A Cross-Cultural and Institutional Approach
Edited by Kate Hutchings and Kavoos Mohannak
Chapter 1: Introducing Knowledge Management in Developing Economies
Kate Hutchings and Kavoos Mohannak BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE From the late 1980s, researchers began to emphasise the need for organisations to enhance their learning or be ‘learning organisations’ (Roth and Senge, 1996; Senge, 1989; Senge and Fulmer, 1993). Since the seminal article by Cangelosi and Dill (1965), organisational learning has been described at three different levels: individual, group and organisation. While many organisational learning theorists have argued for the existence of learning at these levels, some researchers, especially academics in the field of international management, have extended the framework to include learning at the intra-organisational level (see, for example, Miller, 1996). Another large corpus of work grew from the learning organisation and focused around the concept of knowledge management (KM). Defined as intentional efforts to increase, share and improve knowledge usage as intellectual capital, KM has been asserted, by leading organisational scholars, as essential for organisational competitiveness (Drucker et al., 1997; Von Krogh, 1998). Boisot (1998) has suggested knowledge assets are only just being regarded as economic goods in their own right and argues that a core competence is the fruit of an organisational learning process, and that, as it gets used repeatedly in a variety of circumstances, it deepens and the benefits to the organisation are enhanced. KM theorists also argue that knowledge is the pre-eminent resource of the firm (Davenport and Prusak, 1997; Grant, 1996; Spender, 1996) and that the primary rationale for the firm is the creation and application of knowledge (Bierly and Chakrabarti, 1996; Conner and...
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