From "The Network Paradigm in Organizational Research: A Review and Typology," by Stephen P. Borgatti and Pacey C. Foster, Journal of Management 2003 29(6) 991-1013:
"The term 'knowledge management' may soon disappear as practitioners rush to disassociate themselves from the relatively unsuccessful effort to use technological solutions to help organizations store, share and create new knowledge. The current mantra is that knowledge creation and utilization are fundamentally human and above all social processes (Brown & Duguid, 2000; Davenport & Prusak, 1998). One thread (which suffers from a lack of rigorous empirical research) is based on communities of practice (Brown & Duguid, 1991; Lave & Wenger, 1991; Orr, 1996; Tyre & von Hippel, 1997; Wenger, 1998). The basic idea is that new practices and concepts emerge from the interaction of individuals engaged in a joint enterprise; the classic example is members of a functional department, such as claims processors in an insurance firm. The processes in community of practice theory resemble those of traditional social influence theory (Friedkin&Johnsen, 1999), which emphasizes homogeneity of beliefs, practices, and attitudes as an outcome. They also overlap with and would strongly benefit from revisiting classic social psychology work (Homans, 1950; Newcomb, 1961) on the processes connecting agreement, similarity and interaction in groups, not to mention network diffusion research (Rice & Aydin, 1991; Rogers, 1995).
"Another thread is based on transactive memory (Hollingshead, 1998; Moreland, Argote & Krishnan, 1996; Rulke & Galaskiewicz, 2000; Wegner, 1987). Here the notion is that knowledge is distributed in different minds, and to make use of it effectively, individuals need to know who knows what (see social cognition section, below). In addition, Borgatti and Cross (2003) suggest that individuals need to have certain kinds of relationships (e.g., mutual accessibility, low partner-specific transaction costs) in order to utilize each others’ knowledge. Transactive memory research contrasts with community of practice theory in its view of knowledge as remaining distributed even after being accessed, and in its lack of interest in how knowledge is generated in the first place."
References cited above:
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