Culture is the resource that builds upon the foundations that helps organizations prosper. Edgar Schein, one of the prominent management scholars, describes corporate culture as a pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration that has worked well enough to be considered valid, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems. Corporate culture is reflected in shared assumptions, symbols, beliefs, values, and norms that specify how employees understand problems and appropriately react to them.
Executives can manifest themselves as change agents who manipulate corporate culture with the aim of improving knowledge management. Organizational culture includes three dimensions of collaboration, trust, and learning. Executives can facilitate collaboration by developing relationships in organizations. Executive can contribute to the cultural aspect of trust, through considering both employee’s individual interests and the company’s essential needs. Also, executives identify the individual needs of their employees and develop a learning culture by intellectually stimulating them to generate new knowledge and share it with others. Executives can, therefore, highly manipulate a firm’s culture to conform to the needs and expectations of strategic goals and objectives.
Knowledge management is enhanced by providing further opportunities and information sharing. Executives can enhance knowledge sharing by providing access to knowledge, and stimulate new ideas and knowledge generation, transfer an individual’s knowledge to other members and departments and improve knowledge capturing, storing, and accumulating, aiming at achieving organizational goals. Executives can propel knowledge sharing in the company to generate more innovative ideas and solutions for new and demanding issues that come up constantly in our hypercompetitive economic environment. In doing this, executives can build a strong corporate culture to share experiences gained by imitating, observing, and practicing.
Executives have found that corporate culture impacts knowledge management through facilitating knowledge sharing throughout all levels of the organization. Corporate culture focuses on defining and recognizing core knowledge areas, sharing organizational knowledge, and scanning for new knowledge to keep the quality of their product or services continuously improving. Therefore, corporate culture is an essential requirement of corporate leaning by which knowledge is shared among people.
Particularly, the three cultural aspects of collaboration, trust, and learning play a critical role in enhancing the effectiveness of corporate leaning. For example, collaboration provides a shared understanding of the current issues and problems among employees, which helps to generate new ideas within organizations. Trust towards their leader’s decisions is a necessary precursor to creating new knowledge. The key is for executives to inculcate a culture of trust and transparency of knowledge sharing within organizations so that information can be found and used instantaneously.
Moreover, the amount of time spent learning is positively related to the amount of knowledge gained, shared, and implemented. Therefore, executives can reshape, and in some cases, manipulate corporate culture to facilitate corporate leaning within departmental and business units of organizations. Executives can now see how corporate culture constitutes the foundation of a supportive workplace to share and synthesize organizational knowledge and subsequently limit the gaps between success and possible failure.
Furthermore, executives have found that knowledge management as modifying behaviors resulting in newer insight and knowledge. Changing the existing behaviors of followers generating new knowledge, and is, therefore, a key factor in improving a firm’s competitive advantage. This is a fact but it happens through the way talented employees are managed by executives. Why is this, you may ask? Because knowledge management is a process that leads to acquiring new insights and knowledge, and potentially to correct sub-optimal or ineffective actions and behaviors that cause companies to spiral out of control.
Executives need to first support this approach for knowledge management because talent management in organizations is the ultimate outcome of the knowledge management by which knowledge is created and acquired. This is done by connecting knowledge with others that want to share successes and failures. This leads to converting acquired knowledge into organizational processes and activities to improve or discontinue processes that either contribute or inhibit success. Many executives see talent management as an outcome of various factors such as knowledge management and a climate inspiring innovation and creativity within organizations. However, a more comprehensive approach needs to be introduced to put together the various aspects of potential contributions to talent management.
Knowledge management requires various processes such as knowledge acquisition, collaboration, dissemination, sharing, generation, and storage to acquire knowledge within an organization. A question remains, how can we establish the relationship between knowledge management and talent management? Well, there are scholars that highlight the strategic role of knowledge management in enhancing the effectiveness of talent management. For example, one scholar by the name of Bayyavarapu in the University of Western Ontario suggests a learning-based approach to talent management to understand how knowledge management is related to various practices of talent management. More importantly, the effective implementation of talent management requires the sharing of best practices and experiences among employees.
Knowledge management improves organizational processes by sharing knowledge that can increase both follower engagement and personal development. Executives can, in fact, enhance knowledge management when they would like to concentrate on sharing knowledge to empower followers in order to build a learning climate. Most importantly, in knowledge management, knowledge is managed through “learning by doing” which is more engaging. Executives around the globe realize that they play a critical role to achieve the best learning climate and for improving knowledge management that creates learning and growing the organization.
Engaging followers and getting them to participate in knowledge management activities is an important part of talent management. Thus, knowledge management positively impacts the effectiveness of talent management through facilitating knowledge sharing by all executives and employees of the organization. Shared knowledge can contribute to the development of a learning organization in which people continuously grow and develop both personally and professionally. Executives require people who are engaged and inspired to meet the demands of day-to-day operations.
For now, executives can develop conducive learning climates that foster collaboration and knowledge management in which knowledge is shared and exploited. Unshared knowledge is like lettuce in the refrigerator—if eaten and shared, everyone enjoys it, if not, it could go bad and not have any use. Executives found that shared knowledge enables companies to improve knowledge management, and that talent management is highly dependent on stimulating continuous learning within organizations. Thus, executives play a crucial role in elevating talent management by enhancing knowledge management to empower employees to pursue organizational goals.
The following figure provides a snapshot of how executives steering corporate culture enhance knowledge management and talent management.
In conclusion, insufficient consideration of the impact of knowledge management on the organization’s talent management has been also exposed. Thus, I suggest that scholars take our ideas and continue to conduct research using executives as the focal point so that academic scholarship can meet the needs of managerial implications at the higher echelons of organizations worldwide.
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.