What are the ethical and legal implications related to KM? That's what we are here to discuss. I'll my best to capture salient points.

Knowledge Management needs to be addressed from three perspectives
- Leadership
- Purpose
- Process/Infrastructure

Challenges in KM from a legal/ethical perspective
- Recent regulations tailored at regulating knowledge sharing (e.g. Sarbanes-Oxley)

great slide, moving too fast., Sorry.

84%+ security breaches are caused by loss of human error (Emory 2004)
60%+ of companies report security breaches.

Corporate security IT exposure
60% of all corporate data assets reside on unprotected PCs.
see slide #3

Security audits found that co-workers, not hackers, are perceived as the biggest threat to knowledge assets.

3 Legal; KM issues
1. Intellectual (IP) property issues
2. Liability issues of shared knowledge

First Panelist: George Cassar, KM Director, Space Airborne Systems Engineering Learning & Knowledge Management, Raytheon Corporation

Sharing information vs. Protecting Information

So, what's the challenge?
- Ethical imperatives and legal/regulatory obligations
- Export/Import controls - what knowledge can we export or import without compromising healthy competition in the marketplace.
- How do we protect IP?
- Anti-trust issues
- Competitive sensitive information
- Organizational and individual conflicts of interest
- Insider traiding
- NDA/teaming/Joint Ventures
- Due Diligence re: Acquisitions & Mergers
- Plagerism
- Disruptive innovation
- Industrial espionage
- National security issues

to name a few....

Next: .

Ratheon has a benchmarking protocol to help knowledge managers determine when/how/what to share. Great slide on benchmarking protocol/.

Note to self: see APQC website for benchmarking code of conduct document.

Next panelist: Dr. Laif Swanson, NASA-JPL, works for office of CIO

Volumes of regulations on knowledge sharing can be distilled down to a few rules:
- Don't share intellectual property with people you shouldn't share it with.
- Don't share something that is export controlled
- Don't embarrass yourself or your employer

Kiho: within traditional corporate settings, we are taught not to share. Some organizations teach on a need to know basis only. His experience has taught him that sharing is a good thing and that we need to trust people to only protect what they must protect.
I'm not sure of his question; re-listen to recording: Another approach is to share everything and only protect what needs to be protected.

Comment  from Laif: "Many attorneys don't seem to understand the value of KM in the context of an organization learning from its mistakes by sharing them." [Are attorneys the enemy of KM?]  

Long conversation on ownership of IP vs license to use; how that's driven by the funding source and change the policies in force.

Discussion of copyright issues related to downloading content from internet into a shared repository and then sharing it internal.

Much of this can and should be addressed in training.

Participant: A big problem is that here is no mechanism for recovery of compensation attributed to use of content from the web. We don't have something like iTunes, which for music at least provides a mechanism for micropayment to the composer. We have nothing like that for documents, which is why we have so many laws and regulations governing copyright. If we did, that might help change how copyright laws or managed and enforces.

Participant: Conflict with the fundamentals of Knowledge Management and knowledge sharing and copyright laws. Need to review and understand the purpose of copyright - to protect the commercial interest of the copyright creator.


Our ability to capture knowledge is far exceeding our ability to use it. This means that companies could face liability issues for a problem with a product malfunction in which the knowledge was available but you did not know of it (or take advantage of it).

Wow the implications of that are huge.  If we are collecting knowledge it should be for the purposes of intentional reuse. If we are collecting for just-in-case use, we are opening ourselves up to liability. So, I guess the question becomes "are we liable for the information we've captured but do not use?" When is enough knowledge capture good enough? When do you discard knowledge?  How much danger are we in of losing a diamond in a mountain of coal?

In the scientific community we have a porocess of literature review - we have to do that. However, we do not see those same behviors being done consistently in business.

Q. What portion of a company's data that is so rigorously protected is directly related to the company's bottom line?

[Look ath the Cabe report (sp?) to a great overview of how NOT to do KM. The shuttle program, for example stovepiped so much information that could have been valuable, could have saved the lives of astornauts, if it had been shared.]

Lots of discussion about the barriers to knowledge sharing.

Discussion/Comments (3):

Legal and ethical issues in Knowledge Management


Posted at 10/29/2008 20:18:59 by shanky

Can all the ethical issues be converted into laws?

I want an answer about the above question....

Posted at 04/12/2009 8:09:29 by powell

What are the ethical and legal issues in knowledge management


Iam mohit soni from jodhpur and iam persuing my MBA I want full term paper on ethical and legal issues in knowledge management with full examples

please please send

Posted at 03/03/2010 22:07:50 by Mohit Soni

Discussion for this entry is now closed.