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Essentials of Knowledge Management by Bryan Bergeron

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1.5. Reality Check

Although Knowledge Management has a lot to offer, like any other business optimization process, it is by no means a panacea. The major challenges in the KM field are outlined here and discussed in detail in Chapter 8.

1.5.1. Knowledge Management Principles Apply in Varying Degrees

Every successful business operation, from the corner deli to the top Fortune 500 companies, uses Knowledge Management to some degree, even if only in an unsophisticated, ad hoc way. However, the work that some companies engage in is so dependent on individual talent, such as musical or graphical artistry, that the only practical way to capture the relevant knowledge is through a lengthy personal apprenticeship.

Other work can be defined to the point that virtually anyone with a modicum of training can fill a vacancy anywhere in the company. For example, since McDonald's hires workers with a wide range of abilities and experiences, its training program leaves virtually no room for variation in process. Even seemingly insignificant tasks, such as the method in which are fries salted (from the back to the front of the deep fryer rack), are fully defined, leaving little room for misinterpretation of the intended process.

Some work, such as high-end special sound or graphics effects for a movie, is unique to the point that it can be considered magic—it's a special, mysterious, or inexplicable quality, talent, or skill. Tasks involving tacit and, to a lesser degree, implicit knowledge are ...

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