This paper aims to explore the coexistence of formal, informal and personal knowledge management (KM) practices as they support employees' everyday work in organizations.
Qualitative study involving 12 in-depth interviews and 30 hours of observations in a small, quickly growing, knowledge-intensive company.
Formal, informal and personal KM practices were all found to be relevant and interconnected in supporting everyday work in the organization. This suggests a shift from understanding KM as an organizational approach to ecology, shaped by multiple actors and concerns and extending over the formal/informal as well as organizational/personal divides. Interrelationships between formal, informal and personal KM practices took various forms. Among each of these KM categories were practices that contributed in a unique way, without having a functional parallel in other categories. Some KM practices had a strong functional overlap and were competing. Moreover, some formal, informal and personal KM practices formed complementary relationships.
Findings are based on fieldwork in only one organization.
Organizations would benefit from the formal, informal and personal KM practices being complementarily connected. As these connections are sustained by employees in everyday work, effective management of KM ecology needs a collective and distributed effort.
This paper is one of the very few empirical accounts that problematizes the coexistence of formal, informal and personal KM practices and suggests a practice-ecology perspective through which their interrelationships could be studied.
Värk, A. and Reino, A. (2020), "Practice ecology of knowledge management—connecting the formal, informal and personal", Journal of Documentation, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-03-2020-0043Download as .RIS
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