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Journal cover: Learning Organization, The

Learning Organization, The

ISSN: 0969-6474

Online from: 1994

Subject Area: Organization Studies

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Doing knowledge management

Document Information:
Title:Doing knowledge management
Author(s):Joseph M. Firestone, (Executive Information Systems Inc., Alexandria, Virginia, USA), Mark W. McElroy, (Center for Sustainable Innovation, Windsor, Vermont, USA)
Citation:Joseph M. Firestone, Mark W. McElroy, (2005) "Doing knowledge management", Learning Organization, The, Vol. 12 Iss: 2, pp.189 - 212
Keywords:Knowledge management, Problem solving, Quality control, Strategic management
Article type:General review
DOI:10.1108/09696470510583557 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – Knowledge management (KM) as a field has been characterized by great confusion about its conceptual foundations and scope, much to the detriment of assessments of its impact and track record. The purpose of this paper is to contribute toward defining the scope of KM and ending the confusion, by presenting a conceptual framework and set of criteria for evaluating whether claimed KM interventions are bona fide instances of it or are interventions of another sort


Design/methodology/approach – Methods used include conceptual evaluation and critique of a variety of types of “KM interventions” and presentation of a detailed analysis of an unambiguous case (The Partners HealthCare case) where KM has been successful.

Findings – The critical analysis indicates that the use of tools and methods associated with KM does not imply that interventions using them are KM interventions, and most “KM projects” are probably interventions of other types. The analysis also illustrates a pattern of intervention that can serve as the basis of a long-term systematic strategy for implementing KM.

Originality/value – This is the first detailed examination of whether KM is really being done by those who claim to be doing it. It should be of value to all those who think about the scope of organizational learning and KM, and who care about unbiased assessments of its performance.

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