Different Perspectives and Approaches to Managing Knowledge

1899 Words Sep 14th, 2011 8 Pages
MOS Essay

3. Discuss how different perspectives and approaches to managing knowledge may lead to an organisation’s competitive advantage, supporting your views with pertinent literature and examples.

Knowledge management (KM) is a relatively new concept that emerged 15 or 20 years ago and which presents knowledge as a process, rather as something that people have. Blacker (1995) himself talks of “knowing as a process”, thus something far more complex and ambiguous than the classical and cognitive views that we could have of knowledge. Moreover, this assumption implies, as we shall see, that management is not neutral or objective but that it is intertwined in power relations and social processes that help to achieve the KM’s goals
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This implies that when an error is detected, instead of correcting the actions only (single-loop learning), individuals or groups seek to alter first the “governing variables” (Argyris, 1999) – goals, values, strategies, beliefs, conceptual frameworks – and then the actions.
This means that if an organisation wants to remain competitive and efficient, discovering problems and inventing solutions are not sufficient conditions for organizational learning. As Argyris (1999) says, double-loop learning “control the long-range effectiveness, and hence, the ultimate destiny of the system”. The better organisations have the control of their activity by being able to reflect on it, and hold all the cards in the situation of problem-solving, the better they can achieve competitive advantage through improved organizational behaviours and better decisions (in this theory).

To further develop our analysis, we will now base our argument on the work of Hansen, Nohria and Thierney (1999). They have defined two broad KM strategies that many companies have adopted since: the “codification” based on the re-use of knowledge which is codified, and stored in the form of electronic document systems. Anyone has thus a uniform and easy access to knowledge in the organisation. The other approach described as “personalization strategy” emphasizes the people-to-people knowledge transfer and
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