[English title: Umsetzung des Wissensmanagements aus einer unternehmenskulturellen Perspektive]
Title: Managing the relationship between knowledge and power in organisations
Author(s): Catherine Kelly
Journal: Aslib Proceedings
Year: 2007 Volume: 59 Issue: 2 Page: 125 – 138
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to focus on knowledge management implementation from an organisational culture perspective and analyse the relationship between knowledge and power within this context. It outlines the reasons why knowledge is a power resource, and proposes that, as such, it can only be managed successfully within the framework of an effective and legitimate use of all organisational power resources. The paper looks at the factors that constitute a legitimate use of power in the Western organisational context of the twenty-first century which in turn engenders the development of trust within employment relationships. The development of trust ensures that knowledge is used to further the achievement of organisational goals. Finally, the paper addresses the ways in which effective knowledge management practice contributes to this desired state, and outlines the role of the knowledge manager in facilitating this.
Design/methodology/approach – The method adopted is a literature-based analysis of the main issues covered. These include: the development of the knowledge society and attendant theories around optimal organisational structures, the relationship between knowledge and power, the development of legitimate authority within organisations, and how this impacts on the creation of trust, and finally the impact which the presence of trust has on knowledge-sharing behaviours within the organisation.
Findings – Pulling together evidence from across a wide range of academic disciplines leads to the conclusion that the successful management of the relationship between access to knowledge and access to power must be framed within an overall organisational context, in which all power resources are seen to be exercised in a legitimate manner. In this context, knowledge is no longer regarded as a personal power resource, but rather as a communal resource which will then be more likely to be shared freely in order to facilitate the joint and mutually beneficial achievement of organisational goals. Underpinning this organisational dynamic is an environment of trust.
Originality/value – The paper provides a summary of the literature around pivotal aspects of the question of the relationship between access to knowledge and the perception of knowledge as a source of power in the organisational context. It pulls together a range of material looking at the needs of the knowledge economy and at issues around the development of legitimate authority and the development of trust in the organisational context. It then relates this back to the successful development of a knowledge-sharing culture, and outlines the role of the knowledge manager in working with employees at all levels in the organisation in developing an optimal culture for knowledge creation and sharing.
Keywords: Authority, Knowledge management, Organisational structures, Trust
Article Type: Viewpoint
© Emerald Group Publishing Limited