By Dr. Scott M. Shemwell

Volume 6 Number 6—March 28, 2017

“The Codification of Knowledge is a mechanism for the creation of Explicit knowledge.”[i] Wikipedia goes on to state, “that can be readily articulated, codified, accessed and verbalized. It can be easily transmitted to others. Most forms of explicit knowledge can be stored in certain media. The information contained in encyclopedias and textbooks are good examples of explicit knowledge.”[ii]

Today, some are taking the next step in the codification process. For example, in our design document for the forth coming Serious Game, Cross Cultural Negotiation Game we state, “Individuals learn. Organizations learn only as a product of collective individual transformation. However, there is no question that organizational sustainability rests on the codification of individual knowledge that can be passed on to others.”[iii]

Circa 1990, the construct of Knowledge Management (KM) was born and loosely defined as a business process. Later that decade KM was extended to more inclusively include the use of information management systems to enable this process. Today, we commonly think of KM from an IT perspective.[iv]

At the dawn of this century, organizations began wrestling with Knowledge Transfer.[v] That struggle continues.

Therefore, we submit that for organizations it is, “Not Knowledge Transfer but Knowledge Availability” that is important.[vi] Organizational explicit knowledge must be available in a form that users can digest, utilize and improve upon.

In a previous edition of this blog, we embedded a Supply and Demand Calculator (available herein) in the text.[vii] This is a simple model of the knowledge codification process. This explicit knowledge is made available in a manner that is immediately useable by the reader in the context of that discussion.

For years, in addition to manufacturing, professional services such as tax preparation, IT outsourcing et al have been “offshored” to lower cost geographic regions. More recently, for a number reason some of that business has returned to their “home” countries.[viii]

This does not suggest that the home countries are becoming low cost regions. The implication is that the Total Cost of offshoring has increased. The other implication is that other means of reducing costs must be found.

Most if not all business and technical processes are essentially workflows. Once a workflow has been identified, it can be codified. From one perspective, this is a high value component of the Digitization Transformation underway.[ix]

Expect more knowledge to be available in the form of software/Apps. Consumers prefer this media for the delivery of explicit knowledge. This business model also lowers the organization’s cost structure.

How Available is Your Organization’s Knowledge?

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About the Author

Dr. Scott M. Shemwell has over 30 years technical and executive management experience primarily in the energy sector. He is the author of six books and has written extensively about the field of operations. Shemwell is the Managing Director of The Rapid Response Institute, a firm that focuses on providing its customers with solutions enabling Operational Excellence and regulatory compliance management. He has studied cultural interactions for more than 30 years—his dissertation; Cross Cultural Negotiations Between Japanese and American Businessmen: A Systems Analysis (Exploratory Study) is an early peer reviewed manuscript addressing the systemic structure of societal relationships.

End Notes



[iii] The Rapid Response Institute. (2017) Preliminary Design Document: Cross Cultural Negotiation Game. Version 2.0.



[vi] Term coined by Robert T. Dowlearn during phone conversation with the author (March 2017).

[vii] Shemwell, Scott M. (2017, February 14). No Longer Relevant. PennEnergy Governing Energy. Vol.6 No. 3



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