Organizational knowledge management involves structuring the acquisition and use of knowledge arising within an organization and integrating knowledge from external sources. Knowledge may arise passively within an organization from reaction to changes in the business environment, or it may be acquired proactively by research into information arising within and outside the organization. The organizational knowledge management function acquires information, categorizes and stores it in a structured way and channels it to the people within the organization who require it. Organizational knowledge management makes use of software and other internal procedures to identify knowledge when it arises and categorize it for future use by the appropriate departments or employees.
An organization may have a learning culture that encourages the acquisition and capture of knowledge, or this culture may need to be developed by a designated knowledge management team. In any organization, a process of passive organizational learning takes place whereby the enterprise reacts and adapts to the everyday changes in the business environment. These changes may arise from changes in customer needs, developments in technology, new government regulation or initiatives by competitors. The knowledge management function may encourage more proactive organizational learning by encouraging greater awareness of new knowledge creation, more customer collaboration, attention to feedback and wider external networking.
Organizational knowledge management includes the use of appropriate software to encourage and enforce the process of knowledge capture. Suitable software may promote the identification of new knowledge and ensure that it is appropriately categorized for ease of access and availability for use in future projects. The use of appropriate software may allow the capture and storage of knowledge to be integrated into everyday procedures, and reminders to staff may be built into the software.
The environment created by efficient organizational knowledge management may spur the acquisition and use of knowledge within the organization and boost innovation and growth in the business. The integration of knowledge arising within a business through acquisition of knowledge from external networking may achieve an earlier recognition of industry trends and a quicker implementation of innovative technology and processes. The increase in external collaboration may lead to a greater sensitivity to customer feedback, resulting in an improved customer service culture. Products and processes may be more closely aligned to the requirements of customers and the marketing effort may be better aligned to the needs of potential buyers. The feedback cycle may be improved and a greater proportion of the lessons learned can be processed and implemented in improved policies.