Knowledge Management is in fact an ongoing cyclical process that moves through each of these identified processes. To illustrate this, consider the following example:
At an informal meeting of sales staff, discussion is focusing on a particular large customer. Apparently there has been an organisational restructure in the customer company and new staff have been appointed. This knowledge was gathered when one of the sales staff visited the company
The knowledge cycle commences again as new tacit knowledge is developed and new business opportunities are identified and acted
How organisations learn
This concept of ongoing knowledge development is central to the idea that organisations can 'learn'. When someone asks 'why do we do that', a common reply is 'because we always have'. This response is based on embedded procedures and processes. These procedures and processes may have developed over a period of time, and may even have developed from the codifying of tacit knowledge into explicit procedure. However, without the ability to change and adapt, the organisation will continue to apply the old procedures, even though the process may no longer be of value to the organisation and its strategic direction.
For example one process of competitor analysis could be the monitoring of key competitors through newspaper reports. Traditionally an organisation may have in place an internal procedure of someone manually scanning the newspapers and cutting relevant articles for distribution to key staff. This could continue as an established procedure, when in fact it could be better to purchase a commercial newspaper clipping service that will scan print and electronic news feeds for you.