Posts Tagged ‘Knowledge Management’

In business, and other fields such as information systems, “Knowledge Management”, (to quote Wiki,) has been “an established discipline since 1991”. If you click on the link above, you will see that essentially it is a field of study in how knowledge is learned, passed around, and the process optimized.

I’ve always found it to be a pretty interesting subject, especially in regard to the twin topics of “Explicit Knowledge” and “Tacit Knowledge“.

Perhaps explicit knowledge best relates to the left side of our linear brain, where thing can be discussed, measured, stored and written about.  Knowledge like this might include databases, manuals, or drawings.

Tacit knowledge is different in that is not directly communicated. Closed communities and groups develop shared pools of information, not directly articulated. An example might be when a junior person observes a senior employee’s efforts with a difficult client. The junior will certainly learn more quickly what works and what doesn’t. This form of mentoring is highly useful and an efficient way of increasing the knowledge pool of the company. Aside from the explicit knowledge being transmitted, the hand gestures, facial expressions, attitudes, and subliminal word meanings are part of what is being learned. Funny examples might include the day someone tells you that your dog and you look and act alike, or you hear your child whining, complaining or yelling and are horrified they sound like you.

The pools of information that are formed by growing explicit and tacit knowledge are part of what is called the intellectual capital of a business, information system, or group.

Why am I talking about this subject? Here is an example of the point I am about to make:

If you haven’t yet been over to the Confluence today, be sure and check out Dakinikat’s comments on monetary policy, HERE.

Dakinikat has extensive explicit knowledge in the subject of banking, monetary policy, and economics.

Her blogs are dense and sparkly. As her waves of logic pull you along, the patterns in the economic sands are revealed to us all. Even though she is sharing explicit knowledge, her sharing, or “story telling” provides other information.  I have a sense of her truth and fairness, of altruism in the desire to communicate, and her outrage over our current economy. So, from that vantage point, as one of the less informed,  it is pretty easy to trust and work to understand what she says. I would feel that way even if I didn’t usually agree with her.

One of the ideas in knowledge management is that there is so much information in the world; that it is becoming difficult to evaluate what to read, where to get data, and whom to trust. How is good information to be gained?

One idea is to “fly” over the river of information and “dip” in, like a seagull might do for the right fish. This assumes the seagull, us, has a method of judging the fish or data, before she dips and bites, and after, if it turns up rotten. I can see how this method might work in an information technology system, where only tiny bits of data are identifiers. I don’t think dipping is proving so far, for me, at least, to efficiently make a judgment on quality, and absorb the information. I need much more time in the day.

For me, tacit knowledge often is what determines what I choose to read, and whether I read or not. As we flatten more and more of our information in order to compress it into the media river, it seems to me the fairness, research and depth I want in an article, a report, are getting harder to find. So this brings up another point.

As newspapers continue to retrench and media in general is taken over by the oligarchy, how are we going to find the real journalists? How are going to find our truth tellers? ? How we are going to support those who are?

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