Managing knowledge through everyday activities
Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet), 2004

Ever since man first shared the knowledge of how to make fire with his fellow human beings, the management of knowledge has been employed by masters training their apprentices and by parents teaching their children. Managing knowledge is hence no new phenomenon. In recent years, however, the importance of knowledge in business and industry has risen dramatically, and shifted from being one resource amongst many to becoming the primary resource. Being able to effectively manage this resource has thus received the attention of many chief executives and Knowledge Management (KM) as a concept has become a vividly debated topic. Although knowing is a profoundly human ability, and acknowledging that an organization’s ability to apply its knowledge depends heavily on social factors, many commentators have argued that information technology (IT) can have a positive influence on an organization’s KM processes. Attempts have been made to design and apply many sorts of IT artefacts for creating, storing, transferring, and applying knowledge, and software vendors offer a multitude of KM systems (KMS). Practical results from KMS research, however, suggest that these systems often fail when implemented in the everyday practice of modern organizations. One possible explanation for the under-utilization that I have come across in my research is the imbalance between the additional workload required by the organizational members and accuracy and timeliness of the content needed for the KMS to be attractive. This imbalance leads to a maintenance problem, which in turn results in systems that are of little use. Although KMS maintenance has been acknowledged as an important research issue, it remains a serious practical problem for organizations and there is little advice to be found in the literature. However, as indicated in my recent research, there are ways forward.


Dick Stenmark

Göteborgs universitet

Proceedings of Online Information 2004, London, December 1-2