BIS 2000 pp 63-81 | Cite as

Reinventing the Firm: Organisational Implications of Knowledge Management

  • Henry Linger
Conference paper


In recent years knowledge management has emerged as a significant business strategy that has been driven by a diversity of factors. The dominant factor is the move to an information economy that has been facilitated by the convergence of communications and information technology. Organisational response to this changing environment has been to focus on the ability of the organisation to operate globally and to add value to the increasing volumes and diversity of data and information that the organisation handles. In this paper I examines the significant factors that have influenced the established approaches to knowledge management and critically reviews these developments. This overview provides the basis for an alternative approach to knowledge management. The paper proposes task-based knowledge management that focuses on work practices, with their communities of practice, highlighting the role of learning in the production of knowledge. The significance of the proposed approach is the need for the organisation to adopt reflective practice which requires considerable change in the organisational structures, work practices and the social and cultural environment of the organisation.


Knowledge Management Tacit Knowledge Work Practice Task Model Knowledge Work 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Ackerman M.S., Mandel E. Memory in the Small: An Application to Provide Task- based Organisational Memory for a Scientific Community. Proceedings of the 28th Hawaii International Conference on Systems Science, 1995Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Amin A. Post-Fordism: a reader. Oxford, Blackwell, 1994CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Argyris C., Schon D.A. Organisational Learning: A Theory of Action Perspective. Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA, 1978Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Becker G.S . Human capital: a theoretical and empirical analysis. (2nd ed.) Columbia University Press, New York, 1975Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Blackler F. Knowledge, knowledge work and organizations: An overview and interpretation. Organizations Studies, 1995; 16: 6Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Brown J.S., Duguid P. Organizational learning and communities-of-practice: Toward a unified view of working, learning, and innovation. Organization Science, 1991; 2: 1Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Clayton J., Linger H. The Role of Methods in Strategy Development and Implementation: A Finance Industry Case Study. Proceedings of 7th International Conference on Information Systems Development, ISD’98, Bled, Slovenia, 1998Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Davenport T., Prusak L. Working Knowledge: How Organizations Manage What They Know. Harvard Business School Press, Boston, 1998Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Davies R. The creation of new knowledge by information retrieval and classification. The Journal of Documentation, 1989; 45: 4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Drucker P.F. Practice of management. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1955Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hammer M., Champy J. Reengineering the corporation: a manifesto for business revolution. Nicholas Brealey Publishing, London, 1993Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Iivari J., Linger H. Knowledge work as collaborative work: A situated activity theory view. Proceedings of the 32nd Hawaiian International Conference on Systems Science, 1999Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Iivari J., Linger H. What is knowledge work: initial thoughts. Proceedings of the Australian Workshop on Intelligent Decision Support, IDS’97, Monash University, 1997Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kuhn T. The Structure of Scientific Revolution. University of Chigago Press, Chigago, 1970Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kuutti K. Debates in IS and CSCW Research: Anticipating System Design for Post- Fordist Work. In: Orlikovski, Walsham, Jones, DeGross (eds) Information Technology and Change in Organisational Work, IFIP WG 8.2. 1996Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Levitt B., March J.G. Organisational Learning. Annual Review of Sociology, 1988; 14: 319 - 340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Linger H., Burstein F., Zaslavsky A., Aitkin C., Crofts N. An innovative organisational tool for epidemiological research. European Journal of Epidemiology, 1998; 14: 587–593Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Linger H., Burstein F. Learning in Organisational Memory Systems: An Intelligent Decision Support Perspective. Proceedings of the 31st Hawaiian International Conference on Systems Science, 1998Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Linger H., Burstein F. Intelligent Decision Support in the Context of the Modern Organisation. Proceedings of the 5th ISDSS International Conference, Laussane, 1997Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Minzberg H . The Nature of Managerial Work, Harper & Row, 1973Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Nardi B.A . (ed) Contexts and Consciousness, Activity Theory and Human-Computer Interaction. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1996Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Nonaka I., Takeuchi H. The Knowledge Creating Company. Oxford University Press, New York, 1995Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Porter M. The Competitive Advantage of Nations. Free Press, New York, 1990Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Robertson G. The impact of knowledge management on Australian law firms. Proceedings of KNOW’99 Deciphering Knowledge Management, UTS Sydney, 1999Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Schatz B.R. Building an Electronic Community System. Journal of Management Information Systems, 1992; 8: 3Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Schon D.A . The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. Arena Ashgate Publishing Ltd. Aldershot, UK, 1991Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Schmidt K., Bannon L. Taking CSCW seriously, Supporting articulation work. Computer Supported Cooperative Work, vol 1, 1992Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Schultze U. A Confessional Account of an Ethnography about Knowledge Work. MISQ1999Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Spender J.C. Organisational Knowledge, Learning and Memory: three concepts in search of a theory. Journal of Organisational Change Management, 1996; 9, 1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Stein E.W., Zwass V. Actualizing Organisational Memory with Information Systems. Information Systems Research, 1995; 6: 2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Sveiby K . The new organisational wealth: managing and measuring knowledge-based assets. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, San Francisco, 1997Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Walsh J.P., Ungson G.R. Organisational Memory. Academy of Management Review, 1991; 16: 1Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Wenger E. Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. Cambridge University Press, 1998Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Verlag London Limited 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry Linger
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Information Management and SystemsMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations