Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitwirtschaft und Organisation
Knowledge Management is a booming subject in today's management discussion and literature. It is clear that tomorrow's success is depending more and more on the appropriate management of knowledge in heads, databases, or documents. Market forecasts see in the business with respective technological solutions and consulting services a multimillion market ( Sheina Madan / Woods Eric 1998). Conferences, forums and management guides are just about to make the topic prominent. After the age of the information society we are now entering the knowledge society, the knowledge economy.
A look in the practice shows a certain gap between public disucssion and enterprises daily practice: Today's reality in companies is focussing strongly on the "externalisation" of knowledge -- getting knowledge out of the individual's heads, into sophisticated databases. "Lessons learned" is one keyword being used. But all too often the question, which knowledge, which lessons in which form is worth being stored at all, and, if yes, in what form, is not dealt with in an adequate manner. By this, the quality of the starting material is not always proofed. This leads to new data cemetries, perfectly organised, but not really useful. Simply making knowledge available rarely results in ist use! Also, this approach leads to the quick delegation of knowledge management issues to IT- staff -- and, by this, forgets all too often that also training staff, personnel specialists and representatives of differents departments should be involved. Knowledge management is a matter for a multitude of responsible persons -- and not only an IT-matter.