A theoretical model for PKM

My focus on PKM developed after an initial personal need and then increased when I saw how personal knowledge management could help others. Cheong, KF 2011, ‘The roles and values of personal knowledge management‘, DBA thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW – now adds some solid research to the field. K.F. (Ricky) Cheong asked the following research questions:

RQ1: What are the roles of PKM in the Knowledge Management Process?

RQ2: What are the values of PKM for individuals and organisations?

RQ3: Is there any correlation between the roles of PKM in Knowledge Management Processes and the values of PKM for individuals and organisations?

RQ4: Is there any correlation between the values of PKM for individuals and the values of PKM for organisations?

Cheong provides this overview of a general definition:

Irrespective of how PKM is defined by different scholars, the key purpose of PKM is to provide a framework for individuals to manage new information, integrate it and enrich each individual knowledge database in an effective manner. Doing this successfully will empower each individual to easily apply their own personal knowledge to deal with new and old problems, to learn from new experience and to create new knowledge. It is a continuous and interactive process which is not independent of other knowledge management processes. (p. 42)

He based the research model and questions on a framework of skills for undergraduates, developed by Susan Avery, “Personal Knowledge Management: Framework for Integration and Partnerships“, presented in 2001.

The literature review in chapter 2 stated that Avery et al. (2001) defined PKM as an overall structured process for intentionally managing information and turning it into useful knowledge. There were seven PKM skills in the proposed PKM framework, namely (1) Retrieving information; (2) Evaluating information; (3) Organising information; (4) Collaborating around information; (5) Analysing information; (6) Presenting information; and (7) Securing information. (p. 233)

Cheong concluded, as I have, that PKM is beneficial on both a personal and organizational level. I am quoted in the thesis, but it is my earlier work, and not the more developed Seek-Sense-Share framework I now use, that shows how important knowledge – sharing is for individuals, organizations, and networks.

In summary, the research findings concluded that PKM has important roles in KM processes (section 5.2.1). The values of PKM were found to have significant contribution (section 5.2.2) in both individual competences and organisational competences. Positive correlations were found between the roles of PKM and their values in contributing to individual competences and organisation competences (section 5.2.3), and also between the values of PKM for individual competences and the values of PKM for organisation competences (section 5.2.4). (p. 259)

Cheong suggests that organizations incorporate PKM into knowledge management, and I  agree, though I have concerns with (3) as it might make PKM less personal and therefore not habitually used by knowledge workers.

The following is a general framework to guide an organisation in its task of implementing their organisational PKM strategy. (p. 264)

(1) Treat PKM Skills as an asset for organisation.
(2) Develop a PKM Skills inventory as part of Human Capital Management.
(3) PKM Skills are part of the performance measurement and reward system.
(4) Develop an individual learning plan to acquire and improve PKM skills.
(5) Leverage on IT based PKM tools to embed individual learning processes into the organisational learning process.

For most PKM practitioners, this is likely too much information, but Cheong does a good job of a fairly extensive literature review and corroborates what many practitioners already know. This work could be useful in getting PKM accepted as a more standard organizational practice, and for that, I thank Ricky K.F. Cheong.

Image: PKM Roles & Values by K.F. Cheong

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