Contesting Definition: Metaphor, Meaning, and Multiplicity in KM

By Rachel Jones.

Published by The Organization Collection

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

Numerous articles in KM summarise, challenge, or generate definitions of knowledge. In trying to (re)define knowledge, authors attempt to establish and fix an acceptable and manageable demarcation of knowledge. This paper examines these processes of conceptualising knowledge, and competing over meaning, in action. However, rather than endorsing the need for a single working definition of knowledge, it calls for a willingness to embrace alternative, and even apparently contradictory, viewpoints as a key component of knowledge generation. In making the case for an acceptance of multiplicity, this paper argues that a genuinely multidisciplinary field, such as KM at its best, should increase the ability to see through others’ eyes. It further contends that, if KM is to be sustained as a discipline, its future lies in not just multidisciplinarity but also interdisciplinarity. Recommending that the KM community avoids premature attempts to put important and abstract concepts into tightly logical but restrictive definitional boxes, it encourages creating spaces for contesting perspectives to be more fully considered.

Keywords: Knowledge Management, Communication, Metaphor, Multiplicity, Multidisciplinarity, Interdisciplinarity

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp.111-116. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 549.049KB).

Dr. Rachel Jones

Doctoral Student, Management Communication, Waikato Management School, Waikato University, Hamilton, New Zealand

Rachel Jones has a doctorate in English literature but is currently studying for her second PhD in Knowledge Management from a communication perspective. Her own knowledge journey reflects the interdisciplinarity she hopes to foster within the KM community.


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