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Critical knowledge

1 April 2022

Critical knowledge is the knowledge that significantly affects an organization’s performance either generally or in a specific area. Some refer to it as “strategic knowledge.” it assists in positioning the organization, enabling it to better compete in the marketplace.

Critical knowledge refers to the organization’s approaches, methodologies, and practical know-how. It naturally includes knowledge, both explicit and tacit.

Examples of areas where critical knowledge may be found are promoting sales leads, taking care of turbine malfunction, etc.


Defining knowledge as critical is vital when considering where to invest knowledge management processes or business continuity processes. Regarding Knowledge Management, there are always so many subjects requiring Knowledge Management. To commence in the most suitable way, which indeed promotes the organization in the most important contexts, it would be wise to focus mainly on critical knowledge and not any subject of organizational/business benefit.


There are two known methodologies to identify critical knowledge.

  1. Top-Down: interviews with senior management begin with business strategy, descend to business activities, and finally to critical knowledge.

  2. Bottom-Up: turning to workers who implement the knowledge in the field and considering which knowledge assists them in getting the job done, aggregating the knowledge, and identifying the common critical components.

You can, of course, combine the two.


Tip: always look for the knowledge with the most direct effect on the organization’s competitiveness. If you succeed in doing so, you will see a significant impact on Organization performance.




Eli Miron, A yardstick for critical knowledge for business resilience, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

Randhir Pushpa, Chief Consultant, Knowledge ManagementChief Consultant - Knowledge Management, ACIES Innovations, India

Stephanie Barnes & Nick Milton, Designing a Successful KM Strategy,

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