Management != Control

Jun 15, 2007 09:03 · 248 words · 2 minute read

Over on the Fast Forward blog there’s the best skewering I’ve read for a long while of what I’ve come to think of as the military-industrial knowledge management industry:

Knowledge Management is and has always been a misnomer: knowledge cannot be managed.

Have you ever used something identified as a ‘Knowledge Management’ technology? Did it increase your ability to think or act? How much effort was required on your part? How much did you have to know in order to ‘discover’ what it was that you needed? Was the exchange of value equitable? Did any of that provide any more ‘knowledge’ to you than the collection of stuff on your desktop or accessible to you via the lone search box on the global internet?

The more I read, see and talk about knowledge management the more convinced I become that what most mainstream KM vendors are pushing is not knowledge management but knowledge control. And most KM system-buying corporates are only too willing to swallow this.

This was after an email I got a couple of days ago (bits redacted to protect the innocent etc):

… we felt going [with an] external system would be ideal, as people are already paranoid that everything they say and do is being monitored by us. It’ll be run according to our rules, monitored by those running it and branded in our style. We will have constant access so will be able to gauge what is being said.

See what I mean?