Traditional management practices are often focused on tangible assets such as inventory and equipment. Managing an intangible asset such as knowledge requires a different approach: a specific set of practices and tools aimed at harnessing and maximizing the use and mobilization of knowledge.
Knowledge management has been described as strategic work to enable organizational learning (McElroy) or to create common context (Snowden). Under that umbrella, there can be many knowledge-related activities. Organizational learning, intellectual capital and human capital management are terms often associated with the management of knowledge.
While information and data management as well as library sciences are also considered complementary to the work of managing knowledge, they shouldn’t be considered knowledge management. The strategic management of knowledge is broader and includes human and social connections and contexts.
Our definition of the strategic management of knowledge
For the purpose of this guide, we have defined the strategic management of knowledge as a systematic approach to maximizing the generation, sharing, and use of knowledge to support organizational learning, resilience and, ultimately, performance.
Such work includes strategies, tools and processes that can be employed to ensure that people are connected, that learning occurs at a team and organizational level, and that appropriate supports – including access to expertise and technology – are in place to enhance decision-making, achieve operational efficiency and effectiveness, and promote innovation.