Defining Knowledge Management

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?

Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

— T. S. Eliot

It is important that we have a clear understanding of what we mean by knowledge and not confuse it with information. In the information age the focus was on the processing of data into information and the control of the flow of information, but in the knowledge era there is a shift in focus to knowledge because of the recognition that knowledge is now the primary source of wealth. Given the importance of this shift it is essential to understand the distinction between information and knowledge, which are often confused for each other. It is also useful to understand the way in which they relate to data and wisdom, therefore the following definitions of these terms:

  • Data are the pure and simple facts without any particular structure or organization, the basic atoms of information,
  • Information is structured data, which adds meaning to the data and gives it context and significance,
  • Knowledge is the ability to use information strategically to achieve one’s objectives, and
  • Wisdom is the capacity to choose objectives consistent with one’s values and within a larger social context.

These definitions lead to the definition of knowledge management:

Knowledge management is the collaborative organizational activity of creating the environment, both attitudinally and technologically, so that knowledge can be assessed, shared and created within an organization in a way that all the experiences and knowledge within the enterprise, including that of all its staff, customers, suppliers and business partners, can be organized to achieve the enterprise’s objectives and reinforce its values.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit, and my Lectures.