Monday 23 February 2009

Chickens and eggs in knowledge management?

Nadeja Loubeva had a recent post on her blog, likening Knowledge Management and Organisational Learning to "the chicken and the egg"

I like the analogy of the chicken and the egg, for a couple of reasons

Firstly, I agree that the organisational learning/knowledge management learning loop must be closed. It must be a loop. You can't just create eggs. Or just chickens. The two need to morph one into the other in a closed cycle.

Secondly, knowledge (often) goes through two stages. Like an egg and a chicken, it passes through tacit and explicit. In these two forms, it looks different, it needs to be treated differently, and it is "owned" by different people. The teams and projects apply the tacit knowledge (which can be considered to be "doing the organisational learning"), while the experts and functions maintain the explicit knowledge base. The transitions between the two forms need to be managed carefully - developing new explicit knowledge from operations, and applying new knowledge to operations.

So I appreciated Nadeja's analogy. As they say, a chicken is just an egg's way of making another chicken, and organsational learning is just KM's way of learning even more.

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