Knowledge Synthesis Framework

Knowledge Synthesis Framework

Kam Hou Vat
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-933-5.ch027
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The last decade of the 20th century saw explosive growth in discussions about knowledge—knowledge work, knowledge management, knowledge-based organizations, and the knowledge economy (Cortada & Woods, 2000). At the center of such discussions are the two notions of process and knowledge. The former represents not only the organization’s operations characterized by clearly defined inputs, outputs, and flows, but also management practices which give the organization its depth and means for handling change and turbulence. The latter is represented by a range of complexity and intellectual richness, from Plato’s “justified true belief” (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995) to a more mundane “the capacity to act” (Sveiby, 1997). How knowledge is characterized, used, and even created within an organization is a very complicated process. Nevertheless, we believe that each member of an organization has his or her own knowledge space, which is subject to some level of description, and thus may be architected, integrated, and designed into an organization (Davenport & Prusak, 1998; Levine, 2001). As the source of wealth shifts from capital to knowledge (Drucker, 1992), it is clear that organizations that actively seek to create their own communal knowledge space from that, which exists among its members, will have a decided advantage over those who do not. One working definition of knowledge is hereby interpreted in terms of its potential for action and its ability to change context and goals—the rules of relevance and adaptation. Yet, what is the means by which a communal knowledge space may be built? And how would an organization use it for advantage? To answer these questions, this article is divided into five sections: The Background of Knowledge Synthesis; Pursuing the Ideal of a Learning Organization; Scaffolding the Knowledge Framework; Future Trends of IS Design for Knowledge Sharing; and Conclusion.

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