Factors affecting your knowledge environment

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —October 17, 2007
Filed in Strategy

One of the aims of a knowledge strategy is to design a set of activities to enhance an organisation’s knowledge environment. The knowledge environment includes all the factors, both within and outside an organisation, which might affect the creation, sharing and use of knowledge. The list of factors is potentially limitless but experience has shown that many of the important factors can be clumped together under 7 headings.

1. Support – what support does knowledge management have within the organisation? Do the executives believe it’s valuable? Are resources set aside for knowledge management? Are roles established to support knowledge management initiatives? Is there a clear link between the business strategy and the knowledge strategy (better still, does the organisation have a knowledge focussed business strategy?)?

2. Technology – what technology is available to support the creation, sharing and use of knowledge? How well is this technology used? What technology should be introduced? Are the practices to use the technology well developed?

3. Organisation and people – How are people organised? What structures exists? What characterises the organisational culture? What types of people are employed? How much churn is there? Is knowledge management a recognised and desirable competency?

4. Routines, rituals and recognition – Are their processes and systems in place that regularly connect people, engage them in conversation and help share what people know? Is it normal to conduct after action reviews, peer assists and lesson learning sessions throughout the life of projects? Does the organisation celebrate good knowledge behaviours?

5. Information – Are information principles well known and followed? Is information well managed, findable, accessible and meaningful?

6. External – What drivers outside the organisation might affect how knowledge will be created, sourced, shared and used?

7. Spaces – How are people and workplaces arranged? Are there physical barriers to knowledge flow? Are their places to collaborate, think, focus and socialise?

Are there other questions you think should be asked?

About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:


  1. Joitske says:

    What I find important is to look at all these at the level of individuals, teams, CoPs and the whole organisation. How is learning and sharing supported at all these levels? Individuals learning does not become team learning without the appropriate support processes.

  2. saunders says:

    It is good to see you posting on this topic, I have to bookmark this web site. Just keep up the good work.

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