Importance Of Explicit Knowledge Information Technology Essay

This document deals about the importance of Explicit Knowledge in the organizations. Most of the knowledge occurs in the organizations in the form of tacit knowledge. Here we deal with how to transform the tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge. The accumulation, storage and reuse of the explicit knowledge. Here we are talking about the barriers in the acquiring of explicit knowledge. The use of technology for the purpose of accumulation, storing and reuse of knowledge is also discussed.

Today’s business environment knowledge is emerged as a driving force in the organization. The knowledge workers and their ability are very important (LI , BRAKE,CHAMPION ,FULLER,GABEL AND HATCHER-BUSCH 2009 : 347). Recent studies show that organizations success depends on its ability to learn and adapt to particular situation. The unique performance in the organization is the key to outperform their competitor.(LI , BRAKE,CHAMPION ,FULLER,GABEL AND HATCHER-BUSCH 2009 : 348). In organization there are mainly two types of knowledge exist tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge .Scholars noticed that most part of human knowledge is present in the form of tacit knowledge (UNGAN (2006):403) . It’s in the minds of the people. Explicit Knowledge is the knowledge that is expressed and documented. The documented and codified knowledge will have a structure and is easily accessed by others. (STOVER 2004 : 164).To create true knowledge it is necessary to see tacit and explicit knowledge as complementary and both are needed to knowledge creation.

IMPORTANCE OF EXPLICIT KNOWLEDGE:

Tacit knowledge is something that is acquired by individuals experience in particular area. It help him to find solution for problems faster than his colleagues It is acquired through once experience and experiment in particular field (STOVER 2004 : 165). Articulating the tacit knowledge, making tacit knowledge explicit is very important in the perspective of the organization (STOVER 2004 : 165).Explicit knowledge is described in structured language. It is mainly more technical data this knowledge is gained mostly through formal education or by structured study .This will help organizations to preserve their huge knowledge capital from losing. When employees leave organization they take with them the huge amount of knowledge. (STOVER 2004 : 165). Valuable Knowledge will be wasted if organizations fails to collect , standardize and store and share the knowledge.

The KM scholars believes that the articulation of knowledge helps the organization and individuals to access the knowledge in a cost effective way. Explicit knowledge is carefully organized and stored in data bases in priority basis .It should be accessible with high quality , fast and easily. The explicit knowledge can be reused for sole problems of similar kind (SMITH 2001 : 315).For instance Anderson consulting created methods to codify store and reuse explicit knowledge. They used a people to document approach. It took information from person who developed it and made independent to its developer. All the sensitive information is removed and it can be used in the same similar context (SMITH 2001 : 315).When knowledge is shared among the members of the organization , it can be viewed as organizational history and experience (BONTIS 1998 : 64). In small companies they manage their knowledge is by training the new employees. It’s a costly process. That’s where the importance of computer based learning comes. Transformation of tacit to explicit knowledge is important here (WICKERT AND HARSCHEL 2001:330). If a expert employee got sick or left the organization the expertise of that employee is not available for a fixed amount of time or permanently (WICKERT AND HARSCHEL 2001:331). In job market skilled and experienced workers are getting retired. New young workers are replacing them . So there is a high demand for sharing of experience . This can be possible by the articulation of tacit knowledge they have gained from their experience (JACKSON 2010:915).

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EXPLICIT KNOWLEDGE CREATION EXPLAINED IN S.E.C.I AND BA MODEL

In S.E.C.I model externalization phase deals with the transformation of tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge. For knowledge transformation they use different methods. Some of the methods are storytelling , narrative and using some IT medias like emails, chat rooms etc. The knowledge should be structured so as it should provide accessible and reusable. Externalization should be structured then the knowledge can be made sensible and available for potential users(JACKSON 2010:911).Top management can influence the externalization of knowledge. They can encourage the teams to develop their own metaphor for what they should do (RICHTNER AND AHLSTROM 2010:1020).The creation of concept of a new product is the example of externalization. In combination phase the extracted knowledge is standardized and systematic procedures to combine the knowledge using computer database or an expert system. The internalization deals with the transformation of explicit knowledge again to tacit knowledge by the use of stored explicit knowledge.(STOVER 2004 : 165).

The meaning of ‘Ba’ is place . ‘Ba’ does not mean only the physical space . It is the concept of interaction . For the creation of knowledge a space is necessary. This space may be a physical one or a virtual like online one. There are four types of ‘Ba’ . Among that dialoguing ba deals with the face to face interaction . It is the space where individuals share knowledge. The process of tacit to explicit knowledge conversion happens here. Dialoguing ‘ba’ is more structured than the previous ‘ba’ . In systematic ‘ba’ the collected knowledge is combined to a more structured form. The use of information technology like online networks , group ware etc contribute to systemizing ‘ba’ .The excersiing ‘ba’ where the stored knowledge is shared through virtual media or print etc. The healthy interaction between all these ‘ba’ can amblify the knowledge creation ( Nonaka,I.Toyama,R and Konno,N.(2000) :16-17).

BARRIERS IN KNOWLEDGE ARTICULATION:

Converting tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge is a tedious job. As we said tacit knowledge is embedded in the minds of the individuals. This make it difficult to formalize and express. There are some personal issues in articulating the knowledge. Individuals believe that articulating the knowledge one may lose his competitive advantage. Some people believe their knowledge is not worth expressing . Some KM scholars believe that language barriers also hinder the transformation of tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge. (STOVER 2004: 166)

The culture of the organization also may be a factor that hinders knowledge generation and sharing in the organization. There may be political issues between the departments that prevent the transfer of knowledge. Sharing culture is very important before implementing any strategies in any organization (Syed-Ikhsan and Rowland 2004 : 100).

Knowledge transfer requires groups or individuals to work together and share their expertise and knowledge. The knowledge transfer does not occur unless group or individuals shows a co-operate behavior(SYED-IKHSAN AND ROWLAND 2004 : 96). Individualism is one of the major factors that hinder the creation and transfer of knowledge in any organization ( Syed-Ikhsan and Rowland 2004 : 100). For the sharing of knowledge there should be trust among the employees. In project team leadership style also effect the process of knowledge sharing(MA,QI AND WANG 2008:101).The authoritarian style leaders give no chance for the team members to participate and share knowledge. While the democratic style leaders encourages team members to interact and share knowledge (MA,QI AND WANG 2008:101).Another factor that hinders the knowledge sharing in the public organization is limited access to the resources (Syed-Ikhsan and Rowland 2004 : 100).Time is one of the major factors that inhibits the process of articulating the tacit knowledge. Most of the employees have a little time for articulating their knowledge. Patrick and Lee done research and they contradicted the views of Richard and Kabjian who says the fear of losing superiority and reward system are inhibitors of knowledge sharing. They also argues that the size of the company is not a problem in knowledge transferring (FONG & LEE 2009:304)

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Some KM scholars like Swartz and Marwick argues technology is unable to provide a complete solution for knowledge capture . At many instance the experts find it is very difficult to trigger a knowledge person by query unless they are put into problem situation (JACKSON 2010 :911). Researchers found that the fear of not being adequately rewarded is the one of the barrier for the knowledge sharing.

CAPTURING KNOWLEDGE:

As we said conversion of tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge is difficult. There are several ways in which tacit knowledge can be made explicit. The formal ways of interviewing is a useful method. In interviews participants are asked structured questions. This format of interview should be made such that they shouldn’t feel that the articulation is happening (STOVER 2004 : 166-167).The level of details available in documentation depends on the purpose of documentation (UNGAN 2006 : 404).For conversion of tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge the interviewer should accompany the knowledge worker in his process. In between the knowledge can be articulated. For this formal language is used (UNGAN 2006:407) . Individuals poses high level of tacit knowledge . If organizations fail to track it then it cannot be made explicit and will not reach its fullest potential (BONTIS 1998:66).

The role of knowledge managers is very important. He can encourage the employees to share their knowledge and make them explicit (STOVER 2004 : 166-167). The knowledge management is riskier unless the organizations take initiatives and reward system for sharing of knowledge (SMITH 2001 : 312). For instance Buckman Laboratories recognizes their knowledge in their annual conference. Lotus one of the divisions of IBM evaluates the customer support workers on the basis of their knowledge sharing activities (BARTOL AND SRIVASTTAVA 2002 : 64). Xerox developed a system called Eureka which is meant for the maintenance engineers to share their ideas and experience .Once these ideas are posted they are verified and made available for service engineers all over the world. This help the Xerox in saving $100 million . Companies like Cap Gemini & Ernst Young makes merit decision based on the knowledge sharing activity of its employees .In these companies the people who are posting ideas are evaluated and then posted into the knowledge contribution database(BARTOL AND SRIVASTTAVA 2002:67).

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Technology is important in collecting and codifying knowledge. There should be a strong framework for the systematic storing of knowledge. IT itself cannot helps something to get out of someone’s head. It is the role of managers to find out what is important for the organization . Some KM theorist like Pawar doubts the centralization of knowledge. He states that centralization of knowledge will reduce the cost of sharing the knowledge . He agrees the role of role of technology plays in the acquiring, storing and structured distribution of knowledge . Combining the intellectual property with IS will help the individual intellectual property to the group property (BONTIS 1998:66).KM combined with It will support the data mining and sharing of explicit knowledge (WICKERT AND HARSCHEL 2001 :333).Internet is one of the major repository of explicit knowledge(WICKERT AND HARSCHEL 2001 : 335). Knowledge exchange protocols can be used in transferring tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge. SOAP protocol which is used by physicians is one of the examples. This protocol helps to structure clinician – patient conversation and helps to share issues by understanding the physicians thinking. This also helps in documentation of patient medical record (HERSCHEL,NEMATI AND STEIGER 2001:107).New generation tools such as wikis , blogs ,social networking etc. helps a greater collaboration in work place. This will solve some of the problems associated with knowledge capturing. These forms even can accommodate videos , images etc. It can be used to capture informal indicates of tacit knowledge (BARTOL AND SRIVASTTAVA 2002:64).This videos and images can then be summarized based on the content . They can be linked to topics of relevance and stored. These can be accessed through portals later (COAKES 2006:583). Mobile technology can be used for the capture of knowledge .In organizations there will be mobile workers will be advantaged by these technology. The challenge is how to incorporate the this knowledge to main memory. Information technology can be used as a powerful tool. It can be transformed from the role of storing and retrieving data to improve access to knowledge by removing the spatial obstacles of knowledge transfer. IT has got a ability to spread knowledge across different departments of the organizations (TOHIDINIA AND MOSAKHANI 2010 : 615).

CONCLUSION:

For any organization the Knowledge is very important. The conversion of Tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge is very risky process. There are the barriers like individualism, politics inside the organizational departments. The factor of trust plays a major role in conversion of knowledge . For some small companies the cost of knowledge sharing is not affordable. Technology can play a major role in the tacit to explicit knowledge transfer. There are new generation technologies that can be used for the this purpose. The reward system is one factor that will encourage knowledge transfer. The role of the management in promoting the knowledge conversion is very important . The uniqueness of knowledge the organization owns will brig the organization the competitive advantage.

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