Title: The project-based company as an autopoietic knowledge system
Author: Kaj U. Koskinen
Address: Industrial Management and Engineering, Tampere University of Technology, Pori, P.O. Box 300, Pohjoisranta 11, FI-28101, Finland
Journal: Int. J. of Knowledge and Learning, 2012 Vol.8, No.1/2, pp.134 - 149
Abstract: The management and innovation literature regards learning as an attempt to retain and improve companies' competitiveness, productivity, and innovativeness in uncertain technological and market circumstances. This means that continuous learning must be seen as a vital condition also for project-based companies. However, current theories about learning are largely based on the idea of codability and transferability of knowledge between the people and across the borders. This traditional cognitivist epistemology based thinking is, however, inadequate because it is based on the idea that knowledge represents an external reality. The new autopoietic approach suggests transition from these theories to the theory of learning as a creational matter, which type of thinking can potentially provide a new explanation for a project-based companies' knowledge creation. Thus, this conceptual paper provides a description of how project-based companies' two knowledge flows - sensing and memory - form the basis to regard the project-based companies as autopoietic knowledge system.
Keywords: knowledge creation; knowledge flows; learning; systems thinking; autopoietic systems; autopoietic epistemology; project-based companies; sensing; memory.