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Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management, Second Edition by MARJORIE A. LYLES, MARK EASTERBY-SMITH

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Summary and Conclusion

In this chapter we have explored the information technology dimension of knowledge management, focusing on the emergence of an increased focus on practice and on the applicability of Web 2.0 tools to support it. We adopted Alavi and Leidner’s (2001) framework that views firms as systems generated for creating, storing/retrieving, transferring/sharing, and applying the knowledge required for development and delivery of products and/or services. We also adopt the concepts of communities and networks of practice, where both are composed of individuals sharing common interests and the desire to participate in a knowledge community (Lave and Wenger, 1991), while the latter is differentiated by its greater geographical dispersion, decreased face-to-face interaction, and reliance on electronic tools (Brown and Duguid, 2001). Our discussion complements and extends earlier work by Alavi and Tiwana (2003) that explored the enabling use of IT on knowledge management processes.

Traditional uses of ITs to support knowledge management have included the support of acquisition and retrieval of codified knowledge in formal systems (Huysman and Wulf, 2006). Organizations are expanding and complementing structured knowledge management systems with Web 2.0 applications. Wagner and Bolloju (2005) note that many Web 2.0 applications are conversational in nature, showing less formal structures than traditional knowledge management tools, and hence do not require structured databases ...

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