Dissertation Defense
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Out of hundreds of video interviews, found the top 28 that really told the story and framed the emerging discipline of knowledge management. Accepted without changes. Done.

Out of hundreds of video interviews, found the top 28 that really told the story and framed the emerging discipline of knowledge management. Accepted without changes. Done.

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Dissertation Defense Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Stories of Knowledge Management: Exploring Coherence in a Community of Practice Michael D. Kull Doctoral Candidate Department of Management Science George Washington University Dissertation Defense Washington, D.C. December 2, 2002
  • 2. Research Purposes
    • How does a management community know what it knows?
      • To explore and explain the thematic elements of KM as a management phenomenon.
      • To build theory for understanding the epistemology of a professional community of practice.
    • What is knowledge management to KM insiders, or “elites?”
    • What role do stories play in the construction of knowledge?
      • How do stories encapsulate and communicate knowledge?
      • What types of stories create coherence in a discipline?
    • How can digital video be utilized effectively in research?
      • To advance “digital storytelling” as a research technique.
      • To explore the advantages of video and transcription.
  • 3. Research Questions
    • What is the structure of a management discipline?
    • How do stories build coherence within a community of practice?
    • What are the themes that construct a knowledge management discipline?
  • 4. Definitions
    • Community of Practice : A group of professionals informally bound to one another through exposure to a common class of problems, common pursuit of solutions, who use a common language and who embody a common store of applicable knowledge. (Wenger)
    • Paradigm: A constellation of commitments that members of a given community share, as well as the members of the community who share these commitments. (Kuhn)
  • 5. Research Strategy
    • Case study of KM bounds the research in time and space.
      • Interviews conducted between late 1998 and early 2001.
      • Interviews conducted at academic and trade conferences or by arrangement.
    • Semi-structured, in-depth video interviews of 28 participants.
      • Selected from over 100 interviews of speakers, authors, and executives.
      • Narrowed to 28 based on “anything new?” / theoretical saturation.
    • Participants interviewed on digital video.
      • All videos transcribed and coded using Ethnograph 5.0
      • Some support provided by Lighthouse Consulting Group.
    • Guiding frameworks to aid coding and theory development.
  • 6. Frameworks
    • Jerome Bruner argues for two modes of knowing.
      • Logo-scientific mode: well-established; represents a search for truth-conditions of propositional/hypothetical claims.
      • Narrative mode: repressed in science; represents cultural meaning-making expressed through literature and the oral tradition.
    • Two frameworks for interpretation
      • Paradigmatic taxonomy , guided by Kuhn’s disciplinary matrix, represents a comprehensive knowledge map.
      • Narrative typology , emerged from the data through attempts to classify cultural story types.
  • 7. Paradigmatic Taxonomy Category Definition   Generalizations Terms and expressions often stated as propositions or logical identities; these define the equalities, states, and other conditions of symbolic significance to the community, and they serve to anchor communications among community members. Schemas Commitments to certain ways of thinking expressed as theories, models, frames, analogies, metaphors, and other belief structures, which serve to bound phenomena and supply the community with preferred, plausible, or permissible representations. Values Statements such as “should” and “ought” that express an obligation, ideal or desired end, and serve to help community members characterize issues, weigh their consequences, and choose among competing traditions of performance. Exemplars Examples and cases of ideal or archetypical problem-solutions regarded as demonstrations of empirical success, which serve to typify situations and merits and are often used to introduce new members to a community. Puzzles Questions of interest or concern, usually posed as mysteries, obstacles, dilemmas or problems without current solutions, but often with clues to the range of admissible solutions, which serve to motivate the investigation of theory and guide experimentation. Techniques Acts performed to accomplish a familiar task or create artifacts, often given a label, and expressed as tips, steps, or instructions, which serve to provide community members a repertoire of ways to demonstrate competence as well as persuade outsiders. Artifacts Reifications, especially tools, technology, media, systems and settings, that both enable and result from the work of community members and which serve to center discussions of work product.
  • 8. Narrative Typology Type Definition   Metastory A story that describes itself. A metastory represents the expositional narratives that provide a true account of the history, future, and the nature of the community as a discipline. Myth A popular tale of indefinite origin that has become associated with a phenomenon, event, person, institution or other agency, especially one considered to illustrate a cultural ideal or a state of nature. Myths serve to establish why the world is as it is, why things happen as they do, as well as provide the rationale for customs and observances, and the sanctions for the rules by which people conduct their lives. Plot A plot is a recurring narrative involving conflict, tension or present obstacles in the path of an agency achieving a goal. Plot generally takes its impetus from conflict: a clash of actions, ideas, desires, or wills. This conflict can be physical, mental, emotional, or moral. Script A narrative that outlines a prescribed sequence of physical and speech actions. Often described as an ordered set of rules or method, with expectations of goals, and may include episodes of dialogue around particular settings and roles; includes cues that trigger a script. Account Histories and experiences that describe actual events, actions, and dialogue; performed or witnessed by the speaker (situated), or caused through a third party or other agency (generic). Allegory A fictitious or representative narrative that serves as a teaching lesson. Includes parables, fables, and other extended metaphors designed to convey a moral, or typify a situation, or illustrate a lesson, or provide other heuristic value in a dramatic way. Adage A condensed story or saying designed to symbolize or evoke experiences, ideas, or emotions, characterized by the use of language chosen for its sound and suggestive power and by the use of techniques such as meter, metaphor, and rhyme more typical of poetry.
  • 9. Results: Generalizations Key insight Example: KM is not a good term… Generalizations organized by : Definitions of knowledge management Definitions of knowledge Knowledge distinctions Paradigmatic Taxonomy Generalizations A coherent discipline does not exist in a vacuum, but has emerged “translated” from concepts represented elsewhere that come to share a common context in a new field. Generalizations (Paradigmatic) Terms and expressions often stated as propositions or logical identities; these define the equalities, states, and other conditions of symbolic significance to the community, and they serve to anchor communications among community members.
  • 10. Results: Schemas Key insight Example: …there are four aspects to KM… Schemas organized by : Models Frameworks Metaphors Paradigmatic Taxonomy Schemas (Paradigmatic) Commitments to certain ways of thinking expressed as theories, models, frames, analogies, metaphors, and other belief structures, which serve to bound phenomena and supply the community with preferred, plausible, or permissible representations. Schemas During interviews, participants often relate back to the schemas for understanding specific situations and discussing topics in other categories. This may be an artifact of the research.
  • 11. Results: Values Key insight Example: …the way we work around here… Values organized by : The Value Concept Cultural Values Accrued Benefits Paradigmatic Taxonomy Values (Paradigmatic) Statements such as “should” and “ought” that express an obligation, ideal or desired end, and serve to help community members characterize issues, weigh their consequences, and choose among competing traditions of performance. Values Values are held within a community, not by outsiders whom the community works with. The difficulty of changing organizational culture and measuring returns of KM is a frustration nearly universally held. New ways of measuring returns are either difficult to quantify or met with skepticism.
  • 12. Results: Exemplars Key insight Example: Three classes of companies… Exemplars organized by : Explorers Pioneers Settlers Paradigmatic Taxonomy Exemplars (Paradigmatic) Examples and cases of ideal or archetypical problem-solutions regarded as demonstrations of empirical success, which serve to typify situations and merits and are often used to introduce new members to a community. Exemplars Exemplars reflect an evolutionary view of a discipline, one in which organizations adopt different degrees of risk to provide the proof of concept for KM propositions.
  • 13. Results: Puzzles Key insight Example: 90% people, 5% technology, 5% magic... Puzzles organized by : Generalizations Schemas Values Techniques Artifacts Paradigmatic Taxonomy Puzzles (Paradigmatic) Questions of interest or concern, usually posed as mysteries, obstacles, dilemmas or problems without current solutions, but often with clues to the range of admissible solutions, which serve to motivate the investigation of theory and guide experimentation. Puzzles Puzzle statements occur within paradigms and depend largely upon the paradigm for the construction of the puzzle in the first place, and include clues for their solution.
  • 14. Results: Techniques Key insight Example: A technology teaser… Techniques organized by : Execution techniques Evaluation techniques Communication techniques Other techniques Paradigmatic Taxonomy Techniques (Paradigmatic) Acts performed to accomplish a familiar task or create artifacts, often given a label, and expressed as tips, steps, or instructions, which serve to provide community members a repertoire of ways to demonstrate competence as well as persuade outsiders. Techniques For practitioners of management and organization, techniques may be more appropriately thought of as organizing techniques, rather than as technical skills.
  • 15. Results: Artifacts Key insight Example: The Internet Artifacts organized by : Technology Enabling Environments Paradigmatic Taxonomy Artifacts (Paradigmatic) Reifications, especially tools, technology, media, systems and settings, that both enable and result from the work of community members and which serve to center discussions of work product. Artifacts Artifacts may be best defined not as tools, things, or other objects with properties and characteristics, but as points of reality around which communities participate.
  • 16. Results: Metastories Key insight Example: From document management to KM Metastory identifiers : History Future Nature Narrative Typology Metastories Management disciplines may tend to develop along industrial and linguistic lines. If a field spawns a technological marketplace, it may have more influence and staying power than one that does not; if the field incorporates and evolves the language of management with new connotations, it makes a lasting contribution. Metastory (Narrative) A story that describes itself. A metastory represents the expositional narratives that provide a true account of the history, future, and the nature of the community as a discipline.
  • 17. Results: Myths Key insight Example: The Knowledge Economy Myth identifiers : The Knowledge Age A New Enlightenment Natural Evolution Globalization Turbulent Times Downsizing Free Agent Nation The Information Glut The Knowledge Dearth Heroes Narrative Typology Myth (Narrative) A popular tale of indefinite origin that has become associated with a phenomenon, event, person, institution or other agency, especially one considered to illustrate a cultural ideal or a state of nature. Myths serve to establish why the world is as it is, why things happen as they do, as well as provide the rationale for customs and observances, and the sanctions for the rules by which people conduct their lives. Myths The evidence for myths is secondary to the label or belief and participants point to evidence in supporting the myth. Myths appear more as core assumptions for which data are selected to support.
  • 18. Results: Plots Key insight Example: Living a Lie Plot identifiers : Living a Lie Who's Afraid of the CKO? The Dark Side of KM Let's take the Shortcut Brother, Can You Spare Some Knowledge? Build IT, and They Will Come Through the Eye of a Needle Business as Usual? Turning Lead into Gold Throw out the Cookbook! Old Wine, New Bottles The Right Tool for the Right Job Baby Steps or One Giant Leap Narrative Typology Plot (Narrative) A plot is a recurring narrative involving conflict, tension or present obstacles in the path of an agency achieving a goal. Plot generally takes its impetus from conflict: a clash of actions, ideas, desires, or wills. This conflict can be physical, mental, emotional, or moral. Plots Communities of practice incorporate incongruities, and that these tensions are played out on the dramatic stage of organizational life.
  • 19. Results: Scripts Key insight Example: A production breakdown… Script identifiers : How to enact a story… A production breakdown… Performance tips and tricks… A call for the right actors… Giving perspective to a role… When to deliver the right lines… Dramatizing motivation… Recommendations for prop designs… Narrative Typology Script (Narrative) A narrative that outlines a prescribed sequence of physical and speech actions. Often described as an ordered set of rules or method, with expectations of goals, and may include episodes of dialogue around particular settings and roles; includes cues that trigger a script. Scripts Scripts may be the most useful types of stories to capture or re-enact as a way to transfer knowledge. Additionally, scripts pull together several themes in their explication and may reflect the primary way that experts educate others.
  • 20. Results: Accounts Key insight Example: Making change at the World Bank Account identifiers : A Personal Journey The Death of Document Management Making Change at the World Bank A Different Game Plan Telling Stories in a Community of Practice Relating Intangibles to the Bottom-Line Beating the Competition From Pilot Project to Best Practice Good News and Bad News Low Tech Knowledge Management Things We Know About Microsoft Tell Me What You're Good At The Evolution of Portals Narrative Typology Account (Narrative) Histories and experiences that describe actual events, actions, and dialogue; performed or witnessed by the speaker (situated), or caused through a third party or other agency (generic). Accounts Accounts convey a wide range of experiences and observations to the listener in a relatively concise manner, but depend on identification by the listener for them to be interesting and informative.
  • 21. Results: Allegories Key insight Example: Story of Stories Allegory identifiers : "Story of Stories" "Joe's Pub" "Serendipity" "Giving Directions" "KM Litmus Test" "'Best' Practices?" "Managing Ignorance" "Scaling the Water Cooler" "Mining for Data" "Between People's Heads" "Knowledge Shared is Doubled" "You Never Really Leave" Narrative Typology "What's In It For Me?" "Rapid Response" "Just In Time" "Knowledge is Power" "Leading by Example" "Toe-Dipping" "Low Hanging Fruit" Allegory (Narrative) A fictitious or representative narrative that serves as a teaching lesson. Includes parables, fables, and other extended metaphors designed to convey a moral, or typify a situation, or illustrate a lesson, or provide other heuristic value in a dramatic way. Allegory Allegory may be the most compelling way for participants to capture the attention of a listener. A story may be said to be more or less “allegorical” when it accomplishes the goals of storytelling not only within a community, but when it connects with listeners who are not yet members.
  • 22. Results: Adages Key insight Example: The Right Information…. Adage identifiers : "The Right Information to the Right Person at the Right Time" "If We Only Knew What We Know" "Knowledge is Between the Ears" "Knowledge Multiplies When Shared" "Knowledge for What?" "Reinventing the Wheel" "Like Riding a Bike" "Paving the Cow Paths" Narrative Typology Adage (Narrative) A condensed story or saying designed to symbolize or evoke experiences, ideas, or emotions, characterized by the use of language chosen for its sound and suggestive power and by the use of techniques such as meter, metaphor, and rhyme more typical of poetry. Adage Adages have an underlying poetic form and power, which may provide a rationale for an extension of narrative studies in management and organization to include poetry more explicitly.
  • 23. Results: Central Themes in KM # Central Theme   Theme Label 1 KM represents a confluence of various other management-related disciplines of the past and present. KM also represents a convergence of organizational functions. Evolutionary Confluence 2 KM represents a set of ethical principles for organizing. KM requires an organization to adopt new and different organizing principles, values, and to adopt a value-based view of the firm. Value-Based View 3 KM is about enabling individual judgment and improving decision-making at all levels. KM serves more as a strategic capability or as a precursor to strategy formation. Strategic Capability 4 KM highlights the social and human side of knowledge and emphasizes community, culture, and intrinsic worth. At the same time, KM stresses enabling technologies. KM systems encompass both information systems and human systems. Socio-technical Systems 5 Knowledge management represents approaches for converting individual and organizational knowledge into business value, however defined by an organization. Each organization needs to define knowledge for itself. Different organizations do KM differently. Knowledge Contingency 6 Knowledge is difficult to measure quantitatively, if at all. Returns to KM are often intangible; intangible assets include trust, learning, freedom, and tend to create a more cohesive, responsive, and innovative organization. Qualitative Evaluation 7 Effective KM is more about creating the right environment for creating and sharing knowledge. “Knowledge Management” is therefore not a particularly good term. It may unfortunately suggest controlling knowledge and signifies a conceptual hangover from earlier eras. Terminology Misnomer
  • 24. Contributions
    • Rich description of knowledge management.
    • A way to understand management communities of practice as appealing to both paradigmatic and narrative epistemologies.
    • An argument for a narrative turn in the conduct of social science.
    • A demonstration of digital storytelling as:
      • a methodology that emphasizes the narrative and sociolinquistic nature of knowledge; and
      • a way to significantly enhance transparency in qualitative research.
  • 25. Conclusions
    • The terms “paradigm” and “community of practice” are analogous.
      • Both a paradigm and a community of practice depend on the interrelationship of a domain of knowledge and the group of people who share that knowledge.
      • Linguistic choice suggests the mode of inquiry.
    • A management discipline is akin to a literary genre.
      • Good thought-leaders are like good authors by translating old ideas into contextually relevant stories.
      • The “literature” of a management discipline reflects cultural narratives that fulfill the needs of community members by providing avenues for negotiating meaning and professional identity.
    • Thematic concepts in sociolinguistic units bear a “family resemblance” that may be lost through analytic reduction.
  • 26. Future Research
    • Future research into communities of practice may address both paradigmatic and narrative interpretations as complementary and interrelated methods.
    • Theoretical insights from this exploratory case study may be useful for developing more substantiated propositions and/or refined as variables for hypothesis testing.
    • Developmental approaches may be explored to complement the structural perspective.
    • Qualitative research may develop around digital storytelling to take advantage of video interviewing techniques, non-verbal communication cues, and storytelling performances.