KM Growing but lacking agreement

A recent survey which shows that KM  keeps on growing but lacks consensus:

If these results are to be taken at face value, they suggest that after a period in which interest in KM declined somewhat, there has been a substantial renewal and expansion of worldwide interest amongst enterprises of all types. But, in the face of this increasing interest, KM, as a discipline, is – it is fair to say – in a mess. [read more]

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4 Responses

  1. Hi Kingo

    I looked at the article myself now and thought it was really interesting. I also thought this quote (see below) was good but have not much idea – as yet!?- how we could take this into account with IKM Emergent. Organizational learning is, of course, very close to KM but people are still doing IT and calling it KM…

    Best wishes and thanks,
    Sarah

    The lack of agreement on the definition and use of ‘KM’ suggests four possibilities:

    People can be doing KM and calling it KM;
    People can be doing KM and calling it something else;
    People can be doing non-KM and calling it KM; or
    People can be doing non-KM and calling it non-KM.
    The first and fourth are no problem if you want to evaluate KM, but with no agreement on what KM is, the second and third introduce serious ‘noise’ for anyone interested in getting a general idea about KM’s effectiveness….

  2. Hi Sarah,
    I dont really know – but could it be that the multidisciplinary nature of KM means it will be called different things by different people? A bit like religion really, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. But when you anlayse the core beliefs – they are all saying the same thing. Simply means it is a powerful concept with universal appeal. Standardization is called for but it probably wont work. Hence the need to define terms carefully so that what one is talking about is well defined so that what ever the terminology of one discipline they will all recognize what is being discussed!!!

  3. I am not sure about taking this into account within IKM Emergent, but I’d like to add some insights from Harvard Business Review. In December 2007 issue Darrell Rigby and Barbara Bilodeau discuss how (and how successfully) organizations are using various management tools. Full article can be found at http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/hbsp/hbr/articles/article.jsp?ml_action=get-article&articleID=F0712E&ml_issueid=BR0712&ml_subscriber=true&pageNumber=1&_requestid=52676

    To cut a short article even shorter: after looking at the various ways managers use the tools and comparing levels of use and satisfaction, the authors have grouped them into four categories: rudimentary implements (scoring below average in usage and frequency), speciality tools (highly effective tools for niche needs — low usage with excellent results), blunt instruments (attacking pervasive problems in cumbersome ways — high usage, low satisfaction rates) and power tools (high scores in both usage and satisfaction, can be applied with rigor in a variety of settings).

    Three things related to the KM:

    a) it is placed in the “blunt instruments” quadrant;
    b) over the 15 years timeline, it has moved from the “rudimentary tools” to “blunt instruments” tools.
    c) over the past few years, there has indeed been increase in the usage of KM tools, but decrease in the terms of satisfaction with KM practices.

    Here is a quote from the article: “A classic example of a blunt instrument is knowledge management. Managers realize they need to capture and share employees’ knowledge, but they often fall short because the technology they use is too complex, they gather too much extraneous data, or they don’t give people incentives to share knowledge. Blunt instruments score high in usage but low in satisfaction.”

  4. Hi Ivan

    Replying rather late to your comment… KM as a blunt instrument is a metaphor that is rather horrifying. However, I get the impression that this quote is really emphasising the technological aspect of KM (probably first or second generation stuff) and not the community or social aspects.

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