We Built this City… On Knowledge Management?

Alavi (2001) points out the gaps throughout knowledge management, which hasn’t been something that’s discussed in depth in this particular field. I enjoyed that these authors discussed that people don’t necessarily follow the prescribed patterns; the idea that knowledge can be quantified or put into a box is something that this author discusses and it isn’t something that can be discussed within the confines of the discipline. Why does knowledge management seem to think that knowledge, even when it’s tacit, is something that can be boiled down to a simple concept? Alavi (2001) talks about how this presents a problem for knowledge management. It seems like everything that’s been talked about in this semester’s work feels like trying to make a magic growing towel into it’s original growing shape, rather than expanding things.

Lam (2009) discusses how knowledge gets transferred outside of the community as a form of outsourcing. Outsourcing information seems to follow the general trend, because jobs have already gone in that direction. It makes sense that knowledge would follow the same trend. It’s odd though how this knowledge outsourcing has been brought outside by social media- if someone moves outside of the community, then they can get information right off of Facebook or Twitter to keep up with people’s lives, instead of from their neighbors. How do we outsource information from one another? What type of information gets outsourced the most and when? Do letters count or does it need to be more formalized information or from companies? Can it be applied outside of it’s field? AKeller¬†discusses knowledge transfer, and I have to wonder if the concept that she talks about relate to what Alavi (2001) hints at but doesn’t state directly in their discussion of KM theory.

Stock (2011) discusses the concept of “Information Cities” and it seems to be a bit futuristic in the imagery. Perhaps I am a bit too imaginative, but it looks like the end of “Meet the Robinsons” (https://i.ytimg.com/vi/j-y_l-EH_Tk/maxresdefault.jpg) I know that this is actually about how information creates power and had positive potential for those who have access to it, like HereticalPoetical discusses. It seems like Stock’s (2011) perspective seems to have a more neutral tang than most of the other information society related articles, but it comes down to the reality of our current information access problem, which is that the rich both have the information and control it, while people with less education or money lack access to it. How does KM propose to fix this disparity? What can be done? Unfortunately, it seems like this is not something that KM wants to address.

Lam, W., & Chua, A. Y. (2009). Knowledge outsourcing: An alternative strategy for knowledge management. Journal of Knowledge Management, 13(3), 28-43.

Stock, W. G. (2011). Informational cities: Analysis and construction of cities in the knowledge society. Journal of the American Society of Information Science and Technology, 62(5), 963-986.

Alavi, M., & Leidner, D. E. (2001). Knowledge management and knowledge management systems: Conceptual foundations and research issues. MIS Quarterly, 25(1), 107-136.

7 thoughts on “We Built this City… On Knowledge Management?

  1. Regarding your concluding questions: I realize they’re rhetorical, but I’m curious as to what we all think about this. Are issues of unfair or unequal access to knowledge and information specifically a concern of KM, or should they be considered in the context of another area beneath the LIS umbrella?

    Addressing access disparities within KM would seem to require a design-side solution to a problem which has much more to do with social inequality, community outreach, and LIS ethics than KM systems or theory, akin to trying to address information illiteracy in the context of designing and coding professional software applications; there’s clearly a connection and some potential routes for development, but it’s not really clear that that would be the most effective way to go about resolving the issue.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Remember that KM is inward focused — it’s focused on the community of practice or the communities of practice within an organization. KM isn’t used at a societal level except when the organization in mind serves the society.

    LIS is more outwardly focused and is more about the management of information (specifically, recorded information) than it is about the management of knowledge.

    Does that help?


  3. It does clarify some things. And thank you, Kam. I love “Meet the Robinsons” too- especially the end part where people travel to work in bubbles, rather than using cars.


  4. I had not read Scott so I really enjoyed your discussion of information cities. Ever since I was a kid Ive enjoyed all thing futuristic. Excellent Meet the Robinsons reference.


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