Topics

"Knowledge" in an organizational context #definition


michael_hutchens81@...
 

I posted this on a KM LinkedIn group a few days ago but didn't get any responses, so I'm hoping to get a better level of feedback here:


The June edition of the Journal of Knowledge Management has a good article on the dynamics between tacit knowledge & organizational performance:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317423278_Knowledge_management_and_professional_experience_the_uneasy_dynamics_between_tacit_knowledge_and_performativity_in_organizations

What specifically interested me was that the article posits that 'knowledge' should be a defined term, and further, framed in an organization's context:

"The leveraging of knowledge influences what people do at work, and the way in which organizations understand and use the term 'knowledge' shapes the way in which knowledge, including knowledge in data form, is shared through various communication regimes."

"Recognizing and mobilizing organization’s knowledge construction activities entail addressing how organizations understand (or possibly misunderstand) and use the term “knowledge”. From that understanding springs a set of issues related to how knowledge is shared through the various regimes of learning at work."

"What works and what counts as [knowledge] are invariably a matter of judgement made by those in power, and approaches to KM invariably reflect that"

The implication being that 'knowledge' should be defined by, and aligned with, the organization's vision and goals:

"Knowledge produced at work… is increasingly a means to an end as distinct from knowledge for the sake of knowledge, an intrinsic good or addition to the stock of intellectual capital"

If this is done, it can help strengthen a cohesive, organization-wide approach to knowledge management. Has anyone gone down this road, and defined 'knowledge management' is such a contextual way?


I've be interested in SIKM's thoughts.



Stan Garfield
 

Michael, thanks for posting here.

>knowledge should be defined by, and aligned with, the organization's vision and goals

I don't think that the term "knowledge" should be defined by an organization's vision and goals. Here are two definitions of knowledge that I think are relevant in all organizations:

1. Peter Drucker: “The knowledge that we consider knowledge proves itself in action. What we now mean by knowledge is information in action, information focused on results.”

 

2. David Weinberger: “The emphasis is on knowledge being ‘actionable’ because of the business context, and on knowledge being a refinement of information because that’s how we extracted value from data. That may be a useful way of thinking about the value of information, but it’s pretty far from what knowledge has been during its 2,500-year history. Throughout that period, Plato’s definition has basically held: Knowledge is the set of beliefs that are true and that we are justified in believing. Indeed, we’ve thought that knowledge is not a mere agglomeration of true beliefs but that it reflects the systematic and even organic nature of the universe. The pieces go together and make something true and beautiful. More, knowledge has been the distinctly human project, the exercise of the highest and defining capabilities of humans, a fulfillment of our nature, a transgenerational treasure that it is each person’s duty and honor to enhance."


However, knowledge management should be aligned with an organization's vision and goals. This is not about defining the term "knowledge management" but about defining how it will be applied. This includes specifying the types of knowledge important to the organization and how that knowledge should be created, shared, reused, and expanded. So if this is what is meant by "defining" knowledge and knowledge management, then it does vary by organization.


Arthur Shelley
 

Hi Matt,

Sorry I missed your post an actKM. 
I agree with some of the comments in the paper and disagree with others. I think too much emphasis is placed on what knowledge is (definitions and tangible measures) and not enough on why knowledge flows create value (BOTH tangible & intangible). 

If we are arguing about definitions, we are not constructively exploring what we can do together to create a better future. We remain stuck on existing categorisations and "What IS", rather than exploring "what Is POSSIBLE". Too much of KM dialogue convergent, reactive and present focused rather than divergent, proactive and forward thinking. We will benefit when we can rebalance our conversations to include both in more optimal ways.  That is, it is not about this OR that, it is this AND that. We need to understand knowledge in context and how it's flow generates value in our contexts. When we argue the case of how business decisions are enhanced and create more value (tangible & intangible), KM will have a greater influence on leadership and inform strategy, rather than need to react to it.
A

Arthur Shelley
Founder, Intelligent Answers
Author: KNOWledge SUCCESSion
@Metaphorage
+61 413 047 408

On 7 Sep 2017, at 00:50, michael_hutchens81@... [sikmleaders] <sikmleaders@...> wrote:

 

I posted this on a KM LinkedIn group a few days ago but didn't get any responses, so I'm hoping to get a better level of feedback here:


The June edition of the Journal of Knowledge Management has a good article on the dynamics between tacit knowledge & organizational performance:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317423278_Knowledge_management_and_professional_experience_the_uneasy_dynamics_between_tacit_knowledge_and_performativity_in_organizations

What specifically interested me was that the article posits that 'knowledge' should be a defined term, and further, framed in an organization's context:

"The leveraging of knowledge influences what people do at work, and the way in which organizations understand and use the term 'knowledge' shapes the way in which knowledge, including knowledge in data form, is shared through various communication regimes."

"Recognizing and mobilizing organization’s knowledge construction activities entail addressing how organizations understand (or possibly misunderstand) and use the term “knowledge”. From that understanding springs a set of issues related to how knowledge is shared through the various regimes of learning at work."

"What works and what counts as [knowledge] are invariably a matter of judgement made by those in power, and approaches to KM invariably reflect that"

The implication being that 'knowledge' should be defined by, and aligned with, the organization's vision and goals:

"Knowledge produced at work… is increasingly a means to an end as distinct from knowledge for the sake of knowledge, an intrinsic good or addition to the stock of intellectual capital"

If this is done, it can help strengthen a cohesive, organization-wide approach to knowledge management. Has anyone gone down this road, and defined 'knowledge management' is such a contextual way?


I've be interested in SIKM's thoughts.



Albert Simard
 

Thoughts on defining knowledge...


First of all, good luck with that.  It is a black hole from which there is no escape.


I contend that there are approximately twice as many definitions as there are KM practitioners.  


Philosophers have tried to define knowledge for 2-1/2 millennia without success. Their traditional "justified true belief" does not admit some forms of knowledge of interest to our discipline; it conceals more than it reveals, and it requires much discussion to explain the three terms. 


As with the blind men and the elephant, knowledge is interpreted as different entities by different people. Webster's has ten definitions, along with another ten for information, which are often intertwined with each other.  Not much help there!  Although there are many types of knowledge, English has only one word for the stuff whereas French has two and the ancient Greeks had at least four.  


There are many types of "knowledge."  Each has strengths and weaknesses in different contexts and situations.  As with the Cynefin sense-making framework, knowledge manageability and management regime frameworks describe appropriate uses and management practices for different types of knowledge. 


My advice is to use one or more definitions that work for you but don't die on the hill of definitional agreement with others. Everyone has their own definitions which they accept as "true" and which they will be quite reluctant to change (a classic example of "psychological" knowledge!).


Although my personal definitions are well-founded, I haven't noticed a rush by anyone else to use them!  So, use whatever definition(s) work for you and go forth and seek the truth.


Al Simard 


Murray Jennex
 

Just to back up what Arthur is saying, I published an article from Peter Keen and Margaret Tan several years ago (2007) in my journal the International Journal of Knowledge Management, that basically says the same, i.e. it is more important to research how and why then it is to constantly argue the definitions when looking at KM.  I've taken that to heart personally and try not to have too many philosophical discussions as there are no single right answers, I believe this is what happened to actKM.....murray

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Arthur Shelley arthur@... [sikmleaders]
To: sikmleaders
Sent: Fri, Sep 8, 2017 11:09 am
Subject: Re: [sikmleaders] "Knowledge" in an organizational context



Hi Matt,

Sorry I missed your post an actKM. 
I agree with some of the comments in the paper and disagree with others. I think too much emphasis is placed on what knowledge is (definitions and tangible measures) and not enough on why knowledge flows create value (BOTH tangible & intangible). 

If we are arguing about definitions, we are not constructively exploring what we can do together to create a better future. We remain stuck on existing categorisations and "What IS", rather than exploring "what Is POSSIBLE". Too much of KM dialogue convergent, reactive and present focused rather than divergent, proactive and forward thinking. We will benefit when we can rebalance our conversations to include both in more optimal ways.  That is, it is not about this OR that, it is this AND that. We need to understand knowledge in context and how it's flow generates value in our contexts. When we argue the case of how business decisions are enhanced and create more value (tangible & intangible), KM will have a greater influence on leadership and inform strategy, rather than need to react to it.
A

Arthur Shelley
Founder, Intelligent Answers
Author: KNOWledge SUCCESSion
@Metaphorage
+61 413 047 408

On 7 Sep 2017, at 00:50, michael_hutchens81@... [sikmleaders] <sikmleaders@...> wrote:

 
I posted this on a KM LinkedIn group a few days ago but didn't get any responses, so I'm hoping to get a better level of feedback here:

The June edition of the Journal of Knowledge Management has a good article on the dynamics between tacit knowledge & organizational performance:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317423278_Knowledge_management_and_professional_experience_the_uneasy_dynamics_between_tacit_knowledge_and_performativity_in_organizations

What specifically interested me was that the article posits that 'knowledge' should be a defined term, and further, framed in an organization's context:

"The leveraging of knowledge influences what people do at work, and the way in which organizations understand and use the term 'knowledge' shapes the way in which knowledge, including knowledge in data form, is shared through various communication regimes."

"Recognizing and mobilizing organization’s knowledge construction activities entail addressing how organizations understand (or possibly misunderstand) and use the term “knowledge”. From that understanding springs a set of issues related to how knowledge is shared through the various regimes of learning at work."

"What works and what counts as [knowledge] are invariably a matter of judgement made by those in power, and approaches to KM invariably reflect that"

The implication being that 'knowledge' should be defined by, and aligned with, the organization's vision and goals:

"Knowledge produced at work… is increasingly a means to an end as distinct from knowledge for the sake of knowledge, an intrinsic good or addition to the stock of intellectual capital"

If this is done, it can help strengthen a cohesive, organization-wide approach to knowledge management. Has anyone gone down this road, and defined 'knowledge management' is such a contextual way?

I've be interested in SIKM's thoughts.




Murray Jennex
 

I use very simple definitions of knowledge: it is the how and the why of things, processes, etc.  I know its not elegant, but it works well....murray


-----Original Message-----
From: stangarfield@... [sikmleaders]
To: sikmleaders Sent: Thu, Sep 7, 2017 10:32 pm
Subject: [sikmleaders] Re: "Knowledge" in an organizational context



Michael, thanks for posting here.

>knowledge should be defined by, and aligned with, the organization's vision and goals

I don't think that the term "knowledge" should be defined by an organization's vision and goals. Here are two definitions of knowledge that I think are relevant in all organizations:

1. Peter Drucker: “The knowledge that we consider knowledge proves itself in action. What we now mean by knowledge is information in action, information focused on results.”
 
2. David Weinberger: “The emphasis is on knowledge being ‘actionable’ because of the business context, and on knowledge being a refinement of information because that’s how we extracted value from data. That may be a useful way of thinking about the value of information, but it’s pretty far from what knowledge has been during its 2,500-year history. Throughout that period, Plato’s definition has basically held: Knowledge is the set of beliefs that are true and that we are justified in believing. Indeed, we’ve thought that knowledge is not a mere agglomeration of true beliefs but that it reflects the systematic and even organic nature of the universe. The pieces go together and make something true and beautiful. More, knowledge has been the distinctly human project, the exercise of the highest and defining capabilities of humans, a fulfillment of our nature, a transgenerational treasure that it is each person’s duty and honor to enhance."

However, knowledge management should be aligned with an organization's vision and goals. This is not about defining the term "knowledge management" but about defining how it will be applied. This includes specifying the types of knowledge important to the organization and how that knowledge should be created, shared, reused, and expanded. So if this is what is meant by "defining" knowledge and knowledge management, then it does vary by organization.



Fred Nickols
 

What are your definitions, Al?

 

Fred Nickols


 

I like simple.  This is the concept I have been using for many years.

 

https://workingknowledge-csp.com/6-creating-value-from-knowledge.html

 

best

 

Bill

 

 

 

  

 

Learn more about the solutions and value we provide at www.workingknowledge-csp.com

 

 

 

 

 

From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...]
Sent: Monday, September 11, 2017 04:58
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: Re: [sikmleaders] Re: "Knowledge" in an organizational context

 

 

I use very simple definitions of knowledge: it is the how and the why of things, processes, etc.  I know its not elegant, but it works well....murray

-----Original Message-----
From: stangarfield@... [sikmleaders] <sikmleaders@...>
To: sikmleaders <sikmleaders@...>
Sent: Thu, Sep 7, 2017 10:32 pm
Subject: [sikmleaders] Re: "Knowledge" in an organizational context



Michael, thanks for posting here.

>knowledge should be defined by, and aligned with, the organization's vision and goals

I don't think that the term "knowledge" should be defined by an organization's vision and goals. Here are two definitions of knowledge that I think are relevant in all organizations:

1. Peter Drucker: “The knowledge that we consider knowledge proves itself in action. What we now mean by knowledge is information in action, information focused on results.”

 

2. David Weinberger: “The emphasis is on knowledge being ‘actionable’ because of the business context, and on knowledge being a refinement of information because that’s how we extracted value from data. That may be a useful way of thinking about the value of information, but it’s pretty far from what knowledge has been during its 2,500-year history. Throughout that period, Plato’s definition has basically held: Knowledge is the set of beliefs that are true and that we are justified in believing. Indeed, we’ve thought that knowledge is not a mere agglomeration of true beliefs but that it reflects the systematic and even organic nature of the universe. The pieces go together and make something true and beautiful. More, knowledge has been the distinctly human project, the exercise of the highest and defining capabilities of humans, a fulfillment of our nature, a transgenerational treasure that it is each person’s duty and honor to enhance."

 

However, knowledge management should be aligned with an organization's vision and goals. This is not about defining the term "knowledge management" but about defining how it will be applied. This includes specifying the types of knowledge important to the organization and how that knowledge should be created, shared, reused, and expanded. So if this is what is meant by "defining" knowledge and knowledge management, then it does vary by organization.

 


michael_hutchens81@...
 

Thanks everyone for taking the time to respond to my questions, you have given me a lot to think about. Much appreciated.