Emergent Trends in Academic Research in KM

Thursday, July 19th, 2007
The room is quiet and the panelists have just been introduced, so let's go...

Panel: Emergent Trends in Academic Research in Knowledge Management (NASA KM 07/19/2007)
Panelist opening comments:

Paul Krinovos, CSUN, KM Degree program chair

(Paul's dissertation was on message distortion in communication)
Would like to see research on actual impact of culture on knowledge sharing effectiveness.
Research found that when messages were sent from managers were sent to supervisors, there were often distorted - but only when they were task-related. Wants to look at how the unusual, unattended, nonobvious elements of culture affect communication and knowledge transfer. Would like to see when active users of a social network dismantle components of the network, e.g. when you take away social networks due to retirement, job shift, leaving the network. How does this affect the communication and knowledge transfer of the rest of the network? (I hope I got all of that down) Would like to see research are in the area information overload, specifically, is there such a thing as Knowledge Overload? If so, how do we cope with it? Can we have too much knowledge? And what impact does that have on us?

Marcela Oliva, L.A. Trade Tech, Geospatial Information Systems

How do we build information models spatially so that users can "see" the information in context? Exploring spatial analysis and representation tools for practical applications so that users can pick up on trends and information that might not be apparent through other means. example given of a 3D model of street vendors in their city and how they move around. Looking at how immersive environments (e.g. Second Life and others) can aid thinking and integration of knowledge.

Marcia Gibson, NESC Academy, NIA

Looking at how to take information and distribute it in such a way that people can assimilate and use it (transform it to knowledge) without overload. Then, looking at how to tak the internalized knowledge to create a "wisdom." Looking at developing new method sof distribution for the knowledge (Information) that her organization is charged with capturing and sharing. Their classes are taught off NASA campuses (no laptops, wireless, or blackberries allowed) to get the users to "leave their work" and focus on learning. Looking at what motivates a user to want to come and learn and how to best help them internalize the learned and create working knowledge.

David Pender, University of Adelaide

Looking at the academic and management side of KM and collaboration. We've heard a lot about efficiency issues but we've not seen much research in the area of effectiveness. We've seen barriers to collaboration, some of these have been researched and document. Need to look to discover what the barriers are in KM and how to overcome them. We've seen much research on social capital of individuals but not much on the social capital of organizations. There's an opportunity here for a smart researcher. Lots of talk about the spiral and much talk about the size of the spiral. David's more interested in the rate of rotation of the spiral. What can we learn from other research? Can we borrow from the change management literature? We need more research. We need to apply the findings of that research in a timely fashion.  (example of Alvin Toffler's 1970 book, Future Shock, and how it introduced concept of information overload yet topic did not emerge until decades later.  Discussion of Static & Dynamic views of Knowledge. How to de redesign businesses to facilitate and support knowledge transfer for competitive advantage. Lots of talk about the need for metrics in evaluating KMS performance (e.g. ability to exploit knowledge learned). We need to develop new methods of measuring activity. Thinks metrics and governance will become more important, moving forward.

Nelson Grenadas & Mark Chun, Pepperdine University

Knowledge Management Sytsems Research Trends. Looking at technology systems in business organizations. Gordon Davis: "There is something terribly wring in the practice of Knowledge Management."  
Nelson addresses three big problems that contribute to this:

Technology traps:

1. We are victims of our buzzwords.
2. We think that technology is the magic bullet
3. We look for snapshot solutions (Sometime just patches to a biger problems)

The bad news is that we keep falling into these traps, especially in Knowledge Management.

Alternative Perspectives:

- Look for blueprints (No more darn buzzwords (find book))
- People and Processes Are Key; technology is not the magic bullet, it is an enabling tool. (yes!). It's IN the FORM, not just the autoMATIOIN.
- KM SYSTEMS ARE CONTRIVED AND DYNAMIC; Avoid snapshot solutions; KM systems are contrived, human formed.

Go back and look at slides/presentation on Systems Thinking in Knowledge Management)

Open discussion of tools and methods that can be used to enhance and quantify the results a KMS in an organization.

[We now return to the analog
capture tool for a quick illustration. I post this photo for selfish reasons: it's a shameless plug for my blog!]

Shameless plug for Eric Mack On-Line blog

Great discussion, too much information, too fast to capture accurately. I'll have to go back to the audio.,

Kiho Sohn: We talk about trust in communication; is trust the same as respect?  Krinovos: yes. Gibson: No. We are taught as kids to respect authority, but that does not mean that we trust they will do what's best for us. Good discussion. Krinovos: Need to define terms because some of the terms used in research are also used in everyday life and yet have different meanings. Need to make sure definitions are clear and common and not necessarily the way they are used in everyday life. Discussion of need to begin meetings with definitions. (e.g. what is KM?)

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