The Nonsense of Knowledge Management: Indicting the Practice of KM as Another Management Fad

The Nonsense of Knowledge Management is actually a critical paper deconstructing the theory and concept of knowledge management. It is authored by T.D. Wilson, a professor emeritus of the University of Sheffield in UK. It is a powerful indictment of the concept of knowledge management and branded the practice as just one of those management fads that can do more harm than good to enterprises. Its full text can be found on the Internet and is a good counter idea especially when one is assessing the merits of knowledge management.

Basically the nonsense of knowledge management is premised on the assertion that knowledge cannot be managed. As knowledge is a unique realm of the human thinking and learning processes, companies can only use it temporarily. When the possessor of knowledge leaves the enterprise, so is knowledge. So, it would be impossible to manage knowledge especially because of its intangible nature.

What companies can hold are the knowledge artifacts. These are the documentary representations of knowledge. These artifacts are not knowledge per se because they are static information incapable of developing without human intervention. Essentially, what companies can manage is information and not knowledge itself. This discovery highlights the fact that knowledge management is merely a new jargon which could also mean as information management, business intelligence, and documentary management, among others. Professor Wilson goes so far as asserting that proponents of knowledge management systems are merely interested in propagating new management consultancy methods. The paper also points out the dangers of redundancy when implementing knowledge management to the enterprise.