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KMCI On-Line Press publishes Ground-breaking paper on the Foundations of Organizational Knowledge
February 17, 2009. Alexandria, VA -- EIS and KMCI are proud to announce the release of a new White Paper co-authored by Richard A. Vines of project Lessons - Strategic Solutions of Melbourne Australia, William P. Hall of the Australian Centre for Science, Innovation, and Society, Melbourne, Australia, and Luke Naismith of Knowledge Futures, of Knowledge Futures Dubai, entitled:
Vines, Hall, and Naismith offer the following Abstract introducing their White Paper.
Prevailing views about what constitutes organisational knowledge need to be systematically evaluated at deep epistemological levels. We argue there is a need is to establish a new paradigm comprised of both a theoretical and an ontological foundation for thinking about knowledge epistemologies. We think, along with Bill McKelvey, (1997, 2002) that the “science of management” as it relates to organisations seems to be greatly wanting.
Our approach is based on an evolutionary theory of knowledge contained within Karl Popper’s later epistemological works beginning with his 1972 “Objective Knowledge – an evolutionary approach” and a framework of organisational theory based on Maturana and Varela's concept of self-producing complex systems ("autopoiesis"). We have drawn upon this combined approach in order to understand how best to integrate understandings of personal and objective knowledge and the notion of “living organisations” into a new paradigm of organisational knowledge.
A model that is congruent with this new paradigmatic approach is detailed and discussed. This model is designed to provide a general overview of the different types of knowledge that give rise to organisational knowledge.
Importantly, we highlight that all explicit knowledge held in organisations encoded in analogue or digital form (content) is in fact inert. Equally, we claim that calling such content knowledge objects is dependent upon the type and role of the social systems within which such content is created, reviewed and evaluated. In general terms, knowledge objects cannot be regarded as “living knowledge” unless the filter of human interpretative intelligence is applied to generate meaning from these objects or, increasingly, unless such intelligence is built into dynamic processes and systems within the organisation. Therefore, we claim that the human aspects of managing knowledge are of significant importance. We suggest that the metaphor of “organisational boundary as membrane” is an important element of organisational knowledge. This is because different types of flows and exchanges that cross the boundaries of organisations over periods of time are fundamental to how an organisation sustains its ability for self production and self-control. We claim, in conclusion, that these features of organisational knowledge have crucial implications for how different types of knowledge are best managed.
This paper relates to a power point presentation made at the actKM National Conference in September 2007 (see http://tinyurl.com/2sjum4). The ideas presented have been developed within a group of collaborators interested in developing a synthesis of approaches that embraces knowledge management and its links with organization theory, autopoiesis and Karl Popper's evolutionary epistemology.