Reflections on Knowledge Management Research and Practice

Reflections on Knowledge Management Research and Practice

Murray E. Jennex (San Diego State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-140-7.ch001
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This is the third volume in the Advances in Knowledge Management and I thought it appropriate to start this volume with some reflection on where KM is at and where it is going. This chapter reflects on two key issues—the need to ensure KM is relevant and the risk of KM becoming a fad. The chapter concludes with reflection on the future of KM.
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Km Relevance

In December 2006, I presented a keynote speech at the Australian Conference on Knowledge Management and Intelligent Decision Support, ACKMIDS. The theme of the conference was integrating “doing” and “thinking”: KM as reflective practice. While preparing my talk I got to reflecting on KM and the differences between doing and thinking and contemplated the issues of rigor and relevance in KM research. Research relevance has been an issue in IS for several years (see the 2001 special issue on research relevance in the Communications of the Association of Information Systems, CAIS). It is argued that academic researchers are not looking at the problems of interest to business and are losing credibility from the perspective of practitioners. Researchers argue that basic research will ultimately lead to knowledge that can be used by practitioners but should not be judged on its immediate usefulness. Many believe this is leading to a relevance gap between practitioners and academics.

Is there a relevance gap between doing and thinking in the KM discipline? As editor in chief of the International Journal of Knowledge Management, an active researcher and consultant, and a contributor to the research relevancy debate I believe there is a relevance gap in KM between doing and thinking. This section explores the differences between doing and thinking and proposes that a third function, integrating, is needed and should be done by researchers using qualitative research methods and who can reflect on KM. Integrating are those activities focused on bridging the gap between doing and knowing.

To begin this discussion lets define three groups of KM professionals, doers, thinkers, and integrators. Doers are those who build and implement KM systems, KMS, with the goal of solving business problems. This is the group associated with doing. Thinkers are those seeking to understand how and why KM and KMS work or don’t work. This is the group associated with knowing. Doers are looking for solutions to help their specific organizations utilize knowledge better; they don’t care about generic issues unless they affect their organization. Thinkers are looking at the organization as a unit of measure and interest, but aren’t necessarily focused on changing or improving a specific organization. This leads to the need for integrators. Integrators understand the theory and transfer it to the doers using methods such as case studies, action research, actor-network theory, ANT, and socio-technical interaction networks, STIN. Integrators are focused on improving performance in specific or groups of organizations and on generating generic KM theory.

Thinkers and integrators tend to be academics but with differing philosophies. Thinkers tend to be positivists, academics who validate theory through quantitative methods. The academic world is dominated by positivists. The higher ranking journals tend to publish articles with heavy quantitative components and more credence is given to theory that has been “proven” through statistical analysis of large populations.

Integrators also tend to be academics but with a differing philosophy from positivism. Integrators tend to be interpretists, academics who discover theory and hypotheses through the direct observation of and sometimes participation within organizations. The higher ranking journals tend to not publish articles with heavy interpretist methodology with the result that most interpretist research tends to be published in the second tier journals (Note though that these are still quality journals).

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Chapter 1
Murray E. Jennex
This is the third volume in the Advances in Knowledge Management and I thought it appropriate to start this volume with some reflection on where KM... Sample PDF
Reflections on Knowledge Management Research and Practice
Chapter 2
Peter Keen, Margaret Tan
The chapter proposes a simple framework termed ‘knowledge fusion’ to extend the rigor and relevance of knowledge management (KM). It points to some... Sample PDF
Knowledge Fusion: A Framework for Extending the Rigor and Relevance of Knowledge Management
Chapter 3
Hazel Taylor
This chapter explores the concept of ‘tacit knowledge’ and how organizations can foster the sharing and exchange of tacit knowledge. Various views... Sample PDF
Tapping Tacit Knowledge
Chapter 4
Andrea Hornett, Eric W. Stein
This chapter adds to our understanding of knowledge management as an evolving body of concepts, relationships, strategies and practices. Using... Sample PDF
Advances in Knowledge Management: Mapping Ideas that Shape Practice
Chapter 5
Clyde W. Holsapple, Kiku G. Jones
Just as Porter’s value chain model identifies classes of business activity that can be performed in ways that contribute to a firm’s... Sample PDF
Knowledge Chain Activity Classes: Impacts on Competitiveness and the Importance of Technology Support
Chapter 6
Rahinah Ibrahim, Mark E. Nissen
Tacit knowledge attenuates particularly quickly in organizations that experience discontinuous membership: the coming and going of organizational... Sample PDF
Developing a Knowledge-Based Organizational Performance Model for Improving Knowledge Flows in Discontinuous Organizations
Chapter 7
Frank Land, Urooj Amjad, Sevasti-Melissa Nolas
The purpose of this chapter is to argue the case that the study of Knowledge Management should embrace considerations of ethics and accountability.... Sample PDF
Accountability and Ethics in Knowledge Management
Chapter 8
Chay Yue Wah
The study aims to understand the social and organizational factors that influence knowledge sharing. A model of knowledge management and knowledge... Sample PDF
Social Capital and Knowledge Sharing in Knowledge-Based Organizations: An Empirical Study
Chapter 9
Charlie C. Chen, Rong-An Shang, Albert L. Harris, Zhi-Kai Chen
A knowledge management system (KMS) project transcends functional departments and business partners. The success of KMS implementation is highly... Sample PDF
A Structured Method for Evaluating the Management of a Knowledge Management System Implementation
Chapter 10
Murray E. Jennex, Stefan Smolnik, David T. Croasdell
This chapter explores knowledge management, KM, and knowledge management system, KMS, success. The inspiration for this chapter is the KM Success... Sample PDF
Toward a Consensus Knowledge Management Success Definition
Chapter 11
Elsa Rhoads, Kevin J. O'Sullivan, Michael Stankosky
This research chapter investigates the status of knowledge management (KM) practices implemented across federal agencies of the U.S. government. It... Sample PDF
An Evaluation of Factors that Influence the Success of Knowledge Management Practices in U.S. Federal Agencies
Chapter 12
Kevin Laframboise, Anne-Marie Croteau, Anne Beaudry, Mantas Manovas
This article reports on a study that investigates the knowledge transfer between an information systems/ technology (IS/IT) department and non-IT... Sample PDF
Interdepartmental Knowledge Transfer Success During Information Technology Projects
Chapter 13
Claudio Vitari, Jennifer Moro, Aurelio Ravarini, Isabelle Bourdon
The purpose of this chapter is to contribute to the improvement of the acceptance of information systems (IS) devoted to the codification and... Sample PDF
Improving KMS Acceptance: The Role of Organizational and Individuals' Influence
Chapter 14
Michael J. Zhang
While a great deal has been written about how information systems (IS) can be deployed to facilitate knowledge management for performance... Sample PDF
IS Support for Knowledge Management and Firm Performance: An Empirical Study
Chapter 15
Wei Li, Alexandre Ardichvili, Martin Maurer, Tim Wentling, Reed Stuedemann
The goal of this study was to explore how national (Chinese) culture influences knowledge sharing in virtual communities of practice at a large... Sample PDF
Chinese Culture and Virtual Knowledge Sharing in a Multinational Corporation
Chapter 16
Gilles Balmisse, Denis Meingan, Katia Passerini
In this chapter, we update earlier research on the state of the art Knowledge Management (KM) tools and present key evaluation criteria that can be... Sample PDF
Selecting the Right Knowledge Management Tools: Software Trends and Key Evaluation Criteria
Chapter 17
Jörg Rech, Raimund L. Feldmann, Eric Ras
Knowledge management is a relatively young discipline. It has accumulated a valuable body-of-knowledge on how to structure and represent knowledge... Sample PDF
Knowledge Patterns and Knowledge Refactorings for Increasing the Quality of Knowledge
Chapter 18
Paul Jackson, Ray Webster
This chapter is concerned with engaging end-users in the design and development of knowledge management systems. The identification, capture and use... Sample PDF
Knowledge Elicitation and Mapping: Ontology as an Instrument of Design and Organizational Learning
Chapter 19
Aurora Vizcaino, Juan Pablo Soto, Javier Portillo, Mario Piattini
Efforts to develop Knowledge Management have increased in recent years. However, many of the systems implanted in companies are still not greatly... Sample PDF
Helping to Develop Knowledge Management Systems by Using a Multi-Agent Approach
Chapter 20
Mirghani Mohamed, Michael Stankosky, Vincent Ribière
The purpose of this chapter is to examine the requirements of Knowledge Management (KM) services deployment in a Semantic Grid environment. A wide... Sample PDF
Adopting the Grid Computing & Semantic Web Hybrid for Global Knowledge Sharing
Chapter 21
Sineed Paisittanand, L. A. Digman, Sang M. Lee
The creation and the use of knowledge have increasingly been regarded as important issues for management. A wide range of studies have investigated... Sample PDF
The Effect of Knowledge Process Capabilities and Knowledge Infrastructure Capabilities on Strategy Implementation Effectiveness
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