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Knowledge management is the way an organization creates, shares, uses and manages its knowledge and information. It is a multidisciplinary approach to achieve organizational objectives. Knowledge management was established as a discipline in 1991. It includes courses that are taught in the fields of library and information science, management, information systems, and business administration.
Other fields contribute to knowledge management research, including public health and public policy, computer science, and information and media. Some universities offer Master's degrees in knowledge management. Many non-profit organizations, public institutions, and large companies dedicate resources to internal knowledge management efforts.
What Is Knowledge Management?
It is a part of human resource management, IT, or business strategy departments. There are consulting companies that provide advice regarding knowledge management to organizations. Knowledge management efforts focus on organizational objectives, such as integration and continuous organization improvement, sharing lessons learned, innovation, competitive advantage, and improved performance.
There is an overlapping of efforts with organizational learning. They are distinguished by a greater focus on knowledge management as a strategic asset and encourage knowledge sharing. Knowledge management is an organizational learning enabler. KM efforts have a history that includes mentoring programs, professional training, corporate libraries, discussion forums, formal apprenticeships, and on-the-job discussions.
How Knowledge Management Relates to Library Science
Companies rely on the success of the acquisition, communication, organization, and dissemination of huge amounts of information content. Large companies have employed individuals who specialize in the management of this information and make it accessible to the intended people. Data, information, and knowledge managers help with an organization's efficiency and ensure an organization grows or changes without the confusion or loss of information. Across North America, there are knowledge management college programs. They include Bachelor's and Master's programs and certificates. Many are intended for working professionals.
Online Programs in Knowledge Management
Students have options for part-time online or evening attendance. Admission requirements vary by college and type of program. Bachelor's degrees likely require submission of ACT or SAT scores and a high school diploma. Some programs ask for personal statements regarding applicants' experience and interest in the field, and letters of recommendation from former instructors or employers.
An interview request, either via telephone or in-person, is possible. Certificate programs likely require applicants to have a minimum Associate's degree. Graduate-level certificates require a Bachelor's degree to enroll in the program. Some also require a minimum of five years of relevant and verifiable leadership or work experience.
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Are There Online Programs?
Knowledge management is a field that is relatively new. It focuses on a business's spread of information. The programs allow professionals to learn how to use technology and understand how to share and disseminate information. Most programs can be completed entirely online. Some have requirements that are met on campus. Most applicants must have some previous work information programming and technology.
Many programs also require some work experience. Master's degree programs require core courses in the foundation of knowledge management and informatics. Students study organization informatics, organizational dynamics, and decision-making skills. A final project is required in many programs. Knowledge management programs blend a comprehensive corporate information understanding and a traditional business degree.
Graduate students learn to manage an organization's technical tools and understand how it shares information. The programs are sometimes entitled Organizational Informatics or Technology Management. The programs are completed in between 18 and 24 months. Online programs are often broken up coursework in weekly sections with assignments completed during each period. Ideally, students have a computer of their own with access to high-speed internet, plenty of memory, and ample hard-drive space.
Sample Universities with this Program
Ashford University - Ashford's Forbes School of Business & Technology offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Business Information Systems that is designed to teach about information systems and their importance and function to business decision-making and processes. Primary areas covered include control processes, systems implementation, and enterprise solutions for business information systems. Students have the opportunity to develop problem-solving and critical-thinking abilities. Both are crucial when applying information systems that address unusual and common business problems.
Colorado State University-Global Campus - The online curriculum of the University's Global Campus Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Professional Studies focuses on general processes and principles in business development, information technology, accounting, and management. Course topics include professional ethics, innovative strategies, time management, global business strategies, new product development, and change management. Students may have the opportunity to study business economics, leadership strategies, business analysis, and accounting processes. In the capstone course, students apply strategies and methods studied in the program as they create business plans that target issues that face global business organizations.
Typical Coursework for this Degree
Managers of an organizations’ knowledge and information flow must be able to work with the people and technology involved. Knowledge management programs aim to train students in these realms to ensure they can research organizational culture and implement strategies through personal team management and complex digital networks. Courses may take when earning a knowledge management degree include:
Introductory Knowledge Management – Students explore the history of knowledge management. They learn the technology and techniques used to optimize and assess corporate information. Course topic cover process and organization creation.
Technology of Knowledge Management – Successful knowledge management depends on advanced data management technology, information systems, and digital networks. This course teaches students to utilize technologies and the theory behind them effectively. Graduates will be equipped to determine strategies that are best for an organization or company.
Change Management – Change management courses teach students what happens within the culture of an organization prior to, during, and after the organization experienced significant change. It explores the strategies to manage the transference of knowledge and the productive momentum of an organization. Case studies may be used to analyze specific instances, and students may be expected to research on their own.
Planning Management Strategies – Knowledge managers have to be able to develop a broad spectrum of management strategies that address a variety of organizational needs. It includes the development of short-term project strategies and planning long-term project completion. Topics that may be discussed include information architecture, business analytic design, and gap analysis.
Leadership in Knowledge Management – A variety of leadership courses are offered that relate to knowledge management responsibilities. Students are taught effective management and team organization techniques. Emphasis is placed on team management, communication, and cross-cultural mediation, which can prove highly relevant in the executive demographics and market of today.
Global Collaboration Leadership – Communication technology development has made working for a company halfway around the world possible. More and more companies rely on group collaboration instead of individual ideation. The contemporary knowledge manager has to be able to lead global collaboration teams. Global collaboration courses emphasize principles of excellent collaboration, communications technology, and cultural understanding.
Charles Coolidge Parlin Marketing Research Award – Distinguished practitioners and academics must demonstrate a sustained impact on the advancement of marketing research and outstanding leadership. The impact is reflected by
- New models, methods, and concepts for measuring and analyzing organizations’ ability to achieve a better understanding of consumers, customers, and markets
- An understanding of information needs and creative integrating of existing methodologies that result in extended use and appreciation of marketing research-based
- Demonstrating leadership that results in stimulating the value and effective use of market-based knowledge and marketing research.
AABE National Scholarships – Eligible candidates for the scholarships are underrepresented minority groups (Native American, Hispanic, African American) in science-related areas. Applicants must plan to major in physical science, mathematics, technology, engineering, or business. They must demonstrate financial need and have an overall GPA of 3.0 in science and math courses.
Top Organizations to Know
APQC – This organization is a leading source for the latest research and innovative thinking in knowledge management. APQC gives access to an array of tools and resources. Longstanding knowledge management programs help develop strategies and best practices for organizations. The Annual KM Conference draws decision-makers and practitioners from around the world. It has done so for 25 years and remains the premier conference in the industry.
KMWorld – The organization has over 25 years of experience in market coverage. it serves executive management and technology professionals. KMWorld is a premier resource for real direction and actionable advice on strategies and solutions in information, document, content, and knowledge management. The organization guides over 50,000 business and IT professionals at organizations in North America that involved in evaluating, recommending, and purchasing enterprise services and products. Successful businesses rely on a balance of people, process, and technology. KMWorld delivers the best practices, process management skills, and market knowledge.
Career Options with this Degree
Knowledge management is a relatively specialized field. Programs teach many of the associated skills needed for business analysts, project management, and information technology. In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics listed information and computer systems managers as having a median annual salary of $42,530. The Bureau also projected job prospects in these areas will grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028. Some careers those with a knowledge management degree can pursue include:
- Database Administrators
- Data Management Analyst
- Health Information Management Specialists
- Information Security Analyst
- Network Administrator