6.8 Wiig's KM Model

6.8  Wiig’s KM Model

          Karl Wiig is one of the pioneers in the field of Knowledge Management and was among the first to publish a series of texts that assembled management-relevant concepts focusing squarely on the topic. His overarching framework is based on three pillars and a foundation. Wiig (1997) proposes that the foundation of Knowledge Management is comprised of the way knowledge is created, used in problem solving and decision making, and manifested cognitively as well as in culture, technology and procedures. On this foundation he situates three pillars which categorize the exploration of knowledge, its value assessment and its active management.

          In a working paper Working Paper KRI #1999-4  Wiig presented a model for Comprehensive Knowledge Management to support enterprise viability and success. It pursues explicit, systematic, and enterprise priority-driven approaches to:

  • Identify which Intellectual Capital (knowledge) needs to be created and maintained
  • Provide and transform the required knowledge and ascertain that it is continually renewed
  • Ascertain that all available knowledge assets (Intellectual Capital) are diligently leveraged wherever appropriate.
  • Govern knowledge management-related processes and relationships by providing enterprise-wide support, infrastructure, and leadership.

          Wiig argued that Incremental Knowledge Management (IKM) tends to, almost arbitrarily, identify and pursue a knowledge-related action, often as an extension of an already occurring activity. Whereas, CKM pursue broad and systematic knowledge management for an overall success through:

  • Fostering Knowledge-Supportive Culture
  • Providing Shared Understanding
  • Focusing the Knowledge Management Practice to Align with Enterprise Direction
  • Practicing Accelerated Learning
  • Creating Supportive Infrastructure Capabilities
  • Provide Effective Governance for the Knowledge Management Practice         

          Wiig has also mentioned about four success factors including:

  • Knowledge and Resources
  • Opportunities
  • Permission  (environment)
  • Motivation

          Wiig (1999) discussed about two cycles ‘Institutional Knowledge Evolution Cycle’ and the “Personal Knowledge Evolution Cycle” that can help organizations to structure their activities and priorities. The Institutional Knowledge Evolution Cycle considers five stages:

  • Knowledge Development. Knowledge is developed through learning, innovation, creativity, and importation from outside;
  • Knowledge Acquisition. Knowledge is captured and retained for use and further treatment;
  • Knowledge Refinement. Knowledge is organized, transformed, or included in written material, knowledge bases, and so on to make it available to be useful;
  • Knowledge Distribution and Deployment. Knowledge is distributed to Points-of-Action (PoAs) through education, training programs, automated knowledge-based systems, expert networks, to name a few – to people, practices, embedded in technology and procedures, etc.; and
  • Knowledge Leveraging. Knowledge is applied or otherwise leveraged. By using (applying) knowledge, it becomes the basis for further learning and innovation as explained by other mechanisms.

          The Personal Knowledge Evolution Cycle also has five stages that depict how knowledge, as it becomes better established in a person’s mind, migrates from barely perceived notions to be better understood and useful. The five stages are:

  • Tacit Subliminal Knowledge. This knowledge is mostly non-conscious and is not well understood. It is often the first glimpse we have of a new concept.
  • Idealistic Vision and Paradigm Knowledge. Part of this knowledge is well known to us and explicit -- we work consciously with it. Much of it - our visions and mental models - is not well known, it is tacit, and only accessible non-consciously.
  • Systematic Schema and Reference Methodology Knowledge. Our knowledge of underlying systems, general principles, and problem-solving strategies is, to a large extent, explicit and mostly well known to us.
  • Pragmatic Decision-Making and Factual Knowledge. Decision-Making knowledge is practical and mostly explicit. It supports everyday work and decisions, is well known, and is used consciously.
  • Automatic Routine Working Knowledge. We know this knowledge so well that we have automated it. Most has become tacit -- we use it to perform tasks automatically – without conscious reasoning.

          Wiig (1999) further argues that CKM does not mean top-down autocratic determination of which knowledge must be made utilized to be competent to perform desired work. Instead, it means the creation of a knowledge vigilant culture guided from the top where each individual and each department as part of their daily work, continually look out for the knowledge-perspective to ascertain that appropriate expertise and understanding are brought to bear to deliver the desired work. The culture leads to creation of synergistic orchestration environments. A particular aspect of personal behavior is also recognized by the comprehensive KM culture. This aspect deals with the realization that many individuals deliver outstanding work in unusual situations without having extensive topic knowledge. Instead, they have strong meta knowledge that provides capabilities to make sense of novel situations and create effective approaches to handle them.