According to Albert Einstein, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.” (Lewis, N.D.) Perhaps, Einstein’s idea or argument about the nature of knowledge and imagination and the interplay between these two entities, which results to something beyond their limits, fully capture the essence of what Knowledge Management is all about. Based on Einstein’s perspectives of knowledge, we understand that, it is the integration of an individual’s imagination to knowledge, which consequently renders knowledge valuable.
Due to the necessity of organizations nowadays to reposition themselves in order to gain competitive advantage over various organizations that compete within the corporate arena, the concept of Information and Knowledge Management have emerged as a means to add value to the organization and capitalize on something that is intangible, exclusive, limitless, and stable. In the adaptation of organizations to organizational learning and knowledge management, they expect to develop their capabilities to improve and to compete with other organizations. The organization’s utilization of learned information, as well as its efficient and perceptive management of information to the advantage of the organization accomplishes this goal or objective.
Therefore, the organization values learning and knowledge, and most importantly the practical and efficient application of knowledge. As Khalil Gibran once said, “A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.” (Lewis, N.D.) Gibran clearly defined how knowledge becomes important to an organization through its practical utilization and application. These concepts drive the framework or structure of Information and Knowledge Management.
Organizational Learning and Organizational Knowledge
The qualification of an organization as a learning organization depends on its views and perspectives on the importance of learning and the strategies and techniques that it employs in order to apply knowledge for the benefit of the organization.
Primarily, organizations may be considered as learning organizations if they value learning processes as a means to develop and improve the services or other offerings that they provide. Consequently, if organizations value learning and knowledge, they also value their human capital, which is the source of varied information based on previous and obtained knowledge, as well as the receptacle of learning. (Levinson, N.D.)
Overall, organizations that employ Knowledge Management must capitalize on two things – the adaptation of processes and activities that facilities organizational learning, and the obtainment, analysis, utilization, and management of knowledge that is essential in forming strategies, techniques, etc. that the organization may utilize to develop its competitive advantage and enhance its overall performance in all aspects of organizational processes and operations. Therefore, Knowledge Management may be defined as the interplay between organizational learning and organizational knowledge.
Since Knowledge Management may be generally defined as the process by which the organization purposefully obtains, analyzes or interprets, evaluates, or utilizes knowledge in order to accomplish its set goals and objectives, it is therefore rooted on how the human capital undergoes learning processes to gain comprehensive insight and how the employees might be able to contribute to the organization, and the existence of knowledge itself which is critical in the process of developing or improving the structure and framework of the organization based on gathered data. (Wilson, 2002)
Specifically, organizational learning is the process by which the organization shows how it values knowledge. In this process, the organization develops programs, activities, and other opportunities by which its human capital is to be able to obtain new and useful information relevant to the needs, conditions, environments, problems, goals and objectives, etc. of the organization.
Organizational knowledge, on the other hand, may be considered as the asset of the organization from which it draws information in order to guide the decision-making process, the planning process, implementation, evaluation, and so on. (The KM Forum & Newman, 2002)
Knowledge Management to Organizational Learning and Knowledge
The implementation of Knowledge Management within an organization is critical to the development of activities that constitute the organizational learning process and the processes by which organizational knowledge is analyzed, valued, and utilized within organizational operations or functioning. For instance, the objectives of Knowledge Management creates the design of the organizational learning process, including its contents, the process by which the learning process takes place, the individuals who will undergo the learning process, and so on.
Moreover, the purpose of Knowledge Management also dictates how knowledge is rendered valuable, the kinds of information that the organization will utilize, the process by which knowledge is to be applied, etc. Overall, the structure and dimensions of Knowledge Management, particularly its goals and objectives, guide the process of organizational learning and how existing knowledge is appraised and chosen for the organization’s disposal. (The KM Forum & Newman, 2002)
Based on the previous discussions on Knowledge Management, Organizational Learning, and Organizational Knowledge, we have gained a clearer perspective on how learning organizations operate. Learning organizations implement Knowledge Management in order to oversee how the learning process is conducted and how knowledge is obtained and utilized in the process.
In turn, the organizational learning and process and the obtained organizational knowledge are essential in developing the framework of Knowledge Management since the organization would be unable to capitalize on knowledge unless it implements processes or opens up opportunities for learning, and renders knowledge as essential in its growth and development.
Lewis, J.J. (N.D.) Knowledge Quotes from Wisdom Quotes: Quotations to Inspire
And Challenge. Retrieved 24 April 2009 from: http://www.wisdomquotes.com/cat_knowledge.html
Levinson, M. (N.D.) ABC: An Introduction to Knowledge Management (KM): The
Basic Guide to Knowledge Management (KM). Retrieved 24 April 2009 from: http://www.cio.com/article/40343/ABC_An_Introduction_to_Knowledge_Management_KM_