Unpacking Knowledge Management: Management Fad or Real Business Practice?

Fahmi Ibrahim, Vivien Reid


Knowledge Management (KM) is a subject that has inspired numerous books and academic papers in recent times. Whilst capturing the interest of practitioners and scholars from the mid-1990s onwards, KM remains an elusive concept, the main criticism being that it is simply another management fad that promises much but delivers little. It is important to reflect on and respond to these criticisms, so that any misunderstanding of Knowledge Management (KM)  as a concept can be resolved. If we do not identify and attempt to resolve such misapprehensions, the significance of Knowledge Management (KM)  in relation to management thought and business practice, will be reviewed, wrongly, as little more than a mythology and the opportunities for improvements in practice will be lost. The purpose of this paper is to respond to those criticisms of the KM concept and correct misapprehensions through a thorough review of relevant KM literature.  The literature review draws attention to a set of pervasive and fundamental criticisms of the Knowledge Management (KM) concept and the contribution of this paper is to respond to those criticisms and misapprehensions, which, if left uncorrected, will act as a barrier to the spread of genuine KM implementation.


Keywords: Knowledge Management, management fad, criticisms

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/erm.v2i1.273

Copyright (c) 2010 Fahmi Ibrahim, Vivien Reid

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