I agree with Weinberger (2011) that the growth of the internet, and the humongous access to information it places at our fingertips, is undermining the idea of “experts” since knowledge now resides in the internet not only in books or libraries. The approach to knowledge where experts are repositories of knowledge that are sought after is fast changing. Dixon argues that the way knowledge management (KM) is perceived by KM professionals determines the KM strategies these professionals design (Dixon, 2009, May 2). In the first stage, about 1995, knowledge was thought to be collectable and storable. Organizations sought to store the knowledge of experts and give people/staff access through best practices. Companies developed best practices as gathered by experts that all can go to, as repository of knowledge, to use. But this failed to gather all knowledge and left out knowledge in people’s head, situational and contextual knowledge, and disempowered people who feel that their own knowledge was not taken seriously. In the second stage, by the 2000s, KM professionals realized that knowledge existed, not just in experts, but also “in the heads of the people who are on the frontline” (Dixon, 2009, May). These highlighted the importance of “communities of practice” (Dixon, 2009, May) or frontline workers in the field and encouraged the connection of people so that they can learn from each other. In the third stage, about 2005 according to Dixon, knowledge was thought to be collective. It involved the diversity of knowledge and encouraged access of this knowledge through discussions/conversations in both face-to-face and virtual mediums (Dixon, 2009, July). To respond to the challenges that KM professionals face today in their field, Dixon (2009, July) suggests “cognitively diverse perspectives”, “integration” and “diversity”.
Harold Jarche (2010) emphasized the import of social learning and the advantage organizations that emphasized these have. Jarche (2016) argued that more and more people are learning online, and taking responsibility for their own on-going learning. This kind of learning is easier to remember and it is more contextually relevant.
Davenport (2015) explained that knowledge management is dying and getting out of vogue. He listed a number of factors that were responsible for this. But, the one he mentioned that aligned with the earlier arguments of Dixon (2009, May 2; 2009 May 10; 2009, July; 2012) and Weinberger (2011) is the part that technology is playing in undermining an approach to Knowledge Management that fails to integrate the import of data. Although I lack Davenport’s expertise, I believe that knowledge management may not be dying the way he explained it, but changing in its focus, appellation and the way people (not just KM professionals) perceive it. People may not be searching for KM, but may be searching for moderators of online forums. These managerial skills aligns with some of the skills that Dixon (2012) argues are necessary in the third era. In this sense, KM will now more involve the management of social networks of knowledge through creating and coordinating the environment through which these happen (see examples given by Weinberger, 2011).
Davenport, T. (2015). Whatever happened to knowledge management. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://www.tomdavenport.com/wp-content/uploads/Whatever-Happened-to-Knowledge-Management.pdf
Dixon, N. (2009, May 10). Knowledge management: Where we’ve been and where were we’re going – Part two. Retrieved from http://www.nancydixonblog.com/2009/05/knowledge-management-where-weve-been-and-where-were-going—part-two.html
Dixon, N. (2012, August 8). The three eras of knowledge management. Retrieved from http://www.nancydixonblog.com/2012/08/the-three-eras-of-knowledge-management.html
Dixon, N. (2009, May 2). Where knowledge management has been and where it is going – Part one. Retrieved from http://www.nancydixonblog.com/2009/05/where-knowledge-management-has-been-and-where-it-is-going-part-one.html
Dixon, N. (2009, July 30). Where knowledge management has been and where it is going – Part three. Retrieved from http://www.nancydixonblog.com/2009/07/where-knowledge-management-has-been-and-where-it-is-going-part-three.html
Jarche, H. (2010, February 24). A framework for social learning in the enterprise. Harold Jarche. Retrieved from http://jarche.com/2010/02/a-framework-for-social-learning-in-the-enterprise/
Jarche, H. (2016, December 8). Closing the learning-knowledge loop. Harold Jarche. Retrieved from http://jarche.com/2016/12/closing-the-learning-knowledge-loop/
Weinberger, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now tht the facts aren’t the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room. [Kindle version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com