Monthly Archives: December 2002

KM System – continued

And my response to Madhukar's post:

So Madhukar,

If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the
organization's KM needs should be tied to it's learning processes
and it would make sense like that.

If that is so, where does the framework of organizational processes
fit in (apart from the Perf Mgmt framework that you talked about)?

Does one build a structure and system after diagnosing the
organization's knowledge needs ? How does one ensure that this
system does not become counter productive and hinders knowledge

How does the formal organization system recognise the informal
knowledge sharing that goes on in the company, e.g. between a new
joinee and an old achiever, between a mentor and a mentee in
different departments ? Should an organization try to "interfere" in
this human processes by acknowledging them , or will doing so
subvert them ?

What about IT needs? If KM is all about content and connections,
where does the IT diagnosis come in after the Knowledge diagnosis ?

Where structurally does the ownership of KM lie ? In this egroup
Sethu had mentioned that it should lie with the owner of the
learning processes, ie. the organization's learning and development
division, while others have argued that the ownership should lie
with either an independent structure called the KM department , and
others have said that it should lie with the top management.

The reason, in my view is that, KM is looked upon by the senior
management with the mental model of "extracting" while
training/learning/OD initiatives have the mental models of "giving"
the employees..

Is that the reason why KM is given more strategic importance than
training in the top management's eyes ??

Warm regards,

Designing a KM system

Dr. Madhukar Shukla of XLRI Jamshedpur On Designing a KM System @ KMSI

My understanding is that there is no 'silver bullet' for designing the KM
system, and has to be designed around specific needs of the organisation….
Essentially, these are questions which help diagnosing the organisation's
knowledge-needs, and make choices about how to organise the knowedge

Some may find this useful


1. How effectively do we source/ acquire knowledge which is relevant for business/ work of the stakeholders?

i. What kind of knowledge is relevant to the stakeholders?
ii. Where does it reside? Within or outside the company?
iii. How do we access/ acquire it?

2. Do people have the problem-solving skills & capability to work on that knowledge?

i. What problem-solving skills are required?
ii. How do we impart them?
iii. What forums/ methodologies need to be created to encourage and ensure the use of these skills?

3. How effective are our systems for sharing local knowledge/ solutions to make them collective learning?\

i. Does our Performance Management & Reward System encourage sharing of knowledge/ information? What changes are needed to encourage people to share?
ii. What methodology/ platform of sharing would be appropriate? Centralised or decentralized?
iii. What processes/ systems need to be developed for sharing/ dissemination of tacit knowledge?

4. Are people encouraged and empowered to act on and experiment with what they have learnt?

i. Does the Performance Management & Reward system encourage people to take initiative?
ii. How does one relate learning/ knowledge-sharing to performance and consequent reward?