Power matters: The importance of foucault’s power/knowledge as a conceptual lens in km research and practice

  • Heizmann H
  • Olsson M
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Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to engage knowledge management (KM) researchers and practitioners with Foucault’s power/knowledge lens as a way of thinking about and recognising the central role of power in organisational knowledge cultures. Design/methodology/approach – The empirical illustrations in this paper are drawn from two qualitative studies in different professional and institutional contexts (insurance and theatre work). Both studies used in-depth interviews and discourse analysis as their principal methods of data collection and analysis. Findings – The empirical examples illustrate how practitioners operate within complex power/knowledge relations that shape their practices of knowledge sharing, generation and use. The findings show how an application of the power/knowledge lens renders visible both the constraining and productive force of power in KM. Research limitations/implications – Researchers may apply the conceptual tools presented here in a wider variety of institutional and p...

Author-supplied keywords

  • Conflict
  • Knowledge management
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Organizational culture
  • Organizational politics
  • Power

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Authors

  • Helena Heizmann

  • Michael R. Olsson

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