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Keeping Key Knowledge When Staff Depart

07/11/2011

An unfortunate consequence of the recent economic climate is that staff turnover has been high in many sectors, with organisations shedding staff to maintain a necessary balance between income and costs. Will these organisations have taken into account that the loss of staff often also means the loss of key knowledge? Can these organisations then survive without knowledge that may be pivotal to their future success?

Senior management need to be aware of the knowledge risks to their organisation so that they can implement strategies to minimise the potentially damaging effects to their business of loosing knowledge. As a starting point, a company needs to grasp the difference between the two types of knowledge. Explicit knowledge represents hard knowledge such as data, rules, processes and systems, whereas tacit knowledge concerns the softer more practical experience, know-how and know-who. An organisation needs both types of knowledge as one without the other is often ineffective.

Organisations should seek to identify the knowledge that is most critical to their operations. Personal knowledge is the knowledge held by staff within an organisation. When staff leave an organisation, then so does their personal knowledge.

In contrast, organisational knowledge is the knowledge that resides within organisation itself and remains intact throughout staff changes. If knowledge is ‘business critical’ then it’s essential to ensure that it’s held as organisational knowledge.

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From → KT Theory

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