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Charles Despres 1

nary intersection of rather disparate interests, intellects and applications. This is disappointing to the academics and practitioners who expected more when the idea first surfaced some 25 years ago ... more in terms of post-modern organizations and enlightened human interaction, more in terms of knowledge economics, more in terms of knowledge-centric societies. More, in short, of a new field that would institutionalize convergence so as to set new research agendas, define new problematics and identify new practices for the new millennium. KM has not distinguished itself from its tributary disciplines (20 or more), all of which approach “knowledge” and “management” in their own peculiar ways. There is no theory of economics, organization, systems or human interaction specific to KM. There are no technologies, applications, practices or prescriptions specific to KM. There are, however, abundant signs of multi-disciplinarity: when convenient we find individuals, theories and practices from various perspectives disembarking to discuss organizational schemes and human interaction contingent on the wicked problem of knowledge in the postmodern age …” The thinking observer will conclude that the actor and his/her knowledge have always been at the center of work, management and organization in contemporary social science. That fundamental constructs began to change in the mid-20th Century is clear; how they have been refined and focused by KM is less clear. We are now some 40 years forward from Bell’s clarion call (The Coming of Post-Industrial Society, 1968), and 25 years out from Zuboff’s map of the intellectual landscape (In the Age of the Smart Machine, 1984). The deeper currents of Modernity and Postmodernity have underlain these and related works from the 1950’s onward. From this perspective the general observation is that KM surfaced in academic arenas circa 1990 as the offspring of endogenous developments in kindred areas (ICT, economics, sociology, organization theory, communication, management …), and its twenty years of interdisciplinary discussion is little more than a blip on the academic clock. Is it unreasonable to expect more from a young and applied field of study? Perhaps, but there are encouraging signs on the horizon. 1

It is perhaps useful to note that multidisciplinarity implies the melding of multiple perspectives focused on a problem / issue in the search of practical results, and is by definition anathema to a discrete and reigning paradigm. Multidiscipliarity is not interdisciplinarity, though the distinctions are primarily in terms of requisite (disciplinary) variety.

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Profile for Academic Conferences and publishing International

Leading Issues in Knowledge Management Research  

This is a 13 page extract from the book. Knowledge management is one of the most enduring concepts aimed at how to improve management effici...

Leading Issues in Knowledge Management Research  

This is a 13 page extract from the book. Knowledge management is one of the most enduring concepts aimed at how to improve management effici...