Knowledge is Power

Posted by Sri Swayam Prakash, Ajmer, India


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“KNOWLEDGE capitalism” is an important outcome of the information revolution. It recognises “knowledge” as the most precious asset of human beings and “knowledge management” (KM) as the reason for the success of various organizations. Learning organization (LO) is a new concept which has emerged as a result of the research conducted for devising strategies for organizations to implement KM for their survival in today’s competitive world. Universities are recognized to be in the knowledge business and are increasingly exposed to market pressures in a similar way as the other organizations. The role of universities has, in many respects, remained unchanged for centuries. The advancements in educational technologies, diversified expectations of learning achievements and the invent ion of new learning methodologies forced universities to change their conventional role and adopt new strategies to play their role in the changing world. KM may have something to offer to universities; nevertheless proper planning and implementation strategies are required.

Knowledge Management (KM) is, today, the subject of much debate. Although there is a recognition of knowledge as a key business asset, organizations are still in the early stages of understanding the implications of KM, while a fair percentage of senior managers believe that KM may just be embellished information management and Business Process Re-engineering (BPR). As many BPR efforts proved futile, there concern is that KM may fall victim to the same perils. However, research shows that KM gives an edge to organizations to compete market with intelligence, creativity, and originality. It also helps Another aspect of knowledge is that it becomes ephemeral with time. Many of today’s truths become tomorrow’s fallacies. It has been observed that new knowledge is usually more tentative than facts t hat have been tried and proven over many generations. Hence, the ability to verify new knowledge has become more important. In parallel, the knowledge required for problem-solving and decision-making is usually context sensitive. For making knowledge more practical, generalisation is required which is not an easy task.
KM, generally, defines the process through which organizations generate value from their intellectual and knowledge-based assets by sharing them among employees, departments and even with other companies to devise best practices.
For implementing KM, organizations need to encourage the process of transforming tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge, to manage the process of “change” and to make knowledge available and accessible company-wide. A nine- step approach to KM could be considered in this regard. The steps are: transform information into knowledge, identify and verify knowledge, capture and secure knowledge, organize knowledge, retrieve and apply knowledge, combine knowledge, create knowledge, learn knowledge and disseminate /sell knowledge.
In general, the organization, distribution and refinement of knowledge are considered to be the most important tasks in KM. Customized or third party KM tools can be used for this purpose. These tools organize collected knowledge by indexing the knowledge elements and offer various facilities like filtering knowledge based on content, establishing relationship among elements, etc. The insights from the decision support applications can be used for refining the existing knowledge and feedback into knowledge organization.
Displaying knowledge to the organizational members is another important area. Organizations need to devise standard format for this purpose, otherwise it may cause difficulties for the authorities concerned to reconfigure, recombine and integrate knowledge from distinct and disparate sources. Adapting easy to understandable formats could make the process of KM much easier. Knowledge sharing is also an important aspect of KM. Information and communication technologies have provided a perfect platform for knowledge sharing and the emerging technologies can further advance i 7. Long-term policies and strategies should be designed for promoting compulsory and optional learning activities for all.

8. Employees must be encouraged to improve their qualification, skills and competencies through benefits.

9. Learning committees and special interest groups of employees should be established by incorporating members from industry, concerning organizations and other stakeholders.

The above recommendations above underlie the effective deployment of KM in universities for converting them into learning organizations where work should be viewed as part of a “progressive” curriculum and not just paid employment. Current human achievements have propelled universities to reconsider their role in today’s knowledge- oriented society. In order to sustain their role, universities must consciously and explicitly manage the processes associated with the creation of knowledge assets

 

organizations to sustain their growth, marshalling the skills and expertise of their employees. Like other institutions, universities are also increasingly exposed to market pressures. The advancements in educational technologies have diversified expectations of learning achievements. Inventions of new learning methodologies have forced educationists to devise strategies for facilitating them in developing marketable quality product. KM may have something to offer to universities; nevertheless proper planning and implementation strategies are required. Knowledge belongs to the family of steadily increasing invisible assets of mankind. In the era of knowledge-based economies, it remains easier to understand knowledge at a more abstract level than by defining data as a set of raw facts, information as an organized set of data and knowledge as meaningful information. Zeleny defines knowledge as the understanding, awareness, familiarity acquired through study, investigation, observation or experience over the course of time. It is an individual’s interpretation of information based on personal experiences, skills and competencies. Knowledge is seen as neither absolute nor universal. It is local, changing and has to be reconstructed regularly on the basis of experiences. Knowledge leads to wisdom, acquired as an individual gains new knowledge through the transformation of collective experiences and expertise. Human beings acquire two types of knowledge — explicit and tacit. Explicit knowledge is described in formal language, like mathematical expressions, statement s in textbooks, etc. Whereas tacit knowledge is automatic, resembles intuition and is oral. It is highly personalized, context sensitive, hard to measure and difficult to capture and manage. Tacit knowledge is usually considered less valuable than explicit knowledge. Nevertheless, current research has proved it as an important asset to organizations. Proper usage of tacit knowledge is essential for gaining competitive advantages. For this purpose, organizations need to share their tacit knowledge through expressing and demonstrating their beliefs, perceptions, skills and expertise Traditionally, universities have two main roles: creating and disseminating knowledge where research is the main vehicle for creating it and teaching for disseminating it. Technological advancements have changed the nature of and the role of education profoundly.
Today’s knowledge-oriented society has opened up new horizons for universities. For playing their continuing role in today’s society, universities must consciously and explicitly manage the processes associated with the creation of knowledge assets, and recognize the value of intellectual capital. One challenge that universities occasionally encounter is the complaint that graduates do not possess the knowledge and skills that the global market demands for a secure future. The students’ needs are increasingly seen to be continuous throughout their working life and require periodic up gradation of knowledge, skills and competencies.
Such disparity raises new concerns regarding the role of universities and demands for creating a flexible and innovative relationship between work and education so that students can match their talents with current workplace demands. For this purpose the reconnection of learning with experiences is required so that work should no longer be seen as something that happens at a later stage in life. These goals can be achieved by transforming universities into learning organizations adopting KM. Nevertheless, it requires serious planning and considerations. There is, however, no single model or specific structure of a learning organization. A learning organization strives to create values, practices and procedures in which learning and working become synonymous throughout the organization. In this regard, the following recommendations could be considered:
1. Mission statement, vision, philosophy, goals, objectives, and expected outcomes must be defined and be available to all.
2. Learning of all should be central in universities. 3. Information technology (IT) should be used to automate universities processes to reduce fragmentation and duplication of information. 4. E-culture should be established for knowledge, information and resource sharing. 5. A strong structure of governance should be created. 6. The total cost of learning must be reduced. Traditionally, universities have two main roles: creating and disseminating knowledge where research is the main vehicle for creating it and teaching for disseminating it. Technological advancements have changed the nature of and the role of education profoundly.
Today’s knowledge-oriented society has opened up new horizons for universities. For playing their continuing role in today’s society, universities must consciously and explicitly manage the processes associated with the creation of knowledge assets, and recognize the value of intellectual capital. One challenge that universities occasionally encounter is the complaint that graduates do not possess the knowledge and skills that the global market demands for a secure future. The students’ needs are increasingly seen to be continuous throughout their working life and require periodic up gradation of knowledge, skills and competencies.
Such disparity raises new concerns regarding the role of universities and demands for creating a flexible and innovative relationship between work and education so that students can match their talents with current workplace demands. For this purpose the reconnection of learning with experiences is required so that work should no longer be seen as something that happens at a later stage in life. These goals can be achieved by transforming universities into learning organizations adopting KM. Nevertheless, it requires serious planning and considerations. There is, however, no single model or specific structure of a learning organization. A learning organization strives to create values, practices and procedures in which learning and working become synonymous throughout the organization. In this regard, the following recommendations could be considered:
1. Mission statement, vision, philosophy, goals, objectives, and expected outcomes must be defined and be available to all.
2. Learning of all should be central in universities. 3. Information technology (IT) should be used to automate universities processes to reduce fragmentation and duplication of information. 4. E-culture should be established for knowledge, information and resource sharing. 5. A strong structure of governance should be created.
6. The total cost of learning must be reduced
Nevertheless, appropriate ways to monitor the intensity, volume and effectiveness of the knowledge assets embedded in the organization are required. In any case, it should not be overlooked that the present era requires knowledge management in universities for the sustainability of life-long learning or action learning, thus, developing all elements of human competence.

About the Author: The author of this article is Mr. Farhan S. Sherazi,. He is a lecturer at the Punjab University College of Information Technology, Pakistan.
This article was published in the Indian daily and has been sent to the Manthan by Sri Swayam Prakash, Editor, Dainik Bhaskar, Ajmer, and Rajasthan, India. Email: swayamp@gmail.com

 

 

 

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