Essay on The Building Blocks Approach to Knowledge Management

Essay on The Building Blocks Approach to Knowledge Management

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The building block approach by Probst et al. is probably the most famous knowledge management concept in Germany. The authors describe their knowledge management concept as a practical approach towards knowledge management. The concepts consist of different knowledge management building blocks that influence each other (Figure 5).


The arrangement of the building blocks is divided into an inner and outer cycle. The outer cycle contains the classic elements of management theory, knowledge goals and knowledge evaluation. These building blocks determine which goals the company wants to achieve and how achievement is measured and evaluated. The inner cycle describes how the company, starting from the knowledge goals, manages to create and save rele-vant knowledge for usage. These building blocks are the knowledge management activi-ties knowledge identification, knowledge acquisition, knowledge development, knowledge distribution / sharing, knowledge utilization and knowledge retention. The building blocks are related to each other and before a measure in one building block is implemented the influences on the other buildings blocks should be considered.
For the knowledge goals the current organizational goals should be expanded by specif-ic knowledge goals. Knowledge goals should be set for the three different management goal levels. On the normative goal level, the framework conditions for a knowledge-oriented organizational culture have to be set. The mission statement of the company is playing an important role in this context and should be extended by a knowledge man-agement mission statement. In addition the support of top management should be as-sured. On a strategic level the goals for the target skill set for knowledge m...


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...t for the systematic han-dling of knowledge. Most influencing factors could be considered within the building block approach and all important knowledge activities are included. Moreover, the au-thors provide several case examples in their book. On the other hand, the concept does not provide an implementation model for the knowledge management concept. A knowledge management audit is not considered either. In contrast to the spiral of knowledge concept by Nonaka, the building block approach focuses on explicit knowledge and does not offer instruments how to manage and leverage tacit knowledge. In general for SMEs the concept is applicable because it is easy to under-stand, but as it does not provide an implementation model. Without a guideline for the implementation the effort significantly increases for SMEs and could therefore be re-garded as to complex by SMEs.

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