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Dilemmas in knowledge management

Ana C. Vasconcelos (Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 30 May 2008




This paper aims to discuss some of the debates that have surrounded knowledge management as a field since its inception in 1990s from the perspective of the dilemmas that they have raised regarding: the notion of knowledge management as a field in relationship to other cognate fields such as information management, and the implications introduced by different approaches and perspectives on managing knowledge.


Problems and dilemmas brought about by the contribution of the following perspectives and strands of literature on knowledge management are discussed: organisational behaviour perspectives; strategic management perspectives; and economic‐ and accountancy‐based perspectives.


The explicit aim attributed to knowledge management by many authors of managing the transfer of tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge raises dilemmas that are re‐enacted and reconstructed in the above key approaches to knowledge management.


Beyond focusing on the classical debate on the nature of knowledge and whether it can be managed, these dilemmas offer avenues for reconsidering both the conceptual apparatus and the practical organisational intervention methods inherent to this field; this implies adopting different views and professional practices over what we understand by management, strategy, measurement and evaluation.



Vasconcelos, A.C. (2008), "Dilemmas in knowledge management", Library Management, Vol. 29 No. 4/5, pp. 422-443.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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