A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book About Knowledge Management
Knowledge is power. Since the emergence of knowledge management in the early 1990s, it has become the key competitive resource for firms and nations in an increasingly competitive global economic environment. This affordable and accessible introduction to knowledge management offers a critical look at the history, nature and future of the field, providing essential reading for those questioning contemporary management practices. Written in a lively, conversational style, the nature of knowledge, including its definition and measurement is considered, as well as ignorance, forgetting and unlearning, before the main concepts and theoretical contributions to knowledge management are reviewed and challenged, providing fresh insights into the central debates. The ‘Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book About‘ series shies away from the sterility of conventional textbooks, ...
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: Introduction: The Rise of Knowledge Management
- Chapter 2: Situating Knowledge Management
- Chapter 3: Knowledge Management?
- Chapter 4: Knowledge Acquisition, Retention, and Transfer
- Chapter 5: Knowledge, Creativity, and Innovation
- Chapter 6: Ignorance, Forgetting, and Unlearning
- Chapter 7: Conclusion: Looking Forward
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© Joanne Roberts 2015
First published 2015
Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form, or by any means, only with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers.
Excerpts from THE ROCK by T.S. Eliot. Copyright 1934 Harcourt Brace & Company. Copyright renewed 1991 by Esme Valerie Eliot. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The title for the ‘Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about…Series’ was devised by Chris Grey. His book, A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about Studying Organizations, was the founding title of this series.
Chris Grey asserts his right to be recognized as founding editor of the ‘Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about...’ series.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2014954834
British Library Cataloguing in Publication data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN 978-0-8570-2247-9 (pbk)
Editor: Kirst Smy
Editorial assistant: Molly Farrell
Production editor: Nicola Marshall
Copyeditor: Rose James
Proofreader: Sharon Cawood
Indexer: Silvia Benvenuto
Marketing manager: Catherine Slinn
Cover design: Wendy Scott
Typeset by: C&M Digitals (P) Ltd, Chennai, India
Printed in Great Britain by Henry Ling Limited at The Dorset Press, Dorchester, DT1 1HD
Also in this series[Page ii]
Jim Blythe, A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about Studying Marketing
Ann L Cunliffe, A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about Management, 2nd Edition
Chris Carter, Stewart R Clegg and Martin Kornberger, A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book About Studying Strategy
George Cairns and Martyna Sliwa, A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about International Business
Brad Jackson and Ken Parry, A Very Short Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book About Studying Leadership, 2nd Edition
Bob Garvey, A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book About Coaching and Mentoring
Chris Grey, A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book About Studying Organizations, 3rd Edition
David Silverman, A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about Qualitative Research, 2nd Edition
For John[Page vi]
List of Illustrations[Page viii]Figures
- 1.1 A linear process of knowledge formation and its limits 4
- 1.2 Data–information–knowledge–wisdom (DIKW) hierarchy 4
- 1.3 Common hieroglyphic forms 7
- 2.1 The communication of information and decision making: simple peer group versus simple hierarchy 21
- 5.1 SECI Model: From four modes of conversion to the knowledge spiral 90
- 6.1 Types and sources of ignorance 105
- 2.1 Publications concerning organizational learning, learning organization, organizational knowledge and knowledge management 27
- 2.2 Situating knowledge management 33
- 3.1 Definitions of knowledge management from academic and practitioner sources 38
- 3.2 Contrasting characteristics of explicit and tacit knowledge 47
- 4.1 Examples of ICT services enabling information and knowledge transfer 75
- 5.1 Varieties of knowing in action 96
About the Author
The initial idea for this book was discussed with Delia Martinez Alfonso at the British Academy of Management Conference held in Brighton in 2009. I am grateful to her for seeing the book proposal through the review and commissioning stages. I am also grateful to the reviewers of the original proposal for their comments, which helped to shape the book. This project has had a rather long gestation period due to many distractions, and I must thank the team at Sage for their patience when successive deadlines were missed. In particular, Kirsty Smy’s continued support has been vital to the realization of the project, as has the assistance of Nina Smith and Molly Farrell.
Many of the ideas developed in this book have benefited from presentation at conferences and workshops. Particular thanks go to participants in the Knowledge and Learning track of the British Academy of Management conferences from 2009 to 2011. I am also grateful for the helpful suggestions and comments of the reviewers of earlier drafts of the manuscript, which resulted in important improvements to the text. The book has of course benefited from the collective efforts of all those, past and present, engaged in research on knowledge in organization – to whom I am indebted.
I am grateful to Taylor & Francis Books for permission to reproduce a quote from Peter Drucker’s (1993) Post-Capitalist Society (Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann). Additionally, I am indebted to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for permission to reproduce in the USA the excerpt from ‘Choruses from “The Rock”’ from The Complete Poems and Plays, 1909–1962 by T.S. Eliot (Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 1991) and to Faber and Faber Ltd for permission to reproduce the same excerpt from The Complete Poems and Plays, by T.S. Eliot (London: Faber and Faber, 1969) elsewhere in the world. My thanks also go to Manuela Tecusan for copyediting the text and for her translation of the quote from Diogenes Laertius.
Last but not least, my deepest thanks go to my partner, John Armitage, without whom this book and so much more would not be possible.
Should You Buy This Book?[Page xi]
This book, like others in the ‘Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about’ series, conceived by Chris Grey, is designed mainly for university students – who in this case would be studying knowledge management as part of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree programme in the field of business and management, or else in computing studies, information management studies, or other related areas. This is not a textbook; it is much shorter, more interesting, and much cheaper than a standard text on knowledge management. What’s more, it’s a lot lighter: it can fit into your pocket and be read in a matter of hours rather than days (it’s ideal for a long train journey or international flight).
The book might also appeal to academics who study in the field and would like to see a less conventional account of the knowledge management story. Moreover, academics from other disciplines who may wish to have a quick introduction to the field of knowledge management will find the book of value. Although it assumes a certain level of existing knowledge, this text is sufficiently accessible for the general reader keen to gain insight into knowledge management and an understanding of the implications of the shift towards a knowledge-based economy. Hence people who have encountered knowledge management in their workplace or through media reports and are curious to find out more about it will also profit from this book.
If you do buy this book and wish to take issue with anything you discover in its pages, or if you have experiences of knowledge management practices that can add to our understanding of the field and would like to share your knowledge, please get in touch. I would be delighted to hear from you, so please contact me at J.Roberts@soton.ac.uk[Page xii]
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Appendix Resources for Studying Knowledge Management[Page 144]Recommended reading
Amin, A. and Cohendet, P. (2004). Architectures of Knowledge: Firms, Capabilities and Communities. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Audi, R. (2010). Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge, 3rd edn. London: Routledge.
DeFillippi, R.J., Arthur, M.B. and Lindsay, V.J. (2006). Knowledge at Work: Creative Collaboration in the Global Economy. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.
Easterby-Smith, M. and Lyles, M.A. (eds) (2011). Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management, 2nd edn. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.
Foray, D. (2006). The Economics of Knowledge. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Foss, N.J. (2006). Strategy, Economic Organization, and the Knowledge Economy: The Coordination of Firms and Resources. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hetherington, S. (2012). Epistemology: The Key Thinkers. London: Continuum.
Hislop, D. (2013). Knowledge Management in Organizations, 3rd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ichijo, K. and Nonaka, I. (eds) (2006). Knowledge Creation and Management: New Challenges for Managers. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
O’Dell, C. and Hubert, C. (2011). The New Edge in Knowledge: How Knowledge Management is Changing the Way We Do Business. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Rooney, D., Hearn, G. and Kastella, T. (eds) (2012). Handbook on the Knowledge Economy, Vol. 2. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Rooney, D., Hearn, G. and Ninan, A. (eds) (2005). Handbook on the Knowledge Economy. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Tsoukas, H. (2005) Complex Knowledge: Studies in Organizational Epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.[Page 145]Web resources
The following websites provide useful resources for those interested in exploring knowledge management further:
- KMWorld Magazine at www.kmworld.com
- Knowledge Management for Development (KM4dev) at www.km4dev.org
- Gurteen Knowledge Website at www.gurteen.com
- Etienne Wenger and Beverly Trayner’s website at wenger-trayner.com/our-services
- CPsquare – The Community of Practice on Communities of Practice: http://cpsquare.org
- David Skyrme Associates Knowledge Management web pages at www.skyrme.com/index.htm
- Sveiby Knowledge associates at www.sveiby.com/index.html
- APQC’s Knowledge Base (part of the American Productivity and Quality Centre website) at www.apqc.org/APQC-knowledge-base
All these websites were active on 9 July 2014.Academic journals
There is a growing number of journals concerned with knowledge management. From a survey of 379 experts together with an analysis of journal citation impact data, Alexander Serenko and Nick Bontis (2013: 317) established a list of the 25 journals in the field of knowledge management and intellectual capital. Here are the top 10 journals, in ranking order:
- Journal of Knowledge Management;
- Journal of Intellectual Capital;
- The Learning Organization;
- Knowledge Management Research & Practice;
- Knowledge and Process Management;
- International Journal of Knowledge Management;
- Journal of Information and Knowledge Management;
- Journal of Knowledge Management Practice;
- Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management;
- International Journal of Learning and Intellectual Capital.