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Tell a story to expand knowledge base

india Updated: Jul 21, 2006 01:07 IST
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DO YOU know that World Bank executives often take recourse to the popular Indian tradition of story telling to spread the knowledge base across to everyone in the organisation?

And this mode, Prof Archana Shukla and associate professor, R Srinivasan, from IIM-Lucknow, said was not being properly tapped in India. “We are increasingly forgetting the art of story telling. The need is to revive it to spread the knowledge base,” they said while delivering a talk on ‘Knowledge Management (KM) for sustainable competitive advantage’ organised by the Lucknow Management Association (LMA) at the MB Club on Thursday evening.

Advocating the need to not “hoard knowledge,” the IIM-L professors defined KM as a systematic and organised attempt to generate knowledge within an organisation to transform its ability and improve its performance.

They also talked about tacit and explicit knowledge. The latter, they said, was easy to explain. “Explicit knowledge is something that is observable and easily codified. But tacit is more difficult. For instance, can you define sweetness? You can give metaphors like sugar etc but if someone doesn’t know what sugar is like then what do you do? Then, a person has to taste sugar to know what sweetness is. Or, if you ask someone how did you take that critical decision at a given point of time, the answer might not be easy,” they said.

Knowledge, they said, was present in ideas, judgements, talents, root causes, relationships, perspectives, concepts etc. “Knowledge also is something that is stored within the individual brain or encoded in organisational processes, documents, products, services, information service systems and facilities,” they added.

Exploiting, exploring and innovation, they said, were the three “generational” modes of knowledge management.  The professors said KM was being increasingly resorted to tap the potential of employees and the organisation in general.

IAS officer GB Patnaik, management consultant and author JK Kharbanda, LMA secretary Jayant Krishna  were present.

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