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Knowledge Management - Communication

Knowledge Management is a critical element when we consider the crafting or communication of organizational vision, mission, goals, objectives, and strategies. Knowledge Management is the creation, compilation, and dissemination of the vital aspects of the preceding and can be the defining factor of perception both inside and out of the organization itself. Knowledge Management initiatives in this regard can solidify or even alter perceptions of the organization’s practices or policies on all sides of the viewable fence and should be considered one of the many fundamental and highly effective tools in the organization’s proverbial belt from creation to communication.

Crafting

Knowledge Management has the potential to provide value and support in regard to the crafting of organizational vision, mission, goals, objectives, and strategies throughout an organization. When one considers the task of creating organizational vision, mission, goals, objectives and strategies, one has to imagine the immense foresight, planning, revision, and implementation techniques that would have to be involved in order to see creation or completion. For instance, social networking and tagging provides the public an opportunity to create, acquire, and share information about the organization, their motives, and their actions. This new technology helps to personalize the information (Lee & Ge 2010). Managing the information before it is communicated, or better crafting the information ahead of time, will help to ensure a more positive outcome down the road.

Vision is the proverbial “dream” of what the organization wants to achieve. This is undoubtedly the most critical step of the creation itself. This is because organizations that are successful over a long period of time have an organizational vision that remains constant and pure. This is self evident. The vision also provides a competitive advantage to the organization as it aids in redefining direction during times of transformation or transition (Kukkurainen, Suominen, Rankinen, HÄrkÖnen, & Kuokkanen, 2012).

The mission on the other hand is a little different than vision in that instead of an ultimate “dream”, the focus is more on the purpose of the organization. Crafting organizational mission is all about organizational fundamentals such as service, product line or types and defines or outlines the parameters for which all organizational decisions and endeavors must fit (Powers, 2012). Ana Smitth Iltis (2005) argues that establishing a mission, enables organizations to formulate a strong set of commitments and values that will help guide their future decisions.

Goals and objectives are often confused and used interchangeably. This is a mistake because the two are rather different, especially in regard to crafting organizational goals and objectives. A goal is essentially the purpose of the endeavor, while the objective is the target the organization hopes or intends to achieve. It helps to understand that “goals” are often used as part of an organizations performance management system (Bipp & Kleingeld, 2011), and objectives are the behaviors that the organization will perform to meet said goals (Wittmann-Price & Fasolka, 2010).

Then of course there is organizational strategy. This is the map, direction, or plan of action that the organization plans to follow in order to achieve the goals, objectives, mission and overall vision. While this is arguably one of the more important parts of the entire spread, the organization’s strategy constantly changes due to any number of both outside or inside influences.

Crafting organizational vision requires solidifying a collective and strategic goal. Crafting the organization’s mission requires a common and desired direction. Crafting organizational goals and objectives requires cohesion in the desire itself. Finally, crafting organizational strategies requires agreement on the actual play being utilized at present. Each one of these aspects requires a decent amount of communication within the organization itself, and between leaders and workers. This information and communication needs to be both scribed and retained for reference purposes at the very least.

Knowledge Management becomes vital in the preceding for numerous reasons and in numerous ways. To begin with, simply scribing the organizations vision or mission solidifies and reminds people within the organization where they are going. Collecting information, sharing information, refining the information, and so on, helps the organization get better in their processes. The better the organization becomes in their processes, the more likely their goals and objectives will be or can be reached. These are just examples of course, but Knowledge Management also allows an organization’s strategy to be of higher quality and more easily adaptable if inside or outside influences dictate such a change.

Communicating

Of course, Knowledge Management has the potential to provide enormous benefits in regard to the communication of organizational vision, mission, goals, objectives, and strategies throughout an organization and beyond. This includes communicating to stakeholders and even potential stakeholders. This leads to the idea that each area may require refinement because the socially constructed nature of knowledge applies to both its production and its interpretation (Hislop, 2002). Similar to the idea that one may have invented the best mouse trap, but if no one knows about it, or knows how to operate it, it is useless. Being able to manage that information and provide it a way that is easily utilized is paramount if the organization seeks to remain competitive in their market place.

Within the organization, Knowledge Management in regard to vision, mission, goals, objectives, and strategies, can be seen in company literature and could include policy manuals and training manuals. There are numerous areas however, that such topics could be retained and reviewed by the organization itself. Other examples could include but are not limited to internal organizational propaganda such as banners, motivational or strategic billboards, and even in verbal or technology based meetings. Providing the information not only keeps everyone united in common direction but also helps to motivate workers (Powers, 2012).

Communication with entities outside of the organization is equally important in regard to Knowledge Management, especially when we consider communicating the organization’s philosophy or reason for existence; how it will gain a competitive advantage; the emotional and moral logic of purpose; the standards of behavior or policy guidelines (Azaddin, 2012). Many times, this comes in the way of marketing strategies or public relation initiatives. This includes but is not limited to point of sale props, radio or television marketing campaigns, newspapers, and so on. Utilizing external strategies such as these, an organization is communicating to stakeholders what the organization is doing (Powers, 2012).

A great example of this would be that of Wal-Mart. At face value and without research, one could pretty much guess their vision, mission, goals, objectives, and strategies because their actions and initiatives make them abundantly clear. They seek to remain the number one retailer in the world. They want to save you money so you can live better. They will buy the products they sell in bulk to achieve lower prices and to beat their competitors as they attempt to grab as much of the market share as possible. When issues arise, they want to settle them as quickly as possible and be on the better side of the outcome in regard to public perception so that their “good name” remains intact. Most could agree on this because this is what the company has communicated to the public via their actions and marketing initiatives thus far.

Having the information available about the organization’s vision, mission, goals, objectives, and strategies is accomplished through Knowledge Management in one way or another. However, it should be stated, though more than likely self evident, that if an organization exists, some kind of Knowledge Management is taking place. From tribal knowledge to full disclosure via the internet, it is becoming clear that Knowledge Management is vital when crafting and communicating these elements and is becoming equally clear that it is best if the organization itself has a guiding hand in that communication.

However, even if the organization itself does not want to participate in Knowledge Management initiatives, it is still occurring. This is especially true in regard to technology where people are able to compile information about the inner workings, policies, or practices of an organization. This can become a dangerous proposition if the information being compiled is shared with others via the World Wide Web and goes unchecked by the organization itself.

Conclusion

Knowledge Management is a critical element when we consider the crafting or communication of organizational vision, mission, goals, objectives, and strategies. Participation in Knowledge Management initiatives when creating, compiling or disseminating the vital aspects of the preceding can be the defining factor of perception both inside and out of the organization itself. At the very least, Knowledge Management initiatives should be employed to help solidify or even alter perceptions of the organization’s practices or policies on all sides of the viewable fence and should be considered one of the many fundamental and highly effective tools in the organization’s proverbial belt from creation to communication.


References

Ana, S. I. (2005). Values based decision making: Organizational mission and integrity. HEC Forum, 17(1), 6-17. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10730-005-4947-3

Azaddin, S. K. (2012). Mission, purpose, and ambition: Redefining the mission statement. Journal of Strategy and Management, 5(3), 236-251. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/17554251211247553

Bipp, T., & Kleingeld, A. (2011). Goal-setting in practice. Personnel Review, 40(3), 306-323. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00483481111118630

Hislop, D. (2002). Mission impossible? Communicating and sharing knowledge via information technology. Journal Of Information Technology (Routledge, Ltd.), 17(3), 165-177. doi:10.1080/02683960210161230

Kukkurainen, M., Suominen, T., Rankinen, S., HÄrkÖnen, E., & Kuokkanen, L. (2012). Organizational vision: experience at the unit level. Journal Of Nursing Management, 20(7), 868-876. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2834.2011.01290.x

Lee, B., & Ge, S. (2010). Personalisation and sociability of open knowledge management based on social tagging. Online Information Review, 34(4), 618-625. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14684521011073016

Powers, E. L. (2012). Organizational mission statement guidelines revisited. International Journal of Management & Information Systems (Online), 16(4), 281. Retrieved from

David Robertson

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