Understanding Knowledge Management: Six Main Characteristics
The challenge of Knowledge Management is to determine what information within an organization qualifies as "valuable." All information is not knowledge, and all knowledge is not valuable. The key is to find the worthwhile knowledge within a vast sea of information.
Knowledge Management is about people. It is directly linked to what people know, and how what they know can support business and organizational objectives. It draws on human competency, intuition, ideas, and motivations. It is not a technology-based concept. Although technology can support a Knowledge Management effort, it shouldn’t begin there.
Knowledge Management is orderly and goal-directed. It is inextricably tied to the strategic objectives of the organization. It uses only the information that is the most meaningful, practical, and purposeful.
Knowledge Management is ever-changing. There is no such thing as an immutable law in Knowledge Management. Knowledge is constantly tested, updated, revised, and sometimes even "obsoleted" when it is no longer practicable. It is a fluid, ongoing process.
Knowledge Management is value-added. It draws upon pooled expertise, relationships, and alliances. Organizations can further the two-way exchange of ideas by bringing in experts from the field to advise or educate managers on recent trends and developments. Forums, councils, and boards can be instrumental in creating common ground and organizational cohesiveness.
Knowledge Management is visionary. This vision is expressed in strategic business terms rather than technical terms, and in a manner that generates enthusiasm, buy-in, and motivates managers to work together toward reaching common goals.
Knowledge Management is complementary. It can be integrated with other organizational learning initiatives such as Total Quality Management (TQM). It is important for knowledge managers to show interim successes along with progress made on more protracted efforts such as multiyear systems developments infrastructure, or enterprise architecture projects.
Six principles and key characteristics of CIO management in leading organizations: