Knowledge management : a practice-based approach

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Faculty of Education and Arts


Driven by advances in internet and wireless communications the information economy is exemplified by the unprecedented speed at which large amounts of information is created and disseminated. As a result, organisations and individuals now need to process more information and create new knowledge faster than ever before. This has forced organisations to consider how individuals and groups create knowledge that enables them to innovate fast enough to compete in the global marketplace. This portfolio contains a collection of studies and an investigation of practice-based approaches to knowing and learning in organisational work settings. It represents a departure from the traditional view of knowledge as belonging to individuals as contained in mental processes, which organisations then attempt to convert into embedded knowledge. This study seeks to explain how knowledge is achieved during the course of practice, being situated in cultural, historical and social contexts. The focus therefore goes beyond the study of knowledge in organisations to shed .light on the organising processes involved in knowing from an institutional and personal perspective. Firstly, it investigates, through a number of practice based studies, how knowledge is created and learning conducted in an organisational setting in order to further the existing research in this area. Secondly, it presents two frameworks that may be used to promote organisational learning and knowledge creation. This study draws on a number of theoretical frameworks, including; constructivist theories of learning, which views knowledge as actively constructed, relative, and pluralistic (Denzin and Lincoln, 2003), the Sociocultural approaches of Vygotsky (1978, 1986) that emphasised the interdependence of social and individual processes in the creation of knowledge, situated learning theories (Brown, Collins, Duguid, 1989 and Lave and Wenger, 1991) in which learning and cognition is situated in the activity in which it occurs, and the ideas of the incredulous postmodernist, for whom all know ledge is provisional, temporal and hypothetical. The portfolio concludes that that human knowledge is subjectively influenced by a large number of factors including cultural, social, pedagogical, and psychological issues in addition to language and context. Furthermore, it asserts that knowledge is a mediated achievement which is collectively created, intrinsically situated in people, artefacts and practices, and is always temporary and open to debate.

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