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Knowledge Loss: Managing Local Knowledge in Rural Uzbekistan

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  • Wall, Caleb
  • Evers, Hans-Dieter

Abstract

Knowledge loss is not a remote phenomenon, unique to one knowledge system. Rather we argue that the loss of knowledge is an issue for other knowledge systems as well. Knowledge loss is certainly a concern for anthropologists working on indigenous knowledge, fearful of ‘losing’ indigenous knowledge entirely as a result of modernisation (cf. Cox, 2000). Equally, staff movements within the corporate world probably lead to a large amount of knowledge displacement, yet staff (and thus knowledge) retention is more often seen as a human resource than a knowledge management issue. Similarly in academia, which thrives on the wide interchange of knowledge and ideas and openly promotes the exchange of knowledge, much of this knowledge can be ‘leaked’ (i.e. it leaves academia for another knowledge community, say, a corporation) or it can be ‘lost’ altogether. Thus we attempt here to explain in theoretical terms how knowledge loss operates, what are the drivers of knowledge loss and how these can be ameliorated. We suggest that knowledge loss is a failure of knowledge management insofar as it demonstrates a lack of knowledge sharing, dissemination and use. The central argument being that knowledge must be reproduced (or stored in a repository) for it to be used and to continue to exist. Because local knowledge resides in individuals, who are apt to move to different knowledge systems (leakage) their doing so carries with them a considerable amount of knowledge. Key to reducing this is effective knowledge sharing during the time they are within the community or organisation. This provides the inherent benefit of greater knowledge utilisation through greater knowledge sharing, as well as reducing the risks of knowledge loss. Yet, individuals do not always share knowledge, when they do this sharing can be partial. In many cases this is because of the high transaction cost (and risk) associated with sharing their knowledge. We argue that knowledge management and knowledge governance theory needs to inform institutions (informal and formal policies) which can introduce better protections for individuals to share knowledge, in order to reduce the transaction costs of knowledge sharing. These transaction costs can be lowered by guaranteeing continued ownership of intellectual property, by establishing a proper policy framework for academic honesty and by enforcing these rules in a transparent manner. In the case of local knowledge the transaction costs are somewhat reduced by knowledge sharing within the family, shown in generational transfer of mastership. In the same way should projects, corporations and ultimately nation states develop structures which allow for enhanced knowledge sharing, by reducing the transaction cost of sharing this knowledge. Part of these systems must allow for knowledge which is no longer relevant, which is not useful or which is simply wrong, to be replaced by more appropriate knowledge. In this regard simple databases are somewhat counterproductive as they do not encourage the dynamic displacement and replacement of knowledge, which whilst it involves some knowledge ‘loss’ is actually a knowledge creation and sharing process. Thus we theorise knowledge loss as a phenomenon to be evidence of poor knowledge management. In its own right it is a failure of management and governance to allow knowledge resources, expensively produced within the community, to be lost. On a wider level it evidences a lack of knowledge reproduction and retention, which can be seen as a result of excessive transaction costs and risks to knowledge sharing.

Suggested Citation

  • Wall, Caleb & Evers, Hans-Dieter, 2006. "Knowledge Loss: Managing Local Knowledge in Rural Uzbekistan," MPRA Paper 7565, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:7565
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hans-Dieter Evers, 2010. "“Knowledge” and the Sociology of Science," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Thomas Menkhoff & Hans-Dieter Evers & Yue Wah Chay (ed.), Governing And Managing Knowledge In Asia, chapter 3, pages 59-68, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    Cited by:

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    3. Desalegn, Gashaw & Ali, Seid Nuru, 2018. "Review of the Impact of Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) on Rural Welfare in Ethiopia," Working Papers 278228, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    4. Daum, Thomas, 2018. "Of Bulls and Bulbs: Aspirations and perceptions of rural youth in Zambia," Working Papers 275061, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    5. von Braun, Joachim & Gerber, Nicolas & Mirzabaev, Alisher & Nkonya, Ephraim M., 2013. "The Economics of Land Degradation," Working Papers 147910, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
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    7. Mbaye, Linguere Mously & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2016. "Natural Disasters and Human Mobility," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 10(1), pages 37-56, November.
    8. Iskandar, Deden Dinar & Gatzweiler, Franz, 2014. "An optimization model for technology adoption of marginalized smallholders: Theoretical support for matching technological and institutional innovations," Working Papers 182495, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    9. Siriwardane, Rapti & Winands, Sarah, 2013. "Between hope and hype: Traditional knowledge(s) held by marginal communities," Working Papers 151401, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    10. von Braun, Joachim, 2018. "Innovations to Overcome the Increasingly Complex Problems of Hunger," Working Papers 271348, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    11. Coulibaly, Ousmane Nafolo, 2021. "Mali - Land, climate, energy, agriculture and development: A study in the Sudano-Sahel Initiative for Regional Development, Jobs, and Food Security," Working Papers 308805, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    12. Ganguly, Kavery & Gulati, Ashok & von Braun, Joachim, 2017. "Innovations spearheading the next transformations in India‘s agriculture," Working Papers 259006, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    13. Schädler, Manuel & Gatzweiler, Franz W., 2013. "Institutional Environments for Enabling Agricultural Technology Innovations: The role of Land Rights in Ethiopia, Ghana, India and Bangladesh," Working Papers 159373, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    14. Evers, Hans-Dieter & Gerke, Solvay, 2007. "Social and Cultural Dimensions of Market Expansion," MPRA Paper 6587, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Olayide, Olawale Emmanuel, 2021. "Nigeria - Land, climate, energy, agriculture and development: A study in the Sudano-Sahel Initiative for Regional Development, Jobs, and Food Security," Working Papers 308807, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    16. Baumuller, Heike, 2013. "Mobile Technology Trends and their Potential for Agricultural Development," Working Papers 160565, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    17. Osman, Abdelrahman Khidir & Ali, Adil M., 2021. "Sudan - Land, climate, energy, agriculture and development: A study in the Sudano-Sahel Initiative for Regional Development, Jobs, and Food Security," Working Papers 308810, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    18. Nguyen, Quy-Hanh & Evers, Hans-Dieter, 2011. "Farmers as knowledge brokers: Analysing three cases from Vietnam’s Mekong Delta," MPRA Paper 44879, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Gulati, Ashok & Sandip, Das, 2020. "India-Africa Partnership in Trade and Investment: With Focus on the Agriculture and Food Sector," Working Papers 304756, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    20. Bekchanov, Maksud & Evia, Pablo, 2018. "Resources Recovery and Reuse in Sanitation and Wastewater Systems: Options and Investment Climate in South and Southeast Asian Countries," Working Papers 274732, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).

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      Keywords

      knowledge; knowledge management; development; rural economy; Usbekistan;
      All these keywords.

      JEL classification:

      • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
      • R0 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General
      • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

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