The Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management publishes original articles on topics relevant to studying, implementing, measuring and managing knowledge management and intellectual capital.

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Information about the European Conference on Knowledge Management (ECKM) is available here.

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Journal Issue
Volume 9 Issue 2, ICICKM 2010 special issue / Apr 2011  pp85‑180

Editor: W.B. Lee

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Building a Knowledge Management Model at Brazil's Embrapa (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation): Towards a Knowledge‑Based View of Organizations  pp85‑97

Rivadavia Correa Drummond de Alvarenga Neto, Job Lucio Gomes Vieira

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Knowledge Audit with Intellectual Capital in the Quality Management Process: An Empirical Study in an Electronics Company  pp98‑116

Percy Chi Wai Chan, W.B. Lee

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Knowledge Management, an Enduring but Confusing Fashion  pp117‑131

Ken Grant

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Knowledge Management has been a subject of significant management interest for some 15 years. During that time it has been subjected to a variety of criticisms including the argument that it is little more than a “fad” — something that catches management’s attention for a while and then fades away because of a lack of sustainability. It has been compared to other major management fads such as quality circles and business process re‑engineering. This paper examines the discipline of Knowledge Management (KM) through the lens of management fashion theory. It demonstrates that KM is not a fad and that it has become an enduring management activity. Management Fashion Theory (Abrahamson and Fairchild, 1999) is an extension of Rogers’ Theory of Diffusion of Innovations (Rogers, 2003), that takes a skeptical view of business innovations, viewing the discourse about and the diffusion of innovations as a cultural phenomenon rather than a rational decision making process. After a brief introduction to the field of Knowledge Management (KM), a review of the theories of Diffusion of Innovations and Management Fashion is presented, along with a description of the methodology used to apply Management Fashion Theory to the discourse on KM. Bibliometric and content analysis techniques are used to examine publications and discourse in the field from 1990 to 2009. The analysis of discourse on KM demonstrates a significant period of “latency” from the late 1980s to 1994, during which foundational ideas and precursors to KM appear. Then a rapid growth period is identified, from 1995‑2001 during which KM becomes an innovation of interest to most major organizations. Finally, it appears that discourse has settled at a steady state, with no decline apparent. However, detailed analysis has also indentified a potential conflict between the interests of practitioners and researchers, with a separation of the discourse into distinct groups that may have inconsistent views on what is or is not “Knowledge Management”. In summary, this paper presents a comprehensive analysis of the evolution of discourse on KM. It provides bibliometric evidence that there has been a sustained interest in KM that is quite unlike that of other popular management themes over the last 30 years. It raises some questions about the relevance of some of the research being carried out. 


Keywords: management fashion, innovation diffusion, bibliometric analysis, KM strategy


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The Formulaic and Embryonic Dimensions of Knowledge Management Strategy: A Social Practice Perspective  pp132‑138

Yassaman Imani

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Implementing Knowledge Through Development Projects  pp139‑148

Erik Laursen

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Key Performance Indicators Metrics Effect on the Advancement and Sustainability of Knowledge Management  pp149‑154

Mohamed Rabhi

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Human Resource Management Practices and Organizational Innovation: Assessing the Mediating Role of Knowledge Management Effectiveness  pp155‑167

Cheng Ling Tan, Aizzat Mohd Nasurdin

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Academic Vocational Training: Bridging the gap Between Educational Space and Work Space  pp168‑180

Soren Willert, Hanne Dauer Keller, Nikolaj Stegeager

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