Theoretical and Practical Aspects of Knowledge Management

Theoretical and Practical Aspects of Knowledge Management

Frank Land (London School of Economics and Political Science, UK), Sevasti-Melissa Nolas (London School of Economics and Political Science, UK) and Urooj Amjad (London School of Economics and Political Science, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-933-5.ch002
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Abstract

The last decade of the 20th century saw the emergence of a new discipline within the realm of information systems, which became known as knowledge management (KM). As such, it has become one of the most discussed issues amongst academics and practitioners working in the information systems and human resource management arenas (Prusack, 2001). Amongst academics it has become an area of specialisation with research projects, journals, conferences, books, encyclopaedias, and numerous papers devoted to the topic. Businesses are investing heavily in buying or developing KM supportive systems. However, predominately researchers and practitioners in this area have tended to see (see for example, Alavi & Leidner, 2001; Baskerville, 1998): 1. consider the context in which knowledge management takes place as teams of knowledge workers in communities of practice, whose performance and the performance of their organisation, can be enhanced by knowledge sharing; 2. focus on the process—the creation and application of knowledge management programmes and systems as an organisational resource—neglecting, with some exceptions (Alvesson & Karreman, 2001; Swan & Scarborough, 2001; Schultze, 1999), the wider context in which knowledge management takes place and the fact that resources can be used in ways that can be both creative and destructive, facilitating and manipulative; and 3. stress the role of technology as the enabling agent for KM.

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