Intellectual Capital and Knowledge Management 3/3

Intellectual Capital became popular in the early and mid 1990s. It is an instructive

aside to point out that knowledge management has exploded so rapidly that we

can already speak of its predecessor of only a few years ago in the past tense.

Intellectual Capital represents the awareness that information is a factor of

production, as economists would phrase it, in a category with land, labor, capital

and energy“.1 In the early and mid 1990s there was an increasing awareness in the

business community that knowledge was an important organizational resource

that needed to be nurtured, sustained, and if possible accounted for.

Intellectual capital is the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association. It is also the ideas or understandings which an entity possesses that are used to take effective action to achieve the entity’s goal(s). This intellectual capital is specific to the entity which created it.

Knowledge Management is now becoming the hottest topic to hit librarianship in

the last quarter century. It may well surpass online searching, the previous record

hot topic. There are various definitions for Knowledge Management – one good

one is „the broad process of locating, organizing, and transferring, and using the

information and expertise within an organization“, another is „the process of

capturing a company’s collective expertise“.

Knowledge management is in effect being presented as the antidote to the trust

lost and to the knowledge lost in ill conceived and ill executed rightsizings when

valuable employees were let go, with their knowledge going with them, and with a

reservoir of mistrust and insecurity left behind.

Guidelines for the Librarian

 Some guidelines for use in Seeking a Larger Role in Knowledge Management:                                                   

– You can make a contribution in regard to tacit knowledge (a hot topic), but

describe your potential role as enhancing access to it. Be very careful about

suggesting that you will capture it and organize it. Don’t get tarred with the

brush of artificial intelligence.

– Emphasize knowledge sharing and collaboration.

 – Use the Knowledge Capital Components metaphor:

Knowledge Resources + Social Capital + Infrastructure

 Librarians certainly have major contributions to make in both knowledge

resources and in infrastucture. In social capital, the library is often perceived

as a neutral and non threatening institution in which one may place one’s


– Knowledge Management will be an exiting process. It is not something we

want to be left out of. For a librarian to be left out of the knowledge

management may well result in being left out of the organization. That may

sound dire, and it is, but it is the flip side of great opportunity.

Knowledge management and intellectual capital are not one and the same, contrary to what is implied by some of the literature. Some overlap is apparent, but the relationship is far from simple and clearly justifies exploration. Early attempts at alignment perceived KM as the implementation, as IC promotes value- i.e. acknowledgment, reporting assets etc.


Intellectual capital رأس المال الفكري

If you like more, try to read one of the articles in Arabic about this issue


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