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November 11, 2006


Martin Scicluna

Knowledge already exists? If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no-one there to see it, explain it, or give meaning to it, then I guess it still fell? If knowledge already exists, then we live in an objectively defined world, a world ruled by pure logic, reason and rationality. The future is already defined (somewhere) - all already exists, and it’s just up to us to discover it.

What a dull and mundane world we live in! How do we then explain culture, emotion or any of the great feats of civilisation that have catapulted us forward? Are we, as we were in the beginning? Should we therefore be able to logically deduce next weeks lotto results too? After all, they already exist!

You can’t have “knowledge already existing” and then have “constructivism at work.” They are mutually exclusive theoretical concepts. KM as it stands, is not about managing knowledge, explicit, implicit or otherwise, it is about managing INFORMATION. And therein lies the problem. Information exists, but knowledge is continuously created. We must first know what we know (INFORMATION Management), before we can hope to manage (or nurture) what we do not, or what has not yet come into existence i.e. the real role of "knowledge" management.

It is the idea that “knowledge exists” which compels the habitual misdirection of information technology to organisational KM, and the idea that Web2.0 may “capture knowledge.” Web2.0 stimulates the creation of new knowledge; of new socially accepted constructs and norms - forces which dictate market demands.

Again I purport, the problem isn’t so much a question of faulty method, nor dodging the empty promises of the next management consultancy offering, but rather a fundamental misunderstanding in the very epistemological directive of organisational development! :)

Dr. Mohamed Taher

Thank you for the comment at my blog.

Your insight helps us to improve and be better role players in the profession.

Mortals are all faced with the only opportunity, and that opportunity is to improve.

I am looking for opportunities that can utilize my skills and competencies, and let the world see how Ranganathan is not just yahoo, rather Ranganathan's philosophy bearers are fit at all times, and all spaces. I believe that we librarians, must grow with time, else will be lost in the transit. See my post: Library is a Growing Organism - Dr. Ranganathan's Fifth Law Revisited

Dr. Mohamed Taher

What an interesting blog post. And, what a co-incidence that I did my comment at knowledge board,

to re-consider the role of information professionals (esp., librarians as knowledge managers)

Librarians as KM managers

see my post and please comment what do you think about my concern.

David Locke

Knowledge isn't the dependent variable. That other stuff is. And, no, you don't create knowledge. You might capture it with or without explication, but it isn't created. It exists.

KM is supposed to manage the abilities that enable the capture and exploitation of knowledge, apart from content, data, journals, books, what have you.

You won't capture knowledge on a website even it it is Web 2.0. Sites like Sequences at Home might capture knowledge or at least point out where to look.

Construtivism creates an environment for knowledge explication, and the social processes subsequent to its explication, but it doesn't do anything for the explication itself. Solitary thought does that. Getting the explication adopted is a social process, so sure constructism is at work, but after the fact. And, you hire a technology adoption expert for that not a knowledge manager.

Web designers decided to be business strategists, some still consider that their job. So if you want to tell a corporation how to do knowledge management, hang out a shingle. Since everybody can hang out a shingle, its all sales. Maybe nobody should buy. But, you can sell.

Martin Scicluna

I have just stumbled across this blog and find it funny that you say that as KM fades, firms rush to stay abreast of complexity, social networking and chaos theory... IMHO, they are one and the same!

I'm an unashamed Constructivist. I believe that Knowledge is not independent of value and consciousness, but rather meaning, purpose and function are continuously reconstructed through our social engagement and interaction with our environment. This engagement affords an emergent social existence, culture and subsequent complex and chaotic market reality.

So the problem isn’t so much a question of faulty method, nor dodging the empty promises of the next management consultancy offering, but rather a fundamental misunderstanding in the very epistemological directive of organisational development! Knowledge is dependent upon the quality of our relationships and interactions with our environment, which in a business sense involves the ever-evolving landscape of customers, suppliers, competitors, employees, partners etc… And the creation and “management” of knowledge is critical to maintaining a strategic and operational reality.

The Internet finally brought this reality to life, and the diversity and accessibility of Web2.0 technology is only set to amplify emergence. But how do we get our message across to management instilled with linear beliefs engrained within an erstwhile era of less instability? How do we suggest they rethink both the function and form of the organisations they manage for both social and financial wealth? And who the hell are we to offer advice?

David Locke

The rise of enterprise-wide integration is destroying knowledge. It's the fad. Since no one doing knowledge management is actually managing knowledge, this will go on unabated until the firm is utterly stupid. So the focus on content managment is just a distraction while knowledge is pushed out of the firm.

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