Exploring the Knowledge Management Landscape: A Critical Review of Existing Knowledge Management Frameworks

Exploring the Knowledge Management Landscape: A Critical Review of Existing Knowledge Management Frameworks

Stavros T. Ponis (National Technical University Athens, Greece), George Vagenas (National Technical University Athens, Greece) and Epaminondas Koronis (University of Warwick, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-790-4.ch001


Relevant literature suggests that the field of knowledge management (KM) at the service of contemporary organizations is characterized by a plethora of diverse frameworks. However, none of these frameworks has achieved such a wide acceptance so as to be conceived as a standard. In fact, practice proves that each research or consultant group follows its own approach while many initiatives are based on custom approaches, developed each time from scratch, or even worse do not follow a structured method at all. In this chapter the authors attempt to go deeper by proposing a classification of knowledge management frameworks based on their macroscopic characteristics followed by their evaluation against a set of predetermined content elements that a complete approach should possess. The main result propagated from their critique is a common understanding of current theoretical and practical shortcomings of the field and the specification of a consistent set of course of actions and guidelines for researchers and practitioners engaged in knowledge management and its applications.
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Summarizing the concepts and processes which Knowledge Management entails in a few lines has proved to be a rather difficult task. As Quintas et. al (1997) pointed out “it is difficult to scope and define this disparate and emergent field and understand the processes involved to determine programmes and interventions”. Some even claim that the term is rather an unfortunate one since it implies the painless control of knowledge, which is largely unstructured, in the same way that structured organizational facets are managed (Cloete & Snyman, 2003). However, in order to provide a complete specification of the term, a categorization and analysis of existing definitions is mandatory and will be presented in the remainder of this section.

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