The Importance of Knowledge Management Systems

In our first class, I liked our discussion on defining organizational learning. The key theme was that organizational learning is different from individual learning because knowledge is shared. In order for an organization to continually learn and grow, there needs to be an effective knowledge management system in place. Too often when an employee leaves an organization, crucial knowledge is lost. I remember speaking with my now new boss about her effective management style, and she responded that if someone were to get hit by a bus tomorrow, how could we ensure that someone else could pick up and assume the responsibilities in order to keep the organization going? Even though we would never wish that upon our employees, she had a good point about how to run an effective organization. My department, like so many others, needs an effective knowledge management system, which is largely based on “common knowledge” or what we learn from doing an organizational task (Not necessarily knowledge gained from reading a report or doing data entry).(Dixon, 2000, pg. 11).

One student mentioned in class that her colleague created a document before he left his job in order to assist his department in pre health advising at VCU. Advising is done by subject area in his department, and he was the only employee in charge pre health students. In his job, he had created contacts and new material that would be lost when he left. He wasn’t required to create a Google doc, but he felt that his dept. would be going back to square one had he not created a helpful tool to transfer knowledge to his temporary and permanent replacement. I love how our student mentioned his tacit knowledge of the field that no one else could have known unless he were to share it. This is a prime example of what Dixon is urging organizations to adopt –  knowledge sharing system that focuses on reusing critical information to help organization’s function at peak efficiency.

I am hoping this class can help me in my job as well. While I was on maternity leave, I was promoted and given a new (larger) caseload of students. There had been a series of people before me who had advised that population of students, but no professional advising had ever been done. I feel I will need to create my own knowledge management system for this new role. I hope this class can give me the tools to create an advising structure and process where if I were to get hit by a bus tomorrow (lord help me!), someone could step into my shoes and continue my work.

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