Understanding ISO 9001:2015
Clause 7.1.6 - Organizational Knowledge
7.1.6 Organizational knowledge (OK)
OK has been recognized as a vital business asset. It is specific to each organization and can be used as a powerful
tool to gain competitive advantage. Many organizations now identify, capture, internalize and leverage relevant OK
as an important business strategy. The many ways OK can be used to add value to an organization include:
Improving products, services and QMS processes.
Improving employee training and performance.
Reducing business and QMS risks.
· Making more informed decisions about courses
· Anticipating, understanding and adapting to
trends and changes in its business environment.
Exploiting existing and acquired knowledge assets.
Developing new opportunities.
Leveraging OK to gain competitive advantage.
· Promoting a learning environment to further
stimulate creation of new knowledge.
organization must determine and manage the OK necessary for the operation of QMS processes and to achieve
conformity of product and services.
Requirements regarding OK were introduced
for the purpose of:
· Safeguarding the organizational knowledge
from loss of knowledge, e.g.
· Through staff turnover;
· Failure to capture and share
· Loss or theft by personnel or
· Encouraging the organization to acquire
· Learning from experience;
· Building relationships with relevant
OK is generally of two types;
knowledge – that which can be written down, transferred, and shared. It is definable and can be protected by the
knowledge – is know-how that is usually hard to describe. It can be demonstrated but difficult to document as it
resides in the minds of employees. It become evident through performance and on-the-job training.
organizational knowledge (OK)?
It can be defined as information combined with experience, context, interpretation, and insight that is useful in
making decisions and taking action specific to your organization and
QMS. Such information includes:
Specific technical and procedural information required to produce conforming products and services and for
controlling QMS processes needed to produce them. These may include product and service specifications, drawings,
process flow diagrams, product and process steps, criteria, work instructions, or verbal instructions,
Novel, unique, highly creative and innovative ways of doing things that are formally encoded in business processes,
practices, methods, etc.
· Lessons learned
from past failures, near miss situations and successes,
undocumented knowledge (explicit and tacit) and experience that resides within the minds of employees and employee
Developed or acquired knowledge - patents, practices, technologies, research & development,
The results of research and improvement projects for products, services, processes and business
Knowledge of markets, competitors, customers, suppliersand interested
Knowledge acquired through consultants, conferences, universities, research institutes, etc, on best practices or
to resolve specific business and QMS problems,
This article is an extract from my eCourse
“Understanding ISO 9001:2015”. The rest of the discussion on organizational knowledge
in my eBook focuses on the specific actions that your organization must take to address this