Knowledge Management a Competitive Advantage Business Essay

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A In the twenty first century landscape with all its uncertainty and dynamism, many firms are competing in a complex andA challenging environment which is being transformed by many factors ranging from globalization, technologicalA development and increasingly rapid diffusion of technology, to the development and use of knowledge.A As such, the foundation of organizational competitiveness has shifted from an emphasis on physical and tangibleA resources to knowledge (Wong and Aspinwall, 2005) and managing knowledge-based resources has become the key forA sustaining competitive advantage (CA) and superior performance. To deal with this enhancedA dynamism and uncertainty of the business environment, one of the current strategic philosophies assisting firms to develop strategic capabilities is the knowledge management. It helps the organizations to systematically acquire,A create, share, and use knowledge so as to develop, renew, and exploit theirA knowledge-based resources, thereby allowing them to be proactive and adaptable to externalA changes and attain competitive success.A

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Under the light of the previous researches, some researchersA  noted that competitive advantage isA realized only when the organization’s tracking methodsA and ways are efficient and distinctive and one of thoseA ways is through the knowledge management of the organizationA that have achieved competitive advantage not forA a specific period, but a long term.A  studied knowledge managementA and competitive advantage by examining theA vital link between the management of knowledge inA contemporary organizations and the development of aA sustainable competitive advantage. The used variablesA are conceptualized in terms of organizational effectiveness,A efficiency, core competency, costs; knowledgeA acquirement, knowledge filtering, knowledge configuration,A knowledge dissemination and knowledge application.  also identified that the field of knowledgeA management has emerged strongly as the next source ofA competitive advantage. Emphasized that firms canA achieve the sustainable competitive advantage by informationA technology facilities. He sees that even if a firmA owned the most sophisticated information technologyA facilities which are impossible for the competitors toA imitate or substitute, and for sure it is rare, but if there isA no knowledgeable personnel in the organization, or the knowledgeable personnel in the organization is not willingA to utilize these facilities, these facilities would not generateA any value to the organization. Obviously, to achieveA sustainable competitive advantage, knowledge, willingnessA to use operations and availability of facilities mustA co-exist.A Hence, the question before the organizations is “how should theyA develop a knowledge management system to coordinateA people, technology and infra-structure to createA advantages competitiveness and sustainability inA business environments?

Knowledge:-

Knowledge is a different term from data and information. Data is simply raw facts, measurements etc. Information is organized or processed data that is timely and accurate. Knowledge as defined by (Tiwana, 2000) is the actionable (relevant) information available in the right format, at the right time, and at the right place for decision making. For example, sales of a particular year will be simply data, if we process the sales data and find sales in the north region is more, it will be information. By applying our experience we can conclude that south region requires more marketing efforts than north, it is knowledge. Knowledge is a valuable source for the organization because it helps the organization in taking important decisions in the rapid changing business environment. Knowledge is dynamic in nature. This implies that today’s knowledge may well become tomorrow’s ignorance if an organization fails to update knowledge as environmental conditions change.

Definition of Knowledge Management:-

Knowledge management is an emerging concept and has got many different definitions. The term knowledge management was first introduced in a 1986 in a European management conference. Alternative definitions have been proposed since that attempt to capture the complexities of knowledge management. The 20A American Productivity and Quality Center defined knowledge management as “the strategies and processes of identifying, capturing and leveraging knowledge”. (knapp, 1998) defined knowledge management as “the art of transforming information and intellectual assets into enduring value for an organization’s clients and its people”. Darroch also defined knowledge management as “the process that creates or locates knowledge and manages the sharing, dissemination, and use of knowledge within the organization”. A The traditional definitions of knowledge management focused only on the knowledge that is recognized and already articulated in some form. However, increasingly, knowledge management is also incorporating the managing of important tacit knowledge (Sabherwal A & Becerra-Fernandez, 2003). Davenport and Prusak (1998) defined knowledge A management as the management of a corporation’s knowledge through a systematic and A organizational specified process for acquiring, organizing, sustaining, applying, sharing, A and renewing both tacit and explicit knowledge from employees to improve A organizational performance and to create value.

A Wiig (1994) suggested that knowledge management in an organization must be A considered from three perspectives, each with different scopes and purposes: (a) aA business perspective – focusing on why, where, and to what extent the organization must A invest in or exploit knowledge, and which strategies, products and services, alliances, A acquisitions, or divestments should be considered from a knowledge-related point of view; A (b) a management perspective – focusing on determining, organizing, directing, and A monitoring knowledge-related activities required to achieve the desired business strategies and objectives; and (c) a hands-on operational perspective – focusing on A applying the professional skill to conduct explicit knowledge-related work and tasks. A In fact, knowledge management is a principle that is aimed at satisfying and exceeding the customer’s expectations (Keskin, 2005). Knowledge management is a relatively new business philosophy. The goal of knowledge management is to identify, capture, store, maintain, and deliver useful knowledge in a meaningful form to anyone who needs it, anyplace and anytime, within an organization. Knowledge management is about sharing and collaborating at the organizational level. Knowledge management has the potential to revolutionize the way we share expertise, make decisions, and conduct business.

History of knowledge management

Knowledge management era started with the use of different programs which include on-the-job discussions, formal apprenticeship,A discussion forums, corporate libraries, professional training and mentoring programs. The use of computers in the second half of 20th century brought a revolution in the knowledge management field. It resulted in the specificA adaptationsA of technologies such asA knowledge bases,A expert systems,A knowledge repositories,A group decision support systems,A intranets, andA computer-supported cooperative workA which developed the emerging knowledge management field to a large extent. In 1999, the termA personal knowledge managementA was introduced which refers to the management of knowledge at the individual level (Wright, 2005). In terms of the enterprise, early collections of case studies recognized the importance of knowledge management dimensions of strategy, process, and measurement (Morey, Maybury & Thuraisingham 2002. Recently with the use of theA Web 2.0, the concept of Knowledge Management has taken into consideration the participation of people andA emergence. This line of evolution is termedA Enterprise 2.0A (McAfee 2006). However, there is an ongoing debate and discussions (Lakhani & McAfee 2007) as to whetherA Enterprise 2.0A is just a fad that does not bring anything new or useful or whether it is, indeed, the future of knowledge management (Davenport T. , 2008)

 

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