Knowledge Crash and Knowledge Management [chapter]

Jean-Louis Ermine
Systems Approaches to Knowledge Management, Transfer, and Resource Development  
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Abstract: Population ageing is a phenomenon that is quite new and irreversible in the history of mankind. Every country, every organisation (public, private, international etc.) is concerned. It is not certain that all the risks and challenges have been clearly identified. Clearly, there is a risk of massive knowledge loss ("Knowledge Crash"), (due, for instance, to massive retirements, but not exclusively for this reason). This risk is surely not evaluated at the
more » ... right level. This article, by including the problem of "Knowledge Crash" in the more general framework of "Knowledge Management", enlarges the concepts of knowledge, generation and knowledge transfer. It proposes a global approach, starting from a strategic analysis of a knowledge capital and ending in the implementation of socio-technical devices for intergenerational knowledge transfer. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++  The phenomenon has never occurred before: this is the first time in the history of mankind that ageing is growing like this, and, according to the UN, the process seems to be irreversible. This phenomenon is worrying a lot of international, national, regional and local social groups, regarding the social, economical, cultural, political consequences. It will certainly change many things for investments, consumers, job markets, pensions, taxes, health, families, real estate, emigration and immigration etc. (Harper, 2006; Kohlbacher, Güttel & Haltmeyer, 2009). A consequence of population ageing is, of course, ageing of the working population. Employment policies (especially for seniors) will greatly change. If nothing is done, the number of retired people will grow rapidly in the next ten years, and conversely the number of employed people will stay constant. According to the OECD"s studies, this will pose a great threat to the prosperity and the competitiveness of countries. Related to competitiveness, population ageing raises an unexpected problem. We now know that we have entered the "Knowledge Economy" where the main competitive advantage is an intangible asset in organisations (private or public), called "knowledge", the definition and the status of which is still being discussed (Foray, 2004) . The massive retirement of a lot of employees is also accompanied by the loss of a lot of knowledge and know-how. The Knowledge Management discipline says that nearly 70% of useful knowledge in companies is tacit. That means that knowledge and know-how are compiled in the employees" brains and are very little elicited by using information bases, documents, databases. There is also a theoretical difficulty to elicit this kind of tacit knowledge. If this knowledge, which is not well
doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-1782-7.ch007 fatcat:c4fhe3h62jdp3ieil2psmjsdgu