There is often a discrepancy between an organization’s theory of its work and its practices. Drawing on evidence from credit risk management in a major international bank we show that management-led knowledge management (KM) initiatives have reinforced this tendency. We show that, in a direct reflection of the rational economic image of financial markets, training programmes and KM projects focus on technical mechanisms to manage credit risk and under-emphasise the way in which these standard approaches are situated in processes of knowing. Using a conceptual scheme developed from Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety we maintain that the assessment and management of risk involves both the attenuation and amplification of variety. Information intensive infrastructure-based businesses need processes of standardization (as attenuation) that facilitate globalizing business flows and the creative capacity (as amplification) to respond to uncertainty and innovation. In conclusion, we present further evidence to suggest that standard, technology-based solutions to knowledge management should be part of a broader portfolio of (dis-) organizing practices designed to support knowledge workers in a community of practice.
Mondale, Jennifer; Scott, Susan V.; and Venters, Will, "Knowledge management as an image of the organization: industry standards and processes of knowing in credit risk management" (2006). ECIS 2006 Proceedings. 109.