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What is ‘knowledge management’?. Professor T.D. Wilson. An early definition. “By knowledge management I mean public policy for the production, dissemination, accessibility, and use of information as it applies to public policy formulation. ” (Henry 1974: 189). After 1974.

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an early definition
An early definition
  • “By knowledge management I mean public policy for the production, dissemination, accessibility, and use of information as it applies to public policy formulation.” (Henry 1974: 189)
after 1974
After 1974
  • A special issue of Public Administration Review in 1975.
  • A trickle of papers – mainly in public administration – one a year to 1977
  • Silence – between 1978 and 1986
the 80s bubble
The 80s ‘bubble’
  • 13 papers with km in the title published between 1986 and 1992
    • Artificial intelligence, expert systems, etc.
    • Information systems development
    • Policy issues
consultancy push
Consultancy push
  • The consultancy push from 1995 was based on a recession in the industry which made it necessary to sell something new.
  • The consultancies have now lost interest in the subject – the pages they had on ‘knowledge management’ have now disappeared and, for the most part, only ‘historic’ documents are on their Websites
sveiby s view
Sveiby’s view
  • I don't believe knowledge can be managed. Knowledge Management is a poor term, but we are stuck with it, I suppose. "Knowledge Focus" or "Knowledge Creation" (Nonaka) are better terms, because they describe a mindset, which sees knowledge as activity not an object. It is a human vision, not a technological one. (Sveiby, 2001)
the spread to academia
The spread to academia
  • Picked up by management schools and information systems departments
  • Proponents lacked previous experience or research in information management
  • New terms for old concepts:
    • Library becomes ‘knowledge repository’
    • Book becomes ‘knowledge object’
    • Information audit becomes ‘knowledge audit’
a recent statement
A recent statement
  • [One of the key issues was] ...the dissemination but yet disconnection of the different pieces of knowledge generated during a research project; that situation leads to a wide range of unstructured data and documents, often in paper format, stored in personal folders and categorized according to personal classification schemes.(Srikantaiah & Koenig, 2008)
an example
An example
  • The reach of the new technology for information sharing:  Many factors have transformed the way in which organizations now view information, but perhaps the pivotal development has been the dramatically extended reach of know-how through new information technology. Rapidly falling costs of communications and computing and the extraordinary growth and accessibility of the World Wide Web present new opportunities for information-based organizations, to share information more widely and cheaply than ever before. Information sharing is thus enabling — and forcing — institutions that are international in the scope of their operations, to become truly global in character by enabling information transfer to occur across large distances within a very short time
the original
The original
  • The reach of the new technology for knowledge sharing:  Many factors have transformed the way in which organizations now view knowledge, but perhaps the pivotal development has been the dramatically extended reach of know-how through new information technology. Rapidly falling costs of communications and computing and the extraordinary growth and accessibility of the World Wide Web present new opportunities for knowledge-based organizations, to share knowledge more widely and cheaply than ever before… Knowledge sharing is thus enabling — and forcing — institutions that are international in the scope of their operations, to become truly global in character by enabling knowledge transfer to occur across large distances within a very short time. (Denning, 1998)
km means what you want it to mean
‘KM’ means what you want it to mean
  • You want to push an information strategy in your organization – call it a ‘knowledge strategy’.
  • You want to get a paper into a journal on expert systems – call the expert system a ‘knowledge management’ system.
  • You want to persuade the university authorities to put money into the development of your department – tell them you intend to offer new courses on ‘knowledge management’,
  • and so on, and so on.
sveiby
Sveiby
  • Knowledge management is made up of two strands:
    • The management of information, and
    • The management of people.
analysis of journals 2003
Analysis of journals – 2003
  • Knowledge Management in Electronic Government - 14
  • Journal of the Operational Research Society - 5
  • Knowledge-Based Intelligent Information and Engineering Systems, Pt 1, Proceedings - 5
  • International Journal of Technology Management - 3
  • Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence - 2
  • Automation in Construction - 2
  • Computers in Industry - 2
  • Decision Sciences - 2
  • Information Systems Management - 2
  • Journal of Computer Information Systems - 2
  • Total Quality Management - 2
earl s investigation
Earl’s investigation
  • Yet nearly 15 years on [i.e., from the early 90s], the promise of knowledge management has yet to be realised. There is a dearth of outstanding success stories, where original goals were achieved or sustainable value was created.
  • It is not unusual to visit companies claiming knowledge management successes only to find some worthy efforts lacking any lasting impact. More often, a company has simply relabelled a new IT application as a knowledge management initiative. (Earl 2004)
academic programmes
Academic programmes
  • … a discipline that takes a comprehensive, systematic approach to the information assets of an organization by identifying, capturing, collecting, organizing, indexing, storing, integrating, retrieving and sharing them. (Kent State University, 2008)
conclusion i
Conclusion I
  • Knowledge cannot be managed:
    • Peter Drucker: knowledge is between two ears and only between two ears.
  • What we produce on the basis of what we know is a ‘message’ – voice, print, electronic, etc. The message needs to be understood by the receiver before it can affect his or her ‘knowledge’ – knowledge cannot be transferred directly.
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