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Defining knowledge management (KM) activities: towards consensus

Lisa G.A. Beesley (University of Queensland, Ipswich, Queensland, Australia.)
Chris Cooper (University of Queensland, Ipswich, Queensland, Australia.)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 30 May 2008




The purpose of the paper is to present a vocabulary of terms that clearly define knowledge management (KM) activities in order to move towards consensus in the adoption of a common language within the field.


Existing literature across several disciplines has been integrated to provide a clear description of the sorts of activities an individual undertakes in order to move from knowledge acquisition to innovation, and a clarification of the terms used to describe such activities is put forth.


Adoption of a common vocabulary to describe KM activities provides a platform to better understand how best to manage these activities, and enables clearer identification of the knowledge management capabilities held by various sectors within the broader business community.

Research limitations/implications

There is a need to undertake empirical research and in‐depth case studies of knowledge management practices using a common vocabulary as a framework with which to interpret findings.

Practical implications

The adoption of a common frame of reference to describe knowledge management activities will deepen understanding of current KM practices, enable identification inhibitors and facilitators of KM, lead to increased dialogue between academia and industry, and present opportunities to the education sector to incorporate such a vocabulary into its curriculum.


The framework presented here will remove the veil of mystery that currently clouds knowledge management and facilitate broader uptake of KM practices, thereby realising the benefits of a knowledge‐based economy in the broader business community.



Beesley, L.G.A. and Cooper, C. (2008), "Defining knowledge management (KM) activities: towards consensus", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 48-62.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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