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How Knowledge Management Elaborates Social Networks

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Knowledge Management, Social Networks and Innovation

Knowledge management is the process of acquiring, allocating and effectively using knowledge. It involves the promotion of an integrated approach to identifying, capturing, evaluating, retrieving, and sharing organizational information assets (Koenig, 2012 n.p). Large size organizations use established quality management tools which are administered electronically either through standalone software solutions from various suppliers or a single dedicated quality management system integrated into a corporate enterprise resource planning system (Kremp, 2004 n.p). Operating such traditional quality management tools are demanding and are linked with inherent communication lag which may result in delays from the time quality issues were discovered until when preventive measures are implemented (Scarbrough, 2003 p. 502). Also, they do not provide a timely and sufficient knowledge creation and management opportunities which help in preventing quality problems from infecting other areas of production and supply chain. They also do not keep pace with the currently changing business environment hence deterring innovation within the business organization. To avoid all the challenges mentioned above associated with the traditional quality management tools, knowledge management quality management should be integrated into the organizational management. The integration of knowledge management and quality management is driven by the same objectives which are to improve the firm’s performance and efficiency improvements by creating organizational knowledge (Scarbrough, 2003 p. 505).

Organizational Learning Approaches

For one to gain knowledge, he or she must be willing to learn. Learning is the processing of information that is encountered in order to change or enhance the knowledge and abilities of particular persons (Virany, 1992 p. 76). Learning within an organization enables the personnel to acquire knowledge that is going to allow them perform tasks assigned to them with the aim of organizational goals. It also enhances the process of coming up with new ideas in the organization which will facilitate innovation and technological improvements. Learning involves two components which are the process and outcome. Learning process is the process of acquiring knowledge while outcome is the result of the learning process such as change in what we believe or change in our abilities (Virany, 1992 p. 77).

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Organization learning refers to the change in the organizational knowledge in that it adds to, reduces or transforms organizational knowledge. Concepts about organizational knowledge, learning processes and outcomes of learning vary significantly in the organizational learning literature. One of the key motives is that many of its concepts are rooted in metaphors about individual learning which introduces some theoretical tension, imprecision, and even contradictions in the field. But it also enriches it and makes it relevant to a broad range of incidences (Braham, 1995 n.p). The current moves toward to organizational learning accentuate routines as repositories of knowledge, and they regard learning as creationing and renewing of routines in reply to experiences. Routines are considered to be repeating the sequence of actions which triggers multiple organizational assets and actors. For instance, routines include organizational roles, rules, conventions, strategies, technologies, cultural practices and capabilities. They are independent of their executors and persist even after the executors have left the organization. Learning based on routines are therefore located on an organizational level and also above individual learning level. The approaches to organizational learning are management training, management development and organization development (Virany, 1992 p. 79).

Management training is training with the idea of making persons more alike than it is different in some respect and attempting to de-emphasize individual differences in some particular area (Armstrong, 2003 p. 74). For example, a number of people are trained to operate an individual machine that is complicated. Once the equipment is designed and built, which was to the specifications that make use of a person’s aptitude to operate the machine, training program is implemented in order for the operator to be able to fit him or herself to the machine (Armstrong, 2003 p. 76). This approach of learning equips the personnel with the relevant knowledge that helps them perform the organizational tasks effectively and efficiently in collaboration with other organization staff. Regarding training of operators on the use of machine, the knowledge gain by the workers eliminates the individual difference among the people in terms of how they operate the machine which thus boost the efficiency of the machine and the personnel hence improving performance (Braham, 1995 n.p). Several businesses spend a lot of money, time and energy in training their managers in order to make them alike than different. Inculcating business values and philosophy and inculcating the organization’s norms, and climate is examples of divulging managers to ideas and ideals they anticipated to following and to think similarly about. When managers are made to feel similar, they tend to focus on the same goals of the organizations hence influencing greater performance and improved innovations. It is because the managers are equipped with the knowledge concerning the dynamic nature of businesses which calls for a change in business is conducted thus facilitating innovation. Training managers in particular skill areas such as processing of data, accounting and budgeting skills, and salary administration are extra examples of application of management training (Braham, 1995 n.p).

Management development within an organization attempts to provide different kind of learning opportunities which differs with management training which is trying to remove the individual differences (Braham, 1995 n.p). Development refers to legitimizing the personal differences, providing opportunities for a person to put into practice his or her potential and encourage managers to be less alike along certain dimensions. As numerous organizations spend a lot of management training, they also invest a lot in management development programs (Braham, 1995 n.p). For instance, management development includes career testing and counseling programs in which the individual gets feedback based on test results from his or her abilities, interests, and traits. There are university programs driven towards a continuing education experience for an individual such as current ideas about management and any technological advances the manager is expected to know. Also, management development leads to personal growth experience in which the person reaches a point of increased knowledge and understanding of himself and how he influences other people (Braham, 1995 n.p). Therefore, these provide education aimed at increasing an individual’s unique potential which increases the individual’s performance within the organization and his or her ability to come up with new ideas which leads to new innovations (Armstrong, 2003 p. 79). Hence, developing personnel within an organization increases their self-awareness and understanding. The outcomes lead to behavioral changes that will augment an individual’s effectiveness and eventually the effectiveness of the organization which necessitates improved performance or business values.

Organizational developments are activities that are planned efforts of that are meant for changing the institutional culture. It is a planned process of an organization’s cultural change which utilizes behavioral science knowledge as a basis for interventions that are intended at increasing organizational health and effectiveness (Armstrong, 2003 p. 76). Therefore, organizational development focuses mainly on how an individual in an organization relates to his or her occupation group and how his or her group relates to other groups within the organization. The primary objective of organizational development is the necessity to improve some or all the systems that comprise the total organization (Braham, 1995 n.p). Organizational development requires careful evaluation of what is expected to increase the general effectiveness, along with tailor-made changes, the goals that are going to satisfy the needs felt. The primary concern of the individuals involved in organizational development in to create the kind of organizational climate in which individuals meet their needs and at the same time optimize the realization of organizational goals. Examples of organizational development efforts are team-building, working via interpersonal issues, creating structural and functional changes to facilitate the effectiveness (Armstrong, 2003 p. 81).

The approaches mentioned above learning are not only mutually exclusive rather a complementary to the other. The technique chosen for used depends on the precise kind of change preferred in the organization. Besides the three methods of organizational learning, the critical issue performance which is the main area for improvement for each organization.

Impacts of Knowledge Management on Social Media and Innovation

Knowledge management is a general term that encompasses methods, tools and disciplines embedded in an information infrastructure in order to support creation and sharing of intellectual assets with an aim of achieving business goals (Liebowitz, 1999 n.p). It elucidates the role of social capital in the stock of dynamic connections among individuals that is the shared understanding, shared values and behaviors, and trust that connects members of human networks and communities while assuring the possibility of cooperate actions. Knowledge management elaborates social network analysis as a process of identifying the patterns of interconnectedness and interactions of people, noting that these patterns determine the failure or success of an organization and society and that analysis produces understanding as well as action (Liebowitz, 1999 n.p).

Integrating knowledge management on social media has a greater impact on the performance of an organization in that; it aligns everyone in the company on the importance, and value of value of social media and customer centricity while setting up the right infrastructure for success. For instance, Nokia Company has implemented knowledge management on social media by working with dedicated care experts who help people on social networks and providing support around the clock (Yates, 2011 p. 8). Social media is not a sector; it’s an approach and it is important to connect the level of global and social media in order to learn and share best practices. An online training and best practice platforms are essential since it allows sharing of knowledge by employees on a daily basis. For smoother running of the business, it is important to share learning and cases across departments through social platforms. Lack of sufficient knowledge among internal employees makes it difficult to integrate social media into concrete projects within an organization. For this reason, external experts are acquired in order provide professional advice in order to make projects conversation ready for both tactical and strategic level. Training organizational staff equips them with internal knowledge hence eliminating the need for hiring external experts who do not have better knowledge about the company’s values and culture (Yates, 2011 p. 11).

Social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. contains information that can provide additional criteria for hiring and selecting employees within an organization (Swan, 199 p. 267). It enables an organization to review the recruits’ profile on social media and evaluate some of the aspects they are looking for in the recruits. The aspects or traits include influence level (characterized by the number of followers), digital expertise (approach to new media and technological ideas), openness for change (adaptation capabilities) and level of customer centric thinking and acting (customer friendliness). Knowledge management equips the social media with tools needed to enhance the operation of a business such as incorporating online customer service in the company website which improves customer relations and gives customers a way of airing their views which can be used in product innovation (Swan, 199 p. 270). By allowing customers make inquiries and suggestions for possible improvements, an organization can use those suggestions to enhance their innovation process thus increasing the company’s competitive advantage.

Just like advertising, traditional knowledge acquisition tools such as surveys and focus groups are still useful but should be incorporated into social media and conversations in order to fully grasp the customer (Carneiro, 2000 p. 90). It is revolutionalising the process or information acquisition thus enabling the company to receive real-time insights and information which improves the innovation research process (Carneiro, 2000 p. 93).

The globalization of the economy and a high level of marketing are pushing organizations to restructure their business strategies so that they can revise them to the current market demand (Kremp, 2004 n.p). Different firms consider knowledge management as an approach that allows them improves their level of competition by providing information relating to the current trends that necessitate innovation. Knowledge management contributes to improving the innovation activities in organizations by means of applying quantitative methods and using structural equation models (Kremp, 2004 n.p). Knowledge management encourages the innovation activities by helping firms locate innovative knowledge in the external environment of the firm, acquire that knowledge and transfer it to all personnel. In order to enable them incorporate the knowledge in useful production activities which generates improvements to produced products (Darroch, 2002 p. 206). It also helps firms improve their development processes by improving their management systems. Changes in management system will ensure optimal utilization of the available knowledge because the use of internal knowledge will demand an external knowledge that will directly lead to an improved management system in order to allow efficient use of knowledge thus better innovation (Darroch, 2002 p. 206).

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