Corporate Knowledge - Who Owns the Knowledge at the Company? Does It Belong to the Company or the Employee? | WebOrigo Blog

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Corporate Knowledge - Who Owns the Knowledge at the Company? Does It Belong to the Company or the Employee?

Feltöltés dátuma:

The hiring of well-trained employees is extremely important in the life of a company. If an employee is not skilled enough and does not have the knowledge to do the job, the results of his or her work will be of lower quality than would normally be expected, and the specific task may not even be completed. Of course, employers are trying to avoid this, but no matter how colorful a resume is, the existence of the actual knowledge will be revealed during practice.

Suppose an employee is appropriately skilled and even over-qualified. The company decides to hire and he or she starts to work. Within days, it is visible that he or she is an excellent workforce and, after a short time, has already developed processes for each procedure that have significantly increased the efficiency of the company. Employees often turn to him or her for help, for even though he or she has taught or passed on the knowledge, he or she knows best how to apply it to achieve full effectiveness.


The question arises: who possesses the knowledge that was necessary for the employee to achieve such efficiency? The company or the employee? What do we call knowledge whatsoever?


Knowledge is an ability and/or competence based on theory but specified and accumulated during practice. From the employee's point of view: studying in educational institutions, learning the theoretical foundations, and then developing them in practice in the workplace.


It is very difficult to determine who owns the knowledge in an employment situation. By default, it belongs to the employee who is hired for exactly the knowledge in question for a job, but once he or she is employed, the company/organization uses it and enjoys the benefits of that knowledge, and the results coming from it. At the same time, however, if knowledge belonged to the workplace, why would an employee be needed after the employment and then the passing on of his or her knowledge? In this way, it is quite difficult to distribute knowledge between the employee and the workplace. When a company tries to seduce an already employed person, they also want to do so for his or her knowledge.


Perhaps the easiest way to separate would be to agree that originally the employee owns the knowledge but “lends” it to the workplace for a certain period (the period of the employment), so the workplace can decide about it for that time. Once the employment is terminated, the holder of the knowledge will then take this knowledge with him or her to the next place where he or she will also lend it. It is also worth taking into account that some kind of remnant of knowledge will remain with the company, as the company also learns from the employee, this is inevitable.


Overall, we can state that knowledge as capital is in the possession of the current employee, but the employer company may have access to this pre-existing knowledge for some time. The workplace can use this knowledge and enjoy its benefits and results, but as soon as the employee and the workplace are separated, the knowledge will leave the company together with the employee. The fact is inevitable that a certain amount of knowledge remnant will remain in the company’s possession, but its full benefits can only be reaped if the original knowledge holder ensures its existence and proper utilization.

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