14 December 2016

Call for papers: "Critique of Knowledge Management"

For a special issue of the World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development.

Knowledge management has come to be seen as a key component in
  • organisational learning (Koenig (2002) sees knowledge management as "organisational learning and knowledge creation viewed as the conversions between tacit and explicit knowledge", Bică, Constantinescu & Bică, 2015:158)
  • innovation ("innovation is built on collective knowledge sharing activities of, particularly, tacit knowledge", Bică, Constantinescu & Bică, 2015:157; "By collaborating with environmental activity, R&D personnel generate knowledge, which is partially tacit", Junquera & del Brío, 2009:260; "the active use of employee's formal and tacit skills and competences in the process of improvement, innovation and change", Pot, Totterdill & Dhondt, 2016:26)
  • concretising core competences and core capabilities
  • and in obtaining competitive advantage on a global scale - perhaps especially for SMEs with limited financial resources. 
Knowledge management is of course not a unified block of theories, as Bică, Constantinescu & Bică (2015) have shown, but Nonaka (1991, 1994, 2005; Nonaka, Toyama & Konno (2000); Nonaka, Von Krogh & Voelpel (2006); Nonaka & Von Krogh (2009) and his socialisation, externalisation, combination, and internalisation model (SECI) is the undisputed paradigm leader.

When a paradigm has such dominance, it is time to question it. Exploiting a paradigm can be very productive, until it reaches a certain point – a point that’s hard to define and identify – when its limitations will become a hindrance to the progress of science (Kuhn, 1968).

This leads to the objective of this call for papers: to questions some of the fundamental assumptions of knowledge management.

One of the fundamental assumptions of the SECI model is that competitive advantage is the result of newly externalised tacit knowing (“Organisations nowadays are playing a critical role in mobilising tacit knowledge held by individuals and provide the forum for a ‘spiral of knowledge’ creation through socialisation, combination, externalisation and internalisation”, Bică, Constantinescu & Bică, 2015:160).

In contrast to Nonaka (1991) and e.g. Robinson, Lee & Edwards (2007:261): "various methods of eliciting tacit knowledge and expressing it into reader-friendly formats have been developed") Philipson (2016A), we discussed how problematic such transformation is. We also problematized the way such externalisation is done, based on an alternative psychology: Vygotsky's.

In another article, Philipson (2016B), we discussed what management can do when it is not possible to transform employees tacit knowing into structural capital. The article showed how the capabilities of key workers - their tacit knowing - were secured to the company by their empowerment.

In a third article, Philipson & Philipson (2016C), we found that trust is built on conditional trust and that the conditional trust of the social animal that the human is continues to be built based on social relationships, unless one party gets information to mistrust. Is this understanding of trust also valid for the environment in which tacit knowing can be externalised?

Bică, G., Constantinescu, M. & Bică, E. (2015) Innovation and knowledge management in a knowledge-based economy, World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, 11(2/3), 156-171.
Gourlay, S. (2002). Tacit knowledge, tacit knowing or behaving?, 1-24. in the Proceedings of the OKLC, Athens.
Gourlay, S. & Nurse, A. (2005). Flaws in the “Engine” of Knowledge Creation, 293-315, in Challenges and Issues in Knowledge Management. Greenwich: Information Age Publishing
Gourlay, S. (2006). Conceptualizing Knowledge Creation: A Critique of Nonaka's Theory. Journal of Management Studies, 43(7), 1415-1436. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6486.2006.00637.x/p>
Hillgren, P.-A., Seravalli, A. & Emilson, A. (2011). Prototyping and infrastructuring in design for social innovation. CoDesign, 7(3-4), 169-183. http://doi.org/10.1080/15710882.2011.630474
Henry, S.G. (2010) Polanyi’s tacit knowing and the relevance of epistemology to clinical medicine Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 16, 292-297, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2753.2010.01387
Junquera, B & del Brío, J.A. (2009) Environmental concurrent engineering: a way
to competitive advantage? World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, 5(3), 256-270.
 Kakabadsen, N.K., Kakabadse, A. & Kouzmin, A. (2003), Reviewing the knowledge management literature: towards a taxonomy, Journal of Knowledge Management, 7(4), 75-91. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/13673270310492967
Kelley, T. (2001). Prototyping is the Shorthand of Design, Design Management Journal, 12(3), 35-42.
Kuhn, T.S. (1968) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
McAdam, R. & McCreedy, S. (1999), A critical review of knowledge management models, The Learning Organization, 6(3), 91-101. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09696479910270416
Neuweg, G.H. (2004) Tacit Knowing and Implicit Learning, in Fischer, M., Boreham, N. & Nyhan, B. (eds.), European Perspectives on Learning at Work: The Acquisition of Work Process Knowledge. Cedefop Reference Series Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications for the European Communities.
Nonaka, I. (1991). The knowledge-creating company. Harvard Business Review, 69(6), 96-104.
Nonaka, I. (1994). A Dynamic Theory of Organizational Knowledge Creation. Organization Science, 5(1), 14-37.

Philipson, S. (2016A). A framework for entrepreneurial learning in higher education, 124-162, in the Proceedings from Lärarlärdom: Conference on higher education, Linnaeus University. http://doi.org/10.15626/lld.201507
Philipson, S. (2016B). Radical innovation of a business model. Competitiveness Review, 26(2), 132-146. http://doi.org/10.1108/CR-06-2015-0061
Philipson, S. & Philipson, J. (2016C). From Budapest to Berlin – the role of reputation in the market economy. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 28(2/3), 310-322.
Pot, F., Totterdill, P. & Dhondt, S. (2016) Workplace innovation: European policy and
theoretical foundation, World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, 12(1), 13-32
Polanyi, M. (1961) The Logic of Tacit Inference. Philosophy, 41(155), 1-18.
Polanyi, M. (1962) Tacit knowing: Its bearing on some problems of philosophy. Reviews of Modern Physics, 34(4), 601-616.
Polanyi, M. (1968) Logic and Psychology. American Psychologist, 23(1), 27-43.
Robinson, S.  Lee, E. & Edwards, J.S. (2007) Improving the use of Visual Interactive Simulation as a knowledge elicitation tool, World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, 3(3/4), 260-272.Van Der Lugt, R. (2005), How sketching can affect the idea generation process in design group meetings, Design Studies, 26(2), 101-122.
Wong, W.L.P. & Radcliffe, D.F. (2000), The Tacit Nature of Design Knowledge, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 12(4), 493-512. 

Suitable topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Difficulties in transforming tacit knowing to explicit knowledge
  • The role of communities of practice in the externalisation of tacit knowing
  • The role of trust in externalising tacit knowing.
  • Are there cultural differences in how tacit knowing is externalised?
  • How to secure tacit knowing in vivo to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage
  • The difficulty in geographically separated communities of practice, as in outsourcing

Important Dates
Submission of manuscripts: 15 April, 2017
Notification to authors: 1 July, 2017
Final versions due: 1 September, 2017

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