The result is that selecting papers from the conference for inclusion in the Journal is more challenging than ever. Fourteen papers were chosen in the end however, and these from a wide range of authors based in Universities around the world.
Topics addressed by papers included in this edition are especially eclectic which, given KM´s multidisciplinary roots and transversal nature, reflects the multiplicity of the basic phenomenon (human and collective cognition, secondarily applied to organizational contexts). In some respects this characteristic is frustrating but also challenging, and there are researchers who find this motivating. Perhaps because the intellectual perimeters are multiple and loose. Perhaps because paradigms shift by traversing a path of intellectual mosaics.
On the other hand the fact is that after about two decades of serious research by the academic community KM is ‑ at best ‑ showing only weak signs of convergence. If maturing in terms of quality and productivity, it remains young in terms of disciplinary comportment. I once listened to a French cultural anthropologist explain to a French television crew why he had chosen to live and work in the United States (his business being to de‑code European culture for the American marketing machine).
He told them that European culture was an old culture with its codes well sorted and established. He characterized American cultural codes as young, searching and mixed, not unlike adolescents the world over no matter what their national origin. In the end he explained that after weighing the pros and cons he finally decided that he thoroughly preferred being mixed up with the young and the restless. The freedom and frontiers of youth being ""better"" than the standards and strictures of establishment.
This could very well be part of the attraction that KM has for a growing number of academics around the world. I have found the papers in this edition of value and I hope that you will as well."
The 12 papers in this edition are especially interesting in that I have seldom seen such a wide diversity of subjects. This collection is indeed strong evidence that the topic of Knowledge Management and its co‑traveller Intellectual Capital have a remarkably diverse scope. A few years ago, perhaps a dozen or so, some academics might have thrown up their hands in horror. ""How can we have a discipline with such porous boundaries?"" I imagine them to have said. Well in today's academic world boundaries are increasingly difficult to define and more difficult to maintain. Subjects blur into each other. And this phenomenon is not the result of a new way of research or thinking. It is simply the result of being more cognoscente of the way the world actually works.
It would of course be wrong to say that boundaries between subjects no longer exist or that they are no longer relevant. But it is true to say that we have now a much more open mind about how we think of research and how we combine different fields of studies. We have for a while been talking about multidisciplinary research. Then we focused on interdisciplinary research. Today we sometimes talk about trans‑disciplinary research. When anyone is brave enough to ask what these terms actually mean academics often run for cover.
For me the terms multidisciplinary research or interdisciplinary research or trans‑disciplinary research signals that we are focusing on a real problem which like so many situations in business needs to be understood and managed while bearing in mind that it is unlikely that any one centre of knowledge will be able to provide the whole answer.
The diversity in this edition of EJKM supports this notion.