I have a new article that is going to be published in VINE: The Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems
The article details the new frontiers of knowledge management research, and is based on the introduction of my book New Frontiers of Knowledge Management Here is an excerpt…
Here are my thoughts on some areas that are in dire need of attention by knowledge management scholars.
The first is the study of knowledge dynamics at the societal and economic level. We are witnessing transformations in our global economies at an extraordinary pace. The rise of India and China as superpowers is to be respected and even admired; these economies are shaping up to be true knowledge economies. The growth of these economies is heavily tied into their knowledge-based sectors, such as software engineering and information technology. Research is needed to study these changing power dynamics from a socio-economic perspective to help inform policy decisions, both at the local and international levels.
Second, we must study the role of knowledge management in the eradication of poverty and the improvement of social welfare. If knowledge is the true source of competitive advantage at the individual and organizational levels, one must then seek out its role in tackling societal problems. How will the future of libraries, a critical repository and delivery agent of knowledge, be shaped? How should we use techniques identified in the knowledge management literature (e.g. communities of practice) to help share global relief efforts and educational programs?
Third, at the organizational level we must begin to focus our attentions on the age of co-opetition. This is where there is blurring lines between competitors and collaborators. No more do we have easy decisions as to make regarding with whom should we share knowledge or hoard it from. We may be competing and cooperating with the same organization at the same time. The issue of co-opetition needs to be seriously consider as we design knowledge transfer strategies and also when considering the management of innovation projects. Today, there is a big movement to bring customer and business partners into the innovation circles in what is becoming known as open innovation projects. If we are to bring these entities into the innovation process then we must be able to manage the creation, storage, transfer, and application of knowledge in all its forms, including intellectual property.
Fourth, knowledge management researchers may find it fruitful to examine issues of knowledge creation and commercialization in the context of industry-academia alliances. Industry-academia alliances have been the cornerstone of knowledge commercialization and innovation in developed economies. Yet, today, due to pressures, especially cutbacks on education expenses, it is even more important that these alliances be successful and fruitful for both parties. There are several interesting issues to examine. While industry looks to gain from the commercialization of knowledge into products and services, academia has a role to play in the development of science for the benefit of societies, while preserving their integrity and independence. Industry wants to get access to knowledge that is ripe for development, while academia has policies in place to preserve the manner in which research is executed, so how can we design processes that simultaneously address the needs of both industry and academia?
Finally, I would like to suggest that we as knowledge management scholars take a close and hard look at how we manage knowledge within academia. I am the first to admit that we seldom practice what we preach. We tell organizations to make environments conducive to the sharing of knowledge, yet we allow journal articles to get stale in the review process for years, we ask for environments where failures are not shunned upon, yet we never publish such work in our own journals. If organizations are to take us seriously, we must first practice what we preach.