A debate is underway, or should I say continues, regarding the nature of knowledge. If this sounds like an obscure debate regarding philosophy, cognitive science, and complexity, well, it is. But it also drives management behaviors if you are to tackle KM.

Either knowledge is inherently personal, inextricably connected to experience, unarticulated brain functions, culture – that is, a process that is impossible to deconstruct or replicate – or it is a product that can be subjected to evaluation if not proof. Or perhaps it is both. Or perhaps it is many things, the beloved trinity of tacit, implicit, and explicit.

I haven’t fully cast my lot in with the process folks (Ralph Stacey, etc), but neither am I comfortable with the product view. Joe Firestone is a friend, but I just can’t square his views with any useful practice. Lambe recently observed off-handedly that data is not a primitive of information in a rant against the mindless DIKW pyramid, and I realized: of course. Data is the product of a decision to capture and represent something, a knowledge product or a product of a knowledge process.

I’ll need to resolve thus for myself soon if I am to be of use, but first need to convey the landscape fairly as a first conversation regarding the discipline.

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