Executives are faced with challenging economic conditions today. Leadership is the new competitive advantage and the organizations that embrace it will survive, while those that do not will find their organizations facing possible acquisition. Additionally, knowledge management has been a focal point of the executive span of control but has not been associated with leadership enough to make it an integral part of business success. One tool for executives to use when considering lessening the gaps between success and possible failure is to adopt leadership and become a leader. Thus, executives must understand that leadership can effectively lead organizational change to successfully implement the projects of knowledge management and, therefore, remain competitive.
I indicate that to improve knowledge management effectiveness, leaders, and for the sake of this study Leaders, act as change agents who have developed competencies to better deploy corporate strategy. Better use of this organizational factor mediates the relationship between leadership and knowledge management to include aspects that have not been considered by previous studies. I offer a new and unique approach that can be easily adopted in the workplace. I do this by thoroughly looking at the aspects of executive leadership explained in the article: leadership, corporate strategy, and knowledge management.
Corporate strategy includes four dimensions: analysis, pro-activeness, defensiveness, and futurity. Analysis strategy focuses on identifying the best solutions for the organizational problem. Leaders apply this strategy to create more innovative solutions for organizational problems. The pro-activeness strategy emphasizes the effectiveness of long-term decisions. Leaders employ this kind of strategy to develop a vision of adopting more comprehensive information about the future. Defensiveness strategy can also be applied by leaders by taking into account the objectives of the strategic implication that seeks to decrease organizational costs and redundancies. While leaders focus on implementing changes, a defensive strategy can be used to modify the current processes to enhance organizational efficiencies.
The fourth strategy, futurity, incorporates a proactive strategy that identifies the opportunities that are available, but not always addressed in the business, the global environment, and the political regulation changes. This strategy can be also enhanced by leaders as they adopt a strategic posture that inspires employees to identify better opportunities in both the internal and external environments.
Corporate strategy can be employed by leaders to effectively manage organizational knowledge. For example, an analysis strategy could enhance the knowledge creation process by identifying new opportunities in order to provide better alternatives for managers to make a more effective decision. Michael Cohen and Lee Sproull have indicated that the analysis strategy is highly associated with a company’s capacity to create new knowledge. In many ways, a proactive strategy could enhance knowledge transfer by developing interactions with both departmental units and the business environment.
When adopting a more futurity type strategy, leaders can enhance the knowledge utilization process, thereby developing guidelines for future pathways and determine future trends in the external environment and allocate their resources accordingly. Leaders can, therefore, exploit organizational knowledge through embracing the four strategic aspects of analysis, pro-activeness, defensiveness, and futurity.
How Executives Can Use These Findings?
Executives can now see how leadership can cultivate a strong strategy, which will enable knowledge management processes within organizations. This is my experience of working with a team of top-level management consultants in the consulting industry. My experience says that a firm’s ability to enhance knowledge management can be highly affected when executives adopt leadership as the primary form of managing people, resources, and profitability. This article also adds to a relatively small body of literature and develops our understanding of the indirect contribution of leadership in improving knowledge management through better use of corporate strategy.
This study was designed to find if leaders indirectly influence knowledge management by affecting corporate strategy. Previous researchers repeatedly uncovered leadership’s direct impacts on knowledge management. This article articulates a different approach. I simply extended the literature by showing how leaders can also contribute to knowledge management by fostering an effective corporate strategy. This organizational factor coupled with leadership and knowledge management is presented as a new approach for executive implementation.
Mostafa Sayyadi works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies and helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a long-time contributor to business publications and his work has been featured in top-flight business publications.