Recent work on organisational knowledge suggests that, in addition to cultivating the 'knowledge spiral', organisations need to focus on facilitating forms of 'knowing' which are deeply rooted in their own contexts and which reside in the communicative act itself. The implications are that organisations seeking to implement so-called 'knowledge management' systems should invest not so much in constructing knowledge repositories as in building networks of user-driven communicative exchange, using Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) where appropriate. We use examples from a recent empirical study to illustrate the limits of ’structural’ approaches to knowledge, and draw upon insights from the social anthropology literature to question the achievability of building ’knowledge communities’ within organisations – a common objective of organisational 'knowledge management’ strategies. Instead, we show how the accommodation of individual diversity within organisational cultures can be linked to success or failure of knowledge-related initiatives. We thus suggest several implications for any organisation seeking to maximise its ability to generate and disseminate shared knowledge.
Thompson, Mark and Walsham, Geoff, "Learning to Value the Bardic Tradition: Culture, Communication and Organizational Knowledge" (2001). ECIS 2001 Proceedings. 115.