Knowledge sharing is not a new concept Essay Example

Knowledge sharing is not a new concept; it was noted that a business’s most important asset was its ability to process information, (Hayek, 1945). In the 1960s it was becoming apparent that rather than the semi-skilled production work, the amount of knowledge held by groups of individual workers was becoming more important to organisational success. This argument is supported by Drucker (1969) who stated that “Knowledge is the central capital, the cost centre and the crucial resource of the economy.” More important are: the dynamics of information and knowledge; how people assimilate it; exchange and combine it to make new things out of it.Engineering is a knowledge-based industry. Even small projects need ideas, knowledge and experience from many sources – including people, documents and electronic media. Construction/Engineering firms have been managing knowledge informally for years but the challenges facing industry today mean that most organisations now need a more structured coherent approach to knowledge management (Constructing Excellence, 2004). Projects are usually structured into stages with tight deadlines and have different teams assigned to them. The capture and re-use of learning from projects is considered difficult, because teams often break-up before completion and move to the next project. These characteristics limit the flow of information and can create barriers to learning.This paper outlines an approach to assessing and implementing Knowledge Management. It highlights the importance of aligning KM initiatives to the business goals and managing all three key aspects equally.Such an approach was used to assess the status of KM in a FTSE100-listed engineering company. For the purpose of this paper the FTSE100 listed company will be referred to as Company X. The group had already made a substantial investment in Knowledge Management, such as a group intranet and local intranets. The total expenditure within the Group was in excess of £1m p.a. However, the group continued to manage knowledge in an ad-hoc way and had not achieved the level of benefits (innovative ideas and customer feedback) expected from the sharing of project information.The study involved working with Company X for 6 months to evaluate KM best practices used within the Engineering industry and other markets. Findings from this research were used to highlight key differences at Company X and where improvements could be made.