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October 18, 2005

Knowledge Management Lives!

Good news for knowledge management fans. In the latest Bain & Company survey of management tools, knowledge management has prospered somewhat. It’s not quite as popular as, say, strategic planning (the perennially most popular management tool in the Bain survey), but it’s moving up. 54% of companies in the survey said they used knowledge management, which was exactly the mean level of usage for 25 different management tools. It’s more likely to be used than such tools as EVA, loyalty management, and Six Sigma. Knowledge management was below the mean in satisfaction levels among companies that have used it, but its satisfaction level is improving over the 2003 survey, when it had the lowest satisfaction scores of any tool. Loyalty management has replaced KM at the bottom of the satisfaction ranks—and that’s still a good idea—so I’m not worried about knowledge. You can download the full text of the study at www.bain.com/management_tools/home.asp

Further evidence of KM’s long lifespan comes from a “bibliometric” study by Mike Koenig, a professor at Long Island University, and Len Ponzi, a former doctoral student of his. They note that unlike a lot of management fads, the use of the term “knowledge management” in print media has not fallen over time but continues to rise—at least by 2003, when their study ended. Most new management notions have a brief lifespan, but KM keeps growing. Larry Prusak and I suggested that this was the case in our book What’s the Big Idea, but it’s nice to have some data about it.

Posted by Tom Davenport on October 18, 2005 05:55 PM | Permalink

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I guess I am the first person to post a comment to your blog. But I came across it from your website after browsing around the web and reading a recent Business Week article in which you commented in. And I see you have a new book out and I'll probably pick a copy up off amazon.

Posted by: Rich B | November 1, 2005 12:05 AM

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