How do organizations manage knowledge?

By Abhinash on December 5, 2013

Pan and Scarbrough (1999 p362) say that, “tacit knowledge is not available as a text. It involves intangible factors embedded in personal beliefs, experiences, and values. “Blumentitt et al (1999) contend that information can be captured and stored in digital form whereas tacit knowledge repositories reside only in intelligent systems that are within individuals.  Platts and Yeung (2000) considers tacit knowledge as “knowledge-in-action” which presumes that it is that has not been articulated as opposed to explicit and that is readily accessible within the organizational domain. Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) refer to tacit knowledge as information that comprises experience and work know how that resides only with the individual. According to Polanyi (1966), ”while tacit knowledge can be possessed by itself, explicit knowledge must rely on being tacitly understood and applied, hence all knowledge is either tacit or rooted in tacit. A wholly explicit knowledge is unthinkable”.

Knowledge of an organization

The following figure outlines knowledge management in an organizational perspective.  As seen in the figure, it should be studied as an interrelationship between stimulus and response:

Knowledge Management in Organizations (Source: Source: Frappaolo, C. 1996)
Knowledge Management in Organizations (Source: Source: Frappaolo, C. 1996)

While studying with respect to an organizational perspective, stimulus could be further classified into two types:

  • Anticipated stimulus
  • Unanticipated stimulus

Similarly, response could be further classified into two types

  • Planned response
  • Unplanned response

The coordination of stimulus and response is exhibited in the form of information of an individual. An organization is composed of a group of individuals. Hence the information of an organization collectively denotes the overall knowledge level of all its human resource.

It is essential to manage information in any organization and proper management in-turn contributes to development or birth of new innovative ideas.

Process of knowledge management

In any organization, Knowledge Management is essential. The management process of any organization can be explained as follows:

Process of Knowledge Management in Organisations (Source: Hislop, D.,2005)
Process of Knowledge Management in Organisations (Source: Hislop D.,2005)

It consists of the following steps:

  • Collecting
  • Organizing
  • Summarizing
  • Analyzing
  • Synthesizing
  • Decision Making

Knowledge as the figure shows is the combination of data and information. When collected it is helpful in any organization in decision making.


  • Pan SL and Scarbrough H (1999) KM in Practice: An Exploratory Case Study of Buckman Labs Technology Analysis and Strategic Management.
  • Blumentitt R and Johnston R (1999) Towards a strategy for KM Technology Analysis & Strategic Management 11, 287-300.
  • Platts, M.J., Yeung, M.B (2000) Managing learning and tacit knowledge Strategic Change (UK) 09 06 pp347-356.
  • Nonaka  and Takeuchi M (1995) The Knowledge Creating Company – How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation Oxford: The Oxford University Press.
  • Polanyi M The Tacit Dimension Routledge Keegan Paul.
  • Carl Frappaolo, KM, Capstone, 2006.
  • Donald Hislop, KM in organizations: a critical introduction ,Oxford University Press, 2005.


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