[AISWorld] JCSCW Special Issue: Knowledge Management in Action

Volker Wulf volker.wulf at fit.fraunhofer.de
Sun Apr 1 18:27:29 EDT 2012

Dear colleagues,

We are proundly announcing the appearance of the JCSCW Especial Issue on 
Knowledge Management in Action: 

Following a two years editorial process, we believe that this special 
issue brings together some remarkable pieces of work, for a conceptual, 
empirical as well as from design-orineted perspective.

Yours sincerely,

Carla Simone, Mark Ackerman, and Volker Wulf

Knowledge Management in Practice: A Special Issue
Carla Simone, Mark Ackerman and Volker Wulf

Doing Business with Theory: Communities of Practice in Knowledge Management
Norman Makoto Su, Hiroko N. Wilensky and David F. Redmiles

The Trouble with 'Tacit Knowledge'
Kjeld Schmidt

Affording Mechanisms: An Integrated View of Coordination and Knowledge 
Federico Cabitza and Carla Simone

Bridging Artifacts and Actors: Expertise Sharing in Organizational 
Volkmar Pipek, Volker Wulf and Aditya Johri

Beyond Expertise Seeking: A Field Study of the Informal Knowledge 
Practices of Healthcare IT Teams
Patricia Ruma Spence and Madhu Reddy

Exploring Appropriation of Enterprise Wikis: A Multiple-Case Study
Alexander Stocker, Alexander Richter, Patrick Hoefler and Klaus Tochtermann

Editorial: Knowledge Management in Practice: A Special Issue
Organizations of different kinds, from structured companies up to 
socialnetworks or virtual communities, are becoming increasingly aware 
of theneed to collect, organize, mobilize, and increase the expertise 
andknowledge which characterize their ability to stay alive, adapt 
andevolve in a turbulent context. Knowledge Management (KM) is the 
currentterm for the different organizational and technological 
approaches toanswer this need. KM, from a management perspective, is an 
attempt torationalize and manage the vast amounts of formal and informal 
knowledgethat any organization, especially large companies, has.  KM, 
from apractice perspective, investigates the everyday practices that 
lead toorganizationally-situated use of that formal and informal 
knowledge (Ackerman et al. 2008). While the KM discourse has long been 
focusing on opportunities to externalize and represent knowledge in 
artefacts, the identification of knowledgable actors and the support of 
social networks as well as their interactions with artefact becomes 
highly relevant in a practice perspective (Ackerman et al. 2003).

CSCW has examined knowledge and information in organizations from 
itsvery beginnings. In more recent years, the CSCW community has 
examinedKM per se.  This manifested itself in asking for applied 
research inthe KM practices of real organizations instead of blindly 
followingmedia hype - the critical realism stance thatRobert Kling 
advocated over thetechnological utopianism of the media and technology 
promoters. As well,the KM investigation in CSCW has followed CSCW's 
notable interest indiscussing and detailing the interrelationships 
between technologicaland organizational innovations, and CSCW as a 
community has taken on thetask of considering those interrelationships 
critically.  This views KMlargely as a matter of socio-technical design 
- and a difficult designat that.

Therefore, this special issues follows these positions.  Our aim was 
tocollect papers reporting on knowledge management in action.  We 
wantedto further the discussion of what issues KM had through the kinds 
offine-grained ethnographically-based investigations found in 
thiscommunity and this journal. Specifically, we 
wantedethnographically-based or other interpretivist work that 
confronted andlearned from real organizational situations.  We wanted 
these papers tohighlight the problems, requirements, tradeoffs, and 
technical solutionsin KM that can be derived only from field-based research.

In this volume, we are fortunate to have six papers that discuss KM 
issues in the depth and detail that CSCW requires.Two of them deal with 
two very popular concepts in KM:community of practice and tacit 
knowledge;they discuss the origins of these concepts and their influence 
on the KM field from the business and research standpoints.Two papers 
take an empirically grounded design perspective. The first paper 
discusses the implication of the separation between technologies that 
support information and the ordered flow of work and technologies that 
support knowledge management. The second paper proposes analytical and 
methodological frameworks to guide the design of technologies for 
expertise management, which are based on the notion of ecosystem to 
focus on the interaction between two mutually intertwined 
elements---artifacts and actors.

The last two papers report on field studies in three organizations and 
in three IT teams of a regional hospital. The latter suggests that not 
only knowledge seeking should be supported but also the cooperation 
among the knowledge seekers in order to take into account how KM is 
affected by subtle features of the organization.The former paper 
discusses the usage of WIKI technologies from both the management and 
the end users point of view by comparing the results of the 
investigation in the three different organizations.

We have shown, through this special issue and our own work, 
thatinformation processes in general and knowledge management 
inparticular can be understood best through field-based 
investigations.Our aim is to detail how the technical and the social 
intertwine.  Webelieve the way forward includes many more field-based 
and design-oriented studies so asto understand:

- the specialized needs of important categories of organizations 
andinstitutions, such as in educational, medical, or safty domains,
- the impact of culture on knowledge-intense activities, including the 
strategies for knowledgemanagement,
- how organizations use informal mechanisms of knowledge 
production,adaptation, and reuse and how these practices could be 
technically supported,
- persistent issues in technology use for knowledgemanagement, such as 
categorization and ontologies,
- fitting design concepts and architectures and how they are 
appropriated in specific social contexts,
- the organizational processes that lead to transformative uses 
ofknowledge management technologies and processes,
- the rhythms of knowledge production and use in organizations.

Ackerman, M.; Pipek, V.; Wulf, V. (eds): Sharing Expertise: Beyond 
Knowledge Management, MIT-Press, Cambridge, MA 2003
Ackerman, M; Dieng-Kuntz, R.; Simone, C.; Wulf, V. (eds): Proceedings of 
the Conference on Knowledge Management in Action (KMIA 2008), 
IFIP-Series 270, Springer, Boston 2000

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