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What do people want, when they want knowl

Questions in edge? Nothing more than this: something
strange must be converted into something
knowledge known [...] Is our need to know not just this
need for the known, the need to find something
management: defining that doesn't disturb us, between all the weird,
and conceptualising a the unusual, the dubious? Couldn't it be the
instinct of fear that leads us to know? Couldn't
phenomenon the cheering of him who knows, just be the
cheering over the feeling of a regained feeling of
safety? [..] The known is that which we are used
Roelof P. uit Beijerse to; and that which we are used to, is the hardest
to know, that is to say, to see as a problem, that is
to say, to see as strange, as far away, and outside
us ?
(Friedrich Nietzsche (1882), Die froÈhliche

The author
Roelof P. uit Beijerse is a Researcher at EIM, Introduction
The Netherlands.
The importance of knowledge management in a
knowledge-based economy
Knowledge economy, Knowledge management, Since our economy has evolved over the last
Organizational performance couple of years from a managed economy into
an entrepreneurial economy (Audretsch and
Abstract Thurik, 1997), more commonly referred to as
This article examines and defines the main concepts in a knowledge-based economy (OECD, 1996),
knowledge management. Since our economy has evolved one of the main assets of companies has
over the last couple of years into a knowledge-based become their stock of knowledge. Where
economy, knowledge has become one of the main assets more traditional economies focused on land,
of companies. Knowledge can be defined as: information; labour and capital as their main production
the capability to interpret data and information through a factors, in the knowledge-based economy
process of giving meaning to these data and information; knowledge is becoming the primary produc-
and an attitude aimed at wanting to do so. In making tion factor on which competitive advantage
these factors productive knowledge management can be
rests. This macro-level observation has im-
defined as achieving organisational goals through the
plications at a micro-level; companies have to
strategy-driven motivation and facilitation of (knowledge-
deal with this emphasis on knowledge in their
)workers to develop, enhance and use their capability to
business. One way of doing this is through the
interpret data and information (by using available sources
of information, experience, skills, culture, character, etc.)
management of knowledge, which is one of
through a process of giving meaning to these data and the hottest issues in literature on management
information. Consultants and managers should ask at present. Authors like Peter Senge (1990),
themselves strategic, organisational and instrumental Peter Drucker (1993), Alvin and Heidi
questions regarding knowledge management to stay Toffler (1993), Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka
competitive in a highly dynamic and changing world. Takeuchi (1995), and in The Netherlands,
Dany Jacobs (1996) and Mathieu Weggeman
(1997) all emphasise the importance of deal-
ing intelligently with knowledge.
Purpose of this article
In this article the important concepts in
knowledge management are defined and the
process of knowledge management is con-
ceptualized. On that basis the questions
Journal of Knowledge Management
Volume 3 . Number 2 . 1999 . pp. 94±109 which play a role in knowledge management
# MCB University Press . ISSN 1367-3270 are formulated.

(2) become sensitized to the points for 1996). knowledge) ing field of knowledge management. but stimulated by companies. outside economic processes. as embodied in human beings only widely seen as a key asset in companies. or. organizational and instrumental by company Y. The resource-based theory thus leads improvement in this field[1]. I hope is the most important driver in economic that this article will encourage the reader to growth (EIM. The to economic growth OECD estimates that 50 percent of the GNP The new resource-based theory of the firm of the largest OECD-countries is knowledge- recognizes knowledge as a new reproducible based. uit Beijerse Volume 3 .e. Hardly any (1996). It seems Western economies become more and that those who gave a positive answer to this more knowledge-intensive question have won the plea. as futurologists Toffler and Toffler based economy (1993) put it: ``The real value of companies like Compaq or Kodak. distribution and use of growth was explained only by the growth of the world population (the quantity of labour knowledge than ever before''. and that this will lead stimulated and subsidized by the government. just as technological development was seen as that importance is growing. and that the contemporary has shown that investments in knowledge economy is a knowledge-based economy or as a reproducible production factor lead has to be a knowledge-based economy. relative importance been recognized. In classical economic theories. 94±109 The model and the questions serve two classical economic theory this labour power purposes. asset. to the point of view that knowledge and Another. 1993). This value can be think about the knowledge he or she does. as- continuous discussion between economists sembly lines. but it can also be mainly does not.'' cused on the question of whether these factors play any role in economic growth. In trying to answer them the meant an eventual stop to economic growth manager or the consultant can: (SER. becoming the most always been central to economic develop- important determinant of economic growth. Hitachi or Siemens. Knowledge is seen as a company's key asset Knowledge is thus seen as a company's key The development of the knowledge. and it sees assets can lead to economic growth without a continuing rise in researchers being needing any extra labour power. In the educated. Thus capital itself is now increas- in economic growth[2]. existing stock of knowledge are crucial inputs agement. 95 . and other physical assets they about the role technology and knowledge play may have. says the OECD power) and by the technological development in its study The Knowledge-Based Economy (the quality of labour power). depends more on the ideas. The OECD something that went on in an autonomous economies are more strongly dependent on way. Number 2 . Now it is accepted that knowl- (1) obtain an idea of the strengths and edge has spillover effects. It also observes an increasing part of production factor. and ``spillovers from the level ± with respect to knowledge man. Investments in intangible export being knowledge-intensive. But only over the last few years has its In the classical theories of economic growth. In The Knowledge-Based Economy. use. Economic the production. and it states that technology (i. Questions in knowledge management Journal of Knowledge Management Roelof P. more modest aim of this article. at the same time. which can lead to weaknesses of an organization ± at a knowledge created by company X being used strategic. 1999 . This discussion fo- ingly based on intangibles. has It is. makers increasingly have to be aware of the fact that contemporary society is an informa- The resource-based theory of the firm tion society. is to technology add value to economic processes. offer an introduction into the highly interest. and in the production of knowledge'' (Minne. 1995). (as `human capital') and in technology. insights and knowledge was seen as external to the information in the heads of their employees economic process and in the data banks and patents these Over the last decades there has been a companies control than on the trucks. the attention was paid to the role played by OECD argues that politicians and policy knowledge in all this. ment. him or her to the most common human act of asking questions. Knowledge is not ``Knowledge.

labour and capital Knowledge The argument of Audretsch and Thurik Output Manufactured products Knowledge starts with their plea that the supposed trade. relatively highly-educated and skill-intensive. The revolution tions have drastically reduced the cost of we see before us now is the management shifting not just capital. there is the as input and as output stage of the increasing importance of infor- Another approach to the rise of a knowledge. and he says that the only ± or at between the managed versus the entrepre- least the most important ± source of wealth in neurial economy is given in Table II. In Sources applied. Features Certainty Uncertainty off between the creation of jobs and the Easy to shift around Costly to transact the world Table I Revolutions in society Symmetric across Asymmetric across First Second Third people people Government Control Enabling Revolution Industrial Productivity Management Economy Economies of scale Economies of diversity Application of Tools. process Human labour Knowledge Industrial structure Large corporations Small enterprises knowledge and products 96 . knowledge and information (Drucker. knowledge become important Dany Jacobs writes in his Het kennisoffensief The managed economy has (to) become (1996) about four stages in the development an entrepreneurial economy. Input Land. the other production factors are put. As long as there is knowledge. it is of Growth: the Entrepreneurial versus the Man- Table II Main characteristics of the managed versus the entrepreneurial aged Economy (1997). Owing to these technologies. Number 2 . but revolution where knowledge was being ap. Drucker sees the most policy on rebuilding their economies into an important challenge of the knowledge-based entrepreneurial economy. which is of the knowledge-based economy. economy as being to find a methodology. Because position. in the knowledge-based economy. the people like Taylor and Ford began to apply telecommunications and computer revolu- knowledge to human labour. 94±109 The most important source of wealth in reduction of unemployment on the one hand the contemporary post-capitalist society and the payment of lower wages and the is knowledge and information deterioration of a civil society on the other Management guru Peter Drucker is very clear hand is fiction. Although this trade-off is an in his conclusions when he analyzes this actual fact in the managed economy. On the other hand. there was the industrial new competition has come from low-cost. but also information revolution in which knowledge is being out of the high-cost locations of Europe and applied to knowledge itself.'' This is not to say that the traditional This has put pressure on the managed production factors of land and labour have economy and has led to the importance of disappeared. Audretsch and Thurik economy build a framework of which the main thesis is that there is a fundamental shift going on in Managed economy Entrepreneurial most OECD-countries from a managed economy economy to an entrepreneurial economy. Questions in knowledge management Journal of Knowledge Management Roelof P. mation in which information and based economy is given by the economists communication technology are being broadly David Audretsch and Roy Thurik. Next. uit Beijerse Volume 3 . countries in Central and Eastern Europe as there was the productivity revolution when well as in Asia. plied to tools. The heart of the difference knowledge. growth and the creation of jobs are hampered He observes three fundamental changes in in most OECD-countries by the twin forces of knowledge during the twentieth century (see globalization: ``On the one hand the advent of Table I). entrepreneurial economy this trade-off is no sionately in favour of the importance of longer real. They have merely changed knowledge in economic competition. processes and products. 1993). into lower-cost locations around the globe. 1999 . his plea is pas. First. a discipline or a process with which information New kinds of ± ``soft'' and immaterial ± can be made productive. governments are forced to focus their easy to obtain. which better equipped to deal with knowledge overlap to some extent. First. knowledge is uncertain as input and as out- Drucker says. the contemporary post-capitalist society is According to Audretsch and Thurik.

provide a better foundation for making combination of different forms of knowledge decisions like make-or-buy of new are crucial. 1996). organizations can: The economy has evolved from a supply-side . both technical and non-technical. These soft sides demand an micro-level finds its beginning in knowledge entirely new kind of knowledge. enhance synergy between knowledge- economy it has so far become clear that its workers. changing workforce. these custo. in handling the uncertainty of the company. consumer research and product . knowledge. This more intelligently on the market. which makes holding on to knowledge mers use this variety to put emphasis on their and transferring knowledge all the more individuality and to strengthen their identity. . make professionals learn more efficiently works that are necessary to deal with an and more effectively. organizations increasingly Knowledge management as ``one'' have to deal with such matters as: answer to these demands . on a yearly basis on reinventing things that 97 . alliances and merges. These elements lead to a competitive . uit Beijerse Volume 3 . individual wishes (Jacobs). the transport and exchange tencies of the firm which have to be of information can go faster. 1999 . Number 2 . In addition. which leads nological possibilities to offer their customers to a capricious. It is said that knowledge man- style. companies will increasingly have the work technologies. ensure that knowledge-workers stay with tive (Drucker). but letting go less relevant knowledge-based economy is marked by a tasks. which is the complexities accompanying the emergence of the knowledge-based economy. enhance the continuity of the company. knowledge and technology. shortening of the life cycle of products and . an increased focus on the core compe- more efficiently. in which Industrial Property has estimated that Dutch case learning processes have to be trade and industry spend three billion guilders quicker. make the company focus on the core and Thurik) and in coming to terms with the business and on critical company growing importance of consumers and their knowledge. difficult (Kalff et al. Competition by imitation therefore becomes almost impossible. In this knowledge- based economy. optimize the interaction between product advantage for companies in the knowledge- development and marketing. company only uses 20 percent of the knowl- edge. Secondly. the Dutch Bureau of with shorter product life cycles. . the coordinated.. based economy. a growing reservoir of relevant knowl. The demands of the knowledge-based . The advantages of knowledge These changes accompany the development management of the ``soft'' side of products becoming more The translation of these grand tasks at a important. improve the market position by operating the influence of consumers is greater. has led to the growing importance of mar. 94±109 possible to organize processes in the company . improve the relevant (group) with which Jacobs deals is the rising of the competencies. In the discussion about the knowledge-based . about management. As entrepreneurs use the tech. an increasing complexity of products and Research by the Dutch Knowledge Manage- processes. Questions in knowledge management Journal of Knowledge Management Roelof P. values and life discussion. tastes. The fourth development . a broader spectrum of products. recently a common topic of changes in markets. These are human net. edge that is potentially available in the . done by a flexible workforce. improve communication between economy knowledge-workers. By managing observed immaterialization of the economy. keting. ment Network showed that the average . This development is also closely related agement can enable companies to face the to the third development. improve efficiency. . network economy. increasing competition in an economy company. economy to a demand-side economy where . knowledge in a globalized world (Audretsch . enhance the profitability of the company. design. challenges lie in making information produc. economy in which specialization and the .

should be defined as that which philosophers Management as people's business do. et al. It is also deciding ment is intuition. activating Managing knowledge employees and controlling processes. and rightly so. They lead to a certain performance with the knowledge offered by the knowledge. in a descriptive sense ± but thing in management is working with people. determining policies. uit Beijerse Volume 3 . planning. notice that management is an activity that The need for a clear definition of management can be divided broadly into two activities: Just as with every crucial concept that is the (1) activities to determine strategies. culture and systems attainment of organizational goals in an ± is called management. 94±109 already exist (Weggeman and Cornelissen. financial resources. be important in defining management: organizing (assigning tasks. the philosopher once said ± in trying to make an end to the endless discussion on what organization. keeping the organiza. of which people are an important part ± ment is that which managers do. efficiency based economy. A and policies. though hu. when the aim is to Reeves is not the only one who lays the build a conceptual model of knowledge emphasis more on people than on the management. motivate employees to achieve the organiza. To say that manage. one way of doing this is through the man. Of course this ``solution''. 98 . such as goals. call leadership. Swieringa and Wierdsma (1990) things very clear. A similar definition is found with Schieman agement of knowledge. management planning (defining goals for future organiza. i. structure. leading and controlling developing an effective organization consist- Daft (1993) defines management as ``the ing of strategy. which together lead to achieving goals. in a According to Reeves. products. 1989). When we look at these definitions of man- tional performance and deciding on the tasks agement. things done through people. They see management as a process of determining goals. Where Daft and Schieman et al. the activation of employees philosophy is or should be ± that philosophy and control of the processes. The direct the term are. activation of people. the word man- agement goes by many different definitions. It is therefore necessary to notice that ``a key element in almost all define management in a conceptually clear definitions [of management] is that the key way and examine some definitions of man- function of management is: activating people agement and see what the crucial aspects of to show the required behaviour''. and (2) activities to realize these strategies. organizing.e. such a definition does not make processes. Questions in knowledge management Journal of Knowledge Management Roelof P.e. In this definition. and a lot of success in what should be done and making sure that management finds its basis in intuition what is being done is worthwhile doing''. A great deal of manage. They are fed by (see Appendix 1). grouping tasks (1) The first function of management is the into departments and allocating resources to formulation of a strategy ± doing the right departments). services. management is ``getting prescriptive sense. However. did not satisfy the philosophical emphasis on the processes of management ± world. These figures should suffice to em. (Rowan. 1999 . lay the morous. As has already been stated: and effectiveness.e.e. goals subject of human thought. leading (the use of influence to things. for the greater part wrong ± i. leading and controlling Four central elements in most definitions of organizational resources''. (2) The second function of management is tion's goals) and controlling (monitoring making sure that this strategy is realized ± employees' activities. organizing. materials. tion on track toward its goals and making (3) The third element is that the organization corrections as needed) are seen as the key is a tool in fulfilling these two functions management functions. i. (1989). effective and efficient manner through plan- ning. there are four elements that seem to and resource use needed to attain them). Number 2 . Swieringa and Wierdsma Management as a process of planning. Schieman et What is management? al. human resources. while indirect activation ± by organizing. doing things right. would be Reeves (1994) argues that the most important partly right ± i. technological resources and infor- phasize the importance of dealing intelligently mation. raw 1997).

edge is information transformed into capabilities for effective action. the experi- over two millennia. cept is concerned. Number 2 .. In this respect. and the school of Plato.. immediately after the its basis in knowledge creation as a result of biological needs. economist and philoso- to categorize it and to interpret it in certain pher Michael Polanyi.. We shall not focus on that tip of the iceberg discussion here[3]. the difference between objects and subjects ± 99 . the skills and the attitude which disagreement between the school of Aristotle. This is a personal capacity that should be seen as discussion has kept philosophers occupied for the product of the information. edge is seen as a capability. of course. Maslow. who define knowledge as ``a collection of also holds true for the term knowledge. and finds its origin in the ence. Figure 1 Maslow's hierarchy of needs ment ± which should not surprise us when we look at what an organization is ± are the people who manage and who are needs clarification when speaking of knowl- 13_term2. different human needs and motives are 1966)..html) says for instance: ``Knowl- edge management is. 94±109 (4) A central ± fourth ± element in manage. safety is the second important need Whereas traditional epistemology[4] finds of human behaviour. knowledge can be is that between explicit and tacit knowledge. the . but is information . the organizational culture and Knowledge has to do with information . It is This difference was first introduced by the the need to structure the world around them.. The organizational resources that can be used to reach this consist of the organizational structure. Instead of that. Basically it is the need to reduce or tacit knowledge is extremely important for uncertainty in their lives. One of the important function can be fulfilled''.ktic. He stated that personal ways. Hungarian chemist. seen as some basic need of human beings. the second concept which Murray (http://www. we shall As we see in all these definitions. The basic human need for knowledge.. says nothing about what knowledge is. specific systems. how- So far as clarifying the management con- ever. In one well-known human cognition.what is under the rationalists.. as information plus some- As we saw in the quotation from Nietzsche at thing. because people acquire model in psychology which deals with human knowledge by the active (re)creation and motives ± that of Abraham Maslow (1970) ± organization of their own experience (Polanyi. uit Beijerse Volume 3 . aimed at reaching the organizational goals.'' Something similar is Focusing on key elements in knowledge posed by Den Hertog and Huizenga (1997) What has been said on the term management. What is knowledge? knowledge is action. plus . Our definition Having all this in mind we define manage- ment here as follows: Management is the strategy-driven motivation and facilitation of people. This aspect of discussions in the philosophy of knowledge is capabilities resulting from information is the argument whether knowledge finds its something we also see at Weggeman (1997). the knowledge that can prioritized in order of importance in the lives be expressed in words and numbers is just the of people (see Figure 1). Questions in knowledge management Journal of Knowledge Management Roelof P. According to tip of the iceberg (see Figure 2). the empiricists. the term knowledge. 1999 . Knowl- see what the key elements of the concept are. knowledge is present some definitions of knowledge and something more than information. basis in perception and experience or whether but he adds some other aspects: ``Knowledge it finds its basis in ratio and reasoning. someone has at a certain point in time''. and information and rules with which a certain maybe more so. A well-known distinction in this respect the beginning of this article. In effect.. as something that Knowledge as a basic human need cannot be said. Management is people's busi- ness.

together form a kind of ing. Examples of combination are knowledge edge. hypotheses and models. (3) Combination. Tacit and explicit knowledge are computer networks. New knowledge can complementary to each other. four different Into tacit Into explicit kinds of knowledge are being created. This can happen through learning- an organization (Nonaka and Takeuchi. (Table III): Internalization can also be seen when (1) Socialization. The exchange of experi. It is further important to note that (5) Internalization. deduction ± Polanyi states that people create telephone conversations and the ex- knowledge by becoming involved in the change of information via media like object. adding. and documented knowledge 1995). and in the also be created through the restructuring creative actions of people they interact and of existing information by sorting. Of course there are many more knowledge distinctions that can be made[5]. A process in which explicit this conversion does not take place within knowledge becomes part of tacit knowl- individuals but between individuals ± within edge. The 100 . From tacit knowledge 1 Socialize 2 Externalize We thus have four different kinds of From explicit 4 Internalize 3 Combine knowledge. by-doing. People exchange human subjects acquire knowledge of (on) knowledge. analogies. The four kinds of interaction between tacit icy. the main Source: Nonaka and Takeuchi. 1995 focus of all these distinctions. happens are master-fellow-relationships. uit Beijerse Volume 3 . i. Examples of situations where this enterprise. A process model of combining and categorizing explicit knowledge creation builds on the crucial knowledge. 94±109 Figure 2 Explicit knowledge is just the tip of the (2) Externalization. imitating others. Four different kinds of knowledge being created on-the-job-training. One usually finds externalization in the design process when conversations and collective consideration are used to boost this design process. Number 2 . constructive and explicit knowledge. is that between tacit and explicit knowledge. for example in language. interaction between tacit and explicit knowl.e. Nonaka and Takeuchi find externalization the key process in knowledge conversion because it is here that from tacit knowledge new and explicit designs are born. This interaction is called a knowledge and information systems. Combination is the kind of presupposition that human knowledge is knowledge creation which we usually created and enlarged by means of a social encounter in education and training. Personal or tacit knowl- iceberg edge is made explicit in the form of metaphors. Table III Four kinds of interaction between tacit and explicit knowledege In the four different situations. practising and train. Four kinds of knowledge creation Internalization can be seen when new The interaction between tacit and explicit (knowledge-)workers ``relive'' a project by knowledge can go in four different directions studying the archives of the project. influence each other. can play a helpful role in this process. over knowledge knowledge and over again (see Table IV). experienced managers or technicians give ences whereby personal knowledge is lectures or when authors decide to write being created in the form of mental the biography of an entrepreneur or models. and this knowledge is com- human objects by processes of induction and bined through documents. Questions in knowledge management Journal of Knowledge Management Roelof P. creating knowledge. the exchanging of ideas and a lot of spiral which goes from socialization to ex- talking. however. the four ways of brainstorm sessions. Notions are synthesized into a knowledge system. ternalization to combination to internalization to socialization to externalization and so on. 1999 . conversion. meetings. trial-and-error-pol.

e. char. 1999 . technology only. Furthermore. this knowledge gap needs to be used to reach these.sveiby. personal. defining knowledge. experience. Let us look at advantage that it is a dynamic model of some examples of how knowledge manage- knowledge. In the process of knowledge manage- management as such ment.html) for instance knowledge is crucial in dealing with the puts the emphasis on intangible assets when management of knowledge. Knowledge was defined knowledge or by getting rid of knowledge that as the capability to interpret data and is out of date or has become irrelevant. uit Beijerse Volume 3 . 94±109 Table IV Different kinds of knowledge being created When we look at these two definitions it Into explicit becomes clear that knowledge management is Into tacit knowledge knowledge somewhat more specific than management as such. Central What is knowledge management? to Weggeman's work is ``the knowledge value Knowledge management is a specification of chain''. to strategic. Number 2 . i. In the third The organizational resources which can be place. Questions in knowledge management Journal of Knowledge Management Roelof P. person. etc. With capability to interpret data and information these core competencies. the make regarding their core competencies. and tasks can be executed. Weggeman distinguishes four Now we know what knowledge is and we successive constituent processes (Figure 3). consist of the organiza- narrowed by developing new knowledge. look at the management of knowledge is the work of Mathieu Weggeman (1997). knowledge management being created. companies can through a process of giving meaning to these data and information. and an attitude aimed at distinguish themselves from others. the definition of knowledge and the way to ality. feelings. skills. the strategic need for knowledge look at what it means to manage knowledge. feelings. as we shall see later on. 1997). conceptualizing the knowledge management Different definitions of knowledge management process. Den Hertog and Huizenga (1997) here as follows: emphasize the choice organizations have to Knowledge is seen here as information. information through a process of giving Fourth. New nated and applied to serve the interest of information and knowledge are thus being customers and other stakeholders. It is now time to First. Attention is also being paid acter. their knowledge. result of available sources of information. needs to be determined. Whereas management focuses on mo- From tacit knowledge 1 Socialize 2 Externalize tivating and stimulating people. knowledge operational knowledge system knowledge In trying to define knowledge management Source: Nonaka and Takeuchi. know what management is. Another good example of the link between experience. Sveiby (http://www. quantitative and qualitative difference be- tween the knowledge needed and that aimed at reaching the organizational goals. culture. the distinction between tacit and explicit knowledgemanagement. organizational and 101 . knowledge sympathized knowledge conceptual knowledge management focuses on a certain aspect of From explicit 4 Internalize 3 Combine people. Second. by tional structure. We shall need that later in ment is defined by others. personality. the organizational culture buying knowledge. This is the driven motivation and facilitation of people. choice for certain core competencies Den Hertog and Huizenga call ``the knowledge New information and knowledge are thus ambition''. by improving existing and specific systems. character. edge gap needs to be determined. This important to notice that knowledge manage- capability is the result of available sources of ment here does not refer to information information. 1995 it is important to see what we regard as knowledge. etc. we define knowledge assets''. The wanting to do so. the knowl- We defined management as the strategy. because it is this definition which process model of knowledge creation which determines the way we look at knowledge Nonaka and Takeuchi developed has the management (Allee. culture. available in the organization. and tasks can be executed. Thus. the available knowledge is dissemi- meaning to these data and information. The according to them is ``using instruments to capability and the attitude are of course the realize the knowledge ambition''. He therefore defines knowledge management as ``the art of creat- Our definition ing value from an organization's intangible Having all this in mind. It is created.

as a part of tion in question strives for. . human process in which ``truth'' is Knowledge management is achieving organiza. true for dealing with knowledge in a day- ence. A strategy Some building blocks can be a benchmark against which the Various sources are used here to provide policy can be tested. customer.) through a process of giving judged on its true merits. which are at least as im. Organizational goals: These organizational saw in defining the organization ± the goals can be anything that the organiza- organizational structure ± and. enhance and use their truth. and certain systems But it can also be better service for the and procedures. Van der Spek and Spijkervet (1996) when agement and knowledge. uit Beijerse Volume 3 . facilitating is the and the strategy of the organization is being responsibility of the (technological) staff. . knowledge for company A can be worth- less data (if at all) for company B. making more profit or organizational culture. skills. and we see this as its such as Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) and added value. It can be that. style of management. Number 2 . we define they say that knowledge is a dynamic knowledge management as follows. personality. created. In other words. increasing the learning cap- ability of the (knowledge-) workers or having more job satisfaction. This is not just a sophisticated capability to interpret data and information (by philosophical discussion. Capability to interpret data and information: giving meaning to data and information Our definition to create knowledge is seen here as the The definition of knowledge we developed core of the knowledge management pro- here puts more emphasis on the importance cess. to-day business. Strategy-driven: It is important that policy A conceptual knowledge management model regarding knowledge management is strategically reflected upon. Motivation and facilitation of (knowledge-) portant as the technological side of the story. including a certain enhancing the competitive advantage. a knowledge infrastructure. the targets bility of management. experi. Given our definitions of man. Questions in knowledge management Journal of Knowledge Management Roelof P. Knowledge should be feelings. the increasing sales. blocks to build the conceptual knowledge 102 . culture. It also holds using available sources of information. . We are in agreement with authors of tacit knowledge. Weggeman defines be aimed at motivating and facilitating knowledge management as ``arranging and (knowledge-) workers in their dealing with managing the operational processes in the knowledge. promoted''. Explaining the crucial concepts of our definition . Motivation is the responsi- realizing the collective ambition. it is implicitly tional goals through the strategy-driven stated that there is no such thing as one motivation and facilitation of (knowledge-) truth and one possibility of knowing the workers to develop. etc. It is something which cannot knowledge value chain in such a way that be extorted. 1999 . What is meaning to these data and information. Organizational resources: The organiza- Let us look at the crucial concepts of this tional resources which can be used to definition in more detail: motivate and stimulate people are as we . 94±109 Figure 3 The knowledge value chain cultural aspects. character. workers: knowledge management should With this in mind.

Number 2 . Experts ? Educational programme The idea behind this model is (Figure 4) Competition ? Business intelligence that a knowledge infrastructure ± which has as Customers ? Helpdesk goal enabling the organization to learn in an Each other ? Informal meetings optimal way ± has both a facilitating and an Organization ? Knowledge counter organizational dimension. the organization determines above all the not lated over a longer period of time. 1987) or a collective knowledge management is formed by the ambition (Weggeman. learning will take place. placed (see Table VI). Van Heijst and Kruizinga (1998) for section we saw that an organization consists of instance distinguish different sources of the elements strategy. 1999 . In terms of knowledge management. who will learn and Besides strategy. we can distinguish a when learning will take place. style learning. The knowledge policy the strategy should result in some sort of determines what is to be learned. What results is structures and guidelines. the division of labour. These structures. the goals of the Table V Sources of learning in the knowledge infrastructure organization are to be reached in the most Source of learning Element in the knowledge infrastructure efficient way (Van Heijst and Kruizinga.and medium-term period. A knowledge in- one hand. of which the organization has disposal. personnel and systems. where knowledge policy. of the organization. but also to facilitate the organization which is seen here as an instru- important aspect of learning within organiza- ment in knowledge management. In an earlier tions. not only to facilitate the knowledge A second important building block is the management process. 1998). Different instruments can Organization be used. Some of these sources Figure 4 The knowledge infrastructure have already been dealt with ± we shall recapitulate them briefly ± others will be described somewhat more extensively in this section. 1997). A strategy is ``a general plan for the way the company will deploy its competence and resources in order to achieve overall goals'' (European Community. we have chosen to classify the ities in both horizontal and vertical directions. In a unimportant question of how learning will mission statement an organization expresses take place. instruments according to the interaction An important part of the structure is the between tacit and explicit knowledge on the knowledge infrastructure. culture. as well as technical a clear chart in which every instrument which and non-technical expedients. The knowledge Shop floor ? (Virtual) suggestion box infrastructure is being fed by the knowledge Past ? Archive policy of the organization and by the culture Research ? R&D department 103 . Questions in knowledge management Journal of Knowledge Management Roelof P. is aimed at managing knowledge can be guidelines and expedients support and facil. uit Beijerse Volume 3 . instruments used to manage the tacit and explicit knowledge. itate the learning process within the organization. and the processes in the knowledge frastructure is the sum of those organizational value chain on the other hand. The element or instrument in the knowledge structure of the organization is the result of infrastructure (Table V). Strategy and mission statement The first building block is the fact that the management process is strategy-driven. Ideally the mission statement leads to The third important building block in a shared vision (Ackoff. 94±109 management model. Each source has its own specific of management. The culture of mission statement or vision. which is formu. The strategy of an organization is usually something that is formulated for a short. tasks and responsibil- In this article. structure. 1995). what distinguishes it from other companies and where it wants to go over a longer period Instruments: knowledge creation and learning of time. With them.

in that the model learning is being stimulated and knowl- seems to cover all the important aspects of edge is being managed. This strategy says which were found in an empirical study on 12 how certain set goals should be achieved. all members of diagnosing an organization which is planning to the organization. The core of the knowledge management (Uit Beijerse et al. 1998). The results of this process is the instruments with which experience were positive. what customers want and knowldege what the competition does. Together with a long-term vision. It is crucial that the man- Developing/ agement of the company knows what the buying market needs. Questions in knowledge management Journal of Knowledge Management Roelof P. On this basis. 94±109 Table VI Chart of knowledge management instruments left to right. introduce a policy in knowledge management . strategies should be laid down in some agement model is developed.. Knowledge . Figure 5 A conceptual knowledge management model 104 .and various knowledge management instruments medium-term strategy. and known by. It is important that views and ideas about Determining knowledge management in an organiza- knowledge tion start by looking at the market and the gap competition. instruments are classified according to the The model is shown in Figure 5. The kind of interaction between tacit and important elements will be dealt with from explicit knowledge ± i. the In Appendix 2 we have added an entire list of company should formulate a short. Number 2 . These knowledge management. The long-term vision should ideally result in a collective ambition which the mem- A conceptual knowledge management bers of the organization share with each model other.e. The medium-term and short-term In this section a conceptual knowledge man. because this is also the temporal Socialize Externalize Combine Internalize way in which the model should be used: . 1997). the management of an sharing organization should develop a long-term Evaluating vision in which the company expresses knowledge where it wants to go in the future. The model which kind of knowledge policy which is acces- is presented here has had its first experience in sible to. uit Beijerse Volume 3 . socialization. 1999 . SME-companies (Uit Beijerse.

Questions in knowledge management Journal of Knowledge Management Roelof P. organization. An element closely linked to the organi- consultants should get a feeling about the zational culture yet worthwhile and important issues in knowledge management important enough to mention separately. The knowledge infrastructure is part of model all need attention when diagnosing and the overall organizational structure. A stimulating and mo. organizational goals which were set dur- nalization ± and the four main aspects of ing the ``strategic stage''. These questions can be divided structure and the knowledge infrastruc. devel. 94±109 Table VII Examples of knowledge management instrumentsa Socialize Externalize Combine Internalize Determining knowledge gap Management by Intranet Internet Detachment walking around Developing/buying knowldege Traineeship Electronic R&D External training boardrooms Knowledge sharing Project teams Brainstorming Computer Cooperation with networking others Evaluating knowledge Informal evaluation Debriefing Benchmarking Reading reports a Note: A full list of instruments is given in Appendix 2. These are the . in their organization. Like the situation requires its own specific solution. 1997) externalization. Goals will be mining the knowledge gap (between constantly modified and updated. culture. 105 .e. the main topics in knowledge focused on sharing knowledge. to be stimulating and motivating and however. not a linear process. When the process of knowledge manage. it leads to the problems. In answering these questions. into four main parts: ture of the organization. entire process. We needed and available knowledge). The elements in this conceptual knowledge . or the source of potential solutions. Above and beyond the organizational themselves. edge-) workers. have therefore drawn a feedback loop oping and/or buying knowledge. Despite the very personal character of this element. (3) questions regarding the instruments used agement policy. It is implementing knowledge management. managers and consultants can and should ask . tivating culture ± for which rules are very (2) questions regarding organizational hard to give[6] ± is an indispensable matters. edge policy. topics which can be the focus of possible ment runs as it should run. combination and inter. deter. managers and . the style of management also has Through using the model and its questions. important that this organizational struc- Above all. To make things somewhat and medium-term vision of the knowl- clearer this is shown in Table VII. they lead to some questions which ture facilitates the knowledge management practices. it can be this respect cannot be given. These instruments together form the knowledge infrastructure of the organi- zation. element in a successful knowledge man. this is the knowledge value chain ± i. It is important that the in knowledge management. Of course. These orginate from an empirical study on 12 SME-companies (Uit Beijerse. management become clear. because every influenced to some extent. Number 2 . . sharing which makes the organization aware of knowledge and evaluating (the use of) possible corrections needed in the short- knowledge. Tailor-made solutions is the style of management in the orga- in implementing knowledge management in nization. is the culture of (1) questions regarding the strategy of the the organization. and culture of the organization is focused on (4) questions regarding the output of the the sharing of knowledge among (knowl. uit Beijerse Volume 3 . being the entire range of instruments and systems which the The important questions in knowledge organization wishes to use to stimulate management learning and to manage knowledge. 1999 .

truth. 2 This dsicussion is described in more detail in Uit zation which are specifically aimed at the Beijerse (1997). share knowledge. determine the difference between the Given this. 1999 . doubt and the forming zation which are specifically aimed at the of judgements. the sharing and the evalua. develop and buy knowledge. evaluate knowledge the sharing and the evaluation of knowl- in some way intertwined? edge between (knowledge-)workers? (2) Does the organization have a knowledge Output management-friendly organizational cul- (1) Were the goals which were set ``at the ture that motivates the acquisition. Questions in knowledge management Journal of Knowledge Management Roelof P. 106 . has the management formu- available and the needed knowledge. develop knowledge. a list of different knowledge knowledge and evaluate knowledge? management instruments is added as Appendix 2. what was the best practice in this (4) Is there some kind of integrating knowl. Organizational questions . share 1 For this purpose. Important questions in epistemology knowledge? deal with problems regarding observation. sense. how sharing and the evaluation of knowledge should the knowledge infrastructure be between (knowledge-)workers? (3) Is the style of management within the changed to achieve these goals? organization such that it stimulates the (2) Were these goals reached due to the use acquirement. and what can we learn from that? edge infrastructure within the organization which secures the necessary continuing steps to determine knowledge Notes gaps. monitor the use of knowledge. memory. (8) Are the instruments which are used to: sharing and evaluation of knowledge? . uit Beijerse Volume 3 . (1) Are there instruments within the organi. and structure that facilitates the acquirement. These instruments were found in an empirical study Instrumental questions on 12 SME. . sciousness. Number 2 . the problems and the conditions zation which are specifically aimed at for acquiring knowledge and the processing of that decisions regarding the make-or-buy of knowledge. take make-or-buy decisions. buy knowledge. does the management which the use of knowledge is (con- of the organization actively try to build a stantly) monitored? collective ambition regarding this? (7) Are there instruments available with (4) Does the management of the organization which the use of knowledge can be formulate short and medium-term stra- evaluated? tegies with regard to the acquisition. management-friendly organizational . 1997). determination of the difference between 3 That is done in Uit Beijerse (1996). (1) Does the organization have a knowledge .companies (Uit Beijerse. and entails the philosophical examina- (2) Are there instruments within the organi- tion of the origins. con- (3) Are there instruments within the organi. of instruments of knowledge manage- tion of knowledge between (knowledge-) ment? workers? (3) If so. the available and the needed knowledge? 4 Epistemology is another word for the theory of knowledge. lated a knowledge policy? . . 94±109 Strategic questions development of knowledge based on the (1) Does the management of the organization determination of the knowledge gap? know what kind of market activities (4) Are there instruments within the organi- competing companies undertake with zation which are specifically aimed at regard to the development of knowledge? buying knowledge based on the determi- (2) Does the management of the organization nation of the knowledge gap? know what the core competencies of the (5) Are there instruments within the organi- organization are in terms of knowledge zation which are specifically aimed at the assets? sharing of the developed and bought (3) Does the management of the organization knowledge among the (knowledge-) have a long-term vision about the workers? knowledge which will be needed in the (6) Are there instruments available with future? Given this. the beginning[7]'' reached? If not.

Zoetermeer.L. nr. Paris. van and Kruizinga. Managing Effectively: Developing process is cyclical ± ans some times even chaotic ± Yourself Through Experience. article on website http:// www. (1990). Oxford. Psychology. Beijerse. (1987). (1998). Deventer. TX. (1993). Apeldoorn. New York. Macht is Kennis. Business Horizons. November. Op weg naar Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam. uit (1997). Athos. organisaties. F. EIM. midden. C. the location of the company. uit (1996). Groningen.C. Reimann. 94±109 5 See for instance Uit Beijerse (1997) for an overview Murray. uit et al. Management. (not dated). (1997).H. and Spijkervet. Holland. by nature. M. (1990).D. It is worthwhile to say a few words on tuur.. technical arrangements in which a number of Dubuque.J. Motivation and Personality. (1993). institution: ``An organization [is] a collection 107 . The culture of an organization is Creating Company. Sources of agement. (1970). Polanyi. B. F. (1987) says something similar. Kennis is kracht. E. 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. economic environment wants or needs. stories. Strategy is sometimes . and patterns such as myths. Develop an intranet. . . culture. Carry out case-studies into the own about changing an existing situation. anecdotes. about determining. way that it focuses on that which the . and Waterman.] collective Key aspects in organizations thus are their action to fulfil a common mission. uit Beijerse Volume 3 . (Schieman et al. Draw up an inventory of the need for training and education of personnel. Organize meetings for knowledge sharing. zation (Weggeman. 1990) distinguishes in the organization the elements strategy. . . is how certain goals or targets of the organi. Carry out strategic studies. values and opinions which the members of an . Organize brainstorm sessions (for in- instruments are strategy. division of labour. Weggeman. Mintzberg (1998) puts it as facilitated. follows: ``Organizing means [. Develop knowledge information system. Manage by wandering around. an organization therefore is a series of 1. cooperation of the (knowledge-) workers are Last but not least. ments to use to influence behaviour in such a . 1997.. Interview (knowledge-)workers. called the ``collective ambition'' of an organi. both strategically as well as personal. rituals. . values become manifest in shared symbols . This deals . These . Peters which have been set. Develop training and education plan. Install Internet. 94±109 of people of which most of them have chosen guidelines with which the work and the to pursue a testable ideal or goal together''. Educate and train personnel. for instance by evaluating them. tasks and responsibilities in . both horizontal and vertical directions.. Carry out customer satisfaction research. . Carry out market research. . with determining the situation required or . These . Search for best practices. organization share with each other. . and systems (see Figure A1). . . 1993). Carry out R&D. Figure A1 An organizational model . changing or supplement. The structure of . legends and a special language 2. Appendix 2. culture stance through using Group Systems). Manage by walking around. In an instrumental sense. . Assess product developments. structure. . Carry out strategic technology study. are the procedures and . . 1997). Number 2 . 1999 . Cul. Developing and buying knowledge (Reimann and Wiener. the organization is what results from the . Giddens. . 1988.. that it uses certain systems to reach the goals tional model (Athos and Pascale. ing the means used to reach the ideal situation . 108 . It also is organization. Install electronic boardroom. Determining the knowledge gap instruments. Develop scenarios. . Detach personnel. lastly. 1981. certain organizational structure and the fact A well-known and broadly used organiza. Knowledge management structure. instruments personnel and systems. Swieringa and Wierdsma. Carry out knowledge mapping. Use business intelligence. ture is being defined as the revulsion of the . Use external training. zation are going to be achieved. Assess customers. the fact that is has a produce certain services or products''. which is an social nature ± which finds its expression in elegant way to say that a bunch of people the organizational culture ± the fact that it came together under a recognizable name to usually is strategy-driven. 1989). Systems. Questions in knowledge management Journal of Knowledge Management Roelof P. Hire researchers and consultants. style of management. 1982. Learn from projects. Install helpdesk. Management has four instru. Assess markets. Assess competition. Draw up an inventory of personnel and In a strategic sense the important question their qualifications.

. . . Organize mentorship in units. . . Organize seminars with external speakers. Install an intranet. . . Carry out strategic studies. Make project. Stimulate cooperation. . . Organize mentorship between units. . . . Organize task groups. Organize work meetings. Monitor the environment (benchmarks). Obtain knowledge from customers. . . Use information technology. . Install knowledge counter. . Install (virtual) suggestion box. Manage networks. Work with databases. Look for traineeships. . . Obtain knowledge from suppliers. . . . Carry out external audits. Install computer networks. 3. Knowledge sharing 4. . Stimulate teambuilding. Interview customers. Organize theme groups. . Use video conferencing. meetings). Interview suppliers. Carry out internal audits. . Use handbooks. . . . . Organize workshops. Facilitate training-on-the-job. . Evaluating knowledge . Install knowledge management system. Use intervision. 1999 . . Facilitate learning-by-doing. Buy knowledge and information hard. . . . Facilitate internal detachment. . . . . Build a network of relations. Appoint an information broker. Read reports. . Facilitate informal gatherings. . Organize mentorship between units. Facilitate exchanging of tasks. . 94±109 . Give personnel time to develop ideas. Create an open culture. Organize cocktail hours. Organize mentorship in units. . Develop career paths for personnel. . Carry out internal audits. Facilitate streams of information. . uit Beijerse Volume 3 . Hire research and consultancy. Facilitate job rotation. . . . Install electronic networks. Install helpdesk. Use benchmarking. . . Facilitate training-on-the-job. . Give personnel time to read professional sonnel (for instance by lunchbreak literature. Debrief personnel. . Look for traineeships. .or fact-sheets. Debrief leaving personnel. . . Send personnel to conferences. Questions in knowledge management Journal of Knowledge Management Roelof P. Facilitate culture of deliberation. . Enhance communication between per- . . . . . . Carry out (informal) project evaluations. Archive projects. Organize detachments. ware. Number 2 . 109 . . Facilitate job rotation. . Organize autonomous work groups. .