5.5 Knowledge Organization

5.5 Knowledge Organization

          The idea of knowledge organization is not new. Knowledge organization process helps organizations to determine what resources organizations have at their disposal and to pin point their strengths and weaknesses which they may need to organize available knowledge into a manageable format (Horvath, 2000; Bukowitz & Williams 1999).

           Knowledge organization involves activities that classify, map, index, and categorize knowledge for navigation, storage, and retrieval (Botha et al., 2008). Markus (2001) assigns the role of preparing, sanitizing, and organizing this knowledge to a "knowledge intermediary". This may be a knowledge manager or it may also be the actual producer of the knowledge. The point is, that in order for knowledge to be shared (either for reuse in a business situation or as a tool for knowledge creation), it must be organized in such a way that it can be identified, retrieved, and understood by the knowledge user.

  • Explicit knowledge organization: IT is generally encouraged as a means of organizing and retrieving explicit knowledge (Gamble and Blackwell, 2001; Botha et. al., 2008). IT based systems use taxonomies and ontologies to classify and organize knowledge and information (Bali et. al., 2009). Libraries and data marts are also used for managing explicit knowledge (Gamble & Blackwell 2001). These categorization methods create a logical, hierarchical knowledge maps, allowing the user to navigate by category. However, Botha et. al. (2008) have argued taxonomies are very expensive to create. It is relevant to note that these organization techniques are basically designed for efficient and effective retrieval which ultimately helps organizations to access relevant knowledge timely and seamlessly.
  • Tacit knowledge organization: focus groups, expertise guides, and knowledge coordinators are commonly used for tacit knowledge organization (Gamble and Blackwell 2001). However, in organizing tacit knowledge, it is important to take into account in which context the tacit knowledge was created. Expertise locators, such as corporate yellow pages, and other knowledge maps can be used to pinpoint the location and category of tacit knowledge resources.
  • Embedded knowledge organization: Job/workplace design, workflow analyses and performance measures (Gamble & Blackwell, 2001) can be used to organize embedded knowledge. Knowledge directories or knowledge maps outlining embedded knowledge can be formulated for locating relevant knowledge resources (Horvath, 2000).

          Knowledge organization is usually considered as an expensive endeavor, particularly since the return on investment is indirect. In other words, there is little visible gain from meticulously classifying and organizing knowledge assets. However, it is an important step in the knowledge management and reuse process. It would be more appropriate if during knowledge detection process, organizations put systems in place that also support knowledge organization process. It will save time, money and efforts.