Protecting Knowledge Assets

Protecting Knowledge Assets

G. Scott Erickson, Helen N. Rothberg
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 7
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-931-1.ch128
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In tandem with the growth in knowledge management (KM) interest and practice over the past twenty years, competitive intelligence (CI) activities have also mushroomed. Although knowledge assets benefit from full collection and dispersion, such activities, particularly given their digital nature, also make proprietary knowledge more vulnerable to CI by competitors. Any firm looking to better manage knowledge assets needs to evaluate both the benefits and the potential losses from spreading valuable knowledge more widely. In some cases, the optimal strategy may be refraining from full development of these intangible assets in order to effectively protect them. Strategic firms can also take some fairly simple steps to better protect their knowledge assets.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Explicit Knowledge: Knowledge that is easy to express and communicate.

Tacit Knowledge: Knowledge that is hard to express and communicate.

Complexity: A sense of how complicated a specific knowledge asset might be, whether it can be understood and used easily in another application or whether it is complex and so dependent on relationships with other knowledge in its original setting.

Enterprise Systems: Web-based information systems such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Supply Chain Management (SCM), and Customer Relationship Management (CRM), tying together all aspects of the enterprise so that operations, the supply chain, distribution channels, accounting systems, and other information transfers are coordinated among the core firm and all relevant collaborators.

Specificity: Organizational knowledge that loses some of its value when removed from its original application and firm.

Pre-Knowledge: Organizational data and information that has some value in and of itself and that may become knowledge when subjected to appropriate analysis. In the context of this article, especially that data and information exchanged with e-network collaborators through enterprise systems.

Competitive Intelligence: Organized efforts to gather information and knowledge concerning a specific competitor, brand, product or similar target, typically using publicly available information, human intelligence, and active gather techniques.

Economic Espionage: Similar to competitive intelligence but including techniques that are more ethically or legally questionable (hacking, theft, misrepresentation, and others).

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