This paper contributes to the discussion on how to manage knowledge in organizations. Taking a perspective, which acknowledges the importance of but does not privilege IT as the decisive element, it reports the results of a study investigating the process of establishing as opposed to conducting knowledge management. Based on a grounded theory approach to the analysis of the empirical data, a model of establishing knowledge management in organizations is developed that emphasizes the involved actors’ actions in the process and how these actions are influenced by and influence their cognition as the process unfolds. This leads to an understanding of knowledge management as an autonomous venturing process. The model is then used to suggest an explanation of why establishing knowledge management was not successful in the investigated case. Conclusions are provided on how the model can be further exploited for studying and improving the practice of knowledge management.