The nonsense of 'knowledge management'

I have found this article is interesting:

How do you manage knowledge? Isn’t ‘knowledge management’ a nonsensical phrase? How can knowledge actually be managed?

In case you’ve never come across T.D. Wilson’s paper The nonsense of ‘knowledge management’, it’s well worth a read.

Wilson’s argument is basically that knowledge management is a management fad, as are other things like ‘organizational learning’, ‘customer relationship management’ and ‘business process re-engineering’.

Attached to this is the notion of the ‘knowledge worker’. If we take a look at a list of attributes a knowledge worker should have, we see that the number one attribute is being ‘knowledgeable’.

Take a careful look at that list. Does it really describe anything that would not be desirable in any worker?

Back to T.D. Wilson’s point. His point was that ‘knowledge management’ has just replaced other phrases like ‘information services’ because it simply sounds better.

I would have to agree with Wilson’s point — too often we, in the knowledge management world, use phrases like ‘knowledge acquisition’ when we really just mean learning. Human language has evolved to the point where we’ve named almost everything, but it’s quite easy to coin new words and phrases to describe abstract concepts, thereby making them sound newer than they actually are.

But on the other hand, it’s not all nonsense. Knowledge management certainly encompasses a complex set of other fields’ expertise (which often results in knowledge management folks’ expertise actually residing in other fields).

But to Wilson’s point, let’s call things what they are. If you mean information, call it information.

Wilson also has a big problem with ‘tacit’ and ‘explicit’ knowledge. How can you make the knowledge in someone’s head go from tacit to explicit? Isn’t it then information?

Does it matter what you call it? Is ‘knowledge management’ just a confusing phrase that doesn’t mean anything to you? What differentiates information from knowledge?

บันทึกนี้เขียนที่ GotoKnow โดย  ใน KM for Mahidol University Community

คำสำคัญ (Tags)#knowledge management#information management#nonsense

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Husnah Chuachat
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