The inseparability of modern knowledge management and computer‐based technology

  • Holsapple C
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Abstract

Purpose – This paper makes the case that modern knowledge management (KM) is inseparable from a consideration of technology. While recognizing that there are many non‐technological facets to KM research and practice, it takes issue with the perspective proposed by some that knowledge management has little or nothing to do with technology. Similarly, the perspective that equates knowledge management with information management is challenged. Design/methodology/approach – The research method involves an analysis of the contrasting perspectives to show that each has blind spots that obscure a clear vision of the relationship between computer‐based technology and knowledge management. Building on the ideas of Newell, van Lohuizen, and others, the research advances an alternative perspective to overcome limitations in the other two. Findings – The KM perspective introduced here neither dismisses technology nor identifies with it. From this perspective, this paper develops the contention that modern KM has been tremendously enriched by advances in computer‐based technology (CBT), discussing several specific examples. Moreover, this paper concludes that CBT needs to be grounded in a clear, deep consideration of knowledge management. Research limitations/implications – As this is a relatively new perspective, the full extent of its utility will unfold over time as it is adopted, used, and extended. KM researchers can adopt this perspective to guide the conception and design their research projects. Moreover, several implications for business computing systems researchers are outlined. Practical implications – The new perspective offers students and practitioners a middle‐ground between two extremes for framing their understanding and observation of KM and CBT phenomena. Originality/value – Both research and practice are shaped by the conceptions that underlie them. The paper furnishes a fresh, inclusive conception of the relationship between KM and CBT.

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Authors

  • Clyde W. Holsapple

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