What Is a Knowledge Policy?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A knowledge policy is a framework a businesses uses in the generation, storage, and communication of knowledge. The policy must balance the need to keep pace with innovation while protecting the company's security and other interests, such as the need to conceal proprietary knowledge to recoup the costs of knowledge creation. Companies can approach such policies from a variety of perspectives, and some industries tend to have more advanced policies than others to reflect the kind of work they do.

Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone
Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone

One aspect of a knowledge policy surrounds the creation of information and learning tools. The company may encourage staff members to create and acquire knowledge by working within the company as well as reaching out for information from other sources. This can include research online and in other settings, as well as attending conferences and developing training materials. Within an organization, knowledge sharing can be extremely valuable, and the company often recommends it as a way to build ties and make the company stronger.

Adequate systems for storing and controlling knowledge are also necessary. Reliable storage systems are necessary to make the knowledge accessible when it is needed. Companies may have concerns about security with some topics because they can invest substantial research. Information technology policies often intersect with the knowledge policy. Tools like firewalls prevent unauthorized release of information, while company publications can go in the other direction and distribute material widely to members of the public if it will have a benefit for the company.

Knowledge transference, whether within or outside an organization, is also important in a knowledge policy. Knowledge tends to be less useful if it is not shared, and employees need to know how and when to share knowledge. Some workplaces facilitate a highly collaborative atmosphere where staff members share knowledge with each other and may actively seek out specific staff members to learn. Others may have a more closed environment where employees tend to focus on their own projects and do not share material. There can be risks and benefits to both approaches.

If a company does not have clear policies, it can experience problems, especially with electronic communications. Employees may unwittingly release information without realizing they were not supposed to, or other companies in the industry may outstrip it with more advanced policies that allow for the development of complex projects. Cooperation and information sharing between companies can sometimes be beneficial, but only if both parties have knowledge that will be mutually useful, and a knowledge policy to facilitate the exchange.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


Knowledge policies are very important for companies, and do seem to be constantly changing. I think that because technology changes so fast, that company policy development would also have to keep changing just to keep up.

I work in a medical office, so it is very important that we do not share any personal knowledge we learn with others. If we attend a continuing education course, that is a whole different story. Then it is beneficial if we share some of our experiences and information with others.


It seems like there is more knowledge available to us all the time, and with that comes increased security issues. It seems like my company is always sending out information because there has been a public policy change for some reason or another.

I know that these changes are made to help keep information safe, but you always kind of wonder kind of information may have already been compromised.

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