as Goal Question Metrics, Weighted Balanced Score Card and/or using Hybrid methodology (Nonaka 104). Speed of information change and new ways of collaboration are starting to take place within many organizations, and at the same time, new Knowledge Management Systems are being introduced for knowledge sharing and management. So it is important to enhance or develop new metrics, new models for organizing and storing them in a database or XML or a tool set for assessing the effectiveness and capabilities of the KMS. So there exists a need to represent the quality factors and measures in terms of a uniform model and build the metric database.
Information technology (IT) is one of the key enablers for knowledge management practices. The evolution of knowledge management tools starts from the traditional method with a simple and offline system such as paper documents, libraries, or face-to-face meeting with IT-based tools which are the key drivers and are more powerful as a knowledge repository and a communication system. One of the most important facilitators of the knowledge management process is a knowledge management system. Vail (18) defines a knowledge management system as an "IT based system developed to support the organization knowledge management behavior". The classification of information technology (IT) tools mostly depend on their functionality. Some researchers grouped them from a broader viewpoint by using the key function while some extended into detail by looking the technology type. They have classified knowledge management technologies and applications into seven categories: the knowledge management framework, knowledge-based system, data mining, information and communication technology, artificial intelligence/expert system, database technology (DT), and modeling.
Knowledge can only be useful if it can be remembered. In that case, there are various methods for ensuring that knowledge is always remembered. Knowledge that is too much to remember is often stored in various technological gadgets such as diskettes, flash risks, books, computers and many other sources. Those that can be stored in the brain are small bits of information, which are hard to lose. Knowledge must also make sense in one way or another. Sense in such a way that a person can see its relevance, meaning it should not be ambiguous. Knowledge that makes sense is able to give out the desired information with ease, hence hastening the running of an enterprise properly.
The concept of knowledge management started in the early 1960s. The logical analysis of knowledge management includes the various components of knowledge management. Although there are different perceptions of knowledge management and strategies, its value to contemporary organizations cannot be overstated. Knowledge management is a key factor in the running of various organizations and enterprises both in academic, business, political and any other field that requires management as a science to effectively operate. Moreover, various frameworks have also been suggested to support the knowledge management concept, which gives credence to its importance in the contemporary management environment. Moreover, the categorization of various definitions of knowledge has enabled people to view it as the component level and in a more structured way. The two prominent perspectives are based on theoretical and practical views on knowledge management.