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The Wealth of Knowledge: Intellectual Capital and the 21st Century Organisation
The Wealth of Knowledge- Intellectual Capital and the 21st Century Organisation
Thomas A. StewartNicholas Brealey Publishing£19.99ISBN- 1857882873
We all know that "knowledge is power" but few of us act as if we really believe it. Thomas Stewart does; he published his first major work on "intellectual capital " four years ago, and has now followed it up with The Wealth of Knowledge.
In the earlier work, he suggested that a company';s intellectual capital is the sum of its human capital (alent), structural capital (intellectual property, methodologies, software, documents, and other knowledge artefacts) and customer capital (client relationships). Knowledge, captured and exploited properly, is at the heart of any business process that can truly be said to "add value". However, "knowledge management" has proved to be an elusive goal.
This book re-engages with the debate on knowledge and "the information age", and once more stresses the importance of knowledge as an organisational resource.
Quoting Peter Drucker, Stewart goes back to work study basics by reminding us that the knowledge economy forces us to ask basic questions of our businesses-
What should we be doing?
What is the valuable knowledge we uniquely possess?
How do we develop and exploit knowledge assets?
How do we improve the efficiency of our knowledge work and knowledge workers?
This book is written in an accessible and witty style and this makes some of the facts and issues easier to engage with. Stewart suggests, for example, that "approximately 610 billion e-mails are sent per year, of which at least one third are cc’d to me". He also concedes that "knowledge management" has become one of the new management fads, and a source of continuing revenue for third-rate consultants.
This is definitely worth a read; it should persuade you that the concepts of intellectual capital management can be used to manage knowledge assets and so gain competitive advantage. It might just open your eyes (and your brain) to some important ideas " ideas which you will have to think through on your own after Stewart's prompting. Now, that cannot be bad, can it?