In KM, one of the reasons we say why we need to capture and share knowledge is that it could walk out the door. It seems though that even when that knowledge has walked out the door, the connection may not. If the parting was indeed on cordial terms, then some organisations still consider the exiting person accessible as a resource, although somewhat less so. A simple phone call to the individual’s mobile phone is all it takes. It appears easier to connect with the individual for JIT answers, as and when the need arises, than to plough through all the documents the person had left behind. While some degree of “thick-skin” has to be exercised here, it has to be said that the benefits work both ways in that the individual could also connect with his ex-colleagues for past information and resources, if these were considered still appropriate for disclosure.
I had visited an office once and found that the fairly senior person I met had been left with several boxes of files which he had inherited from his predecessor three months earlier ie. when he arrived on the job. The boxes were still sealed with masking tape and he said he had not the time to open the boxes to see what was in them. I recall having inherited a whole cabinet of files from a colleague who had resigned, yet although I knew more or less what were in these files, I never had occasion to have to refer to them.
So, is the argument of knowledge walking out the door still valid?
Should KM look for ways to keep connections intact when people leave the organization so that the knowledge is still fairly accessible, rather than to collect it all when they are around?
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