Knowledge is often claimed to be a key to successful organisational performance, and calls for continuous learning and continuous improvement are so common that we hardly notice them any more. Organizations are being advised that to remain competitive, they must efficiently and effectively create, capture, locate, and share their organization’s knowledge and expertise, and have the ability to bring that knowledge to bear on problems and opportunities. Information systems professionals and academics saw this as an opportunity to apply their existing knowledge and tools, and in the late 1990’s, Knowledge management became one of the fastest growing areas of interest to the information systems field. Knowledge management was a label that attracted attention and conferred status to those who used it. And where are we today? On the one hand, there are journals with titles containing ”knowledge management”, conferences are held, books are written. On the other hand, there are academics and practitioners who begin to question the value of the title Knowledge management. The label has been tarnished by overselling. It has been hijacked by software suppliers. There is a long list of KMventures in organisations that have not paid off. When the consultant companies faced difficult times recently, KM consultants where among the first to be laid off. Perhaps most of the useful theories in the area have been borrowed from elsewhere, and topics discussed under the KM heading can also still to an even larger extent be found under headings such as organisational learning, information management, innovation, human resource management, organisation, communities, etc. Considering this, is Knowledge management a field with a future or was it just a fad that we would be better off if we now leave it behind us? This panel discussion explores the question: Is it time to drop the topic label ”knowledge management”, or can it still offer important contributions to the information systems field?
Westelius, Alf, "Knowledge Management - A Fad or a Field with a Future?" (2004). ECIS 2004 Proceedings. 155.