ISO 30401:2018/Amd 1:2022

Knowledge management systems


0.1 Purpose
The purpose of this ISO management system standard for knowledge management is to support organizations to develop a management system that effectively promotes and enables value-creation through knowledge.
Knowledge management is a discipline focused on ways that organizations create and use knowledge. Knowledge management has no single accepted definition and no global standards predate this management system standard. There are many well-known barriers to successful knowledge management which still need to be overcome, many confusions with other disciplines such as information management, and many common misconceptions about how to do knowledge management, for example, the view that simply buying a technology system will be enough for knowledge management to add value.
Each organization will craft a knowledge management approach, with respect to its own business and operational environment, reflecting its specific needs and desired outcomes
The intent of this course is to set sound knowledge management principles and requirements
  • a) as guidance for organizations that aim to be competent in optimizing the value of organizational knowledge;
  • b) as a basis for auditing, certifying, evaluating, and recognizing such competent organizations by internal and external recognized auditing bodies.
0.2 The importance of knowledge management
  • a) The aim of work is to produce valuable results. Valuable results are derived from applied knowledge. Organizational knowledge is becoming a key differentiator for effectiveness, increased collaboration, and competition.
  • b) Knowledge work is increasingly important in many societies and organizations. Many economies aspire to become knowledge economies, where knowledge is the main source of wealth. In this context, knowledge becomes a core asset for organizations. Knowledge is especially important in many areas: it allows effective decisions to be made, supports the efficiency of processes and contributes to their enhancement, creates resilience and adaptability, creates competitive advantage, and may even become a product in its own right.
  • c) increased access to knowledge will create opportunities for the professional development of people in the organization through learning, practices, and exchanges.
  • d) Organizations can no longer rely on the spontaneous diffusion of knowledge to keep up with the pace of change. Instead, knowledge must be deliberately created, consolidated, applied, and reused faster than the rate of change.
  • e) Geographically dispersed and decentralized organizations, conducting the same processes and delivering the same services in multiple locations, can gain tremendous advantages through sharing practices, expertise, and learning across organizational boundaries.
  • f) Workforce attrition and turnover in today's society have implications for knowledge management. In many organizations, critical knowledge is often siloed and/or retained by experts, at the risk of being lost when the organization changes or these experts leave.
  • g) Effective knowledge management supports collaboration between different organizations to achieve shared objectives.
Knowledge is an intangible organizational asset that needs to be managed like any other asset. It needs to be developed, consolidated, retained, shared, adapted, and applied so that workers can make effective decisions and take aligned actions, solving problems based on the experience of the past and new insights into the future. Knowledge management is a holistic approach to improving learning and effectiveness through optimization of the use of knowledge, in order to create value for the organization. Knowledge management supports existing processes and development strategies. As such, it needs to be integrated with other organizational functions.
0.3 Guiding principles
  • a) Nature of knowledge: knowledge is intangible and complex; it is created by people.
  • b) Value: knowledge is a key source of value for organizations to meet their objectives. The determinable value of knowledge is in its impact on organizational purpose, vision, objectives, policies, processes, and performance. Knowledge management is a means of unlocking the potential value of knowledge.
  • c) Focus: knowledge management serves the organizational objectives, strategies, and needs.
  • d) Adaptive: there is no one knowledge management solution that fits all organizations within all contexts. Organizations may develop their own approach to the scope of knowledge and knowledge management and how to implement these efforts, based on the needs and context.
  • e) Shared understanding: people create their own knowledge by their own understanding of the input they receive. For shared understanding, knowledge management should include interactions between people, using content, processes, and technologies where appropriate.
  • f) Environment: knowledge is not managed directly; knowledge management focuses on managing the working environment, thus nurturing the knowledge lifecycle.
  • g) Culture: culture is critical to the effectiveness of knowledge management.
  • h) Iterative: knowledge management should be phased, incorporating learning and feedback cycles.
0.4 Range of knowledge management
Knowledge management varies between different organizations.
Annex A explains the range, viewing the various states of knowledge as a continuum.
Annex B explains knowledge management areas of interest, comparing them with adjacent disciplines.
0.5 Summary
This course defines the requirements for knowledge management systems in organizations, promising successful implementation of knowledge management. This course, however, maintains flexibility within the context of the requirements that enable conformity for every type of organization and alignment with all characteristics and needs.


This course sets requirements and provides guidelines for establishing, implementing, maintaining, reviewing, and improving an effective management system for knowledge management in organizations. All the requirements of this document are applicable to any organization, regardless of its type or size, or the products and services it provides.


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