Challenges of Knowledge Management amidst Rapidly Evolving Tools of Social Media

Challenges of Knowledge Management amidst Rapidly Evolving Tools of Social Media

Ritesh Chugh (Central Queensland University, Australia) and Mahesh Joshi (RMIT University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0417-8.ch037
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Social media technologies have been embraced by individuals and organizations on such a massive scale in the last decade that knowledge sharing and application has molded into a totally new paradigm. It has not only changed the social discourse of communication but also affected the knowledge management strategies of organizations. This raises quite a number of fundamental challenges out of which three are being dealt in this chapter. The first challenge is whether knowledge management has fully embraced social media as a channel of mass reach the way it did in case of other means of mass communication. The second one is the question of speed and extent of knowledge sharing in social media. The third challenge is whether social media strategy can provide a high advantage to smaller and newer companies in comparison to older but larger organizations. It is apparent that the commercial aspect of social media is easy for a tête-à-tête but difficult to articulate and design the right strategy because it needs a lot of refinements owing to inherent complexities in the process.
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When Procter and Gamble (2008) and General Electric (2008) introduced social media as a part of their integrated media communication strategy, little could be said about the impact that social media tools left on knowledge management. In much less than a decade, blogs, vlogs, instant messaging, virtual communities, videos, mobile advertising and others have become predominant tools of social media strategy. Something that began as a way of information processing, transferring, codification and reuse got evolved into a formal practice of knowledge creation and sharing. It kept growing with transformation of knowledge into social capital as well as a critical resource for value creation and innovation. Every organization should realize the importance of creating and applying knowledge (Chugh, 2012), in this case via social media. In a short history of less than two decades, the mesh of knowledge management and social media has deepened as well as broadened rapidly to acquire an unavoidable and important status in organizational processes. Knowledge management is a process through which organizational intellectual capital and information can be managed (Chugh, 2013). When an organization builds a comprehensive relationship with knowledge processes, it has a challenging opportunity of assimilating social media tools in its knowledge management strategy. Similarly, a complete definition of a learning organization cannot be pictured without involving social media channels in its knowledge sharing activities. This is typically important because such periphery practices have now graduated into mainstream organizational activities. Not only the notion of hierarchy and knowledge transmission is under a shift but the role of knowledge managers has to assume a lot of flexibility inside the consumer-to-consumer communication space. Currently, no business strategy can exist by ignoring social media. So, how knowledge is managed in an organization can actually reflect on the business potential too. The top-down structures of knowledge management in the Information Technology field took nearly two decades to settle its conceptual contours but social media technologies have diversified at such a fast pace in less than a decade that their assimilation via the knowledge management route is full of both risks and opportunities.

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