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The Origin and Driving Forces behind Knowledge Management System

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The emergence of Knowledge Management (KM) over the last few decades as a result of many academicals, societal and business activities. The roots extend further for millennial, over particular countries on the west and east. Meanwhile, others interconnected with recent gather cognitive and information sciences (Wiig, 2000). KM itself has become a significant approach of an organization with its complexity is often being infuriated by Information system (IS) researchers. But the field is still considered under development for quite a long period of time. The people responsible for the thrive in the competitive environment have frequently worked their best to create the finest knowledge in their area of expertise.

A combination of knowledge and other information communication (IC) act as two principles within the organization (Steward 1997; Sveiby, 1997). They have created the key resources for effectual activities and form valuable assets for exchange or sales (Wiig, 2000).IS researchers, for instance, have started to encourage lesson in IS. It is notably known as Knowledge Management System (KMS). The importance of KMS is to aid in creation, transfer and applying this knowledge to the organization (Alavi & Leidner 2001).

KM define as a process by which systematic method is being used to apprehend, construct, handle and disassemble of knowledge within the organization. Thus, cause an organization to work quicker, reprocess the same great methods and lower the cost from various projects (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995; Pasternack & Viscio 1998; Pfeffer & Sutton, 1999; Ruggles & Holtshouse, 1999). Nevertheless, an organization strives for continuous improvement on KM, so does the competitors in sustaining KM practices. These practices become more sophisticated and far beyond the reach and must be originated from the historic roots of Knowledge-based perspective (Wiig, 2000). To discover the opportunity ahead, researchers need to pay attention to the power of past KM.

According to Wiig (2000) managing knowledge, aspects have been complicated and unsystematic until now. However, in the 13th century, it took into account the methodical and philistine of KM perspective (Wiig, 2000). Many researchers pinpointed the current focus on knowledge in KM field is leaning towards commercial effectiveness. Although there is the emergence of effectual behavior to assist competitive excellence numerous factors must be comprehended as well (Boulding, 1966; Cronin, 1986).

Alavi and Leidner (2001) highlight, the prospect of knowledge on the services rendered by valuable assets relies on the integration of both and know-how the knowledge. This is being applied in the organization. However, knowledge-related resources are hard to comprehend and socially abstruse. The knowledge is implanted in the firm and can be carried out through multiple sections include the culture, identity, daily routines, systems as well as the individual employees.

If the organization able to apply this knowledge and consider them as assets, they may able to produce a long-term sustainable competitive advantage. But to achieve these, the information technology plays important role in effectuating it. In order to do so, notable researchers, especially in IT literature, often seek the inquiry of understanding the knowledge by differentiating knowledge, information, and data (Alavi & Leidner, 2001). Fahey and Prusak (1998) described that if knowledge is not different from data or information then there is nothing formidable about knowledge management.

In general perspective, data is treated as raw number and facts, while information is treated as processed data and knowledge is genuine information (Dretske, 1981; Machlup, 2014; Vance, 1997). Yet, knowledge is information owned by individuals. It is treated as personalized information which may or may not be correspondent to facts, rules, procedures, concepts, scope, and judgments. The radical appearance of knowledge may similar to other forms of IS. It is often geared towards individuals able to assign meaning to information and learn the knowledge in information or data (Alavi & Leidner, 2001).

With mind concentrate on this perspective knowledge, it enables individuals (users) to broaden their knowledge and apply them to organizational needs (Alavi & Leidner, 2001). In accordance with knowledge, KM is suggested to be a focus on strategic advancement and creating the intellectual capital. By applying the various concept of knowledge, each view can be assumed as different ways of handling knowledge and another dissimilar perspective of role when assisting the KM.

Discussion and Analysis.

The roots of Knowledge Management.

Nowadays, schools and universities aim to provide support lesson required for leading minority in KM. The knowledge that they acquire is coming from philosophical thinking whereas others obtained from the particular expertise of environment. Meanwhile, the rest absorbed from learning through educators and business leaders’ reforms.

The recent intellectual roots of KM are taken from the explanation of economic driving forces in “Knowledge era” and step taken by the 20th-century result to enhance capabilities (Kelly, 1996; Romer, 1989).

Wiig (2000), claimed that the roots of KM can be further taken from Historical efforts and 20th-century results to enhance effectiveness as explained below: –

Historical Efforts.

I. Religion and Philosophy. To infuse the character and nature of knowledge and the sanctions of individuals “to think for themselves’.

II. Psychology. To comprehend the important role of knowledge in human cognitive.

III. Economics and social sciences. To recognize the importance of knowledge in society.

IV. Business Theory. To understand the work activities and its organization.

20th Century Results to Enhance Effectiveness

I. Taylorism. Also known as Rationalisation of Work. Includes Total Quality Management (TQM) and Management of Sciences to define effectiveness.

II. Psychology, Cognitive Sciences, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Learning Organisation. To improve quickly than competition thus provide the basis for the people to be more effective.

3.2 Driving Forces Influencing Knowledge Management

The driven forces behind KM can be explained by the evolution of several factors. KM is essential for driven forces such as competition, marketplace demands, new operating and management practices. This may also include the availability of KM approaches and information technology (Wiig, 2000). The driven forces that influence KM is categorized into two: the external driving forces and the internal driving forces.

External Driving Forces.

Indeed, to remain competitive most organizations need to be nimble and operate in the fast pace of environment that keeps on changing. Their growth and success often subjected to the ability for them able to use external forces wisely. Wiig (2000) stated external factors such as globalization, sophisticated customers and competitors should be considered if organizations want to be nimble in the fast growth environments.

I. Globalisation.

With the increasing amount of business going global, the international commerce also has increased recently. Business tends to compete with one another to increase their volume of sales by selling the products or services at low cost. The products that once created within the local country are now may able to be assembling across multiple sources in worldwide at low cost (Wiig, 2000). Take into an example, the Smartphone that we use daily, certain parts are made from different countries even though the brand itself is widely from known countries such as USA or Korea.

The limited resources in developed countries can now be found in developing countries. Although the capabilities of the production and services can be found in advanced countries with managing the knowledge and know how to obtain the development, they act as cut-throat competition to ensure the survival and the effectiveness in term of operations, marketing and development of products and services.

II. Sophisticated Customers.

If companies want to thrive and grow, they need to listen to customer demands. One of the reasons for the failure of Toys R Us is that the company did not listen to their customers. These days customers prefer for better features, new requirements, high quality of products and reasonable prices and quick feedback in terms of the products and services (Wiig, 2000). In case of Toys R Us, the company fails to take into account that customers prefer to buy online rather than coming to brick and mortar store (Hartung, 2017). By failing to invest in e-commerce, this had led the company to lost its customers and thus cause them to go bankrupt (Lutz, 2017).

III. Sophisticated Competitors.

Indeed, the reminder for continuous improvement in every organization is competitors. Without competitors, the organization may not constantly try to innovate themselves in producing better products, services, and practices. The organization may need to implement discontinues break-throughs by using new technologies and knowledge practices to ensure they able to keep the requirement in building more competitive expertise (Wiig, 2000).

A good example would be Apple versus Samsung. In order to compete in becoming world number one brand in Smartphone industry, they simultaneously keep on improving their technologies and use the knowledge to build better product and services specifically for their customers. Other internal factors named sophisticated suppliers may need to be considered as well for the impellent cause towards KM.

Internal Driving Forces.

Other than visible factors shown by the organization, it is important also to look through the internal driving forces. In an organization, the creation of numerous processes and activities, have provided favorable circumstances for managing knowledge in a better way. While in some case it might be treated the opposite way. The exemplary of significant changes may include:

I. The barrier in Organisation effectiveness

In general, organization effectiveness is restricted by the flows of work within the organization, information access, and others. The barrier itself has been reduced by continuous improvement, the investment in technology such as IT, IC and logistics. Even the personnel work and tasks have been assigned properly and the information is being enhanced with better accuracy, complete and timely for decision making (Wiig, 2000). Instead of focusing on the inefficient and daily routine the current demand focus on more effectiveness and intelligent behavior possess by the individual within the organization. The bottlenecks (barrier) from the typical and tangible field to knowledge-related perspective may require greater understanding and enhancement in expertise (Wiig, 2000).

II. Boost technological effectiveness

Through the usage of KM methods, the advancement in information management and technology and appliance of AI are made feasible (Wiig, 2000). The evidence can be shown through the collaboration of groupware work, the ability to encode for knowledge bases, the performance support system (which can be learned through the academic module in certain circumstances) and the advancement of search engines (Wiig, 2000). A good example of the advancement of search engines would be the google search engine itself, where specific words and inquiries can be used to search particular matters.

III. To understand human cognitive capacity

Thirdly, the reason behind the internal forces of KM would be understanding of how intellectual and mental of people act as the center of effective organization (Wiig, 2000). Similar to the subject acquire through human resource management and organizational behavior, people play a role for the effective KM in the organization. By incorporating the understanding of cognitive functions such as mental models, how the knowledge is being comprehended, they may affect the decision making and knowledge-based work when strategizing to conduct KM (Wiig, 2000). Failure to understand the human cognitive aspects, the organization may not able to move on and would continue to repeat the same mistake without making any progress.

3.3 Knowledge Management in the Future

KM practitioners perceive that KM has brought new characters into the organization (Wiig, 2000). KM capability is currently in upturn as managers at all respective levels within the organization must act upon to become more intelligent in work and nimble with the demands of advanced technology and the reduction of workforce. The traditional practices are not suitable in the high technological savvy environment and the ephemeral employment in the recent days (Warier, 2003).

As being emphasized before, the KM methods and technologies can support organization to enhance not only their product quality but examining their processes and to meet their customer expectations. Imagine KM is regarded as an object or associated with information access, then KM would be assumed as developing and handling knowledge stocks. If it is viewed as a process, then it may focus on knowledge flow, creation, sharing and distribution of knowledge process. (Alavi & Leidner, 2001). KM is quite broad and has much different meaning. It depends on how the users utilize the knowledge for.

In 2004, it was projected that the private and public sectors in the worldwide have spent $5 billion to $12 billion on KM services (depend on the nature of the market for study group) (Warner, 2003). Even though a huge amount of investment and hour required to build this KM but it helps the organization i.e. government agencies and institutions to understand better on things and helps them to make a room for improvement and control the cost. These days, organization realize that there is numerous amount of information that required being stored. Without the KM, they would not understand how to include the data in context and what are the factors and methods that can be employed to bring more benefit towards the organization. By using KM systems, the organization may able to consolidate their assets, understand how to do their internal operations in a better way and constituent bases (Warier, 2003).

With KM it markets the development and application of a method that can be considered as enrichment for the personnel and attainment of the organizational goal. In such ascertain the organization to have long-term survival or better delivery quality services on the continuous future (Wiig, 2000).

To conclude KM will keep on evolving and drawn upon assistance from many areas such as theoretical, practices and application. Organisations become more aware of how knowledge play a useful role in their organization. They even pay more attention to their competitor and try to enhance their competitive power on their IC. The root behinds the KM approach can be further seen through the internal and external forces that lead to effectual in KM. Yet, an organization who pursue the KM without fully understanding the effect and benefit of developing them may create danger instead of value within the organization.

As is mentioned before, by enhancing KM, an organization may able to survive and thrive for long-term. Furthermore, the KM effort may serve major benefits towards the organization. Other than supporting the strategy of KM, it helps the individuals to set up priority setting and minimize costs and risks associated with the process, products and services incur. Nevertheless, bear in mind that not all KM can be used in every organization. To become more effective, most organizations should create approaches that may help the person to acquire a better understanding of the knowledge. Thus help the implementation, operating and process flow of work and tasks to become more smoothly. On contrary, when mentioning about the roots of KM, the explanation is not simply from the past only. The roots behind the reason the KM is essential for the organization must be considered as well.

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