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Knowledge Management Process: The Care and Feeding of Knowledge Workers


Anna E. Flynn, Ph.D., C.P.M.
Anna E. Flynn, Ph.D., C.P.M., Associate Professor and Research Associate, ISM and CAPS Research, 480-752-6276 Ext 3140;

89th Annual International Conference Proceedings - 2004 - Philadelphia, PA

Successful organizations are often described as “learning organizations” composed of “knowledge workers” who continually learn and apply learning to changing situations as standard operating procedure. Knowledge management is a systematic and organized approach to making relevant knowledge visible and widely accessible so that learning can occur. Knowledge management includes identifying and mapping existing intellectual assets as well as creating new knowledge within the organization. To be successful, an organization’s knowledge management process must be reflected in its culture, strategy, policy, and practice. A key challenge for purchasing and supply professionals is to develop common processes, procedures, and practices across individual entities such as business units, divisions, plants, mills, etc. One aspect of this challenge is capturing and transferring knowledge between and among these individual entities. For example, a team in one division develops an effective tool that never gets shared or used by other teams. Or, people in one location have no idea how individuals in another geographical location do things. Or, the company invests in knowledge management software, and fe w people use it. The development of a knowledge management strategy, process, and system helps to ensure that the knowledge that exists in one area of the company is captured, shared, and used by others. This paper addresses the challenges and opportunities of creating a knowledge management process.

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