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Edited by David Rooney, Greg Hearn and Tim Kastelle
Chapter 3: Negotiating a Knowledge Economy: Juggling Knowledge, Truth and Power
Jennifer Adelstein and Stewart Clegg INTRODUCTION When Peter Drucker (1969, p. 349) identified knowledge as the central component of an innovative economy and society, in many ways he was echoing his fellow Austrian Joseph Schumpeter (1942) in recognizing the power of innovation. It took another 30 years or so for knowledge to be catapulted into a titular role in management. In large part, it was the failure of another project that prepared the path for Knowledge Management (KM). The failed path was Business Process Re-engineering (BPR), and its rethinking of old Tayloristic models unwittingly drove out much tacit knowledge that organizations did not know they had until they lost it. It was in the wake of the widespread failure of BPR projects that concerns with Knowledge with a capital K emerged as mainstream management fare. Knowledge became influential in discourses concerned with first-world social and economic development, such as the ‘knowledge economy’ (Adler, 2001; Machlup, 1962 ; Mokyr, 2002), ‘knowledge society’ (Drucker, 1993; Hargreaves, 2003), ‘information economy’ (Boisot, 1998; Brown and Duguid, 1998; Wolff, 2005) and other similar terms. The rhetoric attached to the concepts of a knowledge economy and knowledge society situated the signifier as the basis of global world order. Knowledge began to influence economics discourses and become a constitutive part of the discourses of globalization (Jessop, 2004; Robertson, 2008). In all dominant discourses, particular truths attain a level of authority and legitimacy that transcends the specificity of the practices that anchor them. KM may have begun as...
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