Business Knowledge Levels

business knowledge

Some organizational experts divide business knowledge into categories such as individual, group/community, structural/embedded, and organizational. A discussion of each category follows.

In addition, knowledge can be explicit, tacit, or implicit in any of these business knowledge categories. Discussion of these knowledge types appears on another page.

Individual Knowledge

Individual knowledge, the original form of business knowledge, combines formal education and personal experience. Two people may have the same education and experience but retain knowledge differently due to their thoughts and understandings.

Group or Community Knowledge

Communities within organizations are linked by practice. They may share values, language, procedures, expertise, etc.

Groups are sources of learning and knowledge. However, they might not share this learning and knowledge with the rest of the organization, resulting in hoarding knowledge and other reluctance to share.

Structural/Embedded Knowledge

Structural/embedded knowledge is locked in an organization’s processes, products, culture, routines, artifacts, or structures. This makes it difficult to find, understand, replicate, or change. At times, it may be unclear how the embedded knowledge helps the organization. The following diagram depicts examples of structural or embedded knowledge within an organization.

embedded knowledge examples
Examples of Embedded Knowledge

Organizational Knowledge

Organizational knowledge uses some characteristics of the levels of knowledge discussed previously; however, it is also unique. It can supply value to a business. The following diagram depicts organizational knowledge sources.

organizational knowledge sources

Significant portions of organizational knowledge result from employee thoughts and actions. An employee may reference general knowledge. The employee may add personal perspectives and understanding to that knowledge. The result of these actions might be a unique approach to doing business. The issue of ownership depends on when, where, and how an employee created the knowledge.

Source Material

Barnes, S., & Milton, N. (2016). Designing a successful KM strategy: A guide for the knowledge management professional.

Milton, N., & Lambe, P. (2020). The knowledge manager’s handbook: A step-by-step guide to embedding effective knowledge management in your organization (2nd ed.).

O’Dell, C., Grayson, Jr., C. J., & Essalides, N. (1998). If only we knew what we knew: The transfer of internal knowledge and best practice. New York: The Free Press.

Scroll to Top