Knowledge asset

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Those parts of an organization's intangible assets that are knowledge such as know-how, best practices, and intellectual property. Knowledge asset is often used as a synonim with intellectual asset


Knowledge assets include the part of organisations intangible assets that are knowledge, such as best practices, codified explicit knowledge, intellectual property and knowledge of the individual members of the organisation. Organisations put investments in their knowledge assets with the expectation that future benefits can be drawn of them. These investments include use of any business processes or tools that increase the value of knowledge in the organisation. Knowledge management provides organisations with the tools and processes to manage their knowledge assets.


Knowledge asset refers to an economical view of organization's knowledge. Knowledge assets are developed via investments with the expectation that this investment enhances potential income earning of the organization. Examples of knowledge assets include best practices, codified explicit knowledge and intellectual property. As part of organisation's knowledge is embedded in people, knowledge asset inevitably overlaps with human assets and includes also knowledge of the individual members of the organisation, see Fig 1.

Fig 1. Knowledge asset as a part of organization's intangible assets.

Nonaka et al defines knowledge assets as "firm-specific resources that are indispensable to create values for the firm". They divide knowledge assets into four categories: experiential knowledge assets, conceptual knowledge assets, routine knowledge assets and systemic knowledge assets [1]. Experiential knowledge assets include know-how of individuals and routine knowledge assets the tacit knowledge which is embedded in the daily routines of the organisation. Systemic knowledge assets include the codified explicit knowledge of the organisation which is stored e.g. in documents or databases. Finally, conceptual knowledge refers to explicit knowledge which is expressed in symbolic form, including designs and brands. For more details, see table below. Nonaka et al also connect the development of these knowledge assets into the SECI model of knowledge conversion. However, the SECI model does not provide practical guidance on the management of knowledge assets.

Experiential knowledge assets

Conceptual knowledge assets

Routine knowledge assets

Systemic knowledge assets

While human capital can be described as an asset that walks out in the end of each day, knowledge assets include codified or documented assets. Thus also management of knowledge assets is more versatile. Knowledge management and the related KM tools and knowledge processes provide organisations with the means to manage their knowledge assets.


[1] Nonaka, Toyama, Konno, 2000, SECI, Ba and Leadership: a Unified Model of Dynamic Knowledge Creation in Long Range Planning 33.

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