Knowledge Management for Organizational Learning and Innovation

CIM Montreal 2003
Abstract Organizations today face escalating risks of losing strategic knowledge and
know-how and face incredible difficulties in recruiting and retaining
skilled employees. Many industries face astounding rates of high and
constant turnover. In addition, we are experiencing a demographic pressure
as baby boomers rapidly approaching retirement age, which means that a
'critical mass' of knowledge will literally walk out the door over the next
five to ten years. The traditional response has been to mentor, coach, or
carry out job shadowing which are not only time-consuming and complex but
just not possible in many cases, due to a lack of advance warning, lack of
time or mentoring skills. This problem can be tackled from a different
angle: by ensuring that tangible legacy materials are produced, shared and
fed into the corporate storehouse of intellectual capital in an ongoing and
seamless manner.

Knowledge management (KM) is an emerging discipline that can help to
capture, document, share and disseminate and retain valuable knowledge. Yet
little is known about what conditions facilitate the free flow of knowledge
to achieve goals such as organizational learning and innovation. A
three-tiered KM model will be described - one that addresses the factors
influencing knowledge sharing at three levels: organization, community of
practice and individual. This presentation will focus on the community
level to identify enablers and obstacles to successful knowledge sharing in
virtual communities to create and disseminate innovation and organizational
learning ("corporate memory").
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