Knowledge Management, the Generalist and the Specialist


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Is knowledge management much to do about the dichotomy between the generalist and the specialist.

“The process of Knowledge Management or KM incorporates the desire to expand our range of inquiry with the need to simplify our decisions. ” (Wikipedia).

Simplifying our decisions. We are to decide over more and more disciplines. That is a fact.

Take for example Internet. Below are sumerized six out of the twenty-four categories at ezinearticles dedicated to the subject:

  • Blogging-RSS
  • Affiliate-Revenue
  • Security
  • Podcasting
  • SEO
  • PPC-Advertising
So there are twenty-four categories and each category probably will have its expert. The main expert on the topic. Then you will have authors who will write more about all of the areas.

Now you are managing a company where ten out of the twenty-four expertises are needed in the daily operation. How much should you know as a manager or even as an entrepreneur? You will most certainly not start a business if you do not know the first thing about it. Internet in this case.

But the more you are dealing with growth and the more people you are to direct, the more you must KNOW how to manage - - the knowledge.

The knowledge management function as described here is allocated with the generalist. He or she should know just enough to manage the knowledge of the others in the process.

It is the challenge to concentrate on what you need to know, rather than first trying to know it yourself. (This happens a lot however, and that is not strange if you think about it; you want to KNOW where you are. . . )

For example. Each expert will not only know through (to a certain dept) a specific topic, he or she will also have a certain approach in gathering this knowledge. You can think of someone who needs to examine in dept a certain topic itself, where the same kind of expert would more easily trust on the hint of another guru in the area.

Even amongst specialists there is a big variation in the organizing approach. As a manager you should focus on the process and on matching the different (individual) approaches. Without interfering with the knowledge of the individuals.

© 2005 Hans Bool

Hans Bool is the founder of Astor White a traditional management consulting company that offers online management advice. Astor Online solves issues in hours what normally would take days. You can apply for a free demo account .


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