Teaching about Knowledge Management LO31163

From: janlelie@pi.net
Date: 09/13/04

Replying to LO31153 --

Hello John,

I've never been a believer in KM, because I think that it, by the very
nature of

1. its reification of knowing (it makes the processes of knowing,
information exchange, into a thing, a noun. You have to make something
into "a thing" in order to be able to manage it and "make more" of it.
KM seems to imply that more is better. A Big Mac is better than a Mac.
But more often than not more of something leeds to less result
(Tragedy of the Commons, Limits to Growth) No amount of KM can
compensate for an ounce of wisdom);

2. its bypassing of more important issues in organizational - and
managing - life (like creating common meaning, living with paradoxes
(a nice one is the inability of the most powerful organisation in the
world to handle ("manage", "control") the behaviour of the most
powerless people in the world - that is, when you assume that suicide
is an extreme act of powerlessness. No amount of KM can solve problems
involving power), dealing with differences in espoused and used

3. its neglect of the role of feelings and emotions in decision making
(in fact, I think we first experience the "gut feeling" of a solution
to a problem and than try to rationalize it by deploying KM. We
thereby bypass "bad" feelings and focus on "good" feelings. "No amount
of KM can compensate for the speed of emotional decision making");

4. its tendency to focus on solutions, results, improvements and / or
intentionality in stead of problem definition, issues, processes and
luck ("no amount of KM can compensate for sheer luck");

5. its tendency to manage, control people with an organizational end
while I think that KM should be used for the developement of the
people in an organization themselves. (People are an end in
themselves; "no amount of KM can compensate for finding one's
destination in life").

As Wittgensteins "Philosophical Investigations" might be a bit too far
of, when you want to address these issues in a presentation, I would
refer you to:
 - Watzlawick's "Pragmatics of human communications"
 - Smith and Berg's "Paradoxes of Group Life"
 - Weick's "Social Psychology of Organizing"
 - Tuft Richardson's "Four spiritualities"
 - Van Oorschot's "Deconstruction of Knowledge Management" (Altough
i'm unsure it has already been translated into English.
 - and Will McWhinney's forth coming "Grammers of Engagement".


Jan Lelie

> I am developing an MBA module in Knowledge Management for presentation
> during 2004 - 2005.
> What topics, issues etc do you think I should include?



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