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Knowledge and Discourse Matters: Relocating Knowledge Management's Sphere of Interest onto Language

Knowledge and Discourse Matters: Relocating Knowledge Management's Sphere of Interest onto Language

Lesley Crane

ISBN: 978-1-119-07951-4

Sep 2015

336 pages

$88.99

Description

This book provides a practical approach to harnessing knowledge in organizations. Its focus is on knowledge sharing, tacit knowing, and a view of knowledge as an accomplishment in social interaction.

The aim of this book is to explore and show how the phenomena of trust, risk and identity, as contexts constructed by speakers themselves, influence and mediate knowledge sharing in organizational encounters. The research particularly reveals how tacit knowledge (knowing), affects the scope and directions of everyday conversation. The first part of the book presents a comprehensive critical appraisal and analysis of the field of organizational knowledge management, followed by an introduction to the theory and methodology of discourse analysis, and a view of tacit knowing drawn from studies in implicit learning.  The second part reports the detailed analysis and findings of original field research, investigating how participants in regular organizational meetings, including a discussion forum, manage the business of sharing knowledge.  From the perspective of the research methodology, drawing on Discursive Psychology, knowledge is approached as an accomplishment in social interaction, with talk and text shown to be constructive, functional and action-oriented. 

  • Presents a rigorous, evidence-based approach to Knowledge Management using original research
  • Approaches discourse as the location of knowledge work, and the site to which knowledge management practice should be focused
  • Positions the actions of knowledge work in everyday talk and text, thus giving practitioners a ready toolset to improve their strategies, practices and understanding of knowledge within organizations

Knowledge and Discourse Matters: Relocating Knowledge Management’s Sphere of Interest onto Language is a great reference for organizational leaders, knowledge managers, and human resource managers. 

Dr. Lesley Crane is an independent consultant specializing in knowledge management, and technology supported learning for adults (e-learning). Much of her consultancy work involves providing strategic advice and research on the effective use of e-content, e-tools and the use of new technologies in the delivery of teaching and learning.  Prior to working as a consultant, Lesley was Managing Director of her own SME business specializing in creative e-learning design and development for public and private sector organizations.

List of Figures and Tables xv

Foreword xvii

Acknowledgments xxiii

Introduction 1

PART ONE 7

1 The Nature of Knowledge 9

1.1 Knowledge: The Most Precious Asset and the Greatest Challenge 9

1.2 Why an Understanding of the Nature of Knowledge is Crucial 10

1.3 Ways of Defining Knowledge and the Rise of a Single Perspective 12

1.3.1 Knowledge: “Thing” or “Action”? 13

1.3.2 The Subjective versus Objective 14

1.3.3 Organizational versus Personal Knowledge 16

1.4 The Tacit–Explicit Conundrum 16

1.4.1 What Did Polanyi Really Say? 18

1.4.2 The Importance of Context: What Context and Whose Context? 19

1.4.3 A Preference for “Knowing” as Action 21

1.5 Frameworks of Meaning 22

1.6 A Hierarchy of Knowledge 23

1.7 Summary and Conclusions 24

Further Reading 25

2 The Constitution of Knowledge Management 27

2.1 Addressing Some Key Questions 27

2.2 The Origins of Knowledge Management 28

2.3 Multiple Perspectives and Limitless Boundaries 29

2.3.1 The Organization as a Body of Knowledge 30

2.3.2 Gulf between Practice and Academia 30

2.3.3 Knowledge Management from the Perspective of the Learning Organization 30

2.3.4 The Systemic Approach and Connections to Social Interaction 31

2.4 Is it a Passing Management Fad? 31

2.5 Technology as a Defining “Push Factor” 32

2.6 Should Knowledge be Managed? 34

2.7 Summary and Conclusions 35

Further Reading 36

3 Key Issues and Debates 37

3.1 Introduction 37

3.2 The Commodification and Reification of Knowledge 38

3.3 Determining Success or Failure 39

3.4 Measuring Knowledge Management Outcomes 41

3.5 Knowledge Management and Culture 42

3.6 Creating New Knowledge 43

3.7 Sharing Knowledge 45

3.8 Summary and Conclusions 48

Further Reading 50

4 Knowledge Management’s Theories 53

4.1 Finding Some New Directions 53

4.2 What Constitutes a Theory? 55

4.3 An Approach to Knowledge Management’s Theories: A Novel Taxonomy 56

4.4 The Personal versus Organizational Knowledge Question 60

4.5 The Personal versus Organizational Knowledge on the Social Action Axis 62

4.5.1 Personal Knowledge as the Unit of Analysis 62

4.5.2 Knowledge as Practice Contrasted with Knowledge as Possession 63

4.5.3 Connecting the “Organizational” with the “Personal”: Social, Situated, and Constructed 64

4.5.4 Knowledge, Activity Theory, and Activity Systems 65

4.5.5 The Phenomenological Perspective 66

4.5.6 “Know(ing) How” and “Know(ing) That” and Communities of Practice 67

4.5.7 Creative Abrasion 68

4.6 Reification of Knowledge: One Paradigm Dominates 69

4.6.1 “The Theory” and the Theorist as Bricoleur 69

4.6.2 Shuffling Ideas 71

4.6.3 Misinterpretation and Misrepresentation 71

4.6.4 More Troubling Observations on the Theory of the Knowledge]Creating Firm 73

4.7 Roundup of Some Other Perspectives in the “Knowledge as Object” Spectrum 74

4.8 The Issues Over the Inductionist Foundation of Theory 75

4.9 Summary and Conclusions 76

Further Reading 78

5 Social Constructionism and the Constructionist View of Knowledge 79

5.1 Introduction 79

5.2 Social Constructionism as a Way of Looking at the World 80

5.3 Simply Extending Existing Directions 81

5.4 The Social Constructionist View of Knowledge 83

5.5 The Debate Over Method 84

5.6 On Objectivity 86

5.7 Summary and Conclusions 87

Further Reading 88

6 Discourse as the Site of Knowledge Work 89

6.1 Introduction and the Turn to Talk 89

6.2 Introducing Discursive Psychology 91

6.2.1 Origins 91

6.2.2 Discursive Psychology’s Core Assumptions 91

6.2.3 Emerging Ideas 92

6.2.4 The Thorny Issue of Variation 93

6.3 Other Leading Paradigms in Discourse Analysis 94

6.3.1 Critical Discourse Analysis 94

6.3.2 Conversation Analysis 95

6.3.3 Membership Categorization Analysis 96

6.4 Topics of Study in Discourse Analysis 96

6.4.1 Discourse and Identity 97

6.4.2 Discourse and Gender 101

6.4.3 Discourse and Computer Mediated Communications 103

6.5 Sensemaking 107

6.6 Summary and Conclusions 109

Further Reading 110

7 The Implicit Formulation of Tacit Knowing and Resolving Matters of Relevance 113

7.1 Introduction: Questions and Connections 113

7.2 The Origins of the “Tacit Question” 115

7.3 The Values of Tacit Knowledge 117

7.4 A Disputed Phenomenon 118

7.5 Knowledge Management’s “Implicit Formulation” of Tacit Knowledge 119

7.6 The Implicit Learning Paradigm 120

7.6.1 The “Polanyi Connection” 121

7.6.2 The Challenge of Researching the Unspeakable: Research Paradigms in Implicit Learning 122

7.6.3 Unconscious and Natural 123

7.6.4 An Abstractionist Model 124

7.6.5 Automaticity and Influence 125

7.6.6 An Ancient Evolved System 126

7.6.7 Some Spanners in the Implicit Learning Theory Works 126

7.7 Comparing Knowledge Management’s Perspectives on the Tacit with the IL Formulation 128

7.8 Philosophy, Methodology, and Incommensurability 128

7.8.1 A Divergence of Approach 130

7.8.2 Reconciling Two Opposing Fields 131

7.9 Summary and Conclusions 132

Further Reading 134

8 Thematic Categories of Knowledge Sharing 135

8.1 Introduction 135

8.2 Identity 136

8.3 Trust 137

8.4 Risk 138

8.5 Context 139

8.6 A Final Problem to Resolve 140

8.7 Summary 141

Further Reading 141

9 The Case for Discourse as the Priority 143

9.1 Knowledge and Discourse Matters: Summarizing the Case 143

9.2 Changes in Direction? 146

9.3 Making it Work: Implications and Contributions 147

9.4 Conclusions 148

PART TWO 151

10 Introduction to Part Two 153

11 Methodology 155

11.1 Introduction 155

11.2 Locating the Present Study 156

11.3 A Brief Digress into the Positivist Account of Science 158

11.4 Research Method 159

11.4.1 An Explanation of the Method 159

11.4.2 Grounds for Criticism and the Issue of Measuring Quality 161

11.5 Research Design 163

11.5.1 Design 163

11.5.2 Research Data 168

11.5.3 Participants and Ethical Considerations 169

11.6 Points of Limitation 171

11.7 Summary and Indicative Research Questions 172

Further Reading 172

12 Trust as an Artifact of Knowledge Sharing 173

12.1 The Importance of Trust 173

12.2 Data 175

12.3 Casting the Characters and Setting the Scene for Action 176

12.4 Working up Trust Through Epistemic Superiority and Authenticity 178

12.4.1 Emerging Challenge 178

12.4.2 Competing Strategies for Conjuring Trust 180

12.4.3 Avoiding Direct Challenge by Reformulating the Problem 181

12.5 Risk and Competence as Contingent Factors to Trust 182

12.5.1 Calling on Witnesses to Work Up Persuasion 182

12.5.2 Two Competing Versions of the Same Witness Accounts 185

12.5.3 Issuing Challenges to Competency and Undermining Trust 185

12.6 Trust Breakdown Connects with Knowledge Sharing Breaches 186

12.6.1 Factual Accounting as a Warrant for Trust 186

12.6.2 A Breach in Knowledge Sharing Comes to the Fore 188

12.7 Knowledge, Trust, and Blame 189

12.7.1 Issuing the Call to Account 189

12.7.2 Managing Blame 191

12.7.3 Question over Competence or Simply not Sharing Knowledge? 191

12.8 Preliminary Reflections 193

Further Reading 194

13 Knowledge Sharing is a Risky Business 195

13.1 The Risky Business of Sharing Knowledge 195

13.2 Sequential and Rhetorical Organization: Group Norms and Reputation 196

13.3 High Stakes and Truth Telling 200

13.3.1 Stake and Authenticity 201

13.3.2 Authenticity and Challenge 202

13.3.3 Narrative and Consensus–Corroboration 206

13.4 Doing “Uber Authenticity” Through Vivid Narrative Accounting 209

13.4.1 Issuing a News Headline 209

13.4.2 Doing Being Ordinary 211

13.4.3 Whose Counting? Quantitative Accounting 213

13.5 Preliminary Reflections 214

Further Reading 216

14 Negotiating Positions of Authority 219

14.1 Knowledge Sharing Accomplished from a Subject Position 219

14.2 Context, Participants, and Expectations 221

14.3 Problems, Complexities, and Appeals to Common Sense 221

14.3.1 Invoking Positions of Authority 223

14.3.2 Formulating a Script for the Client 226

14.3.3 Influencing Effects of “the Script” 228

14.4 “Seasoned Exhibitionists” and Bombshells 229

14.4.1 Shifting the Position of Authority 230

14.4.2 Issuing a Bombshell and Working to Save Face 231

14.5 Preliminary Reflections 233

Further Reading 234

15 Building Identities as Expert in an Online Forum 235

15.1 Introduction 235

15.2 Data 235

15.3 The Trigger: More than a Request for Advice 236

15.4 Constructing “In]Groups” as Markers of Expert Status 237

15.5 Positioning and Group Membership 239

15.6 In]Group Rivalry 240

15.7 Consensus Patterns 242

15.8 Claims to Privileged Knowledge 243

15.8.1 Listing 244

15.8.2 Metaphors 244

15.9 Preliminary Reflections 245

Further Reading 246

16 On Matters of Context 247

16.1 The Importance of Contextual Particulars 247

16.2 Data 249

16.3 Shared Understanding 249

16.3.1 Displaying Knowing What’s on Others’ Minds 250

16.3.2 Gisting and Elaboration 252

16.4 Stance]Taking 255

16.4.1 Invoking the Context of Courtroom 255

16.4.2 Doing “them and us” 258

16.5 Doing Historicity 260

16.6 Preliminary Reflections 263

Postscript 264

Further Reading 264

17 Finding Meaning, Implications, and Future Directions 265

17.1 A Management Practice in Search of an Object 265

17.2 Finding Meaning 267

17.2.1 Constructing Live Issues and Concerns 267

17.2.2 Influencing Knowledge Sharing 271

17.2.3 The Corelational Nature of Invoked Concerns 274

17.2.4 A Tacit Accomplishment 276

17.3 Relating the Findings to Debates and Issues in Knowledge Management 278

17.3.1 The Central Concern of Knowledge Management with “How” and “What” 278

17.3.2 The “Relevance” Issue Concerning Discursive Psychology 279

17.3.3 A Theory of Language 280

17.3.4 A Different Conceptualization of Knowledge Sharing 280

17.3.5 A Different Approach to Core Issues in Knowledge Management 281

17.4 Future Directions 282

Appendix 285

Index to Glossary Terms 289

Bibliography 291

Subject Index 305