Knowledge Management in the Public Sector


A public institution is a juristic person  which is controlled by the state. Typically, a public institution will have a board of trustees who govern the institution and the members of the board are public officials who are appointed by the state (typically a person in the executive branch such as a state governor) for a fixed term of years.

Public institutions, like private companies are faced with increasing demands when it comes to improving service quality and productivity. In law, whether an institution is public or private determines how bound the institution is to the requirements for civil rights to which the state must conform (

Efficiency is accomplishment of or ability to accomplish a job with a minimum expenditure of time and effort. The ability of public institutions to be efficient depends on many factors including clearly defined objectives, less bureaucratic hurdles, flatter administrative structures, effective systems and a highly skilled motivated workforce. The challenge to public institutions is how to get highly skilled motivated workforce to implement tactics and programmes to achieve these objectives in an efficient manner. Knowledge Management (KM) is a means of improving and overcoming this challenge.

KM comprises a range of practices used in an organisation to identify, create, represent, distribute and enable adoption of insights and experiences. Such insights and experiences comprise knowledge, either embodied in individuals or embedded in organisational processes or practice (Becerra-Fernandez et al., 2004).

Knowledge Management efforts typically focus on organisational objectives such as improved performance, competitive advantage, innovation, the sharing of lessons learned, and continuous improvement of the organisation. KM efforts overlap with Organisational Learning, and may be distinguished from it by a greater focus on the management of knowledge as a...