Bridging the Gap from the General to the Specific by Linking Knowledge Management to Business Processes

Bridging the Gap from the General to the Specific by Linking Knowledge Management to Business Processes

John S. Edwards (Aston University, UK) and John B. Kidd (Aston University, UK)
Copyright: © 2003 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-036-3.ch008
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Abstract

A phenomenon common to almost all fields is that there is a gap between theory and practical implementation. However, this is a particular problem in knowledge management, where much of the literature consists of general principles written in the context of a ‘knowledge world’ that has few, if any, references to how to carry out knowledge management in organisations. In this chapter, we put forward the view that the best way to bridge this gap between general principles and the specific issues facing a given organisation is to link knowledge management to the organisation’s business processes. After briefly reviewing, and rejecting alternative ways in which this gap might be bridged, the chapter goes on to explain the justification for, and the potential benefits and snags of, linking knowledge management to business processes. Successful and unsuccessful examples are presented. We concentrate especially on the issues of establishing what knowledge is relevant to an organisation at present, the need for organisational learning to cope with the inevitable change, and the additional problems posed by the growing internationalisation of operations. We conclude that linking knowledge management in terms of business processes is the best route for organisations to follow, but that it is not the answer to all knowledge management problems, especially where different cultures and/or cultural change are involved.

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