Developing a core knowledge framework

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Dec 8, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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Developing a core knowledge
framework
7
Developing a core knowledge framework
7–2
Contents
Introduction ............................................................................................................... 7–3
Objectives .................................................................................................................. 7–3
Suggested study schedule .......................................................................................... 7–3
Readings .................................................................................................................... 7–3
Core knowledge ......................................................................................................... 7–4
The three phases of managing core knowledge ......................................................... 7–4
Phase 1: clarifying the core knowledge scope ...................................................... 7–5
Phase 2: defining core knowledge parameters ...................................................... 7–5
Phase 3: developing the core knowledge structure ............................................... 7–6
Content authorship ..................................................................................................... 7–7
Conclusion ................................................................................................................. 7–7
References ................................................................................................................. 7–7

Developing a core knowledge framework
7–3
Introduction
This module is the first of two modules that describe content management. This
module defines core knowledge and describes how core knowledge is identified and
stored using content management systems.
Objectives
On completion of this module students should be able to:
 define core knowledge
 list the three phases of developing a core knowledge framework
 describe the core business of an organisation and its knowledge requirements
 analyse a business to identify the knowledge domain
 outline why knowledge capabilities can influence core knowledge
 construct a definition of core knowledge for an organisation
 explain issues that need to be considered when designing a core knowledge
policy
 examine potential challenges associated with mapping core knowledge in an
organisation
 identify issues that may need to be resolved when developing a knowledge
repository
 outline issues likely to arise over content authorship.
Suggested study schedule
Suggested study time Study Guide
Readings
Activities
1 hours
5 hours
5 hours
Total 11 hours
Readings
Textbook Debowski 2006
Ch. 7
Developing a core knowledge framework
7–4
Core knowledge
Textbook Debowski 2006
Ch. 7, p. 170
Not all knowledge is important to a business. One of the primary goals of knowledge
management is to clarify what the core knowledge of a business is, so as to facilitate
easy access to valuable knowledge.
Core knowledge is ‘strategic or operational knowledge that contributes to essential
organizational processes and outcomes’ (Debowski 2006, p. 170).
The three phases of managing core
knowledge
Textbook Debowski 2006
Ch. 7, pp. 170-188
A content management system provides the opportunity to build a comprehensive and
responsive system that brings experts, organisational systems and explicit knowledge
together in a cohesive and accessible repository. In developing a core knowledge
framework (see Figure 7.1 in the textbook) (Debowski 2006, p. 171), there are three
identified phases, each containing a number of steps.
Phase Step
Clarifying core knowledge
scope
Identify organisational activities and priorities that
need to be supported by accurate and
comprehensive knowledge.
Knowledge is defined in terms of the business
areas which are supported and actively encouraged.
The capacity of the staff to share and generate that
knowledge is reviewed.
Define core knowledge
parameters
The development of core knowledge definitions
and knowledge policies regarding which
knowledge should be linked through the CMS.
Develop the core knowledge
structures
Core knowledge structures include maps of
knowledge which help with categorising, indexing
and labelling the knowledge
The development of the knowledge repository
enables effective management of core knowledge
by drawing on all relevant sources into a single
searchable process.

Developing a core knowledge framework
7–5
Phase 1: clarifying the core knowledge scope
Textbook Debowski 2006
Ch. 7, pp. 172-175
A clear identification of the core knowledge scope helps to prevent the business
evolving and expanding into areas of unknown value. The process of identifying the
core knowledge scope may highlight the need for organisational restructure, and also
builds stronger organisational awareness of what areas are most strongly supported
across the organisation.
Note Figure 7.2 which illustrates some questions that need to be answered to identify
core knowledge.
‘Each organisation operates within a prescribed knowledge domain, that is, areas of
knowledge that support the core business strategy of the organisation’ (Debowski
2006, p.173). Knowledge domains contain two levels:
 Elements that all employees should share and use in order to fulfill work
requirements, and
 Elements which are strategic priorities to be developed and supported over time.
Knowledge domains evolve over time. The identification of experts as well as
detailed documentation of the system assists in monitoring this evolving knowledge
domain, as well as reducing potential knowledge loses.
Phase 2: defining core knowledge parameters
Textbook Debowski 2006
Ch. 7, pp. 175-182
A clear definition of what knowledge is considered most important allows employee
attention and knowledge management resources to be directed towards core
knowledge areas.
Core knowledge is categorised into three areas:
 Basic (knowledge addition and enrichment)
o Knowledge that is required by the majority of employees is often based on
knowledge objects (e.g., customers, markets, units, and products).
 Strategic (knowledge updates)
o Essential to business outcomes, evolves quickly. Focused more on knowledge
updates than knowledge development. Activities using this knowledge
include ideas management, systems understanding, creative work or access to
expert guidance.
 Developmental (knowledge innovation)
o Knowledge that is potentially beneficial to the organisation, but which has yet
to be fully explored or developed. Benefits from a high degree of interaction
and sharing.
Developing a core knowledge framework
7–6
In defining the core knowledge and identifying how it should be managed, the
realities of maintaining the systems and related services must be considered.
The core knowledge definition must be conveyed to all members of an organisation.
The development of knowledge policies allows for the clarification of the importance
of the core knowledge, the responsibilities of the various stakeholders, and the overall
organisational principles to be followed.
Policies do not describe the processes that will be put in place. Instead, they are
frameworks to help employees understand what is expected and the principles under
which the system will operate. There are a number of dilemmas associated with
knowledge policy development:
 What, how and when will employees share core knowledge?
 Who is responsible for carrying out this policy?
 How is the policy integrated into other organisational processes and systems?
 Confidentiality and competitive value
 Of strategic value, but not for long.
Phase 3: developing the core knowledge structure
Textbook Debowski 2006
Ch. 7, pp. 182-88
Once the scope of the core knowledge has been developed and the promotion of this
decision to stakeholders, the final phase involves the successful translation of these
principles and policies into practice.
Systematic core knowledge definition is a structured approach which requires
dedicated management so that the time spent designing and structuring the
knowledge is well spent. Two approaches to systematically defining the core
knowledge are the mapping of core knowledge and the establishment and promotion
of knowledge repositories.
Knowledge maps describe the core knowledge categories and focal areas on which
the enterprise relies. Relational knowledge maps group knowledge under various
headings, and explores the way knowledge can be applied and developed.
Operational knowledge maps document the functional activities of the organisation,
and offers insights into the agencies which can provide expert advice and source
material on business issues.
Knowledge repositories link a number of key resources within an organisation, and
are made up of structured and unstructured repository management strategies.
Structured knowledge management strategies are those which use headings and
content descriptors to arrange knowledge. Unstructured knowledge management
strategies allow for more individualised management of the core knowledge content,
using methods such as free-text searching, discussion groups, news and urgent
requests. Unstructured strategies often link to people rather than objects as the
knowledge is often more tacit than that found within structured strategies.
Developing a core knowledge framework
7–7
Content authorship
Textbook Debowski 2006
Ch. 7, p. 188
People like to be acknowledged for their expertise and contributions. One strategy
that allows for recognition as well as adaptation of the knowledge is through the
recognition of all contributors to a knowledge object.
How recognition is built within the organisation can have major effects on knowledge
sharing. Rewards and recognition needs to be attached to the sharing of knowledge
expertise, to the encouragement of groups rather than individuals.
Conclusion
Now that you have completed this module, turn back to the objectives at the
beginning of the module. Have you achieved these objectives?
Attempt the following Discussion Questions.
Activity 7-1
How might organisations benefit from identifying their core knowledge?
Activity 7-2
Develop a relational knowledge map using a different industry to the example shown
on page 185.
References
Debowski, S 2006, Knowledge management, John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd, Milton.