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Perspectives From Hindustan Lever

Volume 13, Number 4 Article by Srinivasa Murty / R R Nair December, 2001

Knowledge Management: Perspectives From Hindustan Lever :

In the last few years, the topic of knowledge management in organisations has generated a lot of interest in the corporate sector. While knowledge has always been important in the success of an organisation, it is only of late that it has received so much attention, with organisations reinventing themselves as ‘knowledge’ organisations.

Knowledge management (KM) is the ability to create and use knowledge to achieve organisational objectives. The term covers a wide range of knowledge such as technological knowledge created through the research and development process, knowledge about customer behaviour and preferences, processes and innovations to improve the efficiency of operations, and tools to predict the growth of demand or evolution of a market

A knowledge organisation is one in which knowledge is the key resource that provides it competitive advantage. In such organisations, the intellectual capital (or intangible assets) far exceeds the tangible assets. The last few decades have seen a growing proportion of organisational worth being represented by assets that are intangible. Management thinking, conditioned over centuries to extract the greatest value out of physical assets, has had to shift focus considerably towards leveraging these intangible assets in building the capabilities required to deliver superior products and solutions. While organisations in IT, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals lead the band of ‘knowledge’ brothers, many organisations in the traditional industries also belong, because it is knowledge that is going to help them build and sustain their competitive advantage.

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