ABCs of KM

Knowledge principles for government

The National Archives of the United Kingdom has produced a set of Knowledge Principles for Government, as a companion to Information Principles that were previously published.

The principles are based on a definitions of information and knowledge that are quite basic compared to current models, but these clear and concise understandings are likely to be helpful in engaging and motivating  government agencies to take action.

The Knowledge Principles for Government are:

  1. Knowledge is a valued asset. Knowledge is an asset which is fundamental to the efficient and effective delivery of public services.
  1. Knowledge needs the right environment in order to thrive. In order for knowledge to thrive it requires appropriate behaviours and cultures, fostered and adopted by leaders and individuals alike.
  1. Knowledge is captured where necessary and possible. Capturing of knowledge turns that which is held tacitly in the heads of members of staff into explicit, recorded knowledge.
  1. Knowledge is freely sought and shared. Knowledge is an asset that develops from the intellectual activity of individuals – which can be brought together to form Organisational Knowledge.
  1. Knowledge increases in value through re-use. The value of knowledge can be multiplied by re-use.
  1. Knowledge underpins individual learning. Knowledge is the cornerstone of learning, both classroom and workplace based.
  1. Knowledge underpins organisational learning. Organisational learning in this context is the ability of the organisation to benefit from the collective knowledge of its individuals.

The principles build into a hierarchy with the core principle at the bottom, as shown in the diagram above. Detailed information about the principles can be found in the Knowledge Principles for Government document.

5/5 - (1 vote)

Also published on Medium.

RealKM Magazine

RealKM Magazine brings managers and knowledge management (KM) practitioners the findings of high-value knowledge management research through concise, practically-oriented articles.

Related Articles


  1. Hmmm.
    OK as far as it goes, and I do like the connection to organisational and individual learning. However, the graphic gives the impression that all knowledge sharing, learning and re-use is built solely on captured knowledge (aka information), and that there is no recognised role for people talking with each other! It kind of implies that it all works fine if we can keep turning the handle on the converting-tacit-knowledge-sausage-machine…

    Having worked with ten different UK government departments over the past 10 years, I can attest to the fact that dialogue, exploration, conversation and networks are pretty fundamental to the way things get done. It’s just that you don’t see that in evidence-bases and on FOI requests. Or indeed, in national archives! Good to see a start on this but it would be even better to see the principles extended to recognise the entire knowledge iceberg…

Back to top button