WG 3 theoretical framework and the O word

In the recent workshop in Cambridge, we WG3 members had an interesting discussion that took a lot of time in the morning of our third and last day, and it all started as we were thinking:

Now that we know who we are, what others are doing in IKM Emergent, what multiple knowledges could mean and what we have agreed to work on in this group, let’s zoom in on how to achieve our objectives.

Quickly there we stumbled on the achy concept of ‘organisations’. Now why a generic term such as ‘organisations’ should be a problem? It is vague enough to comprise a variety of different bodies.

Yes but as Valerie rightly told us, we should reexamine the language we use as it shapes our world view and thereby the very process of questioning provides an entry point to multiple knowledges too. And in this particular case, when talking about organisations, our assumption was to put emphasis on formal institutions, the kind of ‘organisations’ (or organised groups of people) that Paula and Jessy have been analysing.

This is all good and well, but limited to very (indeed) organised bodies where learning is not always safe because it is hassled and mugged by organisational rules, power play, personal interests and you name it.

So we started exploring what we wanted to also explore when we talk about ‘the management of knowledge’ (and this is definitely my next post on the Giraffe). It turned out we also wanted to look at less formalised groups of people such as working groups, specific departments of an ‘organisation’, peer networks and communities of practice, partnerships etc.

After some time we managed to come up with a framework that would encompass all types of organised groups, from formal institutions to less formal groups. Here is that framework:


WG 3 theoretical framework re: organisations

With this framework we feel more comfortable addressing both DGIS’s legitimate request to look at practical aspects of organisational knowledge management, and what we also see as emergent and increasingly important corners of learning and sharing, the less formalised groups of people. The idea is that we apply this framework to each organisation and identify what is the institutionalised core where knowledge is sought to be managed indeed, and where it is flowing to more informal settings where perhaps it is more likely to flourish.

The first few assignments of this WG 3 will tell whether the framework is of any help or not…

One Response

  1. Ewen’s diagram captures the discussion well. My take on it is this. The diagram represents levels of formal organisation and institutionalisation. The dimensions of the multiple knowledges employed in each organisation can be be mapped as facts ie described as “what is” (eg all specialised as against community inputs) . Increasing the extent of the equity and collaboration among the multiple knowledges within and between those organisations is a value of IKME ie a goal for “what should be”.

    Ways of enhancing equitable and collaborative relationships in all forms of organisation seems to me to be the core of the Group 3 reseach agenda? So it isn’t actually big against small, but how each handles the multiple knowledges in their brief.

    Is this useful? Valerie

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