2.6 Managers' Knowledge

2.6 Managers’ Knowledge

In this section we will briefly discuss what knowledge managers need to know so as to effectively carry out the knowledge management (KM) process. Taking a broader scope, in management, there are two relevant categories of knowledge; first deals with the knowledge that one actually needs to manage; second the knowledge that a manager uses to make his managerial decisions.  The managerial knowledge relevant to the KM process includes :

  • Knowing the location and form of key knowledge assets, e.g. in the minds of individuals, within communities of practice, in documents, etc.
  • Understanding the organizational dynamics – its departments, communities, etc.
  • Understanding organizational culture and organizational culture differences in different parts of the organization.
  • Understanding of the tactical and strategic direction and requirements of the organization.
  • Understanding the effect that a specific KM initiative will have on a person, group, or on the organization as a whole - and knowing how to act as a change agent.
  • A mastery of the political landscape of the organization, so as to be able to gather the right support for key decisions and changes.
  • A technical understanding of any tools used in the KM process.

It is obvious from above points that a single knowledge manager will not perform all tasks within KM. Some will be more strategically oriented while others may act as gatekeepers, project managers, content managers, and so on. The one common thread between all knowledge managers is that their expertise and understanding of the organization must span beyond any single function, and often they must be generalists that have a keen, broad understanding of the organization. In order to be able to use the right knowledge in management of KM processes, their cross-functional position must be properly supported.