3KEY ISSUES AND DEBATES

3.1 INTRODUCTION

This chapter continues the investigation of some of the key issues and debates in knowledge management (KM), which, it is claimed, have an absolute impact on what is managed and measured, what is researched, and what is theorized. Key points drawn in the previous chapter suggest that how an organization defines itself, or conceptualizes itself to use a broader term of reference, influences how it approaches the management of its knowledge. It is also concluded that, while many continue to emphasize the role of technology, now cast as a defining marker, too much emphasis in these directions is implicated in KM failure. This is an issue that is particularly highlighted in the following discussions. On a positive note, there is a pragmatic case to be made for KM being more than just a passing management fad.

The chapter begins with a consideration of the “commodification and reification” issue. This leads into issues around KM’s reported high rates of failure. As it turns out, the difficulty in the measurement of KM failure or success is itself identified as a failure factor. With a brief pause to consider the role of culture themed around the question of whether “one size fits all,” the discussions move onto a discussion of two of the most significant debates in KM, namely, creating and sharing knowledge. Again, as we have already seen elsewhere, what we find is a multiplicity of perspective and approach. The subject of “knowledge sharing” ...

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