Public Sector Organizations and Knowledge Management
Elgie McFayden Jr.
Kentucky State University
July 21, 2008
As the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age and begins their mass exodus from the workforce, public sector organizations will have to consider ways to retain much of the valuable knowledge this generation has amassed. The process of accessing and retaining this information is complex for several reasons. First, public sector managers generally do not understand the difference between knowledge and information. Public sector organizations, for example, have limited structural capacity to manage knowledge since the information they use are not designed to manage complex theories, ideas, multi-tiered arguments and historical lessons. Information systems used by public sector organizations are designed to manage empirical data in its simplest form. It's also important to consider the culture of the contemporary workforce in this process. There is often a disconnect between younger and older workers which is profoundly influenced by western culture. This connection must exist in order for the transfer of useful and mission critical knowledge to take place. Finally, knowledge transfer and effective knowledge management takes time. The level of knowledge workers have on any given issue expands with time, as such, an effective knowledge management program must take into account the time necessary to develop and implement such a plan. This paper examines the inherent and structural barriers to effective knowledge management in public sector organizations. In addition, this paper identifies the key components of an effective knowledge management program, as well as, the general process of developing and implementing such a plan.
Keywords: knowledge management, public organizations, knowledge tranfer, information management
JEL Classification: D8, Z00working papers series
Date posted: July 22, 2008 ; Last revised: March 7, 2013
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