KM could be mirroring George Odiorne’s 1960’s MBO movement to come‑and‑go at relative light speed in management – or – it could be taking the Tavistock OD turn to firmly install a scientific sub‑domain complete with new methods, perspectives, body of knowledge and related. In the world of practical reality MBO has been reduced through absorption to a half‑dozen explicative lines in management textbooks while OD has developed libraries of knowledge. And wither the field of KM?
There may be some hints in this issue. Herein Delany & O’Donnell explore the continuity management (CM) of intellectual capital, replacement strategy, knowledge transfer to successors and related in a large Irish organization. All met with difficulties that are reportedly cultural in nature.
Westelius & Mårtensson suggest that successful KM initiatives can lead to problems. Their case study points to problems experienced by a consulting firm when its KM program achieved objectives but led to unforeseen, undesired consequences
Mahesh & Suresh examine how technology adds value to KM solutions by focusing on a context’s knowledge attributes. The suggestion is that KM solution effectiveness can be enhanced by managing knowledge attributes, system requirements and contextual differences.
John Politis examines the relationship between leadership dimensions and creativity / innovation. His findings suggest that transformational and transactional leadership behaviors are generally supportive of creativity and thus innovation, with transformational leadership being preferred.
There is a call to arms lurking in the above ‑ launched by the question, “What’s new?” These contributions have been selected for publication through a peer review process and editorial oversight. They are respectable and sound. The issue is otherwise framed:
§ Does KM add anything of value to the idea of continuity management that HR / human capital management do not?
§ Are OD professionals surprised when an organizational initiative (KM or otherwise) leads to unforeseen, undesired consequences?
§ Is the integrated management of knowledge attributes, system requirements and contextual differences most properly classed as KM or IS/IT?
§ Have we not already crossed the bridge as concerns transformational leadership and creativity?
It is true that paradigms evolve rather than erupt nowadays. Usually, a community’s fringe elements will muster the support they need to convince onlookers that a different perspective / formulation / construction of things will improve matters held dear to all. The field nudges one way or another and Khunian revolutions remain an experience‑distant concept. The alternative is to import received truth from other fields and cobble together a new mosaic.
And wither the field of KM? If this world is passing from one Age to another and KM be the standard bearer, it can be considered high time indeed that a distinctive body of knowledge is brought into focus. Or is this useless polemic? Or are we simply an example of that case study in frustration and elusion, the multidisciplinary field? Your feedback is solicited on this matter and look for a special issue on the subject in 2005.