Knowledge Management – Communication
Knowledge Management is critical when we consider crafting or communicating organizational vision, mission, goals, objectives, and strategies. Knowledge Management is the creation, compilation, and dissemination of the vital aspects of the preceding. It can be the defining factor of perception inside and outside the organization itself. Knowledge Management initiatives in this regard can solidify or even alter perceptions of the organization’s practices or policies on all sides of the viewable fence and should be considered one of the many fundamental and highly effective tools in the organization’s proverbial belt from creation to communication.
Knowledge Management has the potential to provide value and support regarding the crafting of organizational vision, mission, goals, objectives, and strategies throughout an organization. When one considers creating an organizational vision, mission, goals, objectives, and strategy, one has to imagine the immense foresight, planning, revision, and implementation techniques that would have to be involved to see creation or completion. For instance, social networking and tagging allow the public to create, acquire, and share information about the organization, its motives, and its actions. This new technology helps to personalize the information (Lee & Ge 2010). Managing the information before it is communicated, or better crafting it ahead of time, will help to ensure a more positive outcome.
Vision is the proverbial “dream” of the organization’s goal. This is undoubtedly the most critical step of the creation itself. This is because organizations that are successful over a long period have an organizational vision that remains constant and pure. This is self-evident. The vision also provides a competitive advantage to the organization as it aids in redefining direction during transformation or transition (Kukkurainen, Suominen, Rankinen, HÄrkÖnen, & Kuokkanen, 2012).
On the other hand, the mission is a little different than the vision in that instead of an ultimate “dream,” the focus is more on the organization’s purpose. Crafting an organizational mission is all about organizational fundamentals such as service, product line, or types and defines or outlines the parameters for which all organizational decisions and endeavors must fit (Powers, 2012). Ana Smith Iltis (2005) argues that establishing a mission enables organizations to formulate a robust set of commitments and values that will help guide their future decisions.
Goals and objectives are often confused and used interchangeably. This is a mistake because the two are somewhat different, especially regarding crafting organizational goals and objectives. A goal is essentially the purpose of the endeavor, while the objective is the target the organization hopes or intends to achieve. It helps to understand that “goals” are often used as part of an organization’s performance management system (Bipp & Kleingeld, 2011), and objectives are the behaviors that the organization will perform to meet said goals (Wittmann-Price & Fasolka, 2010).
Then, of course, there is an organizational strategy. This is the map, direction, or plan of action the organization plans to follow to achieve the goals, objectives, mission, and overall vision. While this is arguably one of the more critical parts of the entire spread, the organization’s strategy constantly changes due to outside and inside influences.
Crafting organizational vision requires solidifying a collective and strategic goal. Crafting the organization’s mission requires a common and desired direction. Crafting organizational goals and objectives requires cohesion in the desire itself. Finally, crafting organizational strategies requires agreement on the actual play being utilized. Each of these aspects requires a decent amount of communication within the organization and between leaders and workers. This information and communication need to be both scribed and retained for reference purposes, at the very least.
Knowledge Management becomes vital in the preceding for numerous reasons and in multiple ways. To begin with, simply scribing the organization’s vision or mission solidifies and reminds people within the organization where they are going. Collecting information, sharing it, refining it, and so on helps the organization improve its processes. The better the organization becomes in its processes, the more likely its goals and objectives will be or can be reached. These are examples, of course, but Knowledge Management also allows an organization’s strategy to be of higher quality and more easily adaptable if inside or outside influences dictate such a change.
Of course, Knowledge Management has the potential to provide enormous benefits regarding the communication of organizational vision, mission, goals, objectives, and strategies throughout an organization and beyond. This includes communicating with stakeholders and even potential stakeholders. This leads to the idea that each area may require refinement because the socially constructed nature of knowledge applies to both its production and interpretation (Hislop, 2002). Similar to the idea that one may have invented the best mousetrap, but if no one knows about it or knows how to operate it, it is useless. Being able to manage that information and provide it in a way that is easily utilized is paramount if the organization seeks to remain competitive in its marketplace.
Within the organization, Knowledge Management regarding vision, mission, goals, objectives, and strategies can be seen in company literature and could include policy and training manuals. There are numerous areas, however, where such topics could be retained and reviewed by the organization itself. Other examples could include but are not limited to internal organizational propaganda such as banners, motivational or strategic billboards, and even verbal or technology-based meetings. Providing information not only keeps everyone united in a common direction but also helps to motivate workers (Powers, 2012).
Communication with entities outside of the organization is equally vital regarding Knowledge Management, especially when we consider communicating the organization’s philosophy or reason for existence; how it will gain a competitive advantage; the emotional and moral logic of purpose; the standards of behavior or policy guidelines (Azaddin, 2012). Often, this comes in the way of marketing strategies or public relations initiatives. This includes but is not limited to point-of-sale props, radio or television marketing campaigns, newspapers, etc. By utilizing external strategies such as these, an organization communicates to stakeholders what the organization is doing (Powers, 2012).
A great example of this would be Walmart. At face value and without research, one could guess their vision, mission, goals, objectives, and strategies because their actions and initiatives make them abundantly clear. They seek to remain the number one retailer in the world. They want to save you money so you can live better. They will buy the products they sell in bulk to achieve lower prices and beat their competitors as they attempt to grab as much market share as possible. When issues arise, they want to settle them as quickly as possible and be on the better side of the outcome regarding public perception so that their “good name” remains intact. Most could agree on this because this is what the company has communicated to the public via its actions and marketing initiatives thus far.
Having the information available about the organization’s vision, mission, goals, objectives, and strategies is accomplished through Knowledge Management in one way or another. However, it should be stated, though more than likely self-evident, that if an organization exists, some Knowledge Management is taking place. From tribal knowledge to full disclosure via the internet, it is becoming clear that Knowledge Management is vital when crafting and communicating these elements. It is becoming equally clear that it is best if the organization has a guiding hand in that communication.
However, it is still occurring even if the organization does not want to participate in Knowledge Management initiatives. This is especially true regarding technology, where people can compile information about the inner workings, policies, or practices of an organization. This can become a dangerous proposition if the data being collected is shared with others via the World Wide Web and goes unchecked by the organization itself.
Knowledge Management is critical when we consider crafting or communicating organizational vision, mission, goals, objectives, and strategies. Participation in Knowledge Management initiatives when creating, compiling, or disseminating the vital aspects of the preceding can be the defining factor of perception both inside and outside of the organization itself. At the very least, Knowledge Management initiatives should be employed to help solidify or even alter perceptions of the organization’s practices or policies on all sides of the viewable fence and should be considered one of the many fundamental and highly effective tools in the organization’s proverbial belt from creation to communication.
You might also be interested in reading about “Knowledge Management – Tools.”
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- Azaddin, S. K. (2012). Mission, purpose, and ambition: Redefining the mission statement. Journal of Strategy and Management, 5(3), 236-251. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/17554251211247553
- Bipp, T., & Kleingeld, A. (2011). Goal-setting in practice. Personnel Review, 40(3), 306-323. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00483481111118630
- Hislop, D. (2002). Mission impossible? Communicating and sharing knowledge via information technology. Journal Of Information Technology (Routledge, Ltd.), 17(3), 165-177. doi:10.1080/02683960210161230
- Kukkurainen, M., Suominen, T., Rankinen, S., HÄrkÖnen, E., & Kuokkanen, L. (2012). Organizational vision: experience at the unit level. Journal Of Nursing Management, 20(7), 868-876. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2834.2011.01290.x
- Lee, B., & Ge, S. (2010). Personalisation and sociability of open knowledge management based on social tagging. Online Information Review, 34(4), 618-625. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14684521011073016
- Powers, E. L. (2012). Organizational mission statement guidelines revisited. International Journal of Management & Information Systems (Online), 16(4), 281. Retrieved from