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Knowledge Management: Are We Missing Something?


  • Paul Hildreth

    (University of York UK)

  • Peter Wright

    (University of York UK)

  • Chris Kimble

    (University of York UK)


As commercial organisations face up to modern pressures to downsize and outsource they have begun to realise that they have lost knowledge as people leave and take with them what they know. This knowledge is increasingly being recognised as an important resource and organisations are now taking steps to manage it. In addition, as the pressures for globalisation increase, collaboration and co-operation is becoming more distributed and international. Knowledge sharing in a distributed international environment is becoming an essential part of Knowledge Management (KM), although this area does not yet appear to be given much attention. In this paper we make a distinction between hard and soft knowledge within an organisation and argue that much of what is called KM deals with hard knowledge and emphasises capture-codify-store. This is a major weakness of the current approach to KM, equating more with Information Management than Knowledge Management. Soft knowledge is concerned more with the social and cultural aspects of knowledge, its construction and the processes through which it is sustained and shared. This paper addresses this weakness by exploring the sharing of 'soft' knowledge using the concept of communities of practice.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Hildreth & Peter Wright & Chris Kimble, 2005. "Knowledge Management: Are We Missing Something?," Industrial Organization 0504007, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpio:0504007
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 10. Proceedings of 4th UKAIS Conference, University of York, L. Brooks, C. Kimble, eds., McGraw Hill, pp. 347 - 356, April 1999

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Krugman, Paul & Taylor, Lance, 1978. "Contractionary effects of devaluation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 445-456, August.
    2. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Mohamed Salah Matoussi, 1995. "Moral Hazard, Financial Constraints and Sharecropping in El Oulja," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(3), pages 381-399.
    3. David E. M. Sappington & Tracy R. Lewis, 2000. "Motivating Wealth-Constrained Actors," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 944-960, September.
    4. Caillaud, Bernard & Jullien, B & Picard, P, 1995. "Competing Vertical Structures: Precommitment and Renegotiation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(3), pages 621-646, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Hildreth & Chris Kimble, 2002. "The Duality of Knowledge," Post-Print halshs-00492437, HAL.
    2. Chris Kimble & William Selby, 2005. "An interdisciplinary study of information systems: Christopher Alexander and IS failure," Development and Comp Systems 0505006, EconWPA.

    More about this item


    Knowledge Management; Lost Knowledge; Distributed Working; Communities of Practice;

    JEL classification:

    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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