Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning

14946 Words Dec 14th, 2009 60 Pages
Lund Institute of Economic Research Working Paper Series

Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning:
Fundamental Concepts for Theory and Practice

2005/3 Ron Sanchez

Ron Sanchez, Professor of Management Copenhagen Business School, Solbjergvej 3 - 3rd floor, DK-2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark, sanchez@cbs.dk Lindén Visiting Professor in Industrial Analysis, Institute of Economic Research, Lund, Sweden

Abstract
This paper investigates several issues regarding the nature, domain, conceptual foundations, and practical challenges of knowledge management and organizational learning. The paper first identifies and contrasts two fundamental philosophical orientations to knowledge management -- the personal knowledge orientation and
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In effect, the model shows at the macro level how personal knowledge is converted into organizational knowledge, and vice versa, in processes for active and continuous organizational learning. The fourth section discusses some key challenges in managing each of the five learning cycles so that active learning processes are maintained at the individual, group, or organizational levels. I also suggest some ways in which managers can help to prevent breakdowns and dysfunctions from occurring in each of the Five Learning Cycles, and thereby help to sustain overall organizational learning processes. Examples drawn from recent research into knowledge management practices help to illustrate the nature of such managerial interventions. I conclude with some comments on the ways in which the knowledge management processes discussed here reflect a fundamental shift in management thinking and practice from traditional concepts of command and control to more contemporary concepts of facilitation and empowerment.

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1. Basic Philosophical Orientations to Knowledge Management
The growing stream of articles on and consulting approaches to knowledge management practice today reveals a wide range of recommended processes and techniques. Unfortunately -- especially for managers looking for insights to guide knowledge management practices -- many of these recommendations often seem disconnected from each other, and in the worst cases, various recommended approaches even seem to be
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