Managing Knowledge in the Cognitive Organization

Managing Knowledge in the Cognitive Organization

Luca Iandoli (University of Napoli Federico II, Italy) and Giuseppe Zollo (University of Napoli Federico II, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-313-5.ch001
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Digital technologies have played an important role in the diffusion of knowledge management (KM). The distinction between hardware and software, between platform and logical layer has revolutionized the concept of the machine. Machines become intelligent, while knowledge becomes an independent virtual object. An analogous revolution has occurred in organizations: the metaphor of the organization as a machine is replaced by that of the organization as a computer. In this type of organization there is a need to manage a critical new resource: knowledge. Organizations are different from machines and computers in one fundamental way: They are able to generate new knowledge through learning. After giving a brief history of the birth and evolution of KM, in this chapter, we will show how the main criticism of modern approaches to KM are due to the inadequacy of the metaphor of the computer. Finally, we show that in order to overcome such limits, KM needs to be framed within an organizational learning theory and the metaphor of computer organizations substituted with the paradigm of the learning organization.

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