Organizational Knowledge and The Learning Process

Published September 10, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

Business objects

According to business analysts, to achieve maximum results, organizational “knowledge” has to be captured and used.  In one of the MBA courses at Ashford University, our professor revealed that successful leaders capture organizational knowledge and use it effectively by: (a) keeping it human; (b) putting focus on useful knowledge and “know-how”; (c) collecting artifacts; (d) the avoidance of insular or isolated focus; and (e) keeping knowledge fresh.


The learning process is an essential component in organizational management and often transpires when leaders detect, analyze and correct errors. Argyris (1993) suggested that mistakes occur because of a mismatch between what an organization intends to achieve with their actions with respect to what actually transpired.  In other words errors are made when a disconnect emerges between intentions and results. In addition, learning also occurs when an organization produces a match between intentions and results for the first time. The most effective business leaders understand that actionable knowledge is significant in running an organization efficiently (Argyris, 1993).


One way of capturing knowledge and using it effectively is by keeping it human. This means that although every company wants to be highly profitable, the human factor is equally important. It requires the development of a culture that supports employees with such components like a generous compensation, benefits, and a safe working environment. It also means becoming an organization that is socially conscious to the environment and contributes to the welfare of the community. Furthermore, companies that embrace a keep it human attitude, are also the firms that are popular with consumers usually because they have devised systems that are focused on customer relationship management and engage in practices that support responsible corporate citizenship.


In addition, effective organizational leaders focus on useful knowledge and know-how strategies. Bontis and Choo (2002) identify this tactic as knowledge strategy and purport that it is a competitive strategy that is built around a firm’s intellectual resources and capabilities. It consists of the strategic choices a company makes using knowledge and experience to guide a firm’s development and operational functions. In addition, innovative knowledge strategies can help motivate superior performance levels (Bontis & Choo, 2002).


Another useful strategy is collecting artifacts which include anything from competitor product samples, to adding technology that helps run the company more efficiently, to valuable information about the industry like where to mine for new leads. Collecting artifacts can: (a) help managers operate the firm more effectively, (b) give them a competitive edge, (c) help paint a clearer picture of the current marketplace, and (d) help managers anticipate new trends and changes.

On Friday, we will take a closer look at how organizational knowledge helps leaders in the strategic planning process. Until then … keep organized!


A person should look for what is, and not for what they think should be. – Albert Einstein


Lippincott Room at Princeton University Press

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Argyris, C. (1993). Knowledge for action. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Bontis, N., & Choo, C. (2002). The strategic management of intellectual and capital and organizational knowledge. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

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