Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Information Science, Business and Management., Organisation Theory

Publication Details

20th European Conference of Knowledge Management, Lisbon, Portugal, September 2019


Abstract: This paper demonstrates the persistence of omniscience in Knowledge Management (KM) research. Omniscience as a concept has two dimensions ubiquity and utility. This idea of ubiquity is more prevalent when the management goal focuses on processing or transferring pre-existing knowledge efficiently to those who can make use of it. Ubiquity assumes that knowledge is freely available within the firm i.e. is omnipresent, waiting for it to be processed or transferred. The idea of utility assumes that knowledge and its relevance is fully understood by the firm. The firms and its managers are assumed to know the value and quality of knowledge, who needs it, how it should be processed and where it should be transferred to. In short , the firm is assumed to be 'all-knowing' or omniscient. This paper outlines how the persistence of omniscience underpins the hegemony of the information processing paradigm and transfer research agendas in KM research. We argue that it does so at the expense of considering alternative theories and perspectives. We illustrate how omniscience continues to underpin the dominant theory of knowledge creation i.e. the SECI Model. At face value the SECI model assumes that the firm is a site for the creation of new knowledge. However, on closer inspection, by cross-examining the assumptions of convertibility and amplification within the SECI Model, we outline how the assumption of omniscience hampers the application of this theory to meet its goal for the creation of new knowledge. We illustrate how a departure from the assumption of omniscience will allow for additional avenues of research and address calls for broader perspectives in KM. One such avenue, knowledge-as-process, which focuses on open innovation, creativity and the creating of knowledge overtime is proposed. The


DOI: 10.34190/KM.19.049