Theoretical Jumble

This week’s readings took some deciphering, as the articles involved lengthy messages and analysis in two cases. Nonaka discusses KM in the context of management theory and levels, while also discussing how tacit knowledge can be parsed into sub-theories, regarding knowledge transfer from one type of knowledge to another as well as from the same type of knowledge going from tacit to explicit. While this discussion had a level of depth, it was a bit mind-boggling in the sheer volume of theory which it examined. Spender, on the other hand, focused more exclusively on philosophy and theories which linked in to the author’s rather pessimistic version of KM, which was supposed to focus on how law firms function, but spent more time discussing how one theory relates to another philosophy. Colon-Aguiree made the most sense of the three, though the author’s jumping from one story to the next caused a rather jolting narration style.

Colon-Aguirre related KM through stories of employment and references to literatures. Spender used philosophy, and Nonaka used pure theory to discuss KM. While each proposes a unique theory, all three give a more critical analysis of Polyani than any of the previous authors have. Rather than the more typical tone of admiration, Polyani’s work is taken into new areas of usage. This transference seems to add something to Polyani, as it makes the applications of KM more complex and yet somehow more understandable in a typical academic way. Perhaps this is simply my familiarity with the social sciences and rudimentary philosophy.

Nonaka had the best quote of all the article authors thus far, “Mind is distinct from the brain in the same way that computer software is distinct from hardware”. I’ve thought about this for some time, and it seems to almost link into the metaphysics of Kant, which Spender discusses. Colon-Aguirre also discusses this through storytelling. It comes back to the idea which RHMaxsonlis658 discussed about humanity affecting KM, that our fundamental humanness is what brings KM into real life. It seems like this links to this quotation, as analysing the self and the world within the parameters of human consciousness is part of humanity’s history. It reminds me of Descarte, “I think therefore I am”. This signifies that the self (mind) is separate from the functions which we do without thinking (the part of the brain which makes us breathe) in a way that we actually think about. It’s all a bit dizzying to think about, isn’t it? How will we manage this knowledge?

Colon-Aguirre, M. (2015). Knowledge transferred through organizational stories: a typology. Library Management, 36(6/7), 421-433. doi:10.1108/LM-06-2014-0073

Nonaka, I. (1994). A dynamic theory of organizational knowledge creation. Organization Science, 5(1), 14-37.

Spender, J. C. (1996). Making knowledge the basis of a dynamic theory of the firm. Strategic Management Journal, 17, 45–62. doi:10.1002/smj.4250171106

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4 thoughts on “Theoretical Jumble

  1. “Mind is distinct from the brain in the same way that computer software is distinct from hardware” I really liked that quote as well.

    I’m curious, of the ‘jumble’ of theories you discussed this week, which do you think has the most merit? You said Colon-Aguiree makes the most sense but does that mean it has the most merit in relation to KM?

    Like

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