Resource theory views knowledge as a strategic asset [GRA 91, BAR 91], Knowledge resources, which are distributed throughout the organization and are difficult to identify and imitate, are likely to offer a long-lasting competitive edge if used properly [KOG 92, NON 95]. Hence, knowledge appears to be a crucial resource for the organization which needs to be maintained and developed.
Information technology (IT) – for example Internet, Intranet, data warehouses, document management, databases and Groupware – offers improved possibilities to better manage knowledge [ROB 00].
In this chapter, we present the general framework of the research and precisely define what it is that we understand by “knowledge”.
First, it is imperative to draw the distinction between the various concepts – data, information, know-how, skill and knowledge – because numerous authors present them as being interlinked but differentiated, while others treat them as being the same thing.
Then, given that learning is a means of acquiring and developing knowledge, and that it is inconceivable to study knowledge without making reference to learning, the second section of the chapter is given over to how to make the transition from individual learning to organizational learning.
Then, in the next few sections, we shall examine the main activities making up the process of knowledge management, the tools supporting knowledge management and the human groups that constitute vectors ...