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Redefining Knowledge Management: Adding an Emotional Component to the Formal Definition

1 October 2022
Dr. Moria Levy
the word Definition

For many years the KM society held an interesting debate about the definition of knowledge management.


In the first decade, people didn't really agree on its scope, some including only knowledge-in-our-heads, others also adding documented knowledge as part of what this discipline deals with.

The next decade focused on how to turn our shared understanding of knowledge management into one sentence that holds it all. I remember a post titled "47 definitions of knowledge management and still counting". Study books included a series of possible definitions. They were all proper, each highlighting another perspective of KM.


In 2018, ISO30401 was published, including a concise definition: "management with regard to knowledge."

This new definition was very accurate; however, it hardly added clarity. Two notes were added to this definition, yet the fog remained.


A few months ago, we published an amendment to 30401, including new and improved definitions. KM was redefined as:


"Holistic, cross-functional discipline and set of practices, focused on knowledge, that improve organizational performance

Note: Knowledge management includes, but is not limited to, the creation, acquisition, application, maintenance, sharing, and protection of knowledge to create organizational value."


So now we could sleep better. A shared definition exists, published by a formal and respectful institute, and not too many will argue about its accuracy or clarity.

Well... not exactly. It was all in it- but the soul. Reading this definition, one could understand, but less sense KM.

And that is where I want to come up with a suggestion: Let's keep this formal definition. It is required, and having one source is essential.


However, let us add an alternative, non-formal definition of KM, adding the emotional component into this equation.


I suggest a first draft of this alternative definition:

"knowledge management is understanding the importance of knowledge as a main asset and key to success, therefore handling it wisely, with care and tender."


Additional ideas are more than welcome.


 This post was initially published in LinkedIn

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