Parboteeah_et_al - Evaluating a Living Model of Knowledge...

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ISSN 1479-4411 129 ©Academic Conferences Ltd Reference this paper as Parboteeah, P, Jackson, T and Ragsdell, G. (2010) “Evaluating a Living Model of Knowledge” Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management Volume 8 Issue 1 (pp129 - 138), available online at www.ejkm com Evaluating a Living Model of Knowledge Paul Parboteeah, Thomas Jackson and Gillian Ragsdell Loughborough University, UK Abstract : The definition of knowledge has always been a contentious issue in knowledge management. Effective knowledge management requires a definition of knowledge that is consistent, useful and true. Whilst most definitions today fulfil the first two criteria, none accurately address all three, including the true, biological nature of knowledge. This is where autopoiesis can help. Autopoiesis was developed to try to answer the question of what makes something living, using a scientific methodology. It proposes living things are discrete, self-producing entities and constantly cognising entities. Autopoiesis has long inspired definitions of knowledge, with ideas such as: knowledge cannot be transferred, or knowledge can only be created by the potential ‘knower’. Using the theory of autopoiesis, it is possible to create a biologically grounded model of knowledge, representing the latest thinking in neuroscience. However, before this new, biologically grounded model of knowledge can be integrated into new or existing knowledge management theories, it needs to be tested, else it falls into the trap of being conceptual, and remaining that way. This paper starts with the autopoietic, and therefore biologically, grounded model of knowledge, and develops the new evaluation framework necessary to test the model. The evaluation methodology developed in this research started from the field of programme evaluation and was adapted to meet the needs of the knowledge management discipline. This paper subsequently presents the initial findings from the evaluation process and takes the first steps to identifying how knowledge management can improve with its newly found scientific grounding. Keywords : autopoiesis, epistemology, evaluation, knowledge management, systems theory 1. Introduction The 21 st century is a knowledge economy (Drucker, 2001) and this has given rise to a new type of organisation: the knowledge intensive organisation. With knowledge a core strategic resource in these organisations, a new approach was needed that could help to effectively manage this new resource. Knowledge management (KM) was developed as the answer, and aimed to help employees effectively create, share and exploit knowledge to enhance the organisation’s knowledge (Jashapara, 2004). Whilst this can be taken as an introductory position, there are a number of complicating factors resulting from different academic paradigms, such as strategic management, business process re- engineering, philosophy, information management and economics. For a subject with at least ten underlying disciplines (Jashapara, 2004), the fundamental issues such
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Parboteeah_et_al - Evaluating a Living Model of Knowledge...

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