Knowledge Management in Partnerships

This source preferred by Martyn Polkinghorne

Authors: Polkinghorne, M.

Journal: The Partner

Volume: 2011

Pages: 74-77

An unfortunate consequence of the recent economic climate is that staff turnover has been high in many sectors, with companies shedding staff to maintain a necessary balance between income and costs. Will these companies have taken into account that the loss of staff often also means the loss of key knowledge? Can these companies then survive without knowledge that may be pivotal to the success of their entire business model?

Senior executives need to be aware of the knowledge risks to their company so that they can implement strategies to minimise the potentially damaging effects to their business of losing knowledge. As a starting point, a company needs to grasp the difference between the two types of knowledge. Explicit knowledge represents hard knowledge such as data, rules, processes and systems, whereas tacit knowledge concerns the softer more practical experience, know-how and know-who. A business needs both types of knowledge as one without the other is often ineffective.

Companies should seek to identify the knowledge that is most critical to their business operations. Personal knowledge is the knowledge held by staff within an organisation. Deep smarts is a highly focussed form of personal knowledge based upon years of experience and held by only a few experts. When staff leave a business, then so does their knowledge (both personal and deep smarts).

In contrast, organisational knowledge is the knowledge that resides within the business itself and remains intact throughout staff changes. If knowledge is business critical then it’s essential to ensure that it’s held as organisational knowledge.

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