Tuesday 19 November 2013

When not to bother with Knowledge Management

The News Is Always So Bad, I'm Just Not Going To Look at it Anymore There are a few cases where Knowledge management is not needed in an organisation, and you can just Not Bother!

These are as follows.

  • When you have a monopoly, so that normal business pressures do not apply to you. You do not need to worry about growth, or efficiency, or cost control, because you have no worriers. You command the market, and people pay your price.
  • When you are in a business that does not change. Where there is no change, learning is not an issue. If your product does not change, and your processes do not change, and your customers and your competitors do not change, then KM could be a waste of time and money.
  • When you provide only labour, not knowledge. There may be some organisations where no knowledge work happens - companies mass-producing hand-made clothing, perhaps, or non-skilled contract employment. If knowledge is not what you sell, then knowledge management may not be of value. 
  • When you are a one-person business, trading on Skill. This is another situation where knowledge is not so important and where KM may be a waste of time. I am not sure that Knowledge Management would add much to the career of a concert violinist, for example, or a famous artist.
  • When there are even bigger problems. They need to be pretty big, but there would be cases where KM is nowhere near the top of the priority list. Lehman brothers in 2008, Union Carbide in 1984, Merck at the time of the Vioxx recall.
For the rest of us - those of us who work with knowledge, in a changing world, subject to competition and to constant change but not facing outright disaster, Knowledge Management is something we cannot manage properly without. 

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