Will knowledge set you free?

As I reflected upon this week’s readings, I agree with Weinberger (2011) when he argues that knowledge lives in the network because technology is heavily relied upon to answer questions, provide up-to-date news reports, and more. Knowledge, is no longer accessed by a small number, but through technology can be made readily available anyone and everyone. The way in which information is gathered has changed dramatically over time. When I was younger, I recall going to the library and having to learn the Dewey decimal system in order to find the books I wanted.



Now, information is available literally, at one’s fingertips which brings me to a knowledge management. As Dixon (2012) highlighted, knowledge management has transitioned over time.

Knowledge management, is it dead? I think knowledge management is almost dead. Is the internet to blame? Yes, I think the internet is to blame for knowledge management’s slow death. I concur with Davenport’s observation that the internet seems to have a direct impact on knowledge management and its disappearance over time.


Leaders, in today’s world face many challenges when leading others-from managing other people, leading an organization/department, and more. Due to technology’s role in the workforce, leaders must know how to juggle the impact technology has on the organization and staff. Leaders need to be able to know how technology can improve processes and when it may be necessary to consider making adjustments to processes. In regards to knowledge management, leaders must be willing to help with knowledge management when needed. By this, I am referring to the leader being aware of knowledge management and working in conjunction with it. Technology will continue to influence the workforce in one way or another and leaders need to be prepared to juggle both technology with being a leader.


Weinberber, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now that the facts aren’t the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room, New York: NY.

12 thoughts on “Will knowledge set you free?

  1. You seem to have two opposite positions in your post – (1) that KM is dying due to technology, and (2) that leaders need to use KM and technology jointly. In thinking about your organization, is knowledge being leveraged explicitly by experts, or pooled collectively through collaborative efforts? To me, this is the central question Dixon raises…and each of us has to see how it has internalized in our own organization.


    • Dr. Watwood,
      Wise observation. I recognize that I was not clear with what I was referring to. Yes, I believe that KM is dying. Secondly, there while KM is dying, there is a need for leaders to manage the information flowing into organizations impacting his or her employees.
      In response to your question, knowledge is being leveraged by being pooled collectively in my organization. In the nonprofit healthcare field I work within, knowledge is pooled together through collaborative efforts via peer learning calls or webinars that connect many participants across the country together. Most particularly, my organization is unique to Nebraska, but there are many other organizations similar to mine within other states. When implementing a new initiative, it is common for organizations like mine to share resources because we all do similar work just in different locations.


  2. The Dewey Decimal system is a great example of a structure that sounds outdated, even though it is the most widely used classification system in the world (https://www.oclc.org/en/dewey/features/summaries.html). Weinberger (2014) pointed out that books are static. Now that we are in our third week of blogging, I am intrigued by the nature of blogs versus books. For both mediums the writing occurs in the past, yet blogs seem to have a present tense. As Weinberger (2014) stated, “web-form thought embeds knowledge in the present of conversation about that knowledge” (p. 118). You mentioned in your post that collection and accessibility of knowledge have changed over time. Do you think the form of written knowledge is changing as well? As books leave behind the Dewey Decimal system and head to the net, do you think they will become less static and more dynamic, like blogs? I would love to hear your thoughts on this!



    Weinberger, D. (2014). Too big to know. New York, NY: Basic Books.


  3. I think that sometimes, most of the problem is definitional. I once did work for a large financial services company (they provided banking services that large banks had internally, to smaller banks). I was helping with support processes, but there was a larger discussion about Knowledge Management that would easily spiral into frustrating meetings. The data that I cared about needed to be shared with others to better the organization, and was certainly part of KM, but there was much more data generated by the organization. This data needed to be identified, then made available to others in the organization that might need it. Most agreed that last statement succinctly explains what KM is supposed to do, but that is where the definition veered off. Disagreements on what data, whether it was internal only, or whether the data needed to be ingested into a separate repository (big database), and other particulars, were all keeping the project from progressing.
    I think that certain definitions of KM might be dying, but at the end of the day, this statement still speaks to a need that must be filled: Data needs to be identified, then made available to others in the organization that might need it. Our new technologies seem to be organically filling some of the need, but it is still a need.


    • I’ve been trying to reconcile this in my head, and I tend to agree with you. We will never not need to manage individual and collective knowledge. Technology has sped up the process and made it searchable, but it’s also made it incredibly complex. We’re storing information that we never even knew we needed or wanted to store.

      I think the issue for me is what to do with it once we have it. And I think this is a part of the block/flow conversation that Dixon brings up. The blocks of data will continue to accumulate, and we need to figure out how to make the best use of it in dynamic, context-specific situations.


  4. You open with the concept of knowledge living in the network and outline some of the many uses for networked knowledge as well as its broad accessibility. Our readings prompted me to consider the aspect of “living” as more of a focus on the constantly evolving content and the shifting landscape of what once was considered static. When experts said we KNOW something, it was considered known. And that was that. Do you agree? If we do both see networked knowledge as constantly changing then how do you recommend a leader manage that? You discuss the leader as having a critical role in KM. With my direct reports, I really do not know my role in KM. In my internal leadership consulting role – I have to use multiple KM repositories (classes, books, resources, …) and pull together those which seem to address a current leadership need for the specific client group. And with the last couple client groups – more and more they are preferring learning solutions which do not use any (or very few of) the traditional resources. What they want to know and how they want to know it has become far less predictable. I am really appreciating this class and everyone’s thoughts because I feel as if I am working in the dark. Thanks for your thoughts.

    And responding made me curious about the terms “living knowledge” and that search brought me to http://blogs.bl.uk/living-knowledge/2016/11/the-elastic-system-what-can-you-do-with-a-library.html and as links go to http://www.elasticsystem.net/ which is fascinating (go ahead and ‘pull’ some books off the shelf!) and part of a research project which is researching how people and public institutions interact and to transform that interaction. Hmm – wonder how this might inform a leader’s possibilities in terms of KM. ~Tricia


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