KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT AS A DOUGHNUT: SHAPING YOUR KNOWLEDGE STRATEGY THROUGH COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE
1. About the author
Etienne Wenger, a recognized authority on the discipline, is a consultant and researcher, and the co-author of Cultivating communities of practice: a guide to managing knowledge (Harvard Business School Press, 2002) with R. McDermott and W. Snyder.
The utility of knowledge management has been debating for a long time. Knowledge is a strategic asset so it has to be managed like any critical assets of organization. In this article, the author argues that in the term "knowledge management", management is a doughnut with empty centre. Knowledge management, therefore, is primarily the business of those who actually make the dough the practitioners. Unless you are able to involve practitioners actively in the process, your ability to truly manage knowledge assets is going to remain seriously limited. The article proposes fundamental principles for effectively managing knowledge. The doughnut model of knowledge management is the key issue to be discussed in this article.
3. Key points
3.1 Principles of knowledge management
- Practitioners, the people who use knowledge in their activities, are in the best position to manage this knowledge. Since knowledge of any field is too complex for any individual to cover, community of practice, which are social structures that focus on knowledge and explicitly enable the management of knowledge to be placed in the hands of practitioners, comes to play a critical role.
- Communities of practice are groups of people who share a passion for something that they know how to do, and who interact regularly in order to learn how to do it better. They, therefore, are the cornerstones of knowledge management. From this perspective, the role of professional "manager" is not to manage knowledge directly, but to enable practitioners to do so.... [continues]
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