Saturday, December 21, 2002

Mark McElroy´s New Knowledge Management
I had an email from Mark McElroy on my posting of November 7th regarding his talk at KM World on Macroinnovation. I rather bluntly said I couldn´t see why he called this 'The New Knowledge Management' when Nonaka had addressed this in '95. Mark very courteously explained that he was trying to change the way we view business knowledge from Nonaka's use of "Justified True Belief" to one based on business knowledge being seen as claims open to challenge (falsification for those who know Karl Popper's work). An appealing extrapolation of this is what McElroy & Firestone call the "Open Enterprise", where much more of what happens in management is open to the scrutiny (but also the opportunity for improvement) of other employees.

If you're interested, there's a detailed presentation on Mark's website about the differences.

Mark and I are still having a dialog about his concepts. One thing I asked was if Popper's falsificationism ideas, mostly devised to explain the nature of scientific enquiry, really applied to business knowledge. i.e is business knowledge really the same kind of beast. I was reminded of a colleague once lamenting "knowledge isn't what it used to be - it used to mean science that had been tested and re-tested. I took decades to produce. Now knowledge seems to be anybody's experience or the gut feel of some poncey marketing manager".

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