Knowledge Management: Soft Approaches and Hard Applications for Organizational Learning
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Organisational learning is a central component of knowledge management. Huber (1991) identified many weaknesses and gaps in research in organisational learning, in particular difficulties in identifying and disseminating organisational knowledge to other people within the organisation who have need for that knowledge. Soft approaches have been proposed to support organisational learning as a part of knowledge management (Cavaleri, 1994, Travis et al, 1996). Harder technologies can be used to support these soft approaches as well as other aspects of organisational learning. This paper describes work on using soft systems methodology (SSM), group support systems (GSS), and digital library technologies to support organisational learning. In particular, we address the twin problems that organisational personnel don't know what knowledge to capture at the time it is created nor who needs or might need that information in the future. These problems argue against a knowledge push approach to dissemination and suggest a knowledge pull approach, where knowledge is retrieved when needed. To address these difficulties, we propose combining soft approaches with technological support as means to both capture and disseminate organisational knowledge effectively, in order to provide the best leverage to the learning organisation.
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