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What Is Knowledge Management and Why Is It Important?

“What Is Knowledge Management and Why Is It Important?” on Up.Journey, November 19, 2019.

Alan Zucker

Alan Zucker

Founding Principal, Project Management Essentials LLC

Knowledge Management (KM) is broadly defined as the process of creating and sharing information across the organization

Knowledge Management (KM) as a formalized discipline is relatively new and dates its origins back to the early 1990s even though its roots are ancient.

In the modern organization, nearly all employees are “knowledge workers” and their ability to effectively communicate and share its collective wisdom is invaluable and creates a competitive advantage.

Knowledge can be categorized as explicit and tacit knowledge.

  • Explicit knowledge is rules and processed based and can be easily conveyed in a manual or similar documentation.
  • Tacit knowledge is the know-how, best practices, and wisdom of the organization and is best communicated through personal communications and storytelling.

Modern organizations often struggle with effective knowledge management programs or the implementation of knowledge management software applications because they do not understand the difference between explicit and tacit knowledge. They want employees to share their wisdom but structure the programs to only share procedures.

To create wisdom where people understand how to operate in the “gray zone” organizations need to create learning environments where employees are strongly encouraged to both formally and informally share their experiences.