What Are The Knowledge Management Processes? Complete Guide

You might have observed that some organizations are way ahead of others just because of the better exploitation of their knowledge resources. This is the main essence of knowledge management processes. 

Knowledge management processes refer to the process of obtaining, creating, gathering, and sharing knowledge in an organization. It focuses on saving the knowledge, often of its employees and their experiences, within an organization then sharing and using it in an efficient way.

These processes are important for any organization to maintain a competitive advantage over others, for growth and progress. This article will be your complete guide to the Knowledge management processes. Let’s go

This article contains 4 main sections

  1. Knowledge management processes introduction
  2. Main knowledge management processes
  3. APQC knowledge management processes
  4. Conclusion

Knowledge management processes introduction

The main purpose of the knowledge management processes is to improve the efficiency of the organization and to make good use of the collective knowledge of the organization.

The knowledge management processes do not have a limited scope. It ensures managing knowledge through an organized process for creating, sustaining, and renewing to create value. These processes constantly require the development of new skills and further improvement of existing capabilities.

We can say that knowledge management processes are continuous and systematic. The procedures of these processes are standardized. They enable the collection, storage, distribution, and application of knowledge to maximize benefits and gain an edge in a dynamic economy.

It has been observed that the knowledge management processes vary in different sources or references. What could be the reasons that make this different from one reference to the other? Let’s find out.

Our findings highlight the following possibilities:

  1. Knowledge management processes are covered from a different perspective in some sources than others. This is the reason why they come up with different names.
  2. In some sources, knowledge management processes are classified into main and sub-operations. For instance, the process of storing knowledge is considered by some as one of the major knowledge management processes. In contrast, others are considered supplementary processes associated with the process of knowledge acquisition.
  3. Another reason is the diverse areas that deal with the subject of knowledge management. For instance, in the medical field, knowledge management may require the arrangement or postponement of certain tasks of knowledge management other than in the commercial and industrial field.
    Knowledge management serves many fields in different aspects, you can refer to What Are the Topics Under Knowledge Management? article for more information about the topics related to knowledge management.

In this article, you’re going to see two classifications of knowledge management processes to get to know the knowledge management processes names used in the several references.

First, we’ll present to you the main knowledge management processes which contain four major processes.

Then, we’re going to shed more light on knowledge management processes following the classification of American Productivity & Quality Center (AQPC) since the AQPC is a specialist in this area.

Kindly note that all processes serve the same goal and don’t forget we’ve discussed what causes the differences earlier.

Types of knowledge used by knowledge management processes

Knowledge management processes work on the two kinds of knowledge that are implicit and explicit knowledge.

Explicit knowledge refers to the information that is visible to the employees and could be written in the procedures and rules of an organization. It may be available in reports, technical specifications, policies, patents, and literature.

Implicit knowledge, however, is the knowledge present in peoples’ minds and could be a result of their experiences and personal values. This makes it less easy to share and therefore requires a learning organization to benefit from it.

importance of knowledge management processes

You might have observed that some organizations are way ahead of others just because of the better exploitation of their knowledge resources. This is the main essence of knowledge management processes. 

Knowledge management processes are important for an organization to maintain a competitive advantage over others, for growth and progress. Here are the advantages of the knowledge management processes that make it so significant:

  1. A learning organization emerges which encourages using and sharing knowledge in the peoples’ minds. It creates a smart workforce
  2. More and more interaction between people of the organization is facilitated, which greatly improves human relations. Good human relations are an organization’s valuable asset.
  3. Increased generation of ideas improves decision making efficiency of an organization that results in reducing costs and increasing profits.
  4. People are motivated to improve their skills and enhance intellectual capital. It enables storing valuable knowledge for future employees.
  5. Knowledge management processes practices enhance the goodwill of a corporation in an international market contributing to more success globally.

You can read “Components of knowledge Management” article to shed more light on the importance of knowledge management processes

Major approaches to the knowledge management processes

There are different approaches to knowledge management processes, depending upon what kind of approach is workable in your organization.

  1. People-centric approach: This approach is focused on human relations that how employees create a learning culture and design various ways to share knowledge among them.
  2. The tech-centric approach: This approach is centered on that technology which facilitates both storing and transfer of knowledge. It encourages creating such systems that ease sharing knowledge.
  3. Process-centric approach: This approach includes how the organizational processes and the hierarchy and culture of the organization promote learning.

It is best to consider all these approaches for effective knowledge management in your organization.


Main knowledge management processes

Key knowledge management processes can be divided into four main processes. The next sections will introduce these processes in more detail.

Knowledge Acquisition

To acquire knowledge via knowledge assets is one of the ways to generate knowledge. The knowledge assets include knowledge of new products obtained from competitors, knowledge about new technology and raw information transformed into knowledge that helps to solve business-related problems.

Collecting knowledge is an essential part of the knowledge management processes. If incorrect data is collected, the knowledge resulting from it would not be accurate. Consequently, the decisions would also be inaccurate because they are based on irrelevant knowledge.

Knowledge Storage

Storing knowledge means preserving the existing as well as acquired knowledge in the knowledge repository. The knowledge repository could be a computer database that stores a specific knowledge domain. 

Storage of new and existing knowledge is another important step in the knowledge management process. There is a vast sea of unorganized knowledge present in every organization. For better use of this knowledge in the future, it is necessary to store and organize it in an orderly manner.

The organizational structure could be increased, and accessing knowledge could be easier if a system is created that is well categorized and excellently mapped.

For more information about this topic read “Role of Technology in Knowledge Management” article

Knowledge Distribution

Knowledge distribution is a knowledge management process that allows all employees of a company to have access to the collective knowledge of the company.

Explicit and implicit knowledge can be distributed to other individuals through sharing knowledge. Some examples are delivering a speech, giving a presentation and writing some research paper. The exchange process is employed to communicate explicit knowledge among people or organizations. 

Organizational memory is the sum of explicit and implicit knowledge present in an organization. This memory can be lost due to the lack of technology for the exchange and distribution of documents. The knowledge management processes should develop technologies that distribute knowledge well and prevent loss of organizational memory.

Knowledge use

The knowledge utilization is when the knowledge available is applied to perform tasks and to make important decisions. Knowledge is applied via direction and routine.

The direction is the process in which the person who possesses the knowledge advises other person or directs his action without transfer of the knowledge. Such as calling of a producer to an expert to inquire how to resolve a specific problem with a tool or machine and then proceeding to solve that problem based upon the received instructions.

Routine refers to utilize knowledge embedded in products, procedures, processes, and rules that dictate future behavior. 

Both processes can be applied to explicit or implicit knowledge. Knowledge use is an important component of the knowledge management process since it facilitates value creation.


APQC knowledge management processes

American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC) has identified standard knowledge flow processes that describe how knowledge flows through organizations. It is a seven-step cycle. The management processes should manage each of these steps. The following sections will explain these steps in-depth.

Knowledge Create

A huge amount of data is created by organizations and businesses daily. It is, therefore, necessary for the organization to have such a system that manages new data so that it can be well utilized to make decisions and solve problems. For instance, many companies receive useful feedback from their customers on their services. This data can be employed by the research and development team to innovate products. 

Knowledge creation is a continuous process that involves combining and converting various kinds of knowledge as individuals interact, learn and share. The work environment should be encouraging experiments and creative practices that promote the creation of new knowledge.

IT should also be employed for knowledge creation. IT systems play an important role in information management by allowing data access and enabling managers to present data.

Knowledge Identify

Every organization has multiple knowledge sources. Knowledge identification refers to discovering knowledge in the organization. This discovery is facilitated by a clear understanding of how the knowledge flows in the organization. The knowledge critical to strategy as well as operations is identified in this step.

This step of knowledge management processes identifies the knowledge sources, the location of critical knowledge, and also what could be gained from that knowledge.

Knowledge Collect

Knowledge collection is important because only then could it be shared and distributed with other individuals. There are several methods for collecting knowledge.

The method used for data collection defines the data-collection points and also the techniques used for collecting data. These methods should be well documented and should be followed by everyone involved in collecting data. For instance, sales monthly report is a good resource for collecting data.

Knowledge Review

Reviewing knowledge is an important part of the knowledge management process since it helps to examine the relevance, accuracy, and practicality of the knowledge.

This is a process of deeply analyzing the gathered data from the steps mentioned above. Organizations must assess and review the knowledge to check how well could it be utilized for gaining profit.

Knowledge reviewing can only be achieved in organizations where there is a culture to promote knowledge distribution and innovation strategies among individuals.

Knowledge Share

Sharing knowledge could be through various collaborative activities as well as documentation.

Knowledge sharing mostly depends upon the willingness of individuals in an organization to seek out and share the sources of knowledge. IT is very useful in the process of sharing knowledge.

Knowledge sharing enables reaching the right sources of knowledge to the right people at the right time. This makes it an essential component of the knowledge management process.

Knowledge Access

The Knowledge can be accessed through pull or push mechanisms. ‘Knowledge push’ means that the knowledge is sort of pushed onto some individual—for instance, publications and newsletters. ‘Knowledge pull’, on the other hand, refers to seeking out the sources of knowledge like seeking experts or doing library search.

The essence of the knowledge management process is enabling easy knowledge access within organizations. This requires building such a system that practically works and making sure the individuals know how to operate that system. Some training programs could help increase this understanding. 

This helps the organization benefit from greater efficiency, improved decision making and more effective workforce.

Knowledge Use

Using knowledge to solve a lot of problems quickly and making efficient decisions is an important demand of the knowledge management process. Utilization of knowledge requires to embed knowledge in the procedures and practices of the organization. 

The best knowledge usage is when managers apply knowledge in decision-making processes of the organization. The sign of a good learning organization is that it creates an environment for applying knowledge in different organizational contexts.

Organizations should know how to create value from the knowledge assets they possess. Knowledge management ensures that the knowledge assets are both documented and distributed, which in turn facilitates knowledge utilization. Applying knowledge from various knowledge domains in the organization directly impacts achieving the organizational goals. 


Conclusion

Knowledge management processes are important for any organization to maintain a competitive advantage over others, for growth and progress.

Knowledge management processes refer to the process of obtaining, creating, gathering, and sharing knowledge in an organization. It focuses on saving the knowledge, often of its employees and their experiences, within an organization then sharing and using it in an efficient way.

It has been observed that these processes vary in different references. This because knowledge management processes are covered from a different perspective in some sources than others. This is the reason why they come up with different names.

The main knowledge management processes can be divided into four main processes: knowledge Acquisition, knowledge storage, knowledge distribution, and knowledge use.

Another classification is done by APQC. This classification divided knowledge management processes to 7 processes: Knowledge Create, Knowledge Identify, Knowledge collect, Knowledge review, Knowledge sharing, Knowledge Access, and Knowledge use


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