Success of Public Knowledge Management in the Light of the Rossian Ethics

Success of Public Knowledge Management in the Light of the Rossian Ethics

Mehdi Shami Zanjani (University of Tehran, Iran), Hossein Dabbagh (Shahid Beheshti University, Iran) and Roshanak Rouzbehani (University of Tehran, Iran)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/irmj.2011040105


Researchers have attempted to integrate the fields of management and ethics for the past 50 years. Although the moral aspects of knowledge management have been studied, its philosophical attitude has been overshadowed. This work designs a philosophical background—in moral philosophy—for public knowledge management. To achieve the research goal, the relationships between human critical success factors of knowledge management and moral duties are discussed. These moral duties are based on the Rossian ethical framework. The authors recommend moral duties to public organizations that try to manage knowledge successfully. The results show that “beneficence” is the most significant to knowledge management success in the public sector. In this paper, the authors integrate knowledge management with the Rossian ethical framework to increase successful knowledge management in public organizations.
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It is said that the economics of new age is shaped on the basis of knowledge and network (Kelly, 1999; Lester, 2000). We can consider the intellectual property movement in the third industrial revolution as the most important characteristics of novel business (Thurow, 2003). Based on this fact, the nature of organizations is changed in a way that intangible assets such as knowledge and human resources rather than tangible and physical assets determine the value of organizations (Stewart, 1997). Therefore, the importance of knowledge management, increasingly, is taken into account (Alavi, 2000).

It is near a half of century that management scholars and philosophers attempt to set up relations between the two sciences: management and philosophy. The issue is about how we can have an effective knowledge management incorporating ethics? Is this possible?

Researchers who work on knowledge management, commonly consider that knowledge and its processes (process of acquire, refine, maintenance, and disseminate of knowledge) should be ethical. In other words, they believe in morality of knowledge and ethical information (Geva, 2006; Blanchard, 1987; Land et al., 2007; Mason et al., 1986; Carroll & Scherer, 1999).

The main point in these articles is in regards to the subject of some moral advice or recommendations to knowledge managers and workers. In fact, these ideas help public organizations to move towards ethical knowledge management. Nevertheless, two issues have been over looked. First, a philosophical understanding for these moral advice and suggestions has been neglected. Whereas, we need some background in moral philosophy in order to achieve successful knowledge management, because without a firm philosophical foundation, any advice would be arbitrary. Second, the effect of declared moral advice is not clear in knowledge management success. Namely; it is vague that how moral advice helps us to have successful knowledge management. It follows from this that without considering moral philosophy (especially Meta ethics) and obvious linkage between moral duties and knowledge management, we could not have successful knowledge-based organizations.

In contrast, the viewpoint of this paper is totally different. Since moral philosophy, normatively, suggests some moral duties for being successful in knowledge management, we can put forward the tabloid of this work in this way: ethics is used as a context or nexus for knowledge management success.

By the way, the relations between knowledge management human critical success factors and some moral duties are investigated. These moral duties are taken from the ethics of prima facie duties of Ross; one of the controversial moral philosophers in twentieth century.

This paper is organized as follows: after an introduction, the next section deals with the literature, especially our points of view about ethics, knowledge management and knowledge management success factors. Thereafter, the framework is discussed. This framework examines moral duties of Rossian ethics and human critical success factors. Suitable moral duties are also proposed for public organizations which try to manage knowledge flawlessly. Furthermore, corresponding moral duties to knowledge management success factors will be illustrated.

This paper has important implications for public organizations seeking to improve their knowledge management through morality.

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