'We know much more than we can tell.'
Michael Polyani, The Tacit Dimension
One of the new ideas behind improving quality is the systematic management of knowledge. Knowledge management is a response to the explosion in information and the realization that knowledge is, together with quality, a key driver behind organizational success. The problem is not how to find information, but to be able to successfully manage it. As we have seen in Chapter 4, knowledge management was a theme of W Edwards Deming in his last book, The New Economics (1974). Deming believed that all organizations should understand their knowledge sources, manage on the basis of rational data and make decisions based on all the available information.
Knowledge management is a subject that is still in its infancy and one where there is a considerable element of novelty. Nevertheless, interest in it is expanding at an enormous rate. Until fairly recently the term knowledge management had a comparatively narrow definition. When first used in the 1980s it was limited to describing artificial intelligence and the processes associated with the application of computing. By the time it started to be used in management literature in the early 1990s it had taken on a broader perspective, although with little real consensus about its meaning. This is still somewhat true, although there is now far more clarity and focus over its meaning.
The term knowledge management is applied to everything from the application of new technology to the much broader endeavours of trying