Guide Managing information and knowledge in the public sector

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Eileen Milner.

Benefits of knowledge management

Publisher: Routledge , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title For the public sector, which is globally the largest employer of people and repository of information, managing information and knowledge is an extremely problematic area to address.

Buy New Learn more about this copy. About AbeBooks. Other Popular Editions of the Same Title. Search for all books with this author and title. Customers who bought this item also bought. Stock Image. Published by Routledge New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1. Seller Rating:. For Nonaka and Takeuchi , tacit knowledge can be transmitted through social interactions or socialization, and made explicit through externalization-although they agree with the idea that tacit knowledge is somewhat hidden. These very different perspectives are a reflection of different backgrounds: Polanyi is a philosopher concerned with individual knowledge while Nonaka and Takeuchi are organizational theorists interested in how knowledge circulates in organizations.

Explicit knowledge, unlike tacit knowledge, is defined as knowledge that can be codified and therefore more easily communicated and shared. KM writers view explicit knowledge as structured and conscious and therefore it can be stored in information technology Martensson, This type of knowledge is often equated with information, providing the argument that KM is simply another terminology for IM.

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However, the concept of information is far from clear-cut. In the IM literature, the distinction between information and information resources is also very innocuous. Gourlay , for instance, argues that knowledge itself cannot be managed and it is "knowledge representations" that are the actually focus of KM. And, Abram wrote that the knowledge environment, or the conditions of its use, are the only dimensions that are manageable.


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Hlupic et al. While these arguments have merit, it is our contention that to consider information as the equivalent of explicit knowledge reveals an inadequate assessment of the qualitative dimensions of the various types of information and knowledge created, used and transferred in organizations. As Kakabadse et al. Similarly, while both IM and KM require a high degree of human involvement, their objectives are often very different. The ultimate goal of IM is to ensure that information is stored and retrievable, while the ultimate purpose of KM is tied more closely to organization outcomes.

For instance, organizations often state their KM goals as to facilitate product innovation. Those with an inclusive definition of IM might purport that KM is nothing new, just as, in the past, those with a broad definition of data management claimed that IM was nothing new. However, with IM came the idea that organizations can be assessed according to the "information flow" and analyzed according to the information processes at work.

In a similar way, KM has provided a framework for assessing contextual information, and taking into account more informal information exchanges. In that sense, both fields are very complementary. Knowledge and information are not static but rather move through organizations in various ways. One way to distinguish between KM and IM is to identify the processes or steps involves in both fields. The nuances between IM and Records Managements and Information Resources Management are subtle because, as mentioned earlier, all these terms tend to be used interchangeably.

For Wilson , IM is the management of the information resources of an organization and involves the management of information technology. Choo b proposed a process model of IM. Each step requires the planning, the organization, the coordination and the control of a number of activities supported by information technology.

Managing information and knowledge: a conceptual framework

Although his view is not recent, Cronin claimed that focus of IM initiatives is often to control systematically recorded information and less on the use of these records for example, see the British Columbia Archives, Although the human element is considered in techniques such as information audit and mapping, IM or IRM programs tend to implement and maintain information systems and place a strong emphasis on information resources and technology.

On the other hand, people management is a critical component of KM Gourlay, Attempts to define KM processes are numerous.

Nonaka and Takeuchi described four knowledge conversion processes: socialization, externalization, combination, and internalization. Each process involves converting one form of knowledge tacit or explicit to another form of knowledge tacit or explicit. This model focuses on the important issue of how knowledge may be created through organizational sharing and is useful for identifying and evaluating certain key activities in the management of knowledge.

Managing Information and Knowledge in the Public Sector | Taylor & Francis Group

Hlupic et. Neither of these process models are broad enough to allow for a complete analysis of organizational knowledge flow, omitting several important steps in the knowledge chain, such as acquiring and storing knowledge. Another model, proposed by Oluic-Vukovic outlines 5 steps in the knowledge processing chain: gathering; organizing; refining; representing; and disseminating.

This model covers more completely the range of activities involved in the organizational knowledge flow. It closely resembles information life-cycle processes suggesting again the interrelated aspects of IM and KM. To analyze a number of KM initiatives, we needed a framework that could help us to compare the activities involved in these initiatives.

We decided that identifying processes or group of activities would help in spite of the conceptual problems mentioned above.

Introduction to Knowledge Management: KM Essentials

To develop a conceptual framework for our study, the processes of the last model have been altered slightly Figure 1 based on our reading of the KM literature. First, the "gathering" step has been separated into three different processes, each of which is distinct from the other: discovery, acquisition, and creation of knowledge. Second, the refining and representing processes have been omitted. Refining is not a major enough process in the knowledge flow, but merely one aspect of the knowledge creation step and knowledge representation generally falls within the scope of the storage and organization process.

Third, a separate process of knowledge sharing has been added. This process actually replaces knowledge dissemination in the previous model, as sharing seems to be the terminology more commonly used in the KM field. Discovery involves locating internal knowledge within the organization. This process addresses the oft-quoted phrase, "if only we knew what we know". Large, non-hierarchical or geographically dispersed organizations find this knowledge gathering process especially helpful as one part of the organization may not be aware of the knowledge existing in its other parts.

Acquisition involves bringing knowledge into an organization from external sources. The creation of new knowledge may be accomplished in several ways. First, internal knowledge may be combined with other internal knowledge to create new knowledge. And secondly, information may be analyzed to create new knowledge. This is adding value to information so that it is able to produce action. One example of this knowledge creation process is competitive intelligence. Technologies are useful at this stage because they can facilitate the creation of new knowledge through the synthesis of data and information captured from diverse sources Oluic-Vukovic, After knowledge has been gathered, it must be stored and shared.

Knowledge sharing involves the transfer of knowledge from one or more person to another one or more. Knowledge sharing is often a major preoccupation with knowledge management and is frequently addressed in the literature. Not only most organizations abandon the idea that all knowledge should be documented, but they should also be ready to implement different methods for sharing different types of knowledge Snowden, It is our contention that the focus of KM is not on the distribution nor the dissemination of knowledge but on its sharing.

Although knowledge can be acquired at the individual level, to be useful it must be shared by a community, often described as a community of practice. For instance, if there is only one person knowing organizational rules and procedures, such rules and procedures would be useless and meaningless. On the other hand, rules and procedures emanate from communities and exist precisely to regulate group activities.

Knowledge sharing is then crucial when new employees arrive and others quit. The management of information does not really focus on information sharing and is more oriented toward the control, preservation, and retention of information. One could also argue that the usefulness and the meaningfulness of information do not depend as much on its collective consumption or sharing: its individual consumption and use could be very effective from an organizational point of view.

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In fact, too much distribution of information can lead to information overload which could paralyze action. Knowledge sharing is perceived, for example, by the World Bank as critical for economic development and as an important next step going beyond the dissemination of information MacMorrow, In the end, the cycle of knowledge management is not complete nor successful if no efforts are made to ensure the use of stored and shared knowledge.

On the other hand, the success of an IM project is achieved when the preservation and the retrieval of information is guaranteed while the success of a KM program ultimately depends on the sharing of knowledge Martensson, The purpose of the study was to identify general trends in KM practices across several organizational types in order to gain insight into why and how organizations are practicing the management of knowledge. In particular, the goal was to determine six dimensions of KM initiatives:.