Development of Knowledge Management

Since the mid-nineties the label knowledge management (KM) has attracted much attention while information management (IM) has been used less. The phrase knowledge management came into popular usage in the late 1980s and there were conferences on knowledge management, books on knowledge management and it appeared in business/oriented journals.

As with information management, there is no agreement on what constitutes knowledge management (Corrall 1998; Morrow 2001; Wilson 2002, as cited in Schlögl, 2005).

Some skeptics argue that consultants developed knowledge management to replace declining revenues from the waning re-engineering movement. Others feel that knowledge management is just a "re-badging" of earlier information and data management methods (Prusak, 2001).

Prusak (2001) believes that knowledge management is not just a consultants' invention but a practitioner-based, substantive response to real social and economic trends. Three main trends were:

  • globalization,
  • ubiquitous computing, and
  • the knowledge-centric view of the firm.

However, knowledge management has been around for many decades and even longer than the actual term has been in use. Dalkir (2005) believes that librarians, philosophers, teachers, and writers have long been making use of many of the same techniques. For example, knowledge sharing at the town meetings, workshops, seminars, and mentoring sessions.

Karl M. Wiig (1999) notes:

"A historical perspective of today's KM, indicates that this is an old quest. Knowledge, including knowing and reasons for knowing, were documented by Western philosophers for millennia, and with little doubt, long before that. Eastern philosophers have an equally long documented tradition of emphasizing knowledge and understanding for conducting spiritual and secular life. Much of these efforts were directed to obtain theoretical and abstract understandings of what knowledge is about".

However, in our modern society we can use information and communication technology to support knowledge sharing.

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