What Is Knowledge Management?

Knowledge management is a business process that formalizes the management and use of an enterprise’s intellectual assets, as defined by research and advisory firm Gartner

As the knowledge economy continues to take shape in the 21st century, the factors of production are shifting from physical financial capital to intellectual capital. In this environment, the success of organizations will depend on their ability to generate, adopt and diffuse knowledge –– to become knowledge organizations. 

KM promotes a collaborative and integrative approach to the creation, capture, organization, access and use of information assets, including the tacit, uncaptured knowledge of people. (Read KM World's Editorial, What is KM? Knowledge Management Explained for a brief history.)

What Can I Do With This Background?

Typical job titles for knowledge management professionals include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Chief Knowledge Officer
  • Knowledge Analyst
  • Knowledge Manager
  • Knowledge Engineer
  • Knowledge Architect
  • Knowledge Asset Manager

The above job titles demonstrate the various roles that a person with a knowledge management background can fill. Knowledge comes in many forms. Some professionals work with the IT and organization facet, focusing on organization of knowledge, knowledge structures and architectures. Others focus on the knowledge that comes from within people. These professionals work with people to promote engagement across departments in an effort to facilitate knowledge sharing among colleagues. Chief knowledge officers are the executives who define the strategies for an organization based on organizational culture, knowledge assets, business processes and organizational goals.

Employers may include governments, government agencies, major corporations and the military.

What Courses Do I Have to Take?

Students interested in this field can pursue a 36 credit-hour Master of Science in knowledge management or an 18 credit-hour Graduate Certificate in knowledge management.

What Professional Organizations Are Relevant to This Career Path?