Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge and is also referred to as “theory of knowledge”. It questions what knowledge is and how it can be acquired, and the extent to which knowledge pertinent to any given subject or entity can be acquired (Wikipedia, 2014). Knowledge management (KM) is the process of capturing, developing, sharing, and effectively using organizational knowledge. It refers to a multi-disciplined approach to achieving organizational objectives by making the best use of knowledge (Wikipedia, 2014).
So what does these two definitions of epistemology and knowledge management mean for organizations today? Here’s a couple of ways to think about this:
If epistemology is the car, knowledge management is the engine. Engines require several things to work properly like oil, water, and gas. Together, oil, water, and gas represent information; individually, they represent data. Hence, the concept of moving from data to decision (action) is explained using the model of a car.
Put another way, if epistemology is the vision, knowledge management is the strategy. There are different types of knowledge like logistical knowledge, procedural knowledge, customer knowledge, product knowledge, etc. knowledge exists in everything and everywhere. Your product vision and operational strategy for achieving product success should also include an epistemological vision and knowledge strategy since what we know fuels what we do.
To ask how is knowledge management different from what we already do is to think of knowledge management as something separate from what you already do. It is simply a way of doing what you already do better. We don’t think of what we know as being separate from what we do – that is, we understand we are only capable of doing what we know how to do – but we always look for ways to increase what we know so we can improve what we do.
So make knowledge management a part of your organizational philosophy and you’ll achieve improvements across the board. Once more, bring in someone who’s focus is knowledge management as it pays to have a specialist focused on those parts of your organizational philosophy critical to your success.
Epistemology. (2014, June 12). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:10, June 24, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Epistemology&oldid=612594229
Knowledge management. (2014, June 12). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:09, June 24, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Knowledge_management&oldid=612647659