Knowledge Management In The Digital Workplace: Implications And Opportunities

Explicit Knowledge vs Tacit Knowledge

Knowledge is currency at any organization, irrespective of its size or the industry to which it belongs. Knowledge includes traditional data, documents and everything that employees know about one another. There are two categories of knowledge prevalent in the workplace, namely explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge. Explicit data comprises of information, data, records as well as the files that are stored across the organization. It can be managed and consolidated with a relative amount of ease. Tacit knowledge is something that is generated by people and takes the form of dialogue, ideas, feedback and employee experience.  It is difficult to collect and to organize (Rowley and Hartley 2017). Knowledge management is a term that refers to the whole process by which the explicit as well as implicit knowledge are captured, stored and shared (Donate and Pablo 2015). This essay analyzes various scholarly essays on the subject of how knowledge management can help in developing skills and knowledge for the future of a digital workplace. The essay concludes that knowledge management in any workplace is essential, and that it can go a long way in facilitating the adequate and efficient functioning of the digital workplace.

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The relationship between social media and knowledge management must be well understood to know how the latter can be managed, to develop skills and abilities need for the better functioning of a digital workplace. Gerald Kane (2017), refers to the co-relation between knowledge management and social media, arguing how knowledge management, if carried out using social media can enhance the operations of a digital workplace. Kane refers to social media as a diverse and continuously evolving technological infrastructure, which supports as well as transforms the manner in which people communicate with each other and collaborate with one another. For Kane, key social media aspects have undergone a technological revolution over the last ten years, ranging from mobile technologies and cloud computing to data analytics. Kane argues that all these shifts bear distinct implications as far as organizational knowledge management is concerned, and that knowledge management can greatly contribute to the development and adequate functioning of a digital workplace, if it is carried out using social media technology. Kijpokin Kasemsap (2016), argues how communities of practice (COP’s) are capable of creating opportunities of high value for their members for discussing explicitly the whole productivity associated with participating in large or small groups for the purpose of sharing knowledge in a modern business setup. Strong communities of practice or COP’s are those that easily facilitate interactions while also encouraging their members to go ahead and share important ideas and useful knowledge in the workplace. The communities of practice promote activities for sharing knowledge that make it possible for their members to meet on a regular basis, to reflect as well as to progress and development within a knowledge management ambience. In fact Kasemsap specifically argues that using communities of practice for facilitating knowledge sharing can bring about an improvement in organizational performance and assist in the accomplishment of strategic goals in a digital age.

The Role of Knowledge Management in Developing Skills for the Future of the Digital Workplace

A look at how media technologies play a role in knowledge management so as to facilitate better functioning of a digital workplace, is quite essential. El Ouirdi et al. (2015), also highlight the importance of using social media technologies for knowledge management so that it enables the growth of skills and knowledge that can facilitate the better functioning of a digital workplace. They use theory based research and mixed method approaches to state how vital the use of social media can be for knowledge management at a workplace characterized by advanced levels of digitalization. Mantymaki and Riemer (2016), use a mixed method approach as well to analyze the value and use of what is known as enterprise social networking for knowledge management in a digital workplace. They identify five important uses of enterprise social networking, namely, informal talk, task management, updates and events, work discussion and ideas and problem solving, arguing that enterprise social networking facilitates interactions, while also offering significant spaces for knowledge creation. They specifically state that enterprise social networking has definite advantages over discussion forums and information repositories by making it possible for users to go ahead meet all their work related and social related goals in simultaneous fashion.  

New systems of knowledge management are in existence that can definitely enable the proper and efficient functioning of the digital workplace. Campatelli et al. (2016) refer to the creation and use of what they term as knowledge management prototype to generate skills necessary for the efficient functioning of a digital workplace. Such a prototype they argue is one that is aimed specifically for problem solving and training and also for facilitating the discovery of, the acquisition of and the sharing of different types of knowledge. The authors carried out a thorough evaluation of this prototype of knowledge management through their research. They conclude that the skills and work satisfaction levels of employees are capable of increasing by a considerable extent as a knowledge management system enables better problem solving as it locates better solutions for all observed defects. Gabriele Santoro et al. (2017), highlight how the internet of things, is a process that can offer businesses with new opportunities for improving knowledge management and enabling the growth of skills for developing a digital workplace. They argue that the knowledge management system is one that creates a collaborative and open ecosystem, which in turn improves the innovation capacity by actually exploiting different knowledge flows. The authors specifically argue that new disruptive technologies are bringing about a huge transformation in the ways by which the knowledge is easily managed in a business organization. They call for an inventive as well as new system for knowledge management, which is characterized by an open approach, and which is capable of fostering knowledge flows. For them, this is a pattern that should bring about certain development in a firms capacity for internal knowledge management, something that serves as an important pre-requisite anyway of a firm’s innovativeness.

The Correlation between Knowledge Management and Social Media Technologies

Mohammadyari and Singh (2015), attempts to understand the specific role that digital literacy plays in affecting the use of electronic learning for professional development. They conduct their research on New Zealand accountants, inquiring about their use of web 2.0 tools like wikis and blogs as well as podcasts and argue that digital literacy is something that has quite a significant impact on the performance as well as effort expectations of users. They state explicitly that performance expectations affect continuance intentions, and this in turn affects performance. They conclude therefore that the more digitally literate a person is in a business organization, the better will be this person’s performance at the professional level. Individual digital literacy is something that facilitates the use of e-learning or digital knowledge management and should be considered always when looking to examine the impact that e-learning or digital knowledge management has on performance. Kick et al. (2015), point out how reliance on different forms of digital communication is something that can affect greatly all future workplace relationships. The researchers argue that employees in a business organization are more than just aware of the strong impact that any digital communication is capable of having on the presence of a general population during all types of face to face interactions. They state very clearly through their findings, that the reliance that Generation Z has on the use of social media is something that can influence their capability of using inter-personal communication skills for establishing constructive relationships with future employers and work supervisors.

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While the literature discussed mentions clearly how social media platforms and technologies and new knowledge management systems like the internet of things and knowledge management prototypes can be used to manage knowledge and enable good functioning of a digital workplace, there is little or no mention on how to deal with the challenges that can arise when using such new technologies and systems. This is subject that needs further research and debate.


Thus, there is a good body of work available on the manner in which knowledge management can generate the kind of skills and knowledge that is necessary for the suitable and efficient functioning and development of a digital workplace. From social media tools to other forms of digital technologies there are many different ways by which knowledge can be managed, and digital learning facilitated, thereby creating the skills and abilities needed at the workplace in this digital day and age.


Campatelli, G., Richter, A. and Stocker, A., 2016. Participative knowledge management to empower manufacturing workers. International Journal of Knowledge Management (IJKM), 12(4), pp.37-50.

Donate, M.J. and de Pablo, J.D.S., 2015. The role of knowledge-oriented leadership in knowledge management practices and innovation. Journal of Business Research, 68(2), pp.360-370

El Ouirdi, A., El Ouirdi, M., Segers, J. and Henderickx, E., 2015. Employees’ use of social media technologies: a methodological and thematic review. Behaviour & Information Technology, 34(5), pp.454-464.

Kane, G.C., 2017. The evolutionary implications of social media for organizational knowledge management. Information and organization, 27(1), pp.37-46.

Kasemsap, K., 2016. Utilizing communities of practice to facilitate knowledge sharing in the digital age. In Organizational knowledge facilitation through communities of practice in emerging markets (pp. 198-224). IGI Global

Kick, A.L., Contacos-Sawyer, J. and Thomas, B., 2015, July. How Generation Z’s reliance on digital communication can affect future workplace relationships. In Competition Forum (Vol. 13, No. 2, p. 214). American Society for Competitiveness

Mäntymäki, M. and Riemer, K., 2016. Enterprise social networking: A knowledge management perspective. International Journal of Information Management, 36(6), pp.1042-1052.

Mohammadyari, S. and Singh, H., 2015. Understanding the effect of e-learning on individual performance: The role of digital literacy. Computers & Education, 82, pp.11-25.

Rowley, J. and Hartley, R., 2017. Organizing knowledge: an introduction to managing access to information. Routledge

Santoro, G., Vrontis, D., Thrassou, A. and Dezi, L., 2017. The internet of things: building a knowledge management system for open innovation and knowledge management capacity. Technological Forecasting and Social Change.