Thursday, 23 March 2017

Knowledge workers - suppliers as well as consumers of knowledge

Here's another characteristic of Knowledge workers - they supply as well as consume knowledge.


I blogged recently about what makes a Knowledge Worker, and suggested that a Knowledge Worker is someone who knows more about their job that their boss or client, and so is hired for what they know as well as what they do.  Also that the role of Knowledge Management is to give the Knowledge Worker access to the knowledge they need to perform their role.

However this flow of knowledge is not one-way. The KM framework should not only give the knowledge workers access to knowledge, it should also provide a means for the share their knowledge as well. The flow of knowledge is multi-way.

That's what distinguishes KM from Learning and Development. In L&D the workers are seen as consumers of knowledge, whereas in KM, the knowledge workers are both consumers and suppliers.  KM should allow the knowledge workers to share access to knowledge; both the knowledge that has been documented and collected, and the knowledge that the other knowledge workers still hold in their heads.

If the knowledge workers both supply and consume, then knowledge becomes collective property, with each knowledge worker both contributing and benefiting to the collective commons. This is both the outcome that KM looks to deliver, and the value proposition that you present to the knowledge workers. It is like a deal that you, as Knowledge Manager, strike with the knowledge workers 

"We will give you access to all the knowledge of your co-workers, to make your job easier and to save you time. All we need in return is for you to also share what you know".

1 comment:

Eli Miron said...

I agree.
I usually compare knowledge workers to the roman god Janus, as well as the addition that the acquired knowledge is effective when they use it.

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