The Role of Information and Communication Technologies in Knowledge Management: A Classification of Knowledge Management Systems

The Role of Information and Communication Technologies in Knowledge Management: A Classification of Knowledge Management Systems

Irma Becerra-Fernandez (Florida International University, USA) and Rajiv Sabherwal (University of Missouri at St. Louis, USA)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-931-1.ch134
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Rapid changes in the field of KM have to a great extent resulted from the dramatic progress we have witnessed in the field of information and communication technology (ICT). ICT allows the movement of information at increasing speeds and efficiencies, and thus facilitates sharing as well as accelerated growth of knowledge. For example, computers capture data from measurements of natural phenomena, and then quickly manipulate the data to better understand the phenomena it represents. Increased computer power at lower prices enables the measurement of increasingly complex processes, which we possibly could only imagine before. Thus, ICT has provided a major impetus for enabling the implementation of KM applications. Moreover, as learning has accrued over time in the area of social and structural mechanisms, such as mentoring and retreats that enable effective knowledge sharing, it has made it possible to develop KM applications that best leverage these improved mechanisms by deploying sophisticated technologies. In this article we focus on the applications that result from the use of the latest technologies used to support KM mechanisms. Knowledge Management mechanisms are organizational or structural means used to promote KM (Becerra- Fernandez, Gonzalez, & Sabherwal, 2004). The use of leading edge ICT (e.g., Web-based conferencing) to support KM mechanisms in ways not earlier possible (e.g., interactive conversations along with instantaneous exchange of voluminous documents among individuals located at remote locations) enables dramatic improvement in KM. We call the applications resulting from such synergy between the latest technologies and social/ structural mechanisms as knowledge management systems. We discuss the topic of KM systems in detail in the next sections.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Knowledge Sharing: Is the process through which explicit or tacit knowledge is communicated and appropriated to other individuals.

Knowledge Management Mechanisms: Are organizational or structural means used to promote knowledge management. They may (or may not) utilize technology, but they do involve some kind of organizational arrangement or social or structural means of facilitating KM.

Common Knowledge: Organization’s cumulative experiences in comprehending a category of knowledge and activities, and the organizing principles that support communication and coordination.

Artificial Intelligence: The branch of computer science concerned with making computers behave like humans. John McCarthy coined the term in 1956 while at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It refers to the science that provides computers with the ability to solve problems not easily solved through algorithmic models.

Knowledge Management: Can be defined as performing the activities involved in discovering, capturing, sharing, and applying knowledge in terms of resources, documents, and people skills, so as to enhance, in a cost-effective fashion, the impact of knowledge on the unit’s goal achievement.

Knowledge Engineering: The process of eliciting an expert’s knowledge, in order to construct a knowledge-based system or an organizational memory.

Knowledge Management Systems: Integrate technologies and mechanisms to support KM processes.

Knowledge Discovery: Is the development of new tacit or explicit knowledge from data and information or from the synthesis of prior knowledge.

Knowledge Management Processes: Are the broad processes that help in discovering, capturing, sharing, and applying knowledge.

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