I read a lot of blogs on knowledge management. I also read articles and I try to read books (although I am doing so at a much slower rate these days). I attend knowledge management conferences and discuss issues with attendees. I talk knowledge management at forums and with friends and colleagues.
What I find is that there is a seeming lack of confidence about “knowledge management” and why it is important. It seems to me that there is much to discuss, plenty of good KM work being done, numerous relevant multidisciplinary approaches, and plenty of opportunities for KM initiatives across organisational boundaries to enhance personal and organisational effectiveness. Yet it is all undone because we can’t define KM in a single sentence, and knowledge management is not “recognised” as a “discipline” unto itself.
In other words, knowledge management is complex and multidimensional, and there is no “authority” to give knowledge management the seriousness it deserves.
So it is interesting to read yet again – actKM has had a long discussion about what constitutes KM – that there is still conjecture as to what knowledge management is, whether it can become a “discipline”, and whether knowledge management is really something separate from everyday work practices within an organisation.
Some relevant blog posts on the topic have come from Annette and Matt, James Dellow, Gladur, David Gurteen, Lucas McDonnell, Dave Snowden, and Jack Vinson. There are many, many more out there in blogland.
I almost forgot to add the notorious (?) Tom Wilson article: The nonsense of knowledge management in which knowledge management is derided as being just a mere fad – a fad that shows no sign of abating despite it’s lack of clarity.
My definition of knowledge management from my 2003 journal article said this:
“Knowledge management is a collective term for the facilitation of improvements to an organisation’s capabilities, efficiencies and competitive advantage through the better use of its individual and collective knowledge and information resources”.
I still think of knowledge management the same way today in terms of facilitation. And facilitation can be technical by providing tools and it can be behavioural, in terms of embedding work processes that enhance positive knowledge and organisational outcomes.
In fact, knowledge management is likely to continue its amorphous definitional context for the very reason that more and more knowledge management practices are becoming embedded within ordinary day-to-day work.
And this is a good thing…….