What did I know before I began? There is also a similar question that an organization / school ought to answer (Does the organization know what it knows). If I only knew what I know, I may be able to answer this question well. Anyway, I can't recall when I first came across the term "knowledge management". It should not be long ago. I felt interested to know how knowledge can be managed, and how useful it is in school. At the end of my study, I start to realize that it is difficult to manage knowledge - it is not an object to be captured once it leaves people's mind. Or it just becomes information again, waiting to be interpreted to become knowledge (Sveiby, 1997; Miller, 2002). Peter Drucker said somewhere that there is nothing as knowledge management but knowledgeable people; knowledge is useful information. Takeuchi & Nonaka (1995) mention that knowledge is about beliefs, commitment and action (to achieve some end). It is also about meaning, being context-specific and relational. All these about knowledge show the important role of people. There is no knowledge without people who create, process, interpret and transfer it. The focus of KM is still about people, not information or knowledge. So the term knowledge management itself in a sense is a misnomer. When we say we manage knowledge, to a great extent, we are in fact managing people for KM goals.
February 2006 Archives
To a great extent, culture and management issues affect the success of knowledge management initiatives in schools. Studies have shown common factors for KM success. Below is a summary of those I think relevant to the school context.
- KM requires the integration and balancing of leadership, organization, learning and technology (in a school-wide setting).
- An atmosphere or organizational culture of trust, fairness and innovation is necessary for KM.
- Factors are management related, such as culture, process, and organization, with technology the least important.
- Information technology enables and facilitates knowledge sharing.
- Lead by example. More people will follow if "knowledge sharing champions" in workplace initiate the process of knowledge sharing.
- Acknowledge the efforts made by knowledge bearers who may feel their sharing is recognized and appreciated.
- Cultivation of a learning culture or concept of learning organization which encourages knowledge sharing.
- Cultural climate may influence the willingness to share, such as Asian societies stress more on conformity and humility.
(Al-Hawamdeh, 2003; Stankosky, 2005; Handzic, 2004; Hasanali, 2002; Chin, 2005; Rollett, 2003; Park, Ribiere & Schulte, 2004)