What is Knowledge Management, anyway?

Many definitions of Knowledge Management have been, and continue to be, thrown about. One I’ve always had trouble with is the “right information to the right person at the right time” thing. My main problem with it is my belief that there is no such thing as THE right answer. Maybe a bunch of A right answers. Unless of course you are looking at right in this case as relative.

My other problem with it is that it is focused on the individual, not an organization. Knowledge Management is not something that makes each individual’s job performance better, it is something that make the organization perform better. It is entirely possible that in order for an organization to do its best some of the individuals within that organization will do less than their best. (Kind of like evolution taking two steps forward and one tiny step back.)

On brint.com I came across the following, proposed by Dr. Yogesh Malhotra. (emphasis added by me)

Knowledge Management refers to the critical issues of organisational adaptation, survival and competence against discontinuous environmental change. Essentially it embodies organisational processes that seek synergistic combination of data and information processing capacity of information technologies, and the creative and innovative capacity of human beings.

I’m still torn about whether IT is an actual part of Knowledge Management or just a (very effective) tool in carrying it out. I think before long IT itself will cease to be a “separate” thing and simply part of the world.

We’ll see.

Access to more information and more advanced decision aids does not necessarily make decision makers better informed or more able to decide.

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