The Right Knowledge Management Is Key To Growing Corporate Learning in Hotels
By Mostafa Sayyadi Management Consultant, The Change Leader Consulting Inc | July 12, 2020
Hotel executives must have an understanding of the concept of knowledge itself. Knowledge is identified as a multi-faceted concept and is distinct from information and data. Knowledge is quite elusive and is changing on a day-to-day basis with discontinued products and the ever changing vast array of technology. Therefore, to counter the above definition of knowledge, knowledge has been defined as a blend of information, experiences and codes.
The key take-away for hotel executives is that knowledge is a resource that enables hotels to solve problems and create value through improved performance and it is this point that will narrow the gaps of success and failure leading to more successful decision-making.
Organizational knowledge cannot merely be described as the sum of individual knowledge, but as a systematic combination of knowledge based on social interactions shared among organizational members. Hotel executives, being more conceptual, agree with scholars who determine organizational knowledge as a collective mind, and explain organizational knowledge as the knowledge that exists in the hotel as a whole.
Most importantly, organizational knowledge is owned and disseminated by the Hotel. To analyze knowledge in hotels, there is an important taxonomy of organizational knowledge that needs to be discussed.
Private and Public Knowledge
Since hotel executives are constantly dealing with the public, the private and public knowledge is something they pay a great deal of attention to. Of course, this is not new but worth mentioning. For example, scholars argue that knowledge in hotels can be categorized as either private or public knowledge and can be advantageous to executive decision-making. Hotel specific knowledge must be guarded and not shared with the competition.
Any leak of such information may expose the hotel and increase the operational risk. Contrary to private knowledge, public knowledge differs in that it is not unique for any hotel. Public knowledge may be an asset and provide potential benefits when posted in social media and other means of communication.
It is important for hotel executives to consider the ownership of knowledge as a factor which is a significant contributor to the knowledge of hotels. Moreover, knowledge emerges in two additional forms, including the knowledge that is only accessible by one hotel and the knowledge that is accessible to all organizations. The best approach to knowledge is for hotel executives to know which knowledge is to remain private and which to go public with. A mistake in this area may be vital to the hotels and hotel executives must choose wisely.
Building Effective Learning Hotels
Knowledge management today, where hotels see themselves in the common challenges, staying in the forefront of competition, distinguishing the industry trends to adapt with the changes, enhancing profitability in the existing market, and targeting new markets. Effective knowledge management creates value for customers by synthesizing and analyzing the current data which facilitate relationship development with customers and providing higher quality services for them.
In this situation, when knowledge management has been highlighted as a critical factor for improving customer focus, hotels need to improve their capabilities in knowledge management to identify and meet customers' needs in today's business environment, where competitors have been trying to attract more customers. Knowledge management, in fact, improves customer satisfaction through acquiring more knowledge of customers, developing relationships with them, and providing higher quality services for them.
Knowledge management is a significant driver for developing corporate learning in hotels. Learning has been defined as a process that will lead to acquiring new insights and knowledge, and consequently provide milestones for the correction of actions and behaviors. Learning manifests itself as a dynamic process of strategic renewal occurring across three levels of the hotel (individual, group, and organization), leading to change in cognitions and behaviors, as well as involving a tension between assimilating new learning and using what has been learned at the organizational level.
Corporate learning is a set of modifying behaviors resulting in newer insight and knowledge, and can develop a better understanding and to gain newer knowledge. Corporate learning focuses on changing existing behaviors with the aim of generating new ideas and knowledge, and is therefore considered to be a key factor to improve a hotel's competitive advantage.
Corporate learning is highly related to various processes of knowledge management, and the effective implementation of knowledge management requires learning and sharing best practices and experiences among employees. Corporate learning has been regarded as the set of actions that intentionally and unintentionally influence positive organizational change, or has even been defined as a dynamic process of creation, acquisition and integration of knowledge aimed at the development of resources and capabilities that contribute to better organizational performance.
Corporate learning consists of four central processes including knowledge intuition, knowledge interpretation, knowledge integration and knowledge institutionalization. In this view, corporate learning emanates from the individual, group and hotel as a organization; and knowledge comes from the explanation of individuals' ideas and beliefs to be shared, and is codified in formal and systematic language. It suggests that corporate learning is associated with various processes of knowledge management, and can propel these processes in hotels.
Knowledge management can also enable corporate learning, and consequently develops learning opportunities in hotels. Effective corporate learning requires various processes such as knowledge acquisition, collaboration, dissemination, sharing, generation, and storage to acquire knowledge within a hotel. Knowledge management improves these processes through various KM-related tools including search engines, social software, and taxonomy tools.
Hence, this section of the article strengthens the idea that there exists a mutual interaction between knowledge management and corporate learning. Thus, I suggest that hotel top managers should employ knowledge management to enhance corporate learning in hotels.
Important Metrics for Evaluating Knowledge Management Effectiveness in Hotels
Knowledge management in hotels can be evaluated by measuring the processes of knowledge accumulating, integrating and networking. Knowledge accumulation is based on the assessment of hotels' capacity to generate new knowledge and exchange organizational knowledge with customers and suppliers. Hotel executives should, therefore, measure the following parameters to evaluate the effectiveness of knowledge accumulation process:
- My hotel is effective in acquiring knowledge about new services within our industry.
- My hotel is effective in benchmarking performance with competitors or industry.
- My hotel is effective in using feedback to improve subsequent practices.
Knowledge integration explores the degree to which accumulated knowledge is actually institutionalized and synthesized for producing higher quality outcomes. Hotel executives should, therefore, measure the following parameters to evaluate the effectiveness of knowledge integration process:
- My hotel is effective in monitoring or controlling organizational knowledge to keep services in line with market requirements.
- My hotel is effective in regularly assessing knowledge requirements according to environmental changes.
- My hotel is effective in linking the knowledge sharing system using various software and programs.
Furthermore, knowledge networking process measures a hotel's initiatives in sharing their knowledge with other organizations. Thus, hotel executives should measure the following parameters to evaluate the effectiveness of knowledge networking process:
- My hotel is effective in creating knowledge alliances with suppliers, customers, or other partners.
- My hotel is effective in sharing knowledge management visions and goals with external partners (such as suppliers and customers or other partners) to develop collaborative activities, shared goals and trust-based relationships with them.
- My hotel is effective in extending (or linking) knowledge related policies or rules (measurement, rewards) with external partners (such as customers, suppliers or other partners).
As a result, the three processes of knowledge management mentioned above, when carried out and measured correctly, can enhance financial performance and profitability for hotels in a knowledge-based economy.
Hotel executives can now realize that knowledge management is the one of most strategic factors for hotels from a competitive standpoint. Knowledge management can positively impact the effectiveness of corporate learning through facilitating knowledge sharing by all executives and employees of the hotel. Knowledge management is highly dependent on stimulating continuous learning within hotels. Hotel executives can also play a crucial role in elevating corporate learning by improving knowledge management to empower employees to pursue organizational goals.
Therefore, I would suggest to hotel executives that, based on a review of the literature on corporate learning and knowledge management, knowledge management is a key player, which positively contributes to corporate learning and competitive advantage. As a consequence, in today's global business environments, hotels will increasingly need more executives to develop corporate learning through managing knowledge and information.
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