A draft of a sketch of a primer... about KM in practice (a new paper)
- Hello again,
these last few months I've had to try and give a sort of "complete vision of KM" quite a few times. What it is, in practice. What is the role of IT. How does it fit with current organizational structures.
Last month I picked up all the sketches for a presentation, and surprisingly it seemed to get the message through, so I've been kicking it into a sort of white paper. It's quite green (in more than one sense) and I'd appreciate your comments.
It's not just about CoPs, but it's about them too :-). Although I dare say the angle is a bit unusual.
Looking forward to your comments, best regards,
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- Miguel Cornejo Castro points to a paper he's written and asks for
> these last few months I've had to try and give a sort of "completevision of KM" quite a few times. What it is, in practice. What is the
role of IT. How does it fit with current organizational structures.
>surprisingly it seemed to get the message through, so I've been
> Last month I picked up all the sketches for a presentation, and
kicking it into a sort of white paper. It's quite green (in more than
one sense) and I'd appreciate your comments.
I downloaded and read the paper. My comments follow.
It seems clear that the view of Knowledge Management (KM) presented in
the paper ties very directly to Information Technology (IT). That
seems to be pretty much the case everywhere else as well. I think
that's appropriate - given how the aims of KM have evolved since it
first reared its head.
Originally, as I recall, KM got started because managers and
consultants were struggling to find ways of managing knowledge work -
the kind done by people using their brains instead of their brawn. As
Peter Drucker had been pointing out for years, knowledge workers
pretty much had to manage themselves. But, management, aided and
abetted by armies of consultants promising technology-based solutions,
persisted in their quest to restore something approximately the old
kind of managerial control over such work. (Given their druthers, I'm
confident they would like to clamber inside the skulls of their
workers and exercise direct control there - but, alas for them and
hurrah for us, that is not to be.)
The two early and major manifestations of KM were linked to (1)
capturing, codifying, storing and distributing knowledge, information
or what have you - and (2) communities of practice (CoPs). The
presence of IT was evident in the first from the git-go. IT
subsequently penetrated and, in many cases, took over or dominated CoP
efforts as well (with the underlying aim of course of capturing,
codifying storing and distributing knowledge).
So, where we are today is pretty well summed up in your paper, Miguel.
I think you've reasonably captured and codifed the current state of
affairs with respect to KM. (As a minor point, I do think it would
help English-speaking readers if the diagram on page 7 were in English
instead of Spanish.)
But, in the last analysis, as Peter Drucker also pointed out
repeatedly over the years, we still don't know much about managing
knowledge work. Why? Because we remain focused on trying to manage
the knowledge worker. That is a huge mistake. Ironically, the quest
for control of people stymies achievement of control over work.
Thanks for the paper, Miguel. I enjoyed reading and responding.