Knowledge management and the limits of knowledge codification


Purpose - The idea that knowledge needs to be codified is central to many claims that knowledge can be managed. However, there appear to be no empirical studies in the knowledge management context that examine the process of knowledge codification. This paper therefore seeks to explore codification as a knowledge management process. Design/methodology/approach - The paper draws on findings from research conducted around a knowledge management project in a section of the UK Post Office, using a methodology of participant-observation. Data were collected through observations of project meetings, correspondence between project participants, and individual interviews. Findings - The principal findings about the nature of knowledge codification are first, that the process of knowledge codification also involves the process of defining the codes needed to codify knowledge, and second, that people who participate in the construction of these codes are able to interpret and use the codes more similarly. From this it can be seen that the ability of people to decodify codes similarly places restrictions on the transferability of knowledge between them. Research limitations/implications - The paper therefore argues that a new conceptual approach is needed for the role of knowledge codification in knowledge management that emphasizes the importance of knowledge decodification. Such an approach would start with one's ability to decodify rather than codify knowledge as a prerequisite for knowledge management. Originality/value - The paper provides a conceptual basis for explaining limitations to the management and transferability of knowledge. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Operations & Information Management
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School
Uncontrolled Keywords: knowledge management,knowledge transfer,postal services,United Kingdom,Business, Management and Accounting(all),Library and Information Sciences
Publication ISSN: 1758-7484
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2023 09:11
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2019 17:39
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Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
http://www.emer ... 7&show=abstract (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2006-07-03
Authors: Hall, Matthew J.



Version: Accepted Version

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