Knowledge management within the pyrometallurgical industry
Van Beek, Willem Schalk Burger
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The aim of this study is to provide a theoretical background on the knowledge management principles required in determining the current state of knowledge management within the Pyrometallurgical industry. Emphasis is placed on identifying initiatives that is required for embedding tacit knowledge within an organisation. Knowledge is what people know and there is no knowledge without someone knowing it. Knowledge can be present in ideas, judgement, relationships and concepts. Unlike data and information, knowledge is never static but is continually shaped inside peoples' heads through experience, reasoning and the inflow of new stimuli. Tacit knowledge is the information about work processes and products that individuals hold above and beyond what organisations has documented. It is the "tricks of the trade" that promote smooth organisational functioning, overall know-how, and competitive advantage. In order to ensure that an organisation maintains its competitive advantage, special focus must be placed on tacit knowledge management. The state of knowledge management within the Pyrometallurgical industry in South Africa was assessed in the use of survey questionnaires. The Pyrometallurgical industry has still got a long way to go in order to ensure that the tacit knowledge is embedded within their organisations. Key areas of concerns are the lack of experienced mentors as well as enough resources in order to foster tacit knowledge transfer. A practical tacit knowledge management framework is proposed in order to assist management in looking after this critical asset of their organisation.
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