Title: Knowledge management in consultancies and high-tech companies: a social systems perspective

Authors: Helmut Kasper, Jurgen Muhlbacher, Barbara Muller

Addresses: Department of Management, Institute for Change Management and Management Development, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Augasse 2-6, 1090 Vienna, Austria. ' Department of Management, Institute for Change Management and Management Development, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Augasse 2-6, 1090 Vienna, Austria. ' Department of Management, Institute for Change Management and Management Development, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Augasse 2-6, 1090 Vienna, Austria

Abstract: In dealing with Knowledge Management (KM) literature, we have to diagnose three essential points: first, we have detected a lack of comprehensive theoretical models based on |grand theories|, secondly, we have discovered an overemphasis of |good| values, like openness and trust, that help organisations to learn. And thirdly, we have to recognise that the question of efficiency and cost is seldom integrated into the KM discussion. The aim of our article is to raise these issues: we present a theoretical model based on social systems theory that helps to analyse KM processes in combination with organisational expectation structure. Based on the results of our empirical study, we furthermore call into question that only |good| values lead to |good| KM and raise the question of efficiency in the discussion part of our article. We draw upon approaches of Weick (1979), Luhmann (1984) and Kasper (1990) apply them in the context of KM and argue that the way knowledge is handled and retained depends upon systems logics. These logics are influenced by the specific selection processes. Selection processes are influenced by expectations structures within the organisation and the relations between organisations and their markets.

Keywords: knowledge management; expectation structure; organisational expectations; expectations of expectations; knowledge retention; reflexion; reflexivity; research-intensive organisations; social systems theory; strategy formulation; system environment relations; consultancies; high-tech companies; high technology firms.

DOI: 10.1504/IJLC.2008.018867

International Journal of Learning and Change, 2008 Vol.3 No.1, pp.38 - 56

Published online: 20 Jun 2008 *

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