Adaptation and Context
Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Anders Örtenblad
Chapter 21: Tensions and extensions in knowledge integration and disintegration : rethinking the man-agement of knowledge in organizations
The knowledge management (KM) debate has been populated by a rich tapestry of perspectives and has produced multiple interpretations and an in-depth understanding of the ambiguous concept of knowledge and the processes aiming at its development and economic appropriation within organizational contexts. Highlighting the fundamental distinction between strategies of codification and personalization (Hansen et al. 1999), organizational knowledge is perceived as either a ‘stock’ to be transferred through the use of advanced information and communications technologies (ICTs) or as a ‘flow’ to be harnessed in communities and networked forms of organizations (McKinlay 2004). ICTs are presented as the suitable mechanisms for the capture and transfer of knowledge (for example, Soete 2001), while personalization strategies propose the nurturing and facilitation of knowledge sharing in communities of practice (CoPs) through social interaction (for example, Wenger 2000; Brown and Duguid 2001) promoting a relational approach to the understanding of the phenomenon of knowledge (Swan and Scarbrough 2001). Empirical work indicates a dual emphasis and investment by organizations in both the development of ICT-based and community and project-based KM initiatives (for example, King 2002; Kellogg et al. 2006). For example, King’s (2002) research in the KM programme in the World Bank identified investment in 100 or more CoPs for the development of knowledge sharing processes and in ICTs aiming to alleviate temporal constraints traditionally obstructing the process of information transfer.
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