The Paradox of Knowledge Management: Progress, Issues and Future Directions

By Alan Burton-Jones.

Published by The Organization Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper reviews the current status of knowledge management (KM) and its future prospects from theoretical and managerial perspectives. Technological, humanistic and intellectual capital (IC) approaches to KM are presented and compared. KM is shown currently to be in a paradoxical state, simultaneously enjoying both high levels of interest and adoption and criticisms for failing to live up to user expectations and for being philosophically naive and conceptually confused. The current confusion surrounding KM is shown to be largely due to a blurring of the conceptual boundaries between human knowledge and its disembodied representations, compounded by widely differing views as to what constitutes human knowledge. Confusion between embodied human knowledge and its symbolic representations is shown to have led to an over emphasis by firms on knowledge codification strategies, misperceived relationships between knowledge and other organizational resources, and difficulties in demonstrating how knowledge influences organizational performance. A systemic approach to future KM is proposed which while repositioning knowledge as an exclusively human resource emphasizes the importance of interrelationships between knowledge, knowledge representations, and other resources. The resultant framework provides a basis for integrating currently divergent humanistic, technological, and IC-based approaches to KM.

Keywords: Knowledge Management, Managerial Perspectives, Theoretical Perspectives

The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 7, Issue 11, pp.23-34. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 672.510KB).

Dr Alan Burton-Jones

University of Canberra, Australia

University of Canberra, Australia. Burton-Jones & Associates (www.burton-jones.com).

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