The application of knowledge management (KM) avails companies new abilities, special competitive capacities, and broad use of information technology and management. Likewise, it avails an accurate and effective system to draw, execute and monitor several functional processes, support philosophy and attitudes of leaders, and influence the employees' behavior, capacities, abilities, and attitudes in the entity (Girard and Girard 2015). KM processes are a set of activities an organization can put in place for the facilitation and use of knowledge. These processes support the conversion of tacit to explicit knowledge and explicit to tacit knowledge. KM seeks to leverage and improve the organization's knowledge assets to effectuate better knowledge practices, improved organizational behaviors, better decisions, and improved organizational performance. KM processes include knowledge acquisition, creation, refinement, storage, transfer, sharing, and use.
The initiation of the KM process involves the creation or acquisition of knowledge by the company. Knowledge creation relates to the development of new knowledge within the entity through a learning process (Barao, de Vasconcelos, Rocha, and Pereira 2017). The four models of knowledge creation include socialization, combination, externalization, and internalization. Conversely, knowledge acquisition refers to the search for, recognition of, and assimilation of potentially valuable external knowledge, originated in associative action with other companies and business consulting (Girard and Girard 2015). Some processes for acquiring knowledge from external sources may include searching as on the Internet, sourcing, and grafting or adding an individual who possesses desired knowledge to the company.
After new knowledge is created or acquired, KM mechanisms should be in place to prepare it to be entered into the company's memory in a way that maximizes its effect and long-term reusability (Gonzalez and Martins 2017). This is attained through knowledge refinement, which encompasses the mechanisms and processes that organizations use to filter, purify and optimize knowledge for inclusion in the entity's memory. Under refinement, the entity must codify and organize tacit or implicit knowledge into an appropriate manner and evaluate it according to a set of criteria for inclusion in various storage media. Storage of knowledge occurs in the organizational memory that includes knowledge stored in the minds of employees, that held in electronic databases, that which has been acquired and retained by teams, and that which is embedded in the company's processes, products, and services (Gonzalez and Martins 2017).
However, for the knowledge in the organizational memory to have a wide organizational impact, it must be either transferred or shared. Transfer refers to the focused and purposeful communication of knowledge from a sender to a known receiver. Conversely, sharing is the communication of knowledge to unknown receivers. Once knowledge is transferred to or shared with others, different people or teams may use it through the development of diverse interpretations, the identification of underlying issues, and the development of various understandings. Mainly, this is to facilitate innovation, collective and individual learning, and collaborative problem-solving (Barao et al. 2017).
Application of KM Processes in the Multi-national Mobile Phone Manufacturing Company
The company can apply the KM processes by focusing on innovative processes of capturing, sharing, and reusing knowledge. As previously indicated, the company can capture knowledge through acquisition and creation. It can create knowledge through the conversion of tacit knowledge to new tacit knowledge through shared experiences and social interactions (Girard and Girard 2015). For example, retiring employees can hold seminars and meetings to share their experiences and business processes with new entrants, use apprenticeships, and facilitate group learning through discussions (Barao et al. 2017). Regarding acquisition, the company can acquire new knowledge by hiring an employee who possesses the desired knowledge to the entity.
Similarly, the company can apply knowledge sharing through three aspects namely, the exchange of experiences and knowledge between employees through social contact in a perspective of sharing tacit and explicit knowledge, sharing knowledge through communities of practice, and distribution of explicit knowledge supported by technology. For example, the company can share developed knowledge in the form of policies and procedures, which represents the institutional knowledge needed for efficient and consistent operation of the company. In addition, it can create groups of teams of individuals with an intense exchange of knowledge. Such communities can facilitate learning processes and dissemination of knowledge within the company (Barao et al. 2017).
Finally, the company must re-use the knowledge as the basis for the development of new knowledge and decision-making. The way it can use this knowledge is directly related to its chosen strategy such as reactive or innovative. For example, through an innovative strategy, the company uses explorative knowledge to compete in the current or new markets (Gonzalez and Martins 2017). Notably, knowledge re-use is based on the way in which activities are historically developed in the entity. Nevertheless, when the complexity of tasks increases, the use must be adapted to respond to new situations. Thus, through the KM processes, the company treats knowledge as an asset that can generate a competitive advantage in the mobile phone manufacturing industry.
Importance of KM to the Company
The importance of KM as a mechanism to attain competitive advantage is a consolidated fact. Knowledge can enable the company to promote and support its strategies in various ways. The first way KM can add value to the company is by putting technology into perspective (Girard and Girard 2015). KM can enable the company and its employees to develop innovative systems and processes that are meaningful and relevant. This can facilitate the manufacture of intelligent products that can command premium prices and be more beneficial to customers. Additionally, the company can customize the products to add value and create more personalized offerings. Regarding processes, KM can enable the entity to develop a taxonomy of business processes that can map similar operations in diverse parts of the company. The processes can be mapped in different languages or in video formats, which can facilitate effective knowledge sharing among company employees who are diverse in culture and languages (Gonzalez and Martins 2017).
Similarly, KM can add value to the company by supporting employees, who are the company's most valuable asset. Employees can benefit from innovative business processes developed through KM by enjoying work more, contributing to work more, and learning and understanding more. In particular, KM can create knowledge sharing opportunities among the company's employees, which can create a learning culture within the company. Notably, a knowledge-friendly culture increasingly determines the success of the entity as a whole (Girard and Girard 2015). Further, KM can enable the company to attain its key strategic goal of meeting and exceeding customers' expectations. Focusing on customer knowledge can help the company to acquire useful feedback on products and services and changes on customer needs. Developing a deep intuitive understanding of customers' latent and unidentified needs can put the company above its rivals, which can gain it a competitive edge. Additionally, when it understands the markets it claims, it can develop a market intelligence system that can enable it to collect not just market data but information concerning the wider environment.
Finally, KM can ensure that the company develops an organizational memory, which can add value to the entity by storing acquired or created knowledge. Of most importance is the value the company can gain from tacit knowledge it can retain from talented employees who exit through retirement (Gonzalez and Martins 2017). Such knowledge can help the company to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, and in drawing lessons from similar situations elsewhere. Having it stored in easily accessible databases can facilitate sharing and transfer among company employees working in its different factories. Overall, KM can help the company to achieve its objectives, create business value and generate an enhanced competitive advantage.
Barao, A., de Vasconcelos, J.B., Rocha, A. and Pereira, R., 2017. A knowledge management approach to capture organizational learning networks. International Journal of Information Management, 37(6), pp.735-740.
Girard, J. and Girard, J., 2015. Defining knowledge management: Toward an applied compendium. Online Journal of Applied Knowledge Management, 3(1), pp.1-20.
Gonzalez, R.V.D. and Martins, M.F., 2017. Knowledge Management Process: a theoretical-conceptual research. Gestao & Producao, 24(2), pp.248-265.
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