Knowledge: emergence, utilization and archival

Chinese Management Studies

ISSN: 1750-614X

Article publication date: 13 June 2008


Teck Foo, C. (2008), "Knowledge: emergence, utilization and archival", Chinese Management Studies, Vol. 2 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Knowledge: emergence, utilization and archival

Article Type: Foreword From: Chinese Management Studies, Volume 2, Issue 2

I am very glad to be writing this foreword as the founding Editor of Chinese Management Studies (CMS). Our call for contributions to the very first special, thematic issue was very encouraging. We received many more papers than we are able to feature in this special issue.

Professor John Humphreys as Special Issue Editor has done the marvelous job of piecing together a collection of papers. I will not anticipate his review of these papers yet I cannot help but share this intuition.

It is a feeling I had about the flow of time and knowledge. I opened the files from Professor John Humphreys in an internet café in Varanasi, the most ancient and holy city in India. It struck me immediately how the flows of knowledge had changed over time.

The papers document how China is benefitting immensely from the flow of mainly technical knowledge from the west (the 2008 Olympics in Beijing best showcase how China was modernized by utilizing western knowledge). Yet, this phenomenon has such ancient roots. Visiting Sanarth and Bodhgaya, it just struck me just how much ancient Chinese society had been transformed by the spiritual knowledge from India. Yes, India is geographically on China’s west!

So here, I shall introduce just three Chinese characters to string together the theme of the flow of knowledge, so at least in China you can begin your conversation on flows of knowledge in the native tongue.

The first word is () zhi (pinyin). That is literally, to know. Before you can say (express or write) anything, you must first know. What is exciting lies in the “pictures” embedded in the Chinese character (Figure 1). Do you see the symbol of an arrow?

Figure 1

The ancient Chinese use this character (arrow plus mouth) to symbolize knowing. Once you get to know about something, you then use the arrow to send over what you had come to know. A metaphorical equivalence will be contributors in this special issue, who emailed their papers containing what they “knew” to Professor John Humphreys, the Guest Editor. So, embedded in one Chinese character is the implied concept of letting others know about your emerging knowledge!

Now, even more interesting is the next character (tan) meaning to “discuss”. In today’s context, publication is but the first step. The hope for many authors and certainly for me as Editor is to see papers in this special issue being widely discussed. Using ancient Chinese imagery of tan, it becomes a hotly discussed paper.

Finally, I would like to introduce readers to the last Chinese character, (gu), meaning ancient. After a topic has been spoken about by ten mouths (the cross is symbol of ten in Chinese), then the topic is already old-dated information. That is knowledge that may be archived away!

To integrate the three Chinese characters into a managerial concept, I would like to sum up by presenting a pathway of knowledge (Figure 2). Where there are three phases in the path of knowledge: emergence (in journals and papers), utilization (teaching and applications) and finally its archival (library and storage). A likely pathway too of what happens to our scholarly work.

Figure 2 Pathway of knowledge

With this, I would like to welcome scholars to suggest topics for future special issues. I hope to be able to grant future guest editors of special issues a longer time horizon to source quality papers.

Once again, on behalf of CMS, I thank Professor John Humphreys for having accomplished a magnificent job on a tight schedule.

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