Knowledge Management Competencies in Health and Social Care


  • Harri Laihonen University of Eastern Finland
  • Kaija Saranto University of Eastern Finland



health and social care, competences, capabilities, knowledge management, health informatics


Knowledge management literature has thoroughly discussed the aims and objectives of managing knowledge, recognized critical success factors of knowledge processes, analyzed knowledge creation, transfer and sharing, and even some indications of the effects of knowledge management have been evidenced. However, despite skills, competences, and employees’ knowledge and experience are among the recognized success factors, discussions on competence needs of effective knowledge management are lacking. To contribute to this knowledge gap, this article studies knowledge management competences with an aim to elaborate this critical component of organizational performance and renewal. The special focus of the article is on the management of health and social care and the article brings together two distinct disciplines, knowledge management and health informatics, to suggest a novel way to approach KM capabilities and competences in the given context. Based on the literature and empirical data gathered with two surveys targeted to health informatics and knowledge management practitioners in health and social care the article concludes that: 1) It is difficult to separate the discussion on competence needs from the discussions concerning the information content and tools of data management. The latter aspects dominate the debate and determine and limit in many ways the discussions on knowledge management, its nature, content, and people participating to these discussions, and 2) knowledge management in health and social care focuses extensively on issues of data management and decision-making support.