Knowledge Management Technology-in-Practice: A Social Constructionist Analysis of the Introduction and Use of Knowledge Management Systems
Knowledge Management Research and Practice, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 161-172, 2010
Posted: 21 Jul 2011 Last revised: 14 Feb 2012
Date Written: 2010
This paper argues that Knowledge Management Technology (KMT) is socially constructed in use based on the affordances and constraints of the technology artefact. Since many Knowledge Management (KM) systems are introduced with vague purposes (such as to improve knowledge sharing) it is therefore their affordances and constraints which strongly shape the socially constructed 'KMT-in-practice'. The paper argues that knowledge is also socially constructed and that knowledge creation requires an element of surprise and challenge to routine. Using a case study of the British Council's KM programme between 1998 and 2003, the paper explores the social construction of a KMT as it is developed and used; describing how various features afforded by the technology influence its adoption and institutionalisation. The paper concludes by arguing that KMTs-in-practice, which are successful in supporting knowledge creation, must paradoxically remain in a state of neither stabilisation and acceptance, nor abandonment and disuse. Practical implications of how this might be achieved are provided.
Keywords: knowledge management, knowledge management technology, social construction
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