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Management Theories and Philosophies

Autor:   •  June 21, 2018  •  3,271 Words (14 Pages)  •  214 Views

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This theory denotes how firms perceive their resources from a knowledge-based standpoint. Zack (as cited in Halawi & Aronson Pg.6) postulated that “competitive advantage arises due to the strategic use of resources and capabilities, of which knowledge is believed to be the most significant.” Clearly the 21st century organization has come to accept; adapting this view as a means to competitive advantage. A number of authors have shown that it is not the existence of knowledge in a company that provides a competitive edge. Competitive advantage is linked to the capacity of the company to apply its knowledge successfully in order to create new knowledge or bring about innovation. Ward (as cited in The Auditor General of British Columbia) supporting the above assertions posits that “it’s not about creating an encyclopedia that captures everything that anybody ever knew. Rather, it’s about keeping track of those who knew the recipe, and nurturing the culture and the technology to get them talking.”


Knowledge Management definitions proposed over the years seems to converge to a large extent despite divergent views. Rastogi (2002, Pg. 229) argues that “an enterprise is a creation of human knowledge. Whether it produces aircrafts or airconditioners, software or semi-conductors; it is essentially based on organizing, developing, and exploiting a requisite body of relevant knowledge.” Ghaziri & Awad (as cited in Gathii 2015, Pg.2) simply defines knowledge management as that “which involves people, technology and processes in overlapping parts.” Rastogi (2002, Pg. 232) posits that “knowledge management represents a firm’s continual endeavor to learn, acquire, create, develop, share, use and apply knowledge in support of the firm’s customer value proposition, competitive logic and integrated activity system.” Definitions abound, however of particular interest to this write-up is the definition given by Corrall (as cited in Halawi, Aronson & McCarthy 2005, Pg.2), who presents knowledge management “as a convergence of ideas promulgated over the past decade, including core competencies and resource-based theories of the firm, information mapping and information resource management, the balanced scorecard and intangible/intellectual assets, the learning organization and communities of practice, total quality management and business process reengineering, the networked organization and the boundary less firm.” Knowledge management represents these and others discussed in subsequent chapters.

Tacit and Explicit knowledge

Knowledge management is unequivocally the engine that drives competitive advantage. It is a key player in the information revolution. Scholars and researchers have come up with two (2) basic kinds of knowledge: Tacit and Explicit Knowledge. Both present themselves in every organizational activity. According to Smith (2001, Pg. 4), “tacit knowledge is that practical, action-oriented know-how based on practice, learned by personal experience, rarely displayed openly and often bear a resemblance to intuition.” Smith (2001, Pg. 4) also defines explicit knowledge on the other hand, as that which “relates to academic knowledge defined in formal language, often founded on established work procedures and utilize a people-to-documents approach.” Tacit knowledge deals with the ‘know-how’ whereas explicit knowledge deals with the ‘know-what’. To achieve competitive urge, both must be intelligently combined.


Dixon (as cited in Dasgupta & Gupta 2009, Pg. 208) argues that “the only way to cope with a changing world is to keep learning.” Knowledge sharing does not take place in a vacuum and therefore certain conditions must be in place to facilitate knowledge sharing in every organization. A favorable organizational structure, culture, appropriate technology and transformational leadership are key facilitators for knowledge sharing in organizations. According to Cole & Kelly (2016, Pg. 563) “three (3) vital infrastructures; technical, structural and cultural, enable the creation, sharing and use of knowledge.” Dasgupta & Gupta (2009, Pg. 217) also posits that “the organization structure, organizational culture, technology and leadership skills are the four pillars which support knowledge management and organizational learning efforts of an organization.”

Organizational Culture

Hofsted (as cited in Ali 2015) defines culture as “the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another.” It is the way of thought and action of a particular group of people that has been informed by continuous and repetitive action over a period of time. The impact of culture cannot be underestimated in the resource based view of competitive advantage. Organizational culture is shaped by factors such as evolutionary sway, complexity, response to technology, existing environmental regulations, history of organization, competition and individuals. Factors such as leadership style, how people work together and the extent of adaptability impart on organizational success. A learning culture always precedes competitive advantage in organizations. According to Tarras (as cited in The Auditor General of British Columbia), “It isn’t about dumping everything that everyone knows into a data base or system; it is about creating an environment where knowledge is valued and where sharing of knowledge to facilitate organizational learning is expected and rewarded.”

Knowledge Sharing

If knowledge is important then it must be shared across the length and breadth of the organization. Jennex (2008, Pg. 109) posits that “an organization that develops a knowledge-sharing environment increases opportunities for the creation of new ideas that have the potential to add value to it.” Hofstede and Trompenaars (as cited in Barnett & Carter, 2009, Pg. 2) argue that “knowledge-sharing is influenced by the employees’ culture.” Pederson (as cited in Barnett & Carter, 2009, Pg. 2) adds that “Cultural knowledge – enculturated information, skills, attitudes, conceptions, beliefs, values, etc. influences how knowledge is managed.” The existence of a multi-generational workforce must inform knowledge sharing strategies. Calo (as cited in Stevens 2010) argues that to stay competitive companies need to develop strategies to preserve knowledge from older workers and transfer it successfully


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