Know-How: Definition and Concept of Know-How

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Know-how can be defined as the technical knowledge that a person possesses to do something smoothly and efficiently (Blackwell, 1951). Know-how is used to distinguish people who have skills and knowledge on how to get something done. It also distinguishes those who do not have the skills required. A person possesses well-defined skills and knowledge that are usually difficult to transfer to another person. Know-how is a critical element in management practice. An organization that hires its workforce should ensure that it hires the most competent people. This is concerning skills and knowledge. The technical know-how that is often present in an organization helps the organization to operate and meet its goals (Brockman & Morgan, 2003). Employees in a given organization should be ready to share information that will be crucial in the operations of the organization. Information to any organization is crucial as it helps in solving problems. Employees should be able to pass messages across all levels of management. In this case, employees should have a clearly defined channel of communication. When employees pass information through sharing, they can help the organization achieve its goals and objectives. This information is nontransferable. Therefore, the person that possesses such information is deemed to be competent. Such information is usually gained from experience on a certain matter, learned through mentorship (Ahuja 2012). Channels of sharing this information should be properly set out. In this case, this will help in creating a better working relationship at the organizational level.

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Know-how refers to skills and knowledge that an individual can acquire in the course of undertaking a given task (Sax 2010). Such skills can be passed from one individual to another through sharing and communicating. The right technical know-how helps in differentiating employees who can undertake a given task under little supervision from those who cannot. This can also be looked at in the form of those who already know what they are doing, as well as those who do not have the skills necessary in undertaking the task in the right manner. In any organization, the requirement for a certain job should be based on the technical know-how and the ability of the individual to undertake the task with little or no help (Carroll 1983). Having the right job skills will guarantee the safety of the employees and others. In this case, the safety of the employees is enhanced without jeopardizing the moral standards at the workplace. A person with the appropriate skills can operate the machinery most effectively. This ensures high productivity for the organization. In turn, this ensures profitability for the given organization. Skills and the technical know-how of a certain duty or procedure may be a special asset to the individual and the organization at large (Kauffman 1993).

Ability refers to the willingness of an individual to carry out a given task with little help from outside forces. In this case, the individual can undertake the task given the skills that he or she possesses. These skills are either learned or taught and thus very useful. These skills are usually very critical in undertaking a given task. For example, computer analysts and developers need a lot of information on how computer machinery operates. This is meant to develop software that will integrate well with the computer hardware and deliver the required results. Thus, they should have the ability to undertake a given task where they act as legal providers of the information (Conner 1991). The ability of an individual should be geared towards improving the technical know-how that pertains to a task. Individuals should emphasize sharing information in the organization as this will improve how organizations are run and managed.

Knowledge in a given organization should be shared where experienced employees may undertake an apprenticeship to mentor other newly hired employees. The newly hired employees will be able to learn the required skills. This will help the employees to undertake their duties and responsibilities effectively with little or no help. Thus, the management should efficiently manage their employees. In this case, the employees will be crucial in assisting the organization to meet its goals and objectives (Garicano 2000).

The know-how may include information that an individual has acquired over the years concerning solving a given problem (Cooke 2000). Skills are normally acquired in the course of undertaking a given operation as they define the process of operation, which follows a certain procedure. This is meant to ensure all activities in the operation are carried out to the specifications. Thus, the technical know-how concerning a given process is crucial in understanding the requirements of the problem (Dale 1999). An individual is deemed to possess the ability to do a given task if the individual has the skills and knowledge required to undertake the task in the stipulated guideline (Christiansen & Baird 1998).

For proper management in an organization, the role of a leader should be paramount. In this case, the leader will be responsible for the employees. Thus, the sharing and passing of knowledge and skills through information channels are to be monitored (Berry & Fristedt 1985). Management of information in an organization should be a collective responsibility of individuals in the organization. In this case, employees should be involved in some of the decision-making processes. Here, the employees can channel their contribution to the leader (Chandra & Shastri 1998). The management of the organization should integrate sufficient resources that will be used in enhancing the skills of workers where considerable motivation is earned. Employees who are better trained and empowered deliver their responsibility. The manager of an organization should also be a resourceful individual who can share his or her information (Holsapple 2003).

Information sharing in any organization should be emphasized as it helps the employees to gain considerable skills and knowledge. One employee can share acquired skills and knowledge with other employees as they form part of the resource that an organization needs to operate well in the market. An individual can acquire a variety of skills through experience. In this case, one can internalize the practical ability required in the job specification. Acquired skills are useful in the life of the individual as one can relate to them in times of need as they form part of the memory of a certain experience. It is through such channels that employees in an organization can share knowledge (Ahuja 2012). In modern times, the sharing of knowledge is being realized through the click of a button. Here, the internet has made it possible for people to pass knowledge very quickly.

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Reference

Ahuja, IS 2012, Exploring the impact of effectiveness of total productive maintenance strategies in manufacturing enterprise, International Journal of Productivity and Quality Management, vol. 9, no.4, pp. 486-501.

Berry, DE & Fristedt, B 1985. Bandit Problems: Sequential Allocation of Experiments, Chapman and Hall, New York.

Blackwell, D 1951, Comparisons of experiments. Proc. Second Berkeley Sympos. Math. Statist, University of California Press, Berkeley.

Brockman, BK & Morgan, RM, 2003, The role of existing knowledge in new product innovativeness and performance, Admin. Sci. Quart., vol. 34, no.2, pp. 385-419.

Carroll, DT 1983, A disappointing search for excellence, Harvard Bus. Rev., vol. 61, no. 6, pp. 78-88.

Chandra, P & Shastri, T 1998, Competitiveness of Indian manufacturing: findings of the 1997 manufacturing futures survey, Vikalpa, vol. 23, no.3, pp. 25-36.

Christiansen, CM & Baird, B 1998, Cultivating capabilities to innovate: Booz-Allen & Hamilton. HBS Case 9-698-027, Harvard Business School, Boston.

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Conner, KR 1991, A historical comparison of resource-based theory and five schools of thought within industrial organization economics: Do we have a new theory of the firm? J. Management, vol. 17,no. 1, pp. 121-154.

Cooke, FL 2000, Implementing TPM in plant maintenance: some organizational barriers, International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, vol. 17, no.9, pp.1003-16.

Dale, BG 1999, Managing Quality, Blackwell, Boston, MA.

Garicano, L 2000, Hierarchies and the organization of knowledge in production, J. Political Econom., vol.108, no.5, pp. 874-904.

Holsapple, CW 2003, Handbook on Knowledge Management, Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Kauffman, SA 1993, The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution, Oxford University Press, New York.

SAX, G 2010, ‘HAVING KNOW-HOW: INTELLECT, ACTION, AND RECENT WORK ON RYLE’S DISTINCTION BETWEEN KNOWLEDGE-HOW AND KNOWLEDGE-THAT’, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, vol. 91, no. 4, pp. 507-530.

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