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Deconstructing ‘knowledge management’

David Streatfield (Information Management Associates, 28 Albion Road, Twickenham TW2 6QZ)
Tom Wilson (Professor, Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN)

Aslib Proceedings

ISSN: 0001-253X

Article publication date: 1 April 1999



Prologue: a fairy tale– Once upon a time there were four Goblins who were, of course, chartered accountants. They became tired of counting hoards of gold for the Gnomes so they sought help from the Wizard of Ecognomeics. “We want our own treasure chests,” they pleaded. “That’s easy,” said the Wizard “Human beings have the idea that information technology will solve all their work problems. I’ll turn you into Management Consultancy Goblins. Then you can each take one idea from the Academic Ivory Tower and that should make you piles of gold.” After 5,000 days the four met up at the International Goblin Warming Conference and compared experiences. “I chose Corporate Management Information Systems,” said Goblin 1, “and I was selling loads of mainframes. Then the Gnome Computers Wizard invented the personal computer and everyone started networking instead.” Goblin 2 had taken the software route. “My Computer‐Assisted Management Systems were selling like hot cakes until somebody noticed that they were only doing administration. Then it all went pear‐shaped.” “I chose fear,” said Goblin 3, “All the companies were latching on to my ‘Information for Competitive Advantage’ until someone asked ‘What happens when everyone is doing it?” The fourth Goblin adjusted position on his platinum toadstool, glanced at his Cartier watch and asked, “Have you sad Goblins ever heard of my Knowledge Management?”



Streatfield, D. and Wilson, T. (1999), "Deconstructing ‘knowledge management’", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 51 No. 3, pp. 67-72.




Copyright © 1999, MCB UP Limited