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Innovative Knowledge Management: Concepts for Organizational Creativity and Collaborative Design (Premier Reference Source)

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The purpose of this book is to collect and to present the results of theoretical and empirical research into various aspects of Knowledge Management (KM), innovation and, especially, the conjunction of KM and innovation. To this end, chapters are included from both academics and practitioners, and the contributions represent diverse views and versions of KM and innovation. It is this richness and diversity that makes the topics so fascinating and, it can be contended, so important to the future work of academics and practitioners in a variety of fields alike. It is possible to conclude that both topics—KM and innovation—are different aspects of the same phenomenon, which is the use of “human capital” to generate new ideas and to promote creativity. It is axiomatic that advances and innovations in science, technology, industry, education, and the arts all begin at one source: the knowledge of the people on whom businesses and organizations of all sorts rely for their new products, services, technologies, and systems. The potential audience for this book is therefore very broad. The term “Knowledge Management” (KM) is most frequently used to describe the range of practices and activities that are used in a variety of organizations to identify, create, represent, store, disseminate, and encourage the adoption of relevant human insights and experiences. Such insights and experiences (i.e. the knowledge) may be embodied in individuals’ minds or embedded in a group’s or an organization’s artifacts, processes, and practices.

KM research has for some time embraced the fields of business administration and management, information systems and technology, learning and psychology, and library and information sciences (Alavi & Leidner, 1999). More recently, other contributions to KM research have included applications of KM in public health and public policy. Most large commercial companies and many non-profit organizations have dedicated considerable efforts and resources to KM, often as a part of their business strategies, IT strategies, or even human resource management (HRM) strategies (Addicott et al. 2006). Consulting companies have grown up to provide advice and expertise on KM to these organizations at strategic and operational levels. KM efforts to date have typically focused on organizational objectives such as improved performance, competitive advantage, innovation, and quality improvement. KM initiatives often overlap with existing directions with organizations such as organizational learning (OL), Total Quality Management (TQM), and even Business Process Re-engineering (BPR). KM may be distinguished from these disciplines (and others) by a greater focus on managing knowledge as a strategic asset and on enabling the sharing of knowledge. KM efforts can therefore help individual workers and groups to share valuable organizational learnings, to reduce redundant work (e.g. avoiding reinventing the wheel), to reduce training time for new employees, to retain intellectual capital when employees leave and to adapt continually to changing environments (Thompson & Walsham, 2004).
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