Knowledge Management

The ways in which the organization currently learns and utilizes knowledge when compared to the research findings on organization learning/knowledge

For the last thirty years IBT Ltd has been a leading power in software market. Even though the company was the leader, it was not having a Human Resources (HR) department. Lack of HR department seriously affected the training and development needs of the company and this led to serious issues within the organization. Lack of HR department put top management of the company under pressure, because they need to take care of all sorts of issues arising in training, staff development, solving the problems which arise in the company and also take care of the personal development of the staff. Since top management has to concentrate on these areas, this affects their departments’ works also. By putting all these issues together there is chance for IBT Ltd to face a miserable situation. If any big problem arises in the HR department and if top management cannot solve the issue properly, then it will affect the reputation of the company. It is very important that each section of the company needs people specialized in the respective areas in order to guarantee smooth flow. By this, they can sort out the problems very easily, thereby not affecting the company’s image.

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The ways in which our organization currently learns and utilizes knowledge

Current situation of IBT Ltd in learning and utilizing knowledge is not in a good position. Even though company has got large number of employees, no one is ready to share the knowledge properly. This is because employees fear that if they express their views, other employees will identify know how much knowledge they have and they are not ready to face the risks. This is what presently happens in IBT Ltd. This is not a good practice, not only for IBT Ltd., but for all the organizations. Sharing knowledge or sharing to others what one knows is the best obsession for a company to reach far above the ground. Here IBT Ltd lacks in knowledge management. This is because of absence of HR department in the company. Next section of this paper deals with some research findings to acquire learning/knowledge.

Research findings to acquire learning/knowledge

This section critically evaluates the ways in which IBT Ltd needs to utilize knowledge in order to overcome the current issues faced by it.

Knowledge management “is a newly emerging, interdisciplinary business model dealing with all aspects of knowledge within the context of the firm, including knowledge creation, codification, sharing, and how these activities promote learning and innovation. In practice, KM encompasses both technological tools and organizational routines in overlapping parts.” (What is knowledge management (KM)? 1999, para.1).

It is in creation of knowledge where IBT Ltd stays behind. Once, in an interview Dr. Yogesh Malhotra, founding chairman of Brint Institute mentions “knowledge management focuses on ‘doing the right thing’ instead of ‘doing things right.’” (Yogesh 1998, para.5).

What he meant by these words is all the processes occurring in the organization must be treated as knowledge process. He also stated that the effectiveness and efficiency of a company is based on how the knowledge management practices are implemented in an organization. IBT Ltd needs to improve knowledge management practices in order to increase the efficiency of the company. Another important issue is without good knowledge management, a company cannot expect a good long term survival. So, for a company it is not child’s play to take knowledge management lightly. Implementation of knowledge management doesn’t end just by analyzing business strategy or with an information communication technology. It will be fulfilled only with the development of human capital. The process of knowledge management actually includes acquisition of knowledge, protecting and storing the knowledge, distribution of knowledge and another important obsession is using the knowledge wherever it is applicable. All these issues are important for IBT Ltd.

Development, utilization and capitalization are three main concepts or instances of knowledge management. Knowledge of an organization actually depends on employee skills and his/her experience to absorb knowledge. One important issue to understand about acquiring knowledge is from the source it originates. This will reflect in the procedure of the organization. In IBT Ltd, employees fear to express their views. This is the main reason why IBT Ltd failed in implementing knowledge management system.

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One example to show importance of knowledge and knowledge management is Hewlett-Packard. “By sharing expertise already in the company, but not known to their development teams, now bring new products to market much faster than before.” (Knowledge management: Making sense of an oxymoron 2008, para.8).

HR is having a vital role in developing knowledge management system within the organization. “Knowledge management systems work best when the people who generate the knowledge, are the same people who store it, explain it to others, and coach them as they try to implement it.” (Wurman 2001, para.14).

“The HR department in an organization helps in articulating the purpose of the knowledge management system.” (Rahul n.d). HRM involves developing the skills, knowledge and competencies within the employees through training and development programme. “Disney’s new staff orientation, which emphasizes the firm’s mission, values, and history within a context of the “magic kingdom” experience, is an example of this process of making tacit knowledge more visible.” (The role of HRM in knowledge management n.d, para.4).

Learning is the ultimate source for a company in order to achieve success. “The essence of organizational learning is the organization’s ability to use the amazing mental capacity of all its members to create the kind of processes that will improve its own.” (The learning organization 2008, para.2).

The learning process in an organization is not confined to training only. It also includes learning the facts, procedures, adaptation to new jobs, flexibility to situations and the knowledge regarding the performance of the organization. A good example for learning and learning organization is Motorola. “Motorola group had great concern for specifying the metrics to define and measure the targeted learning.” (Nevis, Dibella & Gould n.d, para.22).

To enhance IBT Ltd as a knowledgeable organization

From the above research it is understood that IBT Ltd needs to do some activities in order to uplift its knowledge management or to enhance its knowledgeable organization. For this, one important issue the company needs to keep in mind is “sharing existing knowledge better – making implicit knowledge more explicit and putting in place mechanisms to move it more rapidly to where it is needed.” (Knowledge management: Making sense of an oxymoron 2008, para.6).

Presently there is no HR department in the company. In order to uphold agenda and also to develop structure or framework, the company needs to place a good knowledge leader. This leader must be a champion in driving knowledge agenda always forward. Also, under him the company can create various knowledge teams from different departments to develop an assortment of methods and skills. Top management should always assure their support to knowledge teams for doing their work. Besides that, an implementation of intranet portal will help to share knowledge among employees with experts. Also by having knowledge centres and knowledge sharing mechanism, the company can enhance the organization to a knowledgeable organization.

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Systematic thinking is considered as the main tool in solving the problems related to human resources within the organization. Any enterprise is a big organizational system which is composed of a large number of human resources and these resources are managed through a systematic approach. An example for systematic thinking and problem solving is, in the recession period the top managers in every organization cut their cost by laying off their employees, specifically the middle level managers. This led to lack of leadership and problems related to recruitment and training in the organizations. By using a systematic approach, the HR manager can identify the links between the problems and can provide a plan for the future requirements.

HR practices that support or hinder learning and knowledge exchange and combination in our own organization when compared to the research literature and the role of HR function in building a knowledgeable organization

The role of HR functions in building a knowledgeable organization

The function of HR department is very beneficial and important in an organization. If it is implemented in IBT Ltd, it will be more useful as HR department leads the business in successful manner. The HR managers have major role in an organization and they have the authority to take major decisions in the organization. It is the responsibility of the HR manager to deal all functional activities of the business in efficient way. The HR department improves the effectiveness of the business by proper management and by accurate developing strategy. In a big organization there are many departments and it is very difficult to handle each department by a single manager or by the top manager. If there is an HR department in an organization, there will be special managers in every department such as recruitment manager, finance manager, training manager and so on. It reduces the burden of the top management. For example, the training manager is only responsible to give training to the employees, the recruitment manager is only accountable to do the recruitment of the employees; same way the other managers are responsible to do their assigned work only. As the responsibility of each department is assigned to particular managers, they will guide the other staffs in their department. The HR manager has the responsibility in certain areas such as recruiting and selecting, hiring, training and development, framing performance system, disseminating information, coaching, recommending policies, payroll management, team building, and leadership role and building harmonious relationship within the organization.

Today, the HR managers are considered as the partner of a firm and the planning of the business as desired by them. The role of HR managers in different organizations is different; their role depends upon the nature of the business. So, when they join an organization they will perform thorough analyzing and learning of the organizational process and workers, whereby they acquire great knowledge about their work and organizational procedure so that they could manage and develop the workers more effectively and could provide essential information to the workers. The HR manager supports and encourages the workers to attain the objective of the business. He provides necessary guidance and training to the workers to improve their working efficiency. It is also the responsibility of the HR manager to solve any problems related to workers and maintain good relationship among the workers. On the other hand, the main aim of the HR function is to enhance the organizational asset through the human capital and thereby reduce the economic trouble. So, HR function in an organization helps to reduce the stress of the top management.

In the book ‘Aligning Human Resources and Business Strategy’, Linda Holbeche mentions that “key to build organizational effectiveness is a skilful blend of HRM practices, organizational design and development to suit a specific organization in its particular context.” (Holbeche 2009, p.18). The HRM practices involve creating an appropriate business plan for the development and success of the business. The HRM generates latest organizational facilities and also implements the tactical changes in the business in order to compete efficiently with other organizations. It also says that the HR department forecasts the future risk and needs while creating the plan, so the organization can run very smoothly without any risk. Nowadays the technology is changing very rapidly; in order to cope with the changing technology and to exist in the competitive business world, HR department is very essential in an organization.

The HR function is not only involved in the internal procedures of an organization, it also plays an important role in the organization’s external process. Data is very essential in an organization, because without data it cannot perform any activity. The HR practice involves analysis and collection of the current information required for the organization, such as the latest trend, customer needs, market demand etc. Therefore, the organization can perform its activities according to the customer requirements. As the HR function is involved in every department or every function of the organization, it accomplishes the roles of advisor, manager, business partner, employer, executive expert and also the role of worker.

The HR practices supporting learning and knowledge exchange in the organization

As per the research findings in the literature, the key HR practices that can be implemented in IBT Ltd for supporting the learning and knowledge exchange process are effective acquisition of knowledge, protection of knowledge, storing the knowledge, distribution of knowledge and networking practices. “McAdam and Reid (2000) mention that the transfer, capture and dissemination of knowledge and organisational knowledge itself are considered as key elements of knowledge and KM.” (Hamid 2008, para.4).

The HR practices that will be helpful for the company in making it a knowledgeable organization are explained as follows;

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  • Effective acquisition of knowledge

The organization should be capable to acquire knowledge both from the internal environment and from the external environment. The information from the internal environment includes the facts and figures about the organization such as total resources managed by the organization, various practices applied, the rules and regulations, recruitment procedure, selection criteria, training and development programme practices, trade related information, various costs incurred in each department within the organization and overall performance of the organization. The employees’ knowledge about internal environment will enable them to understand the performance of the company and it also enables them to generate a clear idea about where they have to improve for achieving the goals of the organization. The information from the external environment includes the information related to the market position of the company, competitors, suppliers, distributors, customers, demand and supply of the product, outsourcing of employees and also includes the social, political, cultural, technological and economic factors that influence the performance of the organization. This information helps the employees to understand the position of the company in the external environment.

  • Protection of knowledge

All the information that is confidential in nature should be kept safe. This mainly includes the trade secrets and the special training and development programmes that are implemented within the organization.

  • Storing of knowledge

The information related with each department and the overall performance of the organization should be maintained within the organization in a report format. The report should include all the details regarding the human resources, marketing, production and finance.

  • Distribution of knowledge

All the information that is generated through acquisition must be disseminated among the employees in the organization. Through this process, the updated information will reach them and this will enable them to understand the overall performance of organization. The employees within the organization must be aware of the organization’s functions and procedures, so that it will be helpful for the organization to accomplish the goals of the organization in an efficient and effective way.

  • Networking practices

The process of combining information and exchanging of information can be done through networking practices. The performances of each department should be kept open to all the employees from various departments. This will enable an employee to identify the department’s process as a whole and the employees will feel confident of knowledge about the organization and this will create a sense of knowledge sharing responsibility among them.

These sets of HR practices will definitely lead to the creation of a knowledgeable organization.

Plan for the future development of your organization as a knowledgeable organization based on the analysis and literature

  • Organizational objective

The objective of the organization is to become one of most efficient knowledgeable organization. The organization’s objective should be intimated to all employees within the organization.

  • Departmental objective

The departmental objective includes the objectives framed by each department within the organization that are set for achieving the primary goal of the organization. The departmental objectives differ from one department to another. The objective of the human resources department is to integrate the functions of all departments within the organization. This department must be able to maintain all the records related to the employees.

  • Manpower planning

“Estimating or projecting the number of personnel with different skills required over time or for a project, and detailing how and when they will be acquired.” (Manpower Planning 2009).

This is a step that deals with determining the number of manpower required by the organization. The employees must possess minimum knowledge and skill that are required for performing the functions in the organization.

  • Recruitment

By using various methods, the employees are recruited. These employees will be given a job description.

  • Selection

Selection is the process whereby the qualified candidates are selected for the organization. After selecting the employee based on certain criteria, all the information about the organization is delivered to them.

  • Training and development

It is a process whereby the knowledge and skills of the employees are developed through different training methods. Training can be divided into two; internal training and external training. In this programme, the organization should focus on the involvement of the employees in the learning process.

  • Induction and orientation

This is a process given for a new comer into an organization. The existing staffs are responsible for introducing new employees within the organization. This process is mainly conducted in organizations to make the employees know about the organization and act accordingly.

Conclusion

For effective human resource management, it is essential to have a separate human resources department. This paper gives a clear cut idea about the benefits an organization gains when there is a separate human resources department to deal all the HR issues. The roles of an HR manager and the HRM practices that can be implemented in the organization are also well discussed. The plan formulated in this paper gives a clear idea to the organization in transforming the organization into a knowledgeable organization.

Reference List

Hamid, Z.A., 2008. Identifying knowledge and creating knowledgeable employees. Journal of Knowledge Management Practice, 9(2).

Holbeche, L., 2009. Aligning human resources and business strategy. Butteworth-Heinemann.

Knowledge management: Making sense of an oxymoron, 2008. Insight No. 22.

Manpower Planning, 2009. BusinessDictionary.com. Web.

Nevis, E.C. Dibella, A.J. & Gould, J.M., n.d. Understanding organizations as learning systems. Society for Organizational Learning. Web.

Rahul, S., n.d. Article: Role of HRM in knowledge management. CitHR.com.

The learning organization, 2008. Insight No. 3.

The role of HRM in knowledge management, n.d. www.exploreHR.org, exploring HR management. Web.

What is knowledge management (KM)? 1999. Gotcha. Web.

Wurman, S., 2001. Knowledge management. Donald Clerk.

Yogesh, M., 1998. Knowledge management, knowledge organizations & knowledge workers: A view from the front lines. Maeil Business News Paper.

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