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Knowledge Management (KM) is a broad and inter-disciplinary field. It pulls from communications, economics, education, human resources, information science, organizational management, psychology, sociology, and information technology.

There is no consensus on how the terms knowledge and knowledge management are defined, nor on how knowledge differs from data or information.

One view of Knowledge Management comes to us from Firestone & McElroy, who developed a framework for the Knowledge Life Cycle (See Diagram). Their framework includes the knowledge processes listed below. Knowledge management can be viewed as business or organizational practices that are intended to have an impact on these processes:

  • Knowledge Production: information acquisition, individual and group learning, knowledge claim formulation, and knowledge claim evaluation
  • Knowledge Integration: broadcasting, searching, teaching, and sharing
  • Knowledge Use (agents and artifacts)

Search Terms

Due to inclusive nature of the field, academics and practitioners may be interested in a number of topics. The article referenced below includes a breakdown of KM facets (Table 1) and authors (Table 2), which can be used to aid in developing search strategies.

Sample search terms include, but are not limited to:

  • business narrative/storytelling
  • collaboration
  • community of practice (CoP)
  • double-loop learning
  • expertise management
  • innovation
  • intellectual capital (human capital, relational capital, social capital)
  • knowledge architecture
  • knowledge audit
  • knowledge economy
  • knowledge elicitation/knowledge retention/knowledge loss
  • knowledge engineering
  • knowledge management
  • knowledge organization systems (KOS)
  • knowledge representation/semantics
  • knowledge sharing
  • knowledge worker
  • organizational culture
  • organizational network analysis (ONA)/social network analysis (SNA)
  • organizational learning/learning organization

Source: Bedford, D. A. D. (2012). The role of knowledge management in creating transformational organizations and transformational leaders. Journal of Knowledge Management Practices, 13(4), 1-15. Retrieved from


Guide History

Guide originally created (2023):
Jennilyn Wiley, Auburn University
Valerie Linsinbigler, James Madison University
Bobi Bilz - Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

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