Knowledge Management: From an Entrepreneurial Perspective

Mr Jonathan D. Hill
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This paper examines Knowledge Management from an entrepreneurial perspective. In this context, ‘entrepreneurial’ refers to those creative and innovative aspects of management and is not confined to small business. Alavi & Leidner (2001) outlined the scope of knowledge management including the concepts of explicit and tacit knowledge (Nonaka 1991). The former explicit knowledge, tends to fall in the domain of Information Systems, where knowledge is built up from data and information. The latter, tacit knowledge (or “silent knowledge”) is concerned with what resides in the mind of individuals within the organization, normally as skills and competences, and is of primary interest to those in Human Resource Development.

Attempts have been made (James, 2004) to analyse knowledge in terms of the six ‘question words’. Thus knowledge can then be categorised as: Know What’, ‘Know How’, ‘Know Where’, ‘Know Who’, ‘Know When’ and ‘Know Why’. This paper analyses these categories from an entrepreneurial perspective and reveals that each of these types of knowledge can be considered from both the operational and the entrepreneurial perspective, leading to a proposed taxonomy of Management Knowledge.

Operational knowledge consists mainly of explicit knowledge, often managed through use of IT, whereas entrepreneurial knowledge is mainly tacit knowledge, held in the mind of the entrepreneur. As an organisation attempts to grow, or expand in new directions pioneered by the entrepreneur, the growth in explicit operational knowledge can usually be accommodated by scaling information systems and training additional staff. But developing capacity for the growth of tacit knowledge, in terms of tactical capability with an understanding of the strategic context, becomes a major constraint on the growth of the organisation.

During the subsequent discussion, which focussed on the question, ‘What strategies can be employed to support the transfer of Entrepreneurial Knowledge?’, the suggestion was made that individuals with entrepreneurial potential should be given an early opportunity to spin-off from the organisation and set up a satellite operation.

Keywords: Knowledge, Management, Entrepreneur, Tacit Knowledge
Stream: Knowledge and Technology
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
Paper: Knowledge Management: An Entrepreneurial Perspective

Mr Jonathan D. Hill

Senior Lecturer, Business School, Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College

Following a career as an Operations Manager, with experience of implementing ERP systems, I understand the importance of integrating Information Systems into the management of Business Operations. The adoption of E-Commerce has enabled this integration across the supply chain, which has extended the scope of my teaching beyond Operations and Logistics to embrace Knowledge and Information Management. I have recently started researching this subject for a PhD.

Ref: T06P0283