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The Wealth of Knowledge: Intellectual Capital and the Twenty-first Century Organization

by Thomas A. Stewart
  In his new book, The Wealth of Knowledge, Stewart--widely acknowledged as the world’s leading expert on working with intellectual capital in today’s knowledge economy--reveals how today’s companies are applying the concept of intellectual capital into day-to-day operations to dramatically increase their success in the marketplace.
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Knowledge Management:
a Big Idea

According to Stewart (2001), three big ideas have been fundamental to changing the ways in which organizations are run:

- Total Quality Management. O'Dell and Essaides (1998) say that this 'may not have yielded big-time change, but it laid the foundation for a corporate-wide systematic initiative for measurement and change and cross-functional teaming, all of which (...) are critical to the successful management of knowledge.')

- Business Process Re-engineering. O'Dell and Essaides (1998) comment that BPR 'may not have not delivered sustainable success but it has "delivered" the mind-set of the process-oriented organization. Processes can be made explicit, and knowledge about how to make them work can be transferred.

- Intellectual Capital. Stewart divides intellectual capital or knowledge assets into two main forms: 'hard' assets such as patents, copyrights, software and databases; and, most importantly, 'soft' employee-focused assets including skills, capabilities, expertise, culture and loyalty.

Information is already a major component of economic activity. Stewart points to the scale of the knowledge economy:

* Worldwide we produce between 700 and 2400 terabytes of information annually. One terabyte is equivalent to a thousand billion bytes.

* This estimate does not include the services provided by the likes of accountants, lawyers, doctors, psychologist and consultants - information that is not necessarily provided in documentary form.

* Knowledge was the USA's most valuable export in 1999, accounting for $37 billion in licensing fees and royalties. By comparison, aircraft exports amounted to $29 billion.

Storey and Quintas (2001) comment that knowledge management has been approached from a number of perspectives, with information management and organizational being two of the most important. In fact, within organizations and especially in conferences and journals, information technology and human resources have competed for the lead role but IT has tended to be the dominant force - not always beneficially.

Knowledge Management

Tacit and Explicit Knowledge

Data, Information and Knowledge

Knowledge Management Practice

The Psychology of Expertise


 

If Only We Knew What We Know : The Transfer of Internal Knowledge and Best Practice

by Carla S. O'Dell, Nilly Essaides
  While companies search the world over to benchmark best practices, vast treasure troves of knowledge and know-how remain hidden right under their noses: in the minds of their own employees, in the often unique structure of their operations, and in the written history of their organizations. Now, acclaimed productivity and quality experts Carla O'Dell and Jack Grayson explain for the first time how applying the ideas of Knowledge Management can help employers identify their own internal best practices and share this intellectual capital throughout their organizations.
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