Wednesday, 20 January 2010

What is the role of KM?

Now that I'm a regular Twit(terer), I find it quite hard to blog. This is largely because, in comparison to Twitter, the bar to hitting the keyboard seems much higher. I feel I need to have something deep to say before I blog. And, er, OK, let's leave it there.

Paradoxically it's a link from Twitter to a blog post on a very deep subject that has prompted this post. John Tropea tweeted about a blog post by Mark Gould which discussed a blog post and paper by Patrick Lambe . In essence the argument put forward is that knowledge sharing is about a lot more than just getting thoughts onto (virtual) paper in public places and spreading them around using technology. The author went on to argue that knowledge managers ought to be taking account of the psychological processes that are involved in knowledge transfer. Indeed, the author seemed altogether impatient with a technology-based approach to knowledge sharing.

This prompted me to reassess my own position. Being a short attention-span Twit these days, I'll be brief. I agree that knowledge-sharing is a rich and complex subject. But I don't think it's the job of knowledge managers to be concerned with all aspects of the process. This is for two reasons. The first is that most of us don't have time to complete the in-depth academic study needed to become the true KM all-rounder implied by Lambe. The second is that many aspects of knowledge-sharing are better left to the individuals who have the knowledge and who are doing (or attempting to do, or would do if they had the facilities) the knowledge sharing.

I've never really liked the phrase 'knowledge manager'. It's too overblown, pretentious. We are concerned with facilitating the sharing of certain types of information, that's all. If we get a bit dry and technical about it at times, it's because that's a big part of the job.

Do you agree?

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