Knowledge management as the sub-conscious of an organization

Another article from Vol 40, No. 4 of the IBM Systems Journal, a special edition dedicated to Knowledge Management: Where did knowledge management come from? by Larry Prusak. As the title suggests, Prusak discusses the history of knowledge management as a field, and how it got to where it is today.

As important, he discusses the future of KM, where it is going. Though he says a lot of good things, I believe the most important view of the future of KM is summed up in this statement from the article:

Knowledge management seems likely to follow one of two future paths. The better one is the direction taken by the quality movement. Its key ideas became so deeply embedded in practices and organizational routines that they became more-or-less invisible.

Some commentators have assumed that the absence of quality from center stage in management discussion suggests its failure; in fact, the opposite is true. People do not talk about it much because it is a given, an integral element of organizational effectiveness.

Knowledge management may similarly be so thoroughly adopted—so much a natural part of how people organize work—that it eventually becomes invisible.

The challenge, it seems, is how to get KM to be such an integral part of operations.

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