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What Is Strategic Knowledge Management?

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  • Written By: Peter Hann
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2016
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Strategic knowledge management is a process that aims to increase the quality of knowledge available to management team members when they are making strategic decisions, particularly on topics such as mergers and takeovers. Decisions on such matters tend not to be needed regularly, so managers may not be able to draw on personal experience to tell them how to handle a situation. The goal of strategic knowledge management is to support management in making decisions by providing solid information and excluding superfluous data. Knowledge provided by such a system should be sufficient to provide a greater understanding of the issues that need to be resolved without overwhelming leaders with too much information. The greater understanding achieved by strategic knowledge management should lead to a greater acceptance of new ideas and a more innovative approach from management.

Although the day-to-day tactical decisions within a company may be made with the support of knowledge management systems based on knowledge capture, assessment and distribution within the organization, strategic decisions may require a greater quality of knowledge. A strategic knowledge management system attempts to support management with greater understanding of the issues gleaned from quality information and knowledge. The system should be efficient enough to identify the information relevant to the strategic decision and filter out extraneous information that does not contribute to a greater understanding of the issues.

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A strategic knowledge management system may differ from tactical knowledge management owing to the greater role of human resources in filtering the information and creating useful knowledge. Management decisions need to be supported by reasonable explanations of the issues backed up by knowledge gained from past experience or analysis of current data. This should be encapsulated in a sufficiently succinct form to enable management to gain a greater understanding of the issues in as short a time as possible and make a quick and informed decision. A strategic knowledge management system should aim to achieve a greater understanding of the issues without actually directing the management to a particular decision. The system aims to support management rather than to replace their decision-making capacity.

The greater understanding of the current situation provided by strategic knowledge management enables speedier decision making and a quicker translation of the decisions into action. Where knowledge is incomplete, management may postpone decisions until more knowledge is available. Strategic knowledge management systems should dispense with this need. The quality information available to management from the system also should lead to a greater acceptance of innovation, because the effects of decisions may be predicted with greater accuracy. The quality knowledge available should remove the doubts that often cause management to hesitate in introducing innovative products and processes resulting from fear of the unknown.

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