Knowledge management improves organizational processes through a variety of different practices, and enhances learning, which can increase both follower engagement and personal development. This article presents the two key steps of successful knowledge management that can be implemented by company executives.

Step 1: Developing A Stronger Supportive Leadership

Executives as supportive leaders enhance innovation and new idea generation through intellectual stimulation. They act as social architects who instill trust in organizations through clarifying not only their own roles and communicating them effectively but also the follower’s roles too. This way, executives can enhance knowledge acquisition and transfer. Similarly, they facilitate the process of knowledge acquisition from external sources. This is known as compiling data from rivals and comparing ROI and other pertinent information and then disseminating this information to employees. Also, executives acting as supportive leaders enhance knowledge acquisition through facilitating knowledge transfer and simultaneously exploring more innovative solutions for organizational problems. Executives can now see that cultivating an effective knowledge management requires developing supportive leadership within companies.

Step 2: Reshaping Corporate Structure

Hierarchical corporate structure can be reshaped by executives when they develop knowledge sharing and inspire employees to create new ideas for a better environment among business-units and departments. A flatter corporate structure could facilitate new idea generation to build a more innovative climate within organizations. Executives can implement organizational changes that develop better collaboration among subordinates and managers. Centralized versus decentralized decision making is also a topic that executives must deal with. Scholars found that more emphasis on hierarchical and centralized corporate structures can negatively impact the executive’s ability to exert such changes. On the contrary, a more decentralized and flatter corporate structure may improve departmental and managerial interactions. The centralization at the commanding level of leadership impairs the opportunity to develop relationships among managers, business units, and departments.

Executives can reshape corporate structure to be more effective when the command center of organizations can disseminate information in a decentralized and organic way as opposed to the hierarchical and centralized command center. Decentralized structures shift the power of decision-making to the lower levels and subsequently inspire organizational members to create new ideas and even implement them while hierarchical or centralized structures may negatively impact interdepartmental communications and inhibit knowledge exchange. Recent research in this area affirms that the there is a negative impact of centralization on various knowledge management processes such as knowledge acquiring, creating, and sharing among both managers and departmental units. On the contrary, a more decentralized and flatter structure may enable executives in improving departmental and managerial interactions that can lead to identify best opportunities for investment that potentially leads to improve knowledge utilization process for companies. Ergo, Executives can positively contribute to organizational knowledge management through building more decentralized and flatter structures within organizations. Furthermore, knowledge management is a significant indicator of improving organizational performance. Knowledge management can, in fact, improve organizational performance through increased sales, increased customer satisfaction, increased learning opportunities, increased innovation, and increased quality of products and services. Therefore, if corporate structure is not completely in favor of supporting knowledge management, executives cannot effectively manage organizational knowledge to improve performance and organizations may become obsolete or taken over.

In Conclusion

This article offers novel insights into how executives acting as supportive leaders reshape corporate structure to better manage knowledge. Engaging in supportive leadership can also provide executives with a high degree of freedom for subordinates to explore their own new ideas and solutions to organizational opportunities while solving problems that will narrow the gaps of success and failure leading to more successful decision-making. This provides better and more innovative solutions for organizational problems.

About the Author

Mostafa Sayyadi headshotMostafa Sayyadi works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies, and helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a long-time contributor to business publications and his work has been featured in top-flight business publications.