Tech Report

Negotiating the Construction and Reconstruction of Organisational Memories

This paper describes an approach to capturing organisational memory, which serves to ground an analysis of human issues that knowledge management (KM) technologies raise. In the approach presented, teams construct graphical webs of the arguments and documents relating to key issues they are facing. This supports collaborative processes which are central to knowledge work, and provides a group memory of this intellectual investment. This approach emphasises the centrality of negotiation in making interdisciplinary decisions in a changing environment. Discussion in the paper focuses on key human dimensions to KM technologies, including the cognitive and group dynamics set up by an approach, the general problem of preserving contextual cues, and the political dimensions to formalising knowledge processes and products. These analyses strongly motivate the adoption of participatory design processes for KM systems.

Publication(s)

Journal of Universal Computer Science (Special Issue on IT for Knowledge Management), 3 (8), 1997, Springer-Verlag. (To be reprinted in: Borghoff, U.M. and Pareschi, R., (Eds.), Information Technology for Knowledge Management. Springer-Verlag, 1998)

ID: kmi-97-12

Date: 1997

Author(s): Simon Buckingham Shum

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