In the current scenario of intense competition, professional institutions need to be aware of their academic strength and be able to leverage their knowledge base to gain competitive advantage over the others. In this era of knowledge, institutions should attempt to create and sustain appropriate knowledge management processes. The competitive advantage could be obtained in the form of identifying trends, unusual patterns and hidden relationships. The recent emphasis on knowledge management arises out of the need for organizations to manage resources more effectively in a global economy. The organizations need to consistently create new means to gain knowledge and disseminate it widely throughout the organization in order to achieve success.
Knowledge management institutions must focus on and manage systematic, explicit and deliberate knowledge building, renewal and application, which means managing effective knowledge processes. Knowledge management is knowledge creation followed by interpretation of knowledge and dissemination of the same and its use, along with knowledge retention and refinement. Knowledge management is the process of critically managing knowledge to meet existing needs to identify and exploit existing and acquired knowledge assets and to develop new opportunities. The field of knowledge management has gained currency in recent times due to a wide variety of reasons. Some of them are
Shortage of faculty
- Shortage of faculty members creates a need to replace informal knowledge with formal methods.
- Need of life long learning is an inescapable reality
- Failure of financial models to represents the dynamics of knowledge. The failure of information technology is to achieve substantial benefits for institutions.
Knowledge management has four steps:
1) Knowledge creation comprises of activities associated with the entry of new knowledge development, discovery, capture of tacit and explicit knowledge available within the institution.
2) Knowledge retention includes all the activities that preserve knowledge and allow it to remain in the system, and includes those activities that maintain the viability of knowledge within the system.
3) Knowledge transfer refers to the activities that are associated with flow of knowledge from one person to another and it includes communication, translation, conversion, filtering and rendering.
4) Knowledge utilization includes the activities and events connected with the application of knowledge in different education processes.
Effective knowledge management requires the combination of three strategies the utilization of both explicit and tacit knowledge, the promotion of knowledge creation and sharing at all levels and the application of the right mix of knowledge management tools and techniques. Knowledge development is a cyclic process which includes the various phases from knowledge creation to knowledge processes that involve the creation of new knowledge in the origination. This includes activities likes research and development, consultancy, education etc. The knowledge adoption process involves both the adoption of created knowledge and adopting it. The knowledge distribution and knowledge review and revision process involves the conversion of individual knowledge to institutional knowledge.
Curriculum tools, digital library tools and knowledge representation tools emphasize different parts of the process. Technology can support collaborative work and interaction among individuals with the community in which knowledge creation and sharing takes place. E-mail, groupware, computer networks are commonly used to connect people with a need of sharing knowledge over a distance. Effective knowledge management requires hybrid solution of knowledge management tools or technology with knowledge management techniques.
Knowledge management tools are helpful in better decision making and gain competitive advantage over the other institutions. This also helps in better information processing across the institution. For the implementation and maintenance of this tool, dedicated work force and committed management should be structured. Curriculum tools, digital library tools and knowledge representation tools along with network of knowledgeable people will make the current education system better.