Organization Knowledge

There is no wealth like knowledge and no poverty like ignoranceGautam Buddha


Knowledge solves problems– problems in life that can be solved with the power of knowledge. Knowledge sharpens our skills like reasoning and problem-solving. A strong base of knowledge helps brains function more smoothly and effectively. We become smarter with the power of knowledge and solve problems more easily.

Knowledge is important and useful in day-to-day events. For example, if I have to buy air tickets online, I need to have knowledge about the various sites and their discounts, their terms & conditions or online banking. If I don’t have knowledge then I end up paying more. So, gaining knowledge is a constant process and is useful every single day.  


There are 3 key components: Data, Information and Knowledge. Data is the lowest point, an unstructured collection of facts and figures; Information is the next level, and it is regarded as structured data; finally, Knowledge is defined as “information about information.” Organizational knowledge is, in the end, key to the ability of a business to deliver within its organizational context.

In this blog, we’ll explore ways to understand knowledge, why it is important for the organization and what can be done to retain it.

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Competence (ISO 9000: 2015, Cl 3.10.4): Ability to apply knowledge and skills to achieve intended results

Skill (ISO 30401: 2018, Cl 3.30): Learned capacity to perform a task to a specified expectation

Knowledge (ISO 30401: 2018, Cl 3.25): Human or organizational asset enabling effective decisions and actions in the context

Detailed Information

As per the definition of Competence, Knowledge and Skill are the subsets of Competence.

Purpose of managing organization knowledge:

It is a broad requirement directed primarily at ensuring the organization either has or obtains the knowledge necessary to respond to

  • changing business environments (Clause 4.1: Understanding the organization and its context) 
  • changing customer and relevant interested party needs and expectations (Clause 4.2: Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties)
  • Initiate improvement initiatives (Clause 10.3: Continual Improvement)
  • Understanding of the top management (Clause 9.3: Management Review)
  • Documentation and communication of the organizational knowledge and how it is maintained & retained (Clause 7.5 – Documented Information).

PDCA Cycle:

  1. Determine the knowledge necessary for the operation of processes and for achieving
    • conformity of products and services
    • determine knowledge of customer expectations and requirements and of particular production and service-provision processes
    • plan how they can achieve the identified goals and objectives by means of training, learning on the job, or e-learning


  1. Maintain knowledge: Organizations wishing to avoid risks when the employees leave the company or refusing to share their experience and know-how represent a major risk of loss of knowledge.
    • make it available to the extent necessary
    • to collect and maintain the available know-how
  2. Compare the changing needs and trends with the current organizational knowledge.
  • evaluate new knowledge, such as that communicated in training
  • interview employees on their status of knowledge where appropriate
  • identify opportunities for improvement
  • monitoring changes in the market or in technology and analyzing the extent to which they influence the knowledge that the organization requires


  1. Acquire the necessary additional knowledge: Depending on the individual situation, companies may further
    • enhance their relations with clients, suppliers, and service providers or
    • improve their mechanisms for keeping their organizational knowledge secure
    • to renew the validity of functions critical for knowledge
    • improve the protection of existing know-how by filing patents.
    • in-house training
    • use external sources including newsletters, specialist magazines, memberships in associations, or important partnerships to expand their knowledge.

Example: Changes in the standard as per market scenarios like cyber security and pandemic as an additional part of contingency planning

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Sources of knowledge: Internal and External:

Sources of internal knowledge also include

  • business’s intellectual property
  • knowledge gained from experience and coaching
  • lessons learned from failures and successes
  • capturing and sharing undocumented knowledge and experience
  • the results of improvements in processes, products and services

Sources of External knowledge also include

  • Knowledge from conferences, attending trade fairs, networking seminars, or other external events
  • Gathering knowledge from customers, suppliers and partners
  • Benchmarking against competitors
  • ISO/International standards
  • research papers
  • webinars, conferences

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Example: Organization Knowledge

  7.1.6 Requirements Organization: Automotive Tier 1

Process: New Product Development

1 What knowledge is necessary here? Design Software

Project Management


Legal Requirements

2 How is this knowledge maintained within the organization? Documented Procedure, Work Instructions, Training materials, skill matrix, and training records
3 How is it made available? Intranet, Hard Copy
4 Are there any changing needs/trends? Changes in the technology like use of IoT (Internet of Things), AI-Artificial Intelligence, Electric Vehicle, Traceability requirements, Recall policy, e-Waste policy, new design software
5 Is any additional knowledge required for (S.No. 4)? How is this to be acquired/accessed? Knowledge about Legal requirements, latest technology, government policies, training about new design software
6 Required updates? What is now happening in the market, changing customer/consumer expectations, and government policies in the coming 10 years

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Industry Challenges:

  • How often the top management gives importance to identifying and retaining the knowledge?
  • How often does the top management analyze the risk of losing resourceful personnel in comparison to hirings a new person?


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ISO 9001: 2015

ISO 9002: 2016

ISO 9004: 2018

IATF 16949: 2016

Industry Experts

This is the 165th article of this Quality Management series. Every weekend, you will find useful information that will make your Management System journey Productive. Please share it with your colleagues too.

In the words of Albert Einstein, “The important thing is never to stop questioning.” I invite you to ask anything about the above subject. Questions and answers are the lifeblood of learning, and we are all learning. I will answer all questions to the best of my ability and promise to keep personal information confidential.

Your genuine feedback and response are extremely valuable. Please suggest topics for the coming weeks.

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