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Using Social Media For Institutional Knowledge Transfer

Transferring institutional knowledge is one of the biggest issues any organization faces. I've been a member of the board of the Boston Chapter of the American Marketing Association for many years. In those years spent in and around the chapter, I’ve heard the same concerns about the lack of institutional processes and procedures from every incoming board member. Despite the fact that both the chapter and the AMA on a national basis has seen every instance of committee process before. At the Boston AMA we already have the plans and processes in place; but where is that institutional knowledge located and who is responsible for telling me about those processes?

How does an institution transfer the knowledge of how to work within that institution to new members? That question cannot always be answered unless you understand that the people, who have the institutional knowledge, don't always understand they have knowledge newbies don’t have, and also don’t understand what needs to be done to transfer their knowledge.

The mechanism for transfer is also hindered by the receptivity of the people to whom you are transferring the institutional knowledge. Partly because when coming into an organization, an individual’s first thoughts might not be about how an organization works, and partly because it just takes frequency of education for people to learn what they need to understand.

Two factors affect successful institutional knowledge transfer, 1) frequency, how much is the information needed? And 2) relevancy, is the information still relevant to the members of the institution.

I believe social media offers institutions some tools to creative knowledge about institutions easily, and also gives people the ability to update and amend that knowledge repository quickly.

You can write policies and procedures for managing governance, and require people to read the policies, but do people actually learn what's written in those policies? Instead of only focusing on capturing the knowledge, also think about how you will teach what the information means, and is relevant to newbies entering an organization.

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