By: Mostafa Sayyadi
Organizational knowledge cannot merely be described as the sum of individual knowledge, but as a systematic combination based on social interactions shared among organizational members.
Executives, being more conceptual, agree with Tsoukas, who determines organizational knowledge as a collective mind, and with Jones and Leonard, who explain organizational knowledge as that which exists in the organization as a whole. Most importantly, organizational knowledge is owned and disseminated by the organization.
It is important for executives to consider the ownership of knowledge as a factor, which is a significant contributor to the knowledge of organizations. Moreover, knowledge emerges in two additional forms, including that which is only accessible by one company, and that which is accessible to all companies. The best approach is for executives to know which knowledge is to remain private and which should go public. A mistake in this area may be vital to the organizations, and executives must choose wisely.
Organizational knowledge is accumulated by creating new knowledge from an organization’s intellectual capital, and acquiring knowledge from external environments. This exchange with external business partners is what then creates the innovative environments that enable executives to drive advanced and competitive business climates.
The Benefits of Internal Knowledge Sharing Influence
The process of knowledge exchange enhances an executive’s abilities to play the role of inspirational motivator in their organization, as it allows them to set desired expectations by recognizing possible opportunities in the business environment. The knowledge exchange also positively contributes to executives developing a more effective vision for their employees, with access to a comprehensive array of information and insights about the external environments. By creating a vision of what is achievable, executives can then integrate knowledge internally to enhance efficiencies in their business systems and processes that align with this vision, as well as to be more responsive to any current market changes.
To be effective, knowledge integration also requires a continuous process of monitoring and evaluating your internal knowledge management practices, coordinating experts, sharing knowledge and scanning the changes of knowledge requirements to keep the quality of work and produce in-line with market demand. By undertaking knowledge integration activities that incorporate all levels of the organization, executives can assess any required changes that will keep the quality of their products and services at maximum efficiency. Instilling this systematic approach of coordinating company-wide experts also enables executives to propel the role of intellectual stimulation, which creates a more innovative environment within companies.
Executives are also responsible for curtailing knowledge within organizations, as and when it needs to be reconfigured to meet environmental changes and new challenges. Essentially, what worked yesterday or a few years ago has already changed rapidly, and will continue to do so as technology increases in prolific ways.
The Benefits of External Knowledge Sharing Influence
Knowledge is commonly shared at a global level amongst organizations through domestic and global rewards, such as the Malcolm Baldridge Award in the United States and the Deming Award in Japan. However, past industry research posits that companies might lack the required capabilities to access and develop this knowledge, or decide to decline from interacting with other companies due to distrust to share or take knowledge. Therefore, expert groups may not have sufficient diversity to comprehend the knowledge acquired from external sources.
However, despite these limitations whether natural or caused, networking with business partners is a key activity for companies to enhance knowledge exchange and should not take an award to be the impetus to initiate interaction. Ergo, networking with external business partners will enhance the effectiveness of leadership, empowering executives to better develop strategic insights for a more effective vision that incorporates the various concerns and values of external business partners.
Ultimately, knowledge transfer amongst companies improves the effectiveness of learning, which in turn enables executives to empower human resource through creating new knowledge and solutions. Thus, I suggest that networking takes place between companies in both domestic and international markets to enhance the effective use of leadership. As executives in senior positions effectively use knowledge management this is likely to improve leadership effectiveness through increased learning opportunities.
Knowledge management constitutes the foundation of a supportive workplace to disseminate knowledge and subsequently enhance the effectiveness of leadership. In accordance, I suggest that by channeling knowledge management practices into organizational constructs and by engaging in the practices of leadership, executives will continue to prosper. In addition, a firm’s ability to develop leadership can be highly affected when executives implement knowledge management projects as the primary form of managing people, resources, and profitability.
About the Author
Mostafa 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.
Jones, K., & Leonard, L.K. (2009). From Tacit Knowledge to Organizational Knowledge for Successful KM. In W.R. King (Eds.), Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning, (pp. 27-39), Berlin: Springer.
Tsoukas, H. (1996). The Firm as a Distributed Knowledge System: A Constructionist Approach. Strategic Management Journal, 17, 11-25.