Knowledge management

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Coordinated, integrated, systemic practices and activities which enable and promote effective knowledge processes and ensure adequate knowledge assets as needed to achieve organizational goals. (Last published: an integrated, systematic approach to identifying, acquiring, transforming, developing, disseminating, using, sharing, and preserving knowledge, relevant to achieving specified objectives)


Knowledge management is by now well established and widely adopted, and documented in a vast body of literature. The IAEA defines Knowledge Management as coordinated, integrated, systemic practices and activities which enable and promote effective knowledge processes and ensure adequate knowledge assets as needed to achieve organizational goals. The KM model adopted contains three primary elements: people, processes and technology and the surrounding and proper organization culture. Note: Although KM is typically understood in an organizational context as integrated into management system. It can also be applied in several contexts such as e.g. personal, national.


Knowledge Management emerged as a scientific discipline in the earlier 1990s. Since then, a vast body of literature with fundamental textbooks as well as a large number of Internet links covering a broad range of thoughts on the KM discipline including manifold practical experiences have been established. An overview on many relevant aspects of general (not organization or domain specific) Knowledge Management may be found in Wikipedia.

A number of knowledge management models have been developed and deployed in the development of a knowledge management system. There are two knowledge management reference models used by the IAEA to explain the concept of knowledge management . The first Fraunhofer Reference Model for Knowledge Management helps to understand in a simple manner how knowledge management supports organizational business processes. The second model demonstrates the 3 sides of knowledge management which should be aliened among each other and organizational environment to make knowledge management effective. Knowledge management focuses on people and organizational culture to stimulate and nurture the sharing and use of knowledge; on processes or methods to find, create, capture and share knowledge; and on technology to store and make knowledge accessible and to allow people to work together without being together. People are the most important component, because managing knowledge depends upon people’s willingness to share and reuse knowledge (See Fig 1) [1].
Fig 1. Primary KM elements and organizational context

It is important to recognize knowledge in organizations exists at an individual level, at a group level, at a department level, and at an organizational level. Further, the level of abstraction and form of knowledge may range from detailed facts, to organized information, to interpretations and analysis, to conceptualizations, to theoretical models, or even wisdom. Knowledge can be considered a resource (i.e. an input), it may be embedded in work methods (i.e. part of a process) or it can be a product (i.e. an output). Knowledge may often be time dependent or contextual, and must be maintained and renewed. [2] Consequently knowledge management should be practiced on all these levels.

On organizational level every knowledge management initiative should start with the development of the own Knowledge management strategy which is aligned with the overall organizational strategy.


[1] INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Knowledge Management for Nuclear Industry Operating Organizations, IAEA-TECDOC-1510, IAEA, Vienna (2006).

[2] INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, The Impact of Knowledge Management Practices on NPP Organizational Performance — Results of a Global Survey, IAEA-TECDOC-1711,IAEA, Vienna (2013).

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