Beyond Knowledge Management
An overview of expertise sharing, an approach to knowledge management that emphasizes the human components of knowledge work in addition to information storage and retrieval.
The field of knowledge management focuses on how organizations can most effectively store, manage, retrieve, and enlarge their intellectual properties. The repository view of knowledge management emphasizes the gathering, providing, and filtering of explicit knowledge. The information in a repository has the advantage of being easily transferable and reusable. But it is not easy to use decontextualized information, and users often need access to human experts.
This book describes a more recent approach to knowledge management, which the authors call "expertise sharing." Expertise sharing emphasizes the human aspects—cognitive, social, cultural, and organizational—of knowledge management, in addition to information storage and retrieval. Rather than focusing on the management level of an organization, expertise sharing focuses on the self-organized activities of the organization's members. The book addresses the concerns of both researchers and practitioners, describing current literature and research as well as offering information on implementing systems. It consists of three parts: an introduction to knowledge sharing in large organizations; empirical studies of expertise sharing in different types of settings; and detailed descriptions of computer systems that can route queries, assemble people and work, and augment naturally occurring social networks within organizations.
This is a fine and original collection focused on a key, emerging theme in knowledge management—how and why is expertise shared. The pieces are well balanced between technological and non-technological approaches and the work stands well on its own.
Larry Prusak, Distinguished Scholar, Babson College
Knowledge management has entered a new phase that focuses not just on building computer-based repositories, but on the more complex tasks of enabling the sharing of expertise. This collection of articles comes at precisely the right time. It unites theoretical research and practice perspectives to address the social, cognitive, and organizational aspects of this shift, as well as its technological implications.
Etienne Wenger, Author of Communities of Practice and co-author of Cultivating Communities of Practice