What Are The 4 Types Of Knowledge Management?

Knowledge management is vital to keep your business functioning and growing over time. It helps ensure that any knowledge gains made over the years are retained and used to benefit the organisation.

As your business grows over time, knowledge development becomes an inevitable part of that process, enabling further learning and growth within the company.

When knowledge is lost, innovation and efficiency are undermined. This can also lead to less-than-ideal decision-making since good decisions can only be made with reliable information.

With that in mind, let us review the four main types of knowledge management, which are not mutually exclusive in their organisational roles.

1. Explicit Knowledge Management

Explicit knowledge is the kind of knowledge that is codified. This means it is documented and stored in some tangible medium. It can be stored digitally or physically, but it is nonetheless accessible to all through a knowledge-sharing platform such as manuals, databases, and other kinds of media.

This kind of knowledge can be most easily transmitted between people. It is easily shared and transferred between individuals, making it a valuable form of knowledge.

This kind of knowledge is usually backed up and critical to the company's basic functioning. Explicit knowledge management is all about capturing, organising, and disseminating knowledge in the most effective way.

2. Tacit Knowledge Management

Tacit knowledge is not necessarily codified at all. It is based on knowledge rooted in experience and involves things such as insights, personal perspectives, and even intuition.

This kind of knowledge is much more difficult to transfer because it is challenging to articulate in words. Tacit knowledge management is all about capturing and sharing this type of knowledge by any means necessary. Usually, these means involve mentorships, apprenticeships, informal conversations, learnerships, and even storytelling.

Managing tacit knowledge is critical, as it is about passing on the types of expertise and experience that one cannot find in a book or a manual. It is all about creating a culture of knowledge sharing that places much value on collaboration to encourage the transfer of such knowledge between people within the organisation.

As such, tacit knowledge sharing is extremely valuable yet extremely challenging at the same time.

3. Embedded Knowledge Management

Embedded knowledge is the kind of knowledge that is embedded in various practices, processes, and routines within the company. This kind of knowledge is usually implicit, which makes it difficult to separate it from the context from which it originates.

Embedded knowledge usually revolves around how organisational systems function, the different workflows and technologies involved, as well as the established practices and methodologies.

Embedded knowledge management focuses on identifying and documenting these things to be leveraged to improve the organisation's processes and procedures. The idea behind embedded knowledge management is to try and convert it into a form of explicit knowledge so that it can be codified and made accessible to whoever needs it.

4. Social Knowledge Management

Social knowledge is the kind of knowledge that comes from understanding social interactions and networks within an organisation. It is what your company's culture is essentially built on, and it is derived from the social dynamics within the context of the organisational community and the types of people involved.

Social knowledge is a collection of understandings that take into account various social hierarchies, histories, and unique social contexts to help create a cultural environment.

Social knowledge management is therefore all about leveraging the power of social interactions and networks to facilitate the sharing of knowledge better and improve the corporate culture to become more collaborative and supportive.

It is important to recognise that knowledge is created, shared, and even validated through social interactions and that every bit of knowledge is coloured by the individuals who impart it. Therefore, social knowledge management must create platforms, tools, and spaces that help facilitate social interactions, knowledge sharing, and collaboration to build a positive and constructive social community within the organisation.

Knowledge development and knowledge gains can only add true value to your business through a carefully executed knowledge management strategy. Contact us at KVR Training to learn more about how we can assist.

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