Will Knowledge Management Disappear?

Below is a summary of the virtues and gaps in KM based on my blog posts from October 2008 to May 2009. Note the embedded links that show up as colored text below. To read the blog posts referred to, press “Ctrl” while you click on the link to reach that post in a new tab.

Virtues of KM and OL (organizational learning):

Gaps in KM and OL practice:

What we need next, a new KM or the next discipline after KM:

Q28 cartoon

free counters

Comments/responses through “Knowledge Management Experts” group in Linkedin:

Dear Mr Serafin

That´s a very interesting and strong material about KM. I will use this material to promote discussions in my blog in portuguese.

I would like to show you a framework in what I try better define the role of KM:

http://kmgoldman.blogspot.com/2009/06/goldmans-model-dynamics-of-relationship.html

I suppose this framework is in line with most of yours ideas, but it points out the recursive character between a efective KM and strategic organizational goals, defined by knowlodge processes.

Best regards

Fernando Goldman
Engineer at FURNAS CENTRAIS ELÉTRICAS SA
June 6, 2009

— — —

Serafin,

Good stuff!

I’d like to comment or clarify two of your statements, “KM focuses on cognitive factors, and tends to ignore affective, including motivational factors that also determine performance.” In my experience, effective KM includes a heavy dose of change management (often overlooked), what it means to be moving into the Knowledge Age and should include above.

Also, “Managing knowledge that is already there is not as important as creating new knowledge; personal and organization tools for accelerating innovation are important.” I agree, ultimately. However, in the short term, especially for startup KM initiatives, leveraging what you already know (best practices, etc.) may be more productive.

As to need for New KM, I think effective KM already includes the things you deem essential, with which I generally agree. It matters less what we call it than doing it effectively, but to waste energy arguing over what to call it vs improving how we do it, would be counterproductive in my opinion.

Douglas Weidner
Chair, http://www.kminstitute.org
June 6, 2009

— — —

Hello Douglas, it has been quite a while since our coffee meeting in Manila last May 2007!

Yes to all the points your raised. We also found from experience that change management (whether explicit or not) must also be present in most of our KM practice. We described this in our CCLFI website ( http://www.cclfi.org/change_management).

I will give you a call in my next visit to my son/grandsons in Boston.

Apin

Ola Fernando!

Your KM framework is very similar to mine. I am writing you a separate email on this.

Serafin
(“Apin” is the Tagalog nickname for my Spanish name)
June 6, 2009

— — —

Dear Serafin

Of course, the other 25 bullet points that you pointed out are very important. But perhaps the key point to better understand the meaning that we must give to the term “Knowledge Management” is the last one: The term “knowledge management” may not last long but I believe the underlying need to create and manage intangible assets in the new global economy would stay much longer (74% of Gross World Product is created of Gross World Product is created by intangible assets). Note that I don´t say “the meaning that we give”, but “the meaning that we must give.” I have won most of the difficulties of the executives with KM, not using the term Knowledge Management, but using Organizational Knowledge Management. Let’s differentiate KM from OKM.

OKM operates through its concepts and practices of support on the ways as organizations create new knowledge, enabling new products, new methods and new organizational forms. OKM, acting on the processes of organizational knowledge, is presenting as pioneer of innovations, both technological as well as of organizational change, especially radical innovations.

Knowledge is defined as “what we know and enables effective action.” So it is an individual capability involving knowing and abilities. It is a human construction, personnel, intangible and biography determined, must always be distinguished from information, however sophisticated it is.

One of the key issues in contemporary research on strategic management is how firms create and sustain competitive advantage. Barney, for example, defines the resources as all assets, capabilities, skills, processes, attributes, information, knowledge and so on, which are controlled by a company and enabling it to design and implement strategies to improve their efficiency and effectiveness.

But the Organizational Knowledge (OK), created based on knowledge of all the organization, should be a whole greater than the sum of its parts does not meet the simple sum of individual knowledge. It should be understood as a resource, one intangible asset, which is characterized as able to create competitive advantage if, and only if, the company’s policies and procedures must be really organized to support the exploitation of this valuable , rare and costly to imitate resource.

So, my proposal is to use the term KM – Knowledge Management as a simplified form of “Organizational Knowledge” Management.

Best Regards

Fernando Goldman
Engineer at FURNAS CENTRAIS ELÉTRICAS SA
June 7, 2009

Copies to :

1. – www.kmgoldman.blogspot.com

2. – https://apintalisayon.wordpress.com/will-knowledge-management-disappear/

3. – http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?viewQuestionAndAnswers=&gid=47726&discussionID=3998012&goback=%2Eanh_47726

— — —

Fernando,

KM has always meant organizational KM.

Personal KM (PKM) is the alternative, which itself is a discipline within KM, at least in my opinion.

Douglas Weidner
http://www.KM Institute.org
June 7, 2009

— — —

Dear Douglas

As we agree that KM has always meant organizational KM, we (I and you) may use the term KM without problems. I am not sure that others people have the same confort.

But if Personal KM (PKM) is a discipline within KM, I am not sure.

What exactly do you mean with Personal KM ? which are the limits? PKM is a organizational process? if yes, what do you do in Personal KM that is different of Information Management and Corporate Education? Is PKM able to deal with tacit knowledge ?

These are some of my doubts.

Best Regards

Fernando Goldman
Engineer at FURNAS CENTRAIS ELÉTRICAS SA
June 7, 2009

— — —

To me PKM is about sensemaking. How do I organise myself, find stuff, connect to stuff, put it in my context and act on it. Aggregated PKM (where each person on his own does PKM) does not amount to as much as social PKM. If we all make sense of the workplace is a network we are perpetually learning and exchanging knowledge

http://libraryclips.blogsome.com/2009/05/18/sensemaking-pkm-and-networks/

John Tropea
Communities of Practice Coordinator
Hatch, Perth area, Australia
June 7, 2009

— — —

I like Fernando’s term “organizational KM” because it describes better what many KM practitioners actually do.

Besides personal KM, there is a big and growing community and discourse on “KM for development” or “knowledge-based development” (see http://www.km4dev.org/ ). This area of KM is more challenging because KM practitioners here are dealing with multiple actors with different interests, at different levels of power and complex or ill-understood cultural-social contexts.

But what is the difference betwee OKM and “organizational learning”? Which focus (on learning or on KM) do you think is better?

Apin Talisayon
June 7, 2009

— — —

Dear Serafin

If you look at my model,
http://kmgoldman.blogspot.com/2009/06/goldmans-model-dynamics-of-relationship.html,
you will see that it is exactly about The Dynamics of the Relationship between Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning. Unlike other authors, for me KM is the most important part of the Learning Organization. Without a good KM, consciously or not, there is no Organizational Learning, understood as the firm’s adaptation to changes in its business environment.

I liked very much your comments on KM for Development and Public Policies. I hope to return to this point later.

Best Regards

Fernando Goldman
Engineer at FURNAS CENTRAIS ELÉTRICAS SA
June 8, 2009

Copies to:

1. – www.kmgoldman.blogspot.com

2. – https://apintalisayon.wordpress.com/will-knowledge-management-disappear/

3. – http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?viewQuestionAndAnswers=&gid=47726&discussionID=3998012&goback=%2Eanh_47726

— — —

The interesting series of comments above and in my blog on “Will KM disappear?” led me to find out how we can be more precise in our communication, and so I posted a blog entitled “Can we manage knowledge? (a practice in listening).”

Please go to: https://apintalisayon.wordpress.com/2009/06/09/can-we-manage-knowledge-a-practice-in-listening/

Apin Talisayon
June 9, 2009

— — —

This has been one of the most informative discussions we’ve had. Knowledge Management is still a confusing concept for many people. The lexicon has not standardized, and many of the people teaching, speaking and writing about KM use the phrase differently. Our organization is trying very hard to deal with these inconsistencies in ways which have meaning and utility for our leaders and workforce. While there is room enough for knowledge studies programs, we’ve found that for KM to work at the organizational level the concepts, definitions and practices must be concrete, practical, and applicable to daily business. Any management theory, if it is to work, must become a discipline with a clear Body of Knowledge, a standard lexicon which recognizes the importance of common usage, and a defined set of generally accepted principles and recommended practices.

Charles Robinson
Chief Knowledge Officer
USJFC
June 9, 2009

— — —

=>Back to main page of Apin Talisayon’s Weblog
=>Jump to Clickable Master Index

17 Responses to “Will Knowledge Management Disappear?”

  1. Fernando Goldman Says:

    Dear Mr Serafin

    That´s a very interesting and strong material about KM. I will use this material to promote discussions in my blog in portuguese.

    I would like to show you a framework in what I try better define the role of KM:

    http://kmgoldman.blogspot.com/2009/06/goldmans-model-dynamics-of-relationship.html

    I suppose this framework is in line with most of yours ideas, but it points out the recursive character between a efective KM and strategic organizational goals, defined by knowlodge processes.

    Best regards

    Fernando Goldman

  2. Douglas Weidner Says:

    Serafin,
    Good stuff!
    I’d like to comment or clarify two of your statements, “KM focuses on cognitive factors, and tends to ignore affective, including motivational factors that also determine performance.” In my experience, effective KM includes a heavy dose of change management (often overlooked), what it means to be moving into the Knowledge Age and should include above.

    Also, “Managing knowledge that is already there is not as important as creating new knowledge; personal and organization tools for accelerating innovation are important.” I agree, ultimately. However, in the short term, especially for startup KM initiatives, leveraging what you already know (best practices, etc.) may be more productive.

    As to need for New KM, I think effective KM already includes the things you deem essential, with which I generally agree. It matters less what we call it than doing it effectively, but to waste energy arguing over what to call it vs improving how we do it, would be counterproductive in my opinion.
    Douglas Weidner, Chair, http://www.kminstitute.org

  3. apintalisayon Says:

    Ola Fernando!

    Your KM framework is very similar to mine. I am writing you a separate email on this.

    You are welcome to use materials in this blog. Please include acknowledgements or references to me or links to my blog.

    Cheers!

  4. Skip Boettger Says:

    To: Serafin Talisayon

    On the face of your question, I find it very silly. The management of knowledge is a fact, has been a fact since time began, and will always be a fact forever. No matter whether personal, business, animal, vegetable, mineral, micro, macro, virtual, manual, et al… knowledge is something alway gained, used, abused, etc and as a result has to be dealt with… so will it ever disappear? Certainly not… and even after we are all “assimilated” and learn that “resistance is futile”… it will still be THE Need and THE Factor in the evolution of information.

  5. apintalisayon Says:

    Skip, my last bullet point is saying that the term “KM” is problematic and may disappear, but certainly, the need for KM (or whatever it will be labeled in the future) may not disappear.

  6. Skip Boettger Says:

    ====================================

    Then HOW to address the “…need for KM (or whatever it will be labeled in the future)… should be your primary focus, and not the term… We, as an industry have not yet done a good job at all in addressing the basics and fundamentals yet whether it is called KM, BI, Barney, green pickles, etc, etc. So before we decide it should be “re-labeled”, let’s make certain the ‘Homework’ gets done today.

    The tools, methods, and capabilities are there today to address the basics and fundamentals so the management of knowledge can be successful. Most times, the failures are the result of ‘lack of commitment and will’…

  7. apintalisayon Says:

    Sure, let us focus on the other 25 bullet points in this blog because they do aim at better homework today and addressing the fundamentals.

    The last bullet point on future labels will be settled by the next generations of management practitioners, not by our opinions or assertions today.

  8. Fernando Goldman Says:

    Dear Serafin

    Of course, the other 25 bullet points that you pointed out are very important. But perhaps the key point to better understand the meaning that we must give to the term “Knowledge Management” is the last one: The term “knowledge management” may not last long but I believe the underlying need to create and manage intangible assets in the new global economy would stay much longer (74% of Gross World Product is created of Gross World Product is created by intangible assets). Note that I don´t say “the meaning that we give”, but “the meaning that we must give.” I have won most of the difficulties of the executives with KM, not using the term Knowledge Management, but using Organizational Knowledge Management. Let’s differentiate KM from OKM.

    OKM operates through its concepts and practices of support on the ways as organizations create new knowledge, enabling new products, new methods and new organizational forms. OKM, acting on the processes of organizational knowledge, is presenting as pioneer of innovations, both technological as well as of organizational change, especially radical innovations.

    Knowledge is defined as “what we know and enables effective action.” So it is an individual capability involving knowing and abilities. It is a human construction, personnel, intangible and biography determined, must always be distinguished from information, however sophisticated it is.

    One of the key issues in contemporary research on strategic management is how firms create and sustain competitive advantage. Barney, for example, defines the resources as all assets, capabilities, skills, processes, attributes, information, knowledge and so on, which are controlled by a company and enabling it to design and implement strategies to improve their efficiency and effectiveness.

    But the Organizational Knowledge (OK), created based on knowledge of all the organization, should be a whole greater than the sum of its parts does not meet the simple sum of individual knowledge. It should be understood as a resource, one intangible asset, which is characterized as able to create competitive advantage if, and only if, the company’s policies and procedures must be really organized to support the exploitation of this valuable , rare and costly to imitate resource.

    So, my proposal is to use the term KM – Knowledge Management as a simplified form of “Organizational Knowledge” Management.

    Best Regards
    Fernando Goldman
    Copies to :
    1. – http://www.kmgoldman.blogpot.com

    1. – https://apintalisayon.wordpress.com/will-knowledge-management-disappear/

    3 – http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?viewQuestionAndAnswers=&gid=47726&discussionID=3998012&goback=%2Eanh_47726

  9. Jim Coogan Says:

    I agree with Douglas and Skip. It’s not what you call it, it’s what you do with it that matters. KM covers so much more than people understand yet few understand that it is much older than they think. The term itself may be around 15 or 16 years old but the practice of KM, which covers more than 65 different disciplines, has been around since the first caveman drew pictures on the wall of animals in the area that you could eat and the ones that could eat you.

  10. Skip Boettger Says:

    Apin,

    I completely concur… Sounds good to me.

    Best.
    Skip

  11. apintalisayon Says:

    I like Fernando’s “organizational knowledge management” which describes better what KM practitioners actually do.

    But what is the difference between OKM and “organizational learning”? Which focus (on learning or on KM) do you think is better?

  12. Fernando Goldman Says:

    Dear Serafin

    If you look at my model,
    http://kmgoldman.blogspot.com/2009/06/goldmans-model-dynamics-of-relationship.html ,
    you will see that it is exactly about The Dynamics of the Relationship between Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning. Unlike other authors, for me KM is the most important part of the Learning Organization. Without a good KM, consciously or not, there is no Organizational Learning, understood as the firm’s adaptation to changes in its business environment.
    I liked very much your comments on KM for Development and Public Policies. I hope to return to this point later.

    Best Regards

    Fernando Goldman

    Copies to:

    1. – http://www.kmgoldman.blogpot.com/

    2. – https://apintalisayon.wordpress.com/will-knowledge-management-disappear/

    3 – http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?viewQuestionAndAnswers=&gid=47726&discussionID=3998012&goback=%2Eanh_47726

  13. Harold Jarche » Manage what matters - collaboration Says:

    Knowledge is personal and it cannot really be managed, though we continue to try. Artifacts of knowledge can be managed and in many cases they can be helpful to others. Learning is the same, I can’t directly transfer my learning to you, but I can try to teach or even train you, based on some good practices. We each have to learn for ourselves, though we can take advantage of the knowledge artifacts passed on by generations of people. It’s also getting easier to take advantage of what other people know as we get more connected online.

    My own focus has been on personal knowledge management because managing how each of us makes sense seems to be the required foundation of anything resembling organizational knowledge management. The same goes for organizational learning – it cannot even be conceived to exist without individual learning. When it comes to learning and knowledge, we may be going down the wrong path when we try to put these into organizational buckets and manage them.

    As Dave Jonassen has said many times:

    “Every amateur epistemologist knows that knowledge cannot be managed. Education has always assumed that knowledge can be transferred and that we can carefully control the process through education. That is a grand illusion.”
    […]

  14. apintalisayon Says:

    Excellently said, Harold! Personal KM is the foundation of all KM. I think the term “managing knowledge” sounds awkward or presumptive, unless we are managing our own personal knowledge processes or we are managing knowledge objects or as you say, knowledge artifacts.

  15. Skip Boettger Says:

    It is a matter of ‘commitment and will’… It is incorrect to say that “knowledge is personal” and/or that “knowledge cannot be managed”. It is being done all the time… It is just the ‘quality of the management method and the exploitation’.

    “There is only one good – knowledge; and only one evil – ignorance” Even Socrates knew that knowledge could be managed and controlled.

  16. Fernando Goldman Says:

    Dear Serafin

    If you look at my model,
    http://kmgoldman.blogspot.com/2009/06/goldmans-model-dynamics-of-relationship.html ,
    you will see that it is exactly about The Dynamics of the Relationship between Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning. Unlike other authors, for me KM is the most important part of the Learning Organization. Without a good KM, consciously or not, there is no Organizational Learning, understood as the firm’s adaptation to changes in its business environment.

    I liked very much your comments on KM for Development and Public Policies. I hope to return to this point later.

    Best Regards

    Fernando Goldman

    Copies to:
    1. – http://www.kmgoldman.blogpot.com/
    2. – https://apintalisayon.wordpress.com/will-knowledge-management-disappear/
    3 – http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?viewQuestionAndAnswers=&gid=47726&discussionID=3998012&goback=%2Eanh_47726

  17. apintalisayon Says:

    The interesting series of comments above led me to find out how we can be more precise in our communication, and so I posted a blog entitled “Can we manage knowledge? (a practice in listening).”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: