Organisational learning and knowledge management

Within business, learning is a conscious attempt on the part of organisations to improve productivity, effectiveness and innovativeness in uncertain economic and technological market conditions. The greater the uncertainties, the greater the need for learning. Learning enables quicker and more effective responses to a complex and dynamic environment. In turn, effective learning is associated with increased information sharing, communication, and understanding. Because of these reasons the concept of “learning” is probably more pronounced in business than any other area. Although business-oriented papers and research are not widely cited in agricultural, conservation or environmental literature – there are a lot of lessons to be gained from related work in organisational development and learning literature. And there are literally thousands of papers available through the Internet.

Although business-oriented papers and research are not widely cited in agricultural, conservation or environmental literature – there are a lot of lessons to be gained from related work in organisational development and learning literature. And as you will see from the sites below there are literally thousands of papers in this area available through the Internet.

Organisational learning

Knowledge Management and Organisational Learning This 2009 overview paper by William King takes a broad look at the links between knowledge management and organizational learning. Knowledge management is a set of relatively new organizational activities that are aimed at improving knowledge, knowledge-related practices, organizational behaviors and decisions and organizational performance. KM focuses on knowledge processes – knowledge creation, acquisition, refinement, storage, transfer, sharing and utilization. These processes support organizational processes involving innovation, individual learning, collective learning and collaborative decisionmaking. The “intermediate outcomes” of KM are improved organizational behaviors, decisions, products, services, processes and relationships that enable the organization to improve its overall performance.

Review: Knowledge management and knowledge management systems: Conceptual foundations and research issues  This well-cited review paper from Maryam Alavi and Dorothy Leidner provides a review and interpretation of knowledge management literatures in different fields with an eye toward identifying the important areas for research. We present a detailed process view of organizational knowledge management with a focus on the potential role of information technology in this process. Drawing upon the literature review and analysis of knowledge management processes, we discuss several important research issues surrounding the knowledge management processes and the role of IT in support of these processes.

Knowledge Management and Organisational Learning: An International Development Perspective An Annotated Bibliography This annotated bibliography by Ingie Hovland aims to review the current literature on knowledge management (KM) and organisational learning, particularly in relation to the international development field, but also within business. Due to the substantial amount already written on these issues, this paper does not present yet another guideline on ‘how to do KM’. Instead, it primarily aims to review the current literature in order to map out the rationale and objectives of KM and learning within international development, and to identify gaps and emerging themes that will be of special interest to development actors and agencies.

www_iconKnowledge Management and Organisational Learning for Development In this background paper Kath Pasteur, Jethro Pettit and Boudy van Schagen draw out some useful frameworks for thinking about knowledge management and organisational learning – particularly in the field of international development – and offer some suggestions for advancing thinking and practice in these areas.